Saturday, December 8, 2012

Coffee on TED Talks

I love coffee. And I love TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). TED's slogan is "Ideas Worth Spreading" and they have "Talks" where people present ideas to world via the internet. Check out this 11 minute video entitled "What you didn't know about coffee" that, well, tells you all that you didn't know about coffee. This TED Talk was presented in Bali and was fascinating to watch. I guarantee you will click away from this page having learned at least one fact that you did not know about coffee. I want my own coffee roaster now...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Coffee Shop Evangelism: Pastor Dave Marriot

As Christians, one of our life goals should be to be constantly spreading the good news of the Gospel. How does that relate to coffee? Well, most people find coffee shops to be a great meeting place, a "common ground", as it were, and thus provide a perfect location to strike up conversations with strangers. Dave Marriot lives in Delafield, WI, and is the pastor of Lakewood Baptist Church, a relatively new church plant. Pastor Dave graciously agreed to guest post for my blog and has answered a few questions I had regarding coffee shop evangelism. Pastor Dave regularly participates in this method of evangelism and has learned the ins and outs of coffee shop evangelism. Take a few minutes and read his answers to my questions below.

Define "Coffee Shop Evangelism", what does it mean?
As you observe the pattern of Paul and his associates in the book of Acts, you see him reasoning with lost Jews in the synagogue, while engaging lost Gentiles in the "marketplace" (i.e. the agora, the seat of commerce and trade in a Greco-Roman city, cf. Acts 17:17). In trying to emulate Paul's example, in my community, I have identified the coffee shops as my "marketplace" and seek to have a regular presence in many of them for the purposes of developing friendships that culminate in gospel communication as well as simply positioning myself where God will orchestrate a "divine appointment."

How do you go about practicing it?
In my morning prayer time, I try to include Paul's prayer request from Colossians 4:3-4. So I usually pray something like this, "Lord, today would you go ahead of me with great power and compassion for the lost, and give me an unusual opportunity to speak the gospel today. And Lord when you grant me that opportunity, would you then fill my fearful heart with boldness and help me to speak the gospel faithfully? Use me today for your kingdom and your glory." I then choose a coffee shop to set up for my day of sermon study or church administration. While I am there, I am mindful of the people around me and often try to engage them in conversation, always looking for a natural opportunity to turn the conversation to the gospel. I will ask questions like, "What do you do for a living?" or "Do you come here a lot?" or "What are you reading?" (my favorite question to ask). These questions often lead to much longer conversations and quite often right into the gospel.

Why coffee shops? What kind of coffee do you like? How many different coffee shops have you been to and which is your favorite?
I choose coffee shops for many reasons. (1) Most coffee shops have a regular customer base that come with some level of frequency. This is an advantage to the evangelist, as most people do not respond to the gospel the first time they hear it. (2) Most coffee shops serve hundreds of people a day, which is great news for a fisherman, who desires to catch fish. (3) Many people sit in coffee shops because they have an hour to kill or because they are lonely people in general and just looking to talk to someone. In our world of "Facebook friends," coffee shops actually provide an atmosphere where real friends are more likely to be made. People crave real relationships –– friends that do more than "like" their statuses.
I love Alterra, Milwaukee's own coffee roaster. Sadly, only one coffee shop in my community brews Alterra. Besides regular brewed coffee, my favorite drinks are the cafe au lait (from any Paris cafe), the latte (from anywhere), the dark chocolate mocha (from Caribou), the regular mocha (Stone Creek), the pumpkin spice latte (from Starbucks), and the Bullfrog (a mint mocha from Alterra –– my clear #1). I have been to many, many coffee shops in Milwaukee and the suburbs, but rotate between 4-5 different local coffee shops on a regular basis. My favorite coffee shop of all time is Alterra on the Lake in Milwaukee. It's an old converted water treatment plant with a view of Lake Michigan. It was one of the first places I went with my wife Emiley, so I have great memories there!

How effective is Coffee Shop Evangelism? Any success stories you can tell?
Over the last few years, evangelism in the coffee shop has been fruitful. We've had many Christians visitors in church, some of which have become permanent parts of our congregation. I think of two conversions to Christ, though, in particular. One man, an agnostic at the time, approached me to inquire about my Mac notebook. In God's providence, he had written several books about the anabaptists, as had my grandfather. So we talked about the anabaptists (probably the only two people in the county interested in that subject!), the Bible, the gospel, etc. for over an hour. After a year and a half of his attending our church and of our regular lunch talks, he trusted Christ as Savior. Just this past September, he was baptized publicly! I think of another man that I met in the coffee shop about three years ago. I asked him, "If you were to die, are you confident that you would spend eternity with Christ?" I did not realize that his uncle, a Roman Catholic priest, had asked him the same question at a family funeral the previous day. The priest's answer was basically, "Go back to the RCC, ditch your non-Catholic girlfriend, go to confession, give money to the church, and maybe you'll have a chance for heaven one day." He told me, "Dave, the contrast between your two answers about eternity haunted me for over a year." Over those three years, he only attended church or church events a few times but maintained regular contact with me. Just a couple months ago, he found me in the coffee shop and gave me a big hug and said, "I'm free" and explained that he had trusted Christ! The gospel is powerful. God will get His work done. Will we get to participate and be a part of the blessing?

Thanks so much for your time Pastor Dave. This was such a fascinating and informing read. I really enjoyed reading your responses and you've made me want to go out and try this around my town. I hope others will benefit as much from this post as I have.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Cappuccino, Intelligentsia" (Video)

This video is a follow-up from my earlier post on espresso. This video deals specifically on making a delicious cup of cappuccino. From the "stretch" step of steaming the milk to the tamping of the grounds, this video details each step in the cappuccino making process. Watch and enjoy!

