Peace Spokes - Peace Coffee

  1| Lee's Year in Review

  2| Winter Fitness: 9 Ways

  3| IATP Update

  4| Home Made Kahlua (yum!)

  5| Roaster's Corner

  6| Quote of the Month

Wow, it's 2010... hard to believe it's the start of a new decade (where did the "naughts" go?). But here we are... and the Peace Coffee crew is definitely pumped for another year of promoting the best coffee on the planet! In this issue of Peace Spokes, our fearless leader Lee offers her take on 2009. She finishes up with a plug for our survey... take it (it only takes a few minutes) and you'll get the promo code, which this month gives you the opportunity to save even more than usual on your next Peace Coffee purchase! Besides the monetary incentive, you'll have our undying gratitude (and that's incentive enough to take a survey, isn't it?). Also in this issue, you'll find step-by-step instructions for making tasty homemade Kahlua (flavored with Peace Coffee... what else?) from Project Manager Anna Canning, an IATP Update from Andrew, some encouragement on winter fitness from Peace Coffee Racer Janet Atkinson and an introduction to our new limited edition Tanzanian Peaberry from Keith in the Roaster's Corner. Warm up with a mug of Peace Coffee, settle in and read on...

Dear coffee drinkers,

January is a month perched between -- all around us, pundits are recapping the year that just passed and predicting what is to come.  For me at Peace Coffee, January is a moment of transition, the conclusion of the whirlwind holiday roasting season, turning my eyes from inward and operational to outward as our producer partners in Central America kick off their harvest season.  

As we start a new decade, we can’t help looking back a little -- at the beginning of the year 2000, we were a tiny start-up with two staffers camped out in a basement office with just a few accounts and even fewer producers we were buying from. Fast forward ten years and there’s a lot going on in our sunny roastery and green offices.  In 2009, we bought from 16 producer co-ops, a grand total of just shy of 16 whole semi-truck loads. Assuming that you all brewed all the coffee you bought, that’s about 19.5 million cups of coffee, always organic and fairly traded. 

Read on...

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by Janet Frank Atkinson, Peace Coffee Bike Team Racer

Think outside the icebox and chase away the winter blues. These tips will help fire up the endorphins and help you stay happy, fit and healthy this winter.

Get out of the house and take a class. Many facilities offer punch card systems or month-to-month memberships. There are an abundance of group fitness classes out there ranging from Yoga, Pilates, Bootcamp, Hip-Hop Cardio, Indoor Climbing, Boxing, and Indoor Cycling classes. It can be very energizing to exercise with a group of people. And you might be less likely to slack off when you’re sweating away with a group of like-minded folks.

Hit the Iron. Weight training is perfect cross training for the cyclist looking to gain strength in the off-season, and the right program will help increase muscle endurance. But for the rest of us, weight training is also the best way to build lean muscle and change the appearance of your physique. Sure, cardio is great, but the lean muscle you develop will help you burn more calories and melt the fat. And ladies: don’t worry about “bulking up.” Women don’t have enough testosterone in their body to build insane muscles. So, hit the weights!

Read on...

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by Andrew Ranallo, Communications Assistant at IATP

In the second week of December, IATP joined the Center for Food Safety (CFS) in filing a petition with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling for the removal of arsenic-containing compounds from animal feeds. Unless you're an industrial agriculturalist, you may be wondering why arsenic is anywhere near our food in the first place. Well, arsenic-containing compounds, or arsenicals, have been approved for use as animal feed additives since the 1940s and are mostly used to induce weight gain and "create the appearance of a healthy color in meat from chickens, turkeys and hogs," (quotation from the IATP/CFS press release).

Arsenical use is widespread -- just take a look at IATP's 2006 study about the presence of arsenic and commonly purchased chicken products. Furthermore, most arsenical use is not for treating illness, which begs the question: Do we want our food to be healthy, or do we want "the appearance of a healthy color?" The answer is simple according to David Wallinga, director if IATP's Food and Health program: “Arsenic can be poisonous. Its use in animal feed, therefore, is unnecessarily risky and has not been shown to be safe given the latest science. To best protect public health, all avoidable exposures to arsenic should be eliminated. FDA can and should act.”

In another pre-2010 development, IATP joined other public health and consumer groups in applauding the American Public Health Association's (APHA) newest resolution to oppose hormone use in beef and dairy production. According to the press release, APHA's resolution "asks the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of rBGH [recombinant bovine growth hormone] and growth-promoting beef hormones, and recommends that hospitals, schools and other institutions -- especially those serving children -- serve food produced without these hormones. The resolution also supports product labeling for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions."

