A Maddening Tea Party 

By Layla Eplett | October 29, 2015

Maybe Alice was mad to be in Wonderland but she was really mad when she left the Mad Tea Party.  Leaving the party, she vowed never to return and declared, “It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!” Manners were paramount when Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published 150 years ago. In Lewis Carroll’s subversive take on the British culture, authority, social convention, and conformity were all subject to parody and the Mad Tea Party was no exception. In it, everything–including fundamental Victorian norms like etiquette–went topsy turvy.

Edward Wakeling is the author of Lewis Carroll: The Man and his Circle, an appraisal of Carroll resulting from forty years of research. “Carroll was well aware of etiquette,” he tells me. In 1855, ten years prior to writing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Carroll published Hints for Etiquette: or Dining Out Made Easy. It parodied the strict and stuffy rules characteristic of the notoriously formal and strait-laced Victorian era. Class was particularly pronounced during this period–manners could be a form of social signifier and depth of knowledge regarding etiquette could contribute to acceptance or dismissal from fashionable social circles.

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Source: A Maddening Tea Party – Food Matters – Scientific American Blog Network

What plants can you make tea from? | MNN – Mother Nature Network

By Ali Berman | October 28, 2015

Each plant offers its own flavor, so mix and match to find a blend that’s perfect for you.

A variety of leaves and herbs can be used in teas, and you can even grow them yourself. (Photo: patpitchaya/Shutterstock)

Teas and tisanes can be made at home using herbs, roots, seeds and leaves you can grow yourself or buy at the market. Look beyond Camellia sinensis, the evergreen plant that makes up so much of our tea, and see which plants can be harvested for a perfect cup.

All have different health benefits, and many can even be grown inside. Try one of these plants on its own or mix and match flavors for your own creations.

Bee balm

Bee balm gives tea a minty flavor. (Photo: Johnathan J. Stegeman/Wikimedia Commons)

Bee balm (Monarda didyma) is one of the more dazzling looking herbs. A member of the mint family, bee balm leaves are a delicious addition to homemade teas, and when grown in the garden, they attract pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds and bees.

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Source: What plants can you make tea from? | MNN – Mother Nature Network

A look inside the world of coffee 

By Benazir Wehelie, Special to CNN | Novembe 4, 2015

(CNN)The aroma of coffee is invisible to the human eye, but certainly not to the nose. The reality is that much of the world of coffee is like the aroma of it — familiar, yet unknown, hidden from plain sight.

Coffee farmers work at a warehouse in the Indian state of Karnataka in 2003. Sebastiao Salgado has images from 10 different counties in his new photo book, “The Scent of a Dream: Travels in the World of Coffee.”

With Sebastiao Salgado’s latest photo book, it is as though we have been invited to step inside and explore the depths of a silver treasure chest, one filled with black-and-white images of coffee’s most invisible yet most precious ingredients: its environments and the people responsible for its realization into coffee cups around the world.

Salgado’s photographic journey, “The Scent of a Dream: Travels in the World of Coffee,” was done in collaboration with Illy, an Italian coffee company, and resulted from a common passion and value for sustainable development.

“His project became ours, and ours became his: a project founded on a shared dream of respect for the environment and its people through the ideals of kindness, beauty and justice,” Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of Illy, wrote in the photo book.

Salgado’s images document the traditional methods of sustainable coffee farming. And while the images are inherently similar in subject matter, they are just as rich in diversity.

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Source: A look inside the world of coffee – CNN.com

GO CUBES are the future of coffee 

By Melia Robinson | October 30, 2015

GO CUBES could be the future of coffee – Nootrobox

Imagine if, instead of rolling out of bed to brew a pot of coffee, you could quickly pop a sugar-coated, caffeine-infused gummy into your mouth to get moving.

Nootrobox, a hot startup out of Silicon Valley once dubbed the Birchbox of cognitive enhancers, has set out to make “chewable coffee” a reality. Its Go Cubes are made with real cold-brew coffee and aim to improve clarity and focus, without causing unwanted side effects like jitteriness.

According to founders Michael Brandt and Geoffrey Woo, chewable coffee could revolutionize your a.m. routine — if only the mainstream could sweep aside its suspicions about “brain-enhancing” drugs.



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Source: GO CUBES are the future of coffee – Tech Insider

12 most annoying things customers do when ordering coffee

By Alessandra Bulow | November 5, 2015

Ever wondered if your local coffee shop barista is throwing you a side of shade along with your no-whip almond milk latte?

After recently hearing the secrets of chefs and restaurant waiters throughout the country, the TODAY Food team decided it was time to get the real deal from baristas about the customer habits that make them boil over. “Coffee isn’t the only thing I’m brewing back here,” says a barista who asked to be called JT*. “I have lots of time to brew anger.” Uh oh.

Here, the 12 most annoying things that customers do when ordering coffee.

1. Talking on a cell phone

This is the number one offense according to every barista who I interviewed. “It makes my side of the transaction a little bit harder,” says Sam Penix, owner of New York City’s Everyman Coffee. “I just want to get you your drink so you have a nice rest of the day. I didn’t get into this business to be a vending machine.” What’s even worse than blabbing on the phone? “I get the ‘one-minute’ finger wagged in my face,” says JT. “I’m like, there’s a line and I don’t have a minute!”

2. Not being ready to pay

“It’s amazing to me how many people will get to the front of a long line and still not have their order ready and forget about having their wallet ready,” says one barista who asked to be called Java*. “This happens so often that now it’s impressive to me when people who have been waiting in line for a while know what they want and have their payment accessible to make it easy,” adds Penix.

3. Asking “Is this any good?”

“I always find this question to be very odd,” says Penix. “I mean, did I get up at 6:00 in the morning to do this thing really badly? At a specialty coffee shop, everything is really heavily made with intent.” If a drink is printed on the menu, there’s a reason it’s there. It’s supposed to be good. A few of the other baristas we spoke to remarked that they’re baffled by the people who ask them for advice about what to get and then order something else completely. “Why even ask?” says JT.

4. Crazy drink requests

“‘I’ll have the mocha frappe magical unicorn latte with soy milk,'” quips JT. “If your order takes five minutes to say, then don’t order it. Everyone thinks he’s a wizard who can command me to make a potion.”

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Source: 12 most annoying things customers do when ordering coffee – TODAY.com