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Vida E Caffe, one of South Africa's most progressive coffee companies, has once again come up with a fantastically clever way of exposing their brand to just the right audience. Their Camps Bay store will be handing out branded beach brollies to customers, who in turn leave their car keys at the counter as a deposit.

Everybody wins, holiday makers get to enjoy the day on the beach in relative comfort and Vida get their brand promoted on one of the country's finest beaches. We like... 

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Starbucks_new_logo_111The biggest coffee company in the world has recently unveiled their new logo as part of a broader re-branding strategy. The new logo drops the wording which encircled the iconic sea nymph, giving it a fresh, uncluttered look. (See cup furthest right on image attached).

"What is really important here is an evolutionary refinement of the logo, which is a mirror image of the strategy," said Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. "This is not just, let's wake up one day and change our logo."

Starbucks revealed the logo Wednesday to a cheering crowd of employees in its Seattle offices and on a webcast and plans to bring it to stores in March to coincide with the company's 40th anniversary.

This is the fourth version of Starbucks' logo since the company's beginnings as a small coffee, tea and spice shop in Seattle in 1971. The first update came in 1987, taking the original bare-breasted siren in brown to a more stylized -- and modest -- version in green as the company began to expand. The image was further refined in the 1990s as the company went public and its growth soared.

3_scoopsThe age old practice of roasting coffee beans is as much a science as it is an art.  It is an extremely complicated yet fascinating process during which the full flavour of the bean is developed and released. Prior to roasting, the green bean is quite unexciting and tasteless. It is the heat of the roasting process that causes the more than 2000 volatile chemicals contained inside the bean to react and transform into the desired coffee flavour.  When roasted, the bean also changes into the beautiful brown coffee colour that we know so well.

Of all the processes involved in the coffee chain, the coffee roaster probably has the most responsibility when applying his trade.  It will only take a slight lapse in concentration or just a basic miscalculation on the part of the roaster to ruin an entire batch of precious beans. What also further complicates the process is the fact that almost every batch of green coffee beans are different. This is due to various harvesting, sorting and drying methods used on different farms, as well roasting_machine_1as climatic differences from region to region.  All these factors will invariably influence the natural composition of the bean. An experienced roaster is able to implement the best possible roast in order to compliment the specific characteristics of the particular batch.

The_Coffee_Roasting_Company_logoIf you are planning a trip down to the Western Cape this holiday season, make sure you visit The Coffee Roasting Company in Somerset West. Situated on the Lourensford wine estate (at the top of Lourensford Road), this little roastery has become somewhat of a landmark in the cape.

Visitors can watch the roasting process unfold while the owners and staff are always willing to share advice on making the perfect cup. They have more than 20 blends on offer and also sell a nice range of coffee making equipment.

The Coffee Roasting Company, Lourensford Estate, Lourensford Road, Somerset West.

Tel: 021 847 0536

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Most people don't put much thought into the origin of their daily cup of java. The humble coffee bean (which is in actual fact a seed) starts its life inside the fruit of a coffee tree. Coffee trees have been growing naturally in the tropical rain forests of Africa for thousands of years before mankind started farming them commercially.

Coffee_farmers_3The coffee tree is a lush, evergreen shrub that can grow up to 6 meters tall, depending on the species and growth conditions.  The plant flourishes in tropical and subtropical regions around the world and can live for up to 60 years.  The tree produces beautiful, fragrant clusters of flowers which are white in colour with a jasmine like scent.  The blossoms remain on the plant for a few days and are then replaced by small coffee berries.  These berries are also called “cherries” and are initially green in colour, turning bright red as they ripen.  Inside each berry there are two peanut like seeds which are coated with a husk, also called the “silver skin”.  These seeds are the coffee beans that most of us are familiar with, but they only taste and smell like coffee once they’ve been fully processed and roasted.

The coffee plant is a genus of the Rubiaceae family, of which there are many species, varieties and strains. coffee_cherries_in_a_bowlOut of the many different species within this family, only two species are cultivated commercially: coffea Arabica and coffea Canephora (or Robusta).  Arabica coffee is widely considered as the superior of the two varietals as it offers a range of favourable taste profiles. Arabica is therefore mainly used in premium blends and specialty coffees.  The Robusta plant is easier to grow as it tolerates higher temperatures and is generally more resistant towards most diseases and soil types. It also produces smaller berries with a much higher caffeine content than that of the Arabica plant. Robusta generally commands a lower price and is mainly used for mass produced and instant coffees.

latte_art_22 000 - the approximate amount of coffee cherries a coffee tree produces annually.

32 million – the amount of 60kg bags of green coffee beans that Brazil produces annually.

80 to 150 milligrams - the amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee.

10 000 - the approximate number of Starbucks outlets world wide.

2 coffee beans inside each coffee cherry.

coffee_and_scoop20 to 30 seconds - the time it takes to brew a perfect shot of espresso.

27 million acres of land is under coffee cultivation world wide.

60 different species of coffee plants are found in nature. Out of the 60 species, only 2 are grown commercially; Arabica and Robusta.