The use of rBGH and other growth hormones is widespread -- 42 percent of large dairy operations in the U.S. inject their cows with rBGH to induce higher milk yields, according to the press release -- and dangerous. According to the APHA's resolution, "There is clear evidence that hormones originating outside the body can interfere with our own hormone function." This disruption can mean higher rates of cancer and other chronic diseases, especially in developing children.

So again, unless you're a king of industry, you may be wondering why dairy and beef producers are continually allowed to use these unhealthy practices in the name of efficiency. Well, so are we. Here's to a healthier 2010!

Andrew Ranallo is the Communications Assistant at IATP. He likes to get outside and has finally accepted, and is enjoying, winter this year.

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by Anna Canning, Peace Coffee Project Manager

You know how when you’re a kid, some things can just put you into an almost-trance state, mesmerized and in some other world? Perhaps I was spacier than most, but one thing that did it for me was my parent’s Kahlua bottle.

After an introduction like that, I should quickly explain that it wasn’t the contents -- under-age drinking doesn’t really feature in this story -- it was the bottle itself, dark and mysterious, that bit of frayed red braid on the top, and the label. Looking at that bottle, the two archways and the road stretching away, I would get wobbly in the backs of my knees as my focus switched back and forth, back and forth between that mysterious distant road and the little man in the big hat sleeping in the foreground. I picked up a bottle in the liquor store recently. Computer graphics have provided a stylized blur to that alluring road and the little man is gone (Was he ever there? Did I imagine him?), but for a moment, I was tempted…

And then it occurred to me that I could put together something; not something quite so laden with nostalgia as a mysterious dark bottle with red braid, but something, and that something could probably made with Fair Trade ingredients.

Read on...

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by Keith Tomlinson, Peace Coffee Head Roaster

Coffee trading and growing functions quite differently in each country and has an even bigger difference when you switch continents. We've become fairly adept at finding great relationships and fostering them in Central and South America. But heretofore we have only had Ethiopian coffee from the great array of possible coffees coming from East Africa. Coffee from Africa can be more difficult for us to come by for a variety of reasons. Organics can be particularly challenging and Fair Trade and the structure of the co-ops varies a lot from country to country. Given those constraints, we are pleased to have been able to share two new East African coffees with you recently: the gorgeous Ugandan Peaberry coffee, at the end of last summer, and now this winter we have the pleasure of bringing to you another peaberry coffee, this one from Tanzania, the country that first made peaberries famous.

We connected with Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU), the producer group in Tanzania, as we did with Gumutindo in Uganda -- through our friends and allies at Trade Aid in New Zealand. As an experiment, we purchased a limited amount of both coffees to see how we would use them and to begin the process of building a long-term trading relationship. Cooperative Coffees will be visiting both KNCU and Gumutindo this coming spring.

This coffee is so unique that Derek (our quality control/coffee genius at large) had a hard time finding the words to describe the experience -- something you'd know is unusual if you've met him! This coffee has a nice big body and a primary floral aroma experience. The acidity was the first thing that he and I noticed as being totally unique: When scoring coffee, acidity (which is more accurately described as the "brightness" of the coffee, not the quality that people associate with unhappy stomachs and pH tests) is described both in its quality and its intensity. There is not really a direct correlation -- high intensity doesn't necessarily mean good quality. While an intense brightness typically goes hand in hand with a fruity flavor, this coffee is singular in that it's remarkably bright yet not particularly fruity. Instead, and this is my favorite part, is has a bite, something like raw ginger and the sweetness of a jam, that sets off its floral aroma perfectly. I'm sure that this coffee will be on heavy brew rotation in the mornings around Peace Coffee for its entire duration. We purchased sixteen bags, which should last us through the end of March, so get it while it's here. Also, note the stunning artwork on the label!



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We're mixing it up a little this month. Take the Peace Coffee survey and you'll find the promo code at the end, enabling you to save even more than usual on Peace Coffee products. Once you get the promo code, enter it into the box at checkout to get your discount. Oh, and you might want to try some of our Tanzanian Peaberry this month -- it's a limited edition and oh, so delicious!

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"Want what you have, do what you can, be who you are."

~ Rev. Forrest Church, Unitarian-Universalist minister, 1948 - 2009

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Peace Spokes is a monthly publication from the crew at Peace Coffee.
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