Cappuccino, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Finding Your Perfect Home Brewing System

As promised in my earlier post, this article will inform you how to find the perfect setup for your home coffee brewing system. Read on to determine which system is right for you!

Product Details

If you are more of an espresso person (like me), then you will be looking for an espresso maker of some sorts. An espresso maker forces very hot water under high pressure through finely ground, compacted coffee. When looking to purchase an espresso maker, you need to make sure it has the following qualities:

  • Can produce pressure of 8-10 bars - better quality shots
  • A steam wand - used to steam milk for espresso drinks
  • A tamper - not always included, but vital to get a good shot
There are different ways an espresso machine processes the espresso: manual (lever), semi-automatic, or automatic. If you are interested in making your own at home, semi-automatic is probably your best choice. It is less work (and takes less knowledge)  than the manual method, but gives your more control and lets you learn how to make your own shots unlike the automatic. Coffee Geek published a great guide on how to purchase an espresso machine that is definitely worth checking out. 

Lastly, do not skimp too much when buying an espresso machine. You want a good quality machine that will last you a long time and produce great quality shots. Do your research. There are other ways to make espresso (just Google "Moka pot"), but a semi-automatic machine is the most popular method. 

Regular Coffee

Now, for all of you that like plain old coffee, there are a multitude of ways to brew a cup of joe. K-Cup, electric drip, and French press are the most well known of the methods, so they will be the only three discussed here today.

K-Cup coffee makers are rapidly becoming the most popular method of brewing coffee today. K-Cups are small pods that have enough grounds to brew a single cup of coffee. They are sealed until placed in a Keurig brewer which punctures the lid and the bottom and forces hot water through the K-Cup into a mug. It is quick, simple, and less messy than other methods of brewing. Because today's society is a fast-paced world, this method appeals to students, commuters, and busy parents on the run. They are relatively inexpensive, but if you drink a lot of coffee, you might want to consider purchasing the small filter basket that allows you to use your own grounds as the K-Cups can add up over time.

Electric drip coffee makers are still in wide use because they can quickly make a few cups of coffee. A standard electric drip maker heats up water from a reservoir and sprays it over coffee grounds. The coffee then flows through a filter and drips down into a pot. While slower than a K-Cup brewer, it is much more effective when making more than two cups of coffee. A regular electric drip coffee maker can make about 10-18 cups of water. An electric drip coffee maker is generally the least expensive coffee maker for those who drink a few cups a day.

French press coffee makers are popular to the coffee enthusiasts out there. The coffee is brewed by pouring the hot water into French press with the coffee grounds, letting it brew for a few minutes, and then pressing the plunger to trap the grounds at the bottom of the press. The French press captures more of the coffee's flavor because the grounds and the water are in direct contact, and do not pass through a paper filter like other brewing methods. While the most inexpensive method of brewing coffee, the French press is not convenient for making more than two cups at a time.


Well, after reading a description (and my opinions) on some of the different methods available to you for brewing your own coffee at home, I hope you will figure out which setup is right for you. I'm now going to go on Amazon and start drooling over the De'Longhi espresso makers.

Sources: Home Barista

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Espresso, Intelligentsia" (Video)

Have you ever seen how a cup of espresso is made, one step at a time? Check out this awesome video that details the finer points of brewing a shot of espresso. Through detailed and clear narration, this video does a great job at explaining why it is important to know how to brew a proper espresso shot.

Espresso, Intelligentsia from The D4D on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Make a Latte in 5 Simple Steps

Ever wanted to know how to make a latte? This Prezi shows you how to make your own latte in five simple steps!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coffee: Buying vs. Brewing

Do you regularly drink coffee? (Read my earlier post to see if you should drink coffee or not.) If you are in the regular habit of drinking a cup of the delicious black liquid, then maybe it is time you consider making your own cup of coffee over buying a pre-made cup. There are a few factors that will help you decide are price, convenience, and taste.

How a cup of coffee tastes is absolutely the most important factor in your decision of buying versus brewing. You should never sacrifice taste for cost or convenience. Taste is what a cup of coffee is all about right? What good would it do to drink a cup of coffee if it tasted disgusting? What many people do not realize is that you can get almost the same (if not the same) taste of a coffee shop cup of coffee at home when you brew your own cup. All it takes is the right equipment, knowledge, and ingredients.

When considering whether you should buy or brew, you need to take time to consider which would be more convenient without sacrificing taste or cost. If you are a commuter (or a busy student), time is essential. But often people do not understand that making your own cup of coffee at home does not always take any longer than it would to purchase one at a coffee shop. While it varies from situation to situation, in general, preparation time takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes at home. If you think about it, this is not much longer than if you were to wait in a drive through, or park and walk in, and wait for the shop to make your cup of coffee. Depending on where you purchase your coffee, it might just as long to get there as it would for you to make your own at home.

Last but not least, price is a huge (but often un-thought of) factor when it comes to buying versus brewing. According to the National Coffee Association, “a recent U.S. survey revealed that 69 percent of American coffee drinkers consider coffee to be an ‘affordable luxury.’” But what are the cost differences between buying and brewing? The average 16oz cup of Starbucks coffee will cost you about $2. That means about $700 for a daily cup of coffee for a year. That’s a lot! Brewing your own at home is a much less expensive venture. And with some patience and research, you can easily start creating your own coffee drinks in no time. If you have to occasionally buy a drink, you will still be better off over all.

Buying vs. Brewing
In my opinion, brewing at home is the best option. So go ahead and invest in a coffee machine and get to work! Watch for a future post on how to find the perfect setup for your perfect home brewing system.

Sources: Daily Finance