Ack!! Did you realize that we close out summer today?!

I came across an article about summer coffee cocktails just a few weeks ago, but the title is SUMMER coffee cocktails, and I realized that today is the last day of summer this year. I suspect many of you have experienced a loss of time perspective a few times this year. COVID-19 seems to have had that effect on people. Some say the days all blend together. For many of us, there aren’t trips or memorable, large get togethers, big weddings, the end of school, graduation ceremonies, or the start of school to help separate parts of this year. It’s just before-shutdown and now. And “has it really been seven months already?!”

Cocktails remind me of my friend Joe, AKA, Big Kahuna Kahlua Joe. He was having ICE CREAM before 8:30am because he’s a cream & sugar coffee drinker, and he was out of half & half and even milk, but he did have ice cream to improve his coffee.

Ice cream in the morning feels rebellious. There have been a few times my husband and I have ordered ice cream at Kope Lani on Ali’i in Kailua-Kona before 8:30am because it already felt hot and we felt like it after swimming. It’s fun to be the first of the day, when everyone else is having coffee, and see the owner remove the insulating boards covering the ice cream cartons.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your last day of summer. And maybe you can still squeeze in a summer coffee cocktail in summer, or maybe in the fall, and evoke that summertime feeling.

What Cup Material Gives You the Most Drinking Pleasure?

Drinking coffee is a daily pleasure for many people. And for those who make coffee at home, the favorite cup is an important part of that. Ceramic? Double-walled glass? That’s Bea’s favorite; she even bought some for us.

Then there are the to-go containers. You might pour your home brew to go in a stainless steel mug, many of which have a silicone rim so you don’t burn your lips. Or maybe a thick plastic mug. Or a double walled insulated plastic mug with a lid. There are the paper to-go cups, maybe doubled for heat protection when you pick up coffee to go. The cafe or you might add a thin plastic lid to prevent spillage.

You’ve surely noticed that the material does affect how your coffee tastes and the experience of drinking coffee. Despite the silicone rim on the Contigo, something about it, I almost always burn my lips and mouth. I don’t like drinking from the sippy hole on thin plastic covers of paper coffee cups. I just don’t drink “right.” My stainless steel cup works pretty nicely, but even if the metal doesn’t absorb flavors, the silicone edge has picked up previous chai and other tea flavors.

Maybe you’re now motivated to browse this recent article, “Do Different Materials Affect The Flavour Of Your Coffee?”

How to Make a Classic Brunch Dish Mo’ Bettah

Pidgin lesson for the day: mo’ bettah = “more better” as in, improve. Put the coffee in the dish, don’t just drink coffee with the dish. And I have thoughts on how to make French toast more Hawaiian.

I recently came across this recipe which was adapted from A Flash in the Pan: Simple, Speedy, Stovetop Recipes by John Whaite, Kyle Books. (You can find the original recipe on his website). I wanted to first make the brunch dish before posting it, but I often don’t whittle through my “to try” list quickly enough. I like to change up the blog posts, and a recipe is due. I share it in case you’ll get around to it before me.

The recipe calls for instant espresso powder, which I’ve never tried. I’ve tried instant coffee, but never instant espresso. I knew I wanted to substitute Bea’s Knees coffee, but I didn’t know in what brewed form. I don’t have an espresso maker, so I decided I’d brew really strong coffee in the Aeropress, and decrease the amount of liquid (the milk). Around the time of discovering the recipe this other article about how instant coffee is made was sent to me.

And, finally, here’s the recipe, with my side comments in italics:

Coffee and Corn Flake French Toast

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (I plan to try 2 tsp of strong Aeropress & 2 tsp less milk)

1 tablespoon runny honey

2 large eggs

3 cups cornflakes (add a little sweetened flaked coconut?)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 thick slices of brioche or challah bread (day-old)
(I’ll use thick slices of Punalu’u Hawaiian sweet bread)

Maple syrup, to serve (To make it Hawaiian, I’d use lilikoi syrup!)

Put the milk and espresso powder into a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. 

Add the honey and eggs and whisk until well mixed. 

Crush the cornflakes roughly (e.g., smash in large ziploc) — some should be fine powder, while other pieces should be fairly chunky. Tip into a wide bowl or plate. 

Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat. 

Once the pan is hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter, swirling it around the pan to melt. 

Dunk the bread slices, one at a time, into the egg mixture, pressing them down gently to soak them well. 

Dip both sides of the bread slices into the cornflakes to coat completely, then pop into the pan. 

If your pan is big enough, fry all four pieces at once; otherwise cook the bread slices in batches, only dipping and coating them just before frying. Add more butter if necessary. Fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes per side, until deeply golden and crispy. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

I would heat up some sliced, pan-fried apple bananas, and add some chopped macadamia nuts, too.

Yield: 4 slices

Hurricane. Climate Change. Coffee. Capitalism.

The recent big news was Hurricane Douglas. Hawaii has dodged the bullet, which it often does. In Kona there was only a little bit of rain (less than 0.2″); the Monday after had 0.6″. There was no wind since Douglas blocked off the usual trade winds.

Hurricanes hitting Hawaii land are rare events. From “the Internet:” “The last hurricane whose center made landfall on the islands was Hurricane Iniki, which made landfall on Kauai in 1992, killing six and causing $1.8 billion in damage. According to Ars Technica, besides Iniki, only two other storms have made direct landfall; Hurricane Dot in 1959 and an unnamed storm in 1871.”

The thing that worries me is global climate change and hurricanes and tropical storms becoming more intense and destructive.

I read this article a few months ago. It’ll expose you to other deeper, controversial thoughts relating to coffee and its production. Part of its claim is:

Wherever coffee production has become an intensive national focus, environmental devastation has followed.

But don’t be misled by that statement that you know where this article, “Unfair Trade,” will go. “Coffee is the spirit of capitalism in brewed form.” Slavery. Market manipulation. Misogyny in coffee ads. Fake Kona coffee. It’s an interesting read.

Coffee at Home

The Big Island’s COVID-19 count has stood at 81, with no patients remaining in isolation since May 29. All people, visitors and returning residents, arriving anywhere in the state of Hawaii have been subject to a mandatory, 14-day quarantine for a few months now. Even inter-island travelers have had to quarantine; this restriction ends Tuesday, June 16. A few days ago Governor Ige declared that quarantine of those entering Hawaii state, however, remains in place until July 31.

One month more. And then another month more. Who knew these restrictions, worldwide, in their various forms would have been possible to do? I think it has been important that most deadlines have been one or two months out versus, say, six months long from the start. These deadlines have been like intermediate milestones. If you’re trying to lose 40 pounds, it’s easier to think of losing five, then another five, etc. Not the best analogy, but it was the first relatable one that came to mind.

Many of us are staying at home more than before. Maybe you’re making more coffee at home versus drinking it at the office or cafe or getting take-out coffee. I thought it’d be good to share yet another article about storing coffee at home. A new word for me is hygroscopic. And here’s an article with ideas for what to do with spent coffee grounds. The domain name is practicalselfreliance. Self reliance, self sufficiency, or movement in that direction, seems to be “the thing” since this pandemic has struck. I keep hearing about people wanting to bake bread, plant edibles, sew, and generally make things. The other “thing” is returning to nature. On that note, I want to bring a little coffee nature to you. Thanks again to my friend, Will, who continues to experiment with his new phone’s camera. The flowers and bees are from the end of May, and the ripening/reddening fruit is from the outer part of our farm yesterday.