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February 2012 - Time for Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee
J. Martinez & Company - Coffee Merchants
February 16, 2012

Company Newsletter
Hot Coffee!

Time for a Hot Cup of Coffee

Sisley - Winter in LouveciennesWhen waking up on a cold rainy morning there is nothing better than a hot cup of coffee to warm the body and soul. The steaming aroma from the cup, the rich taste going down, and the gentle awakening as the caffeine takes hold could make a wintry Arctic morning tolerable. We are not the Arctic, but it was cold and this morning and may even have sleeted last night (though we did not stay up to verify). This morning's cup of coffee tasted extra good, and the pot of Dota we brewed up for the office is making the afternoon working quite tolerable.

It will probably amaze you to know that not everyone drinks coffee. A short survey of the world's drinking habits involving piping hot liquids turned up a lot of coffee and variations but we were intrigued by a few of the alternative drinks. We mention some here with the knowledge that you will not run out and replace your freshly brewed cup of Martinez coffee with any of these, at least on a regular basis.

Coca Tea

Popular in the Andes this is made, as you have guessed, from the dried leaves of the coca plant. Yes it has cocaine in it, as well as other alkaloid stimulants, but it is no more stimulating than a cup of coffee. It is said to alleviate altitude sickness, making it useful in La Paz, Bolivia, which is located 12,000 feet up in the Andes. We would love to describe the taste, but all internet research turned up was lots of discussions regarding how much cocaine it contained and import difficulties.

Yak Butter Tea

Tibetan Monk Churning Yak Butter Tea This drink, which combines long-steeped tea with Yak Butter, is highly caloric, well suited to the high altitudes of the Tibetan plateau where it originated. Tibetan nomads are said to drink up to 40 cups a day. Your host will continually top up your cup as you drink. So if you are struggling to down this salty, tangy beverage, wait until the end of your visit and drain your bowl quickly. You will thus avoid insulting your host.


This drink, made from the bulb of an orchid, is drunk throughout the former lands of the Ottoman empire, but dates back to the Romans. Salep is a flour, but also refers to the drink Salep or Sahlab which is most often made with hot milk and sugar.

Hot Coffee Drinks

Since this is a coffee newsletter we should mention a few winter drinks based on coffee. Icelanders drink Kumenkaffi, coffee with carraway seeds added. In the Piedmont region of Italy Bicerin is a popular drink. It is a layer of espresso followed by a layer of hot chocolate, then topped with a layer of whole milk.

Of course there are the coffee drinks that warm the soul with a little alcohol (which is sometimes added to Kumenkaffi). We all know Irish Coffee, coffee with Irish whiskey topped with whipped cream. The Spaniards like a "carajillo", espresso with a dash of Spanish brandy.

Right now though the coffee on my desk is black, rich and hot. Now that's the way to warm up this winter. Cheers!