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The Ten Best Cities for Coffee in the United States of America · 10 January 2019 by colin newell

Habit Coffee and Culture Number Two Yates Street Atrium

Living on the West Coast of North America in an area dominated by coffee culture, I cannot imagine not having the best of cafe culture within an easy walking distance. And in my 25 years of writing about the bean scene in Canada, I have traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast, with many stops along the way, looking for the best of the best in the brewed cup of joe.

Two decades ago there would have been larges swaths of land between hot spots and thankfully that has changed. Most towns, large or small, in Canada have grown with the times and it’s now downright challenging to find a whistle stop completely free of a hot cup of java or a great latte or cappuccino. And while this is a rule in Canada where there are a finite number of pathways East to West, it is not that simple a quantification in the U.S. of A. Here are some stats about the coffee scene in the U.S.A. – by the numbers!

Top 10 cities based on coffee businesses per resident

It’s no surprise that the Pacific Northwest is well represented on our list of the best cities in America for coffee lovers. These 10 highly caffeinated locales have the most coffee shops per resident, so that quick fix is never too difficult to find.

Number 10. Ann Arbor, Michigan – One cafe for every 2825 people.

With a total enrollment of more than 44,000 students, plus one professor for every 12 students, the University of Michigan is a likely inspiration for the many coffee shops scattered across Ann Arbor. Coeds have plenty of places to get that all-important caffeine infusion to help them cram for exams.

Coffee drinkers living in Ann Arbor can expect to pay an average of $1,331 for a one-bedroom apartment. Ouch!

Number 9. Everett, Washington – One cafe for every 2752 people.

Located 25 miles north of Seattle (or as Coffeeville as it’s also known!) on the Puget Sound, Everett is the first of four Pacific Northwest cities on our top 10. The military town is home to Naval Station Everett, and a slew of local roasters keep around 6,000 sailors and civil servants assigned to the base alert at all hours.

Living in Everett is considerably more affordable compared to Seattle just a few miles to the south. The average one-bedroom rent here is $1,307.

Number 8. Pittsburgh, PA – One cafe for every 2607 people.

Coffee may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Steel City, but the caffeine scene is growing fast in this proud Pennsylvania town. From cappuccinos at the buzzing Espresso A Mano to curry ginger lattes at eclectic Biddle’s Escape, Yinzers have a wide variety of coffee shops from which to get their daily jolt.

In addition to all of the coffee options, Pittsburgh residents have it pretty sweet (comparably) on their rent as well. A one-bedroom place here averages about $1,282 a month – which is cheaper than most cities on our top 10 list.

Number 7. Minneapolis, MN – One cafe for every 2427 people.

With an average snowfall clocking in around 60 to 70 inches annually, the country’s coldest urban center tends to Jones for java. Locals escape sub-zero temperatures and blizzards (in April!) with cozy caffeinated beverages in warm independent coffee shops and the beloved local chain, Caribou Coffee – founded in nearby Edina.

Minneapolis renters may be able to splurge a little more on their espresso machines – the average monthly price for a one-bedroom here is $1,468.

Number 6. Salt Lake City, UT – One cafe for every 2387 people.

Even with the significant LDS population abstaining from coffee and tea, Salt Lake City has some serious coffee cred. From single-origin espresso to green bean brew, pioneers like the Salt Lake Roasting Company and Millcreek Coffee have been paving the way for creative coffee purveyors for decades.

Salt Lake City is also one of the more affordable places to live compared to the rest of our top 10 list. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,260 a month.

Number 5. Portland, OR – One cafe for every 2322 people.

Home of the beloved Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Portland’s coffee culture is strong – arguably the strongest in the country. The city trumped coffee rival Seattle multiple years to take Travel + Leisure’s title of America’s Best Coffee City. Alas, judging by the number of coffee outposts per capita, Seattle edges out Portland by a hair on our poll.

Coffee lovers looking to settle down in Portland can expect to pay about $1,550 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Number 4. Seattle, WA – One cafe for every 2308 people.

Starbucks was born here in Pike Place Market back in 1971, opening the door for a flood of Seattle roasters to follow, from Tully’s Coffee to Caffe Vita Coffee Roasting Company and many, many more. Whether they’re searching for Bulletproof Coffee or the perfect pourover, Seattleites have a diverse array of excellent coffee shops to choose from.

Seattle also comes in as one of the more pricey cities on our list for rent. Your average one-bedroom apartment in Seattle will cost $2,139 a month.

Number 3. San Francisco, CA – One cafe for every 2297 people.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the “third wave of coffee”? Powered by high-quality artisanal coffee, the latest trend started with roasters like San Francisco-born Blue Bottle, which only sells beans that have been roasted within the last 48 hours. Locals also swear by third-wave pioneers like Ritual Roasters, Sightglass Coffee and Four Barrel Coffee.

In what’s probably no surprise, San Francisco is the most expensive place to live compared to the rest of our top 10. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment here will set you back $3,704 a month.

Number 2. Vancouver, WA – One cafe for every 2224 people.

Located just across the Columbia River from Oregon, Portland’s largest suburb is equally devoted to coffee culture. In fact, Vancouver edges out its sister city on our top 10 thanks to a slew of places to sip, from Relevant Coffee to Compass Coffee.

Vancouver is also the most affordable city on our top 10 list. One-bedroom apartments average $1,167 a month.

Number 1. Berkeley, CA – One cafe for every 2037 people.

Many brew aficionados trace coffee’s third-wave back to Peet’s Coffee, which started selling hand-roasted small batch beans in 1966 near the University of California. Today, Berkeley takes the title of the best city in the U.S. for coffee lovers, with more coffee shops per capita than any other city in the country.

Berkeley also comes in toward the top for rental prices compared to the rest of the cities on our list. The average one-bedroom apartment in Berkeley runs $3,106 a month.


Inspiration for this article

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Winter is coming - Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheddar Soup · 10 November 2018 by colin newell

Instant Post Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This time of year I really enjoy hearty vegetable soups – on dark and dreary late Fall and early Winter weekend evenings, there are few things more satisfying that healthy and filling wholesome vegetable soup. This new Instant Pot recipe feels like it’s destined to be a classic.

Ingredients
3 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion, diced
1 large Carrot, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Coarse Salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground Nutmeg
2 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, low sodium
1 1/2 lbs Broccoli Florets, fresh (chopped-shredded, about 6-8 cups)

Roux To Thicken

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter

To Finish
6 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 cups Half and Half

Instructions

Gather all ingredients, and prepare all of the vegetables, and shred the cheese. It’s easier if you have it all ready to go.

Turn on the Instant pot’s Sauté setting.
Add the butter and olive oil when it heats up. Then add the onion and cook for a few minutes.
Add the grated carrot and cook for a minute to soften.
Add the pepper. paprika, salt, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring.
Add the broth, and stir.

Add the broccoli, but don’t stir. Put the lid on and lock it in place. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Cancel the Sauté function.

Then press the Pressure Cook/Manual button or dial. Then the + or – to select 5 minutes (High Pressure).

When the cooking cycle is over, let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes (5 minute Natural Release).
Then Quick Release the remaining pressure by turning the steam release knob to the Venting Position.
Turn off the pot.
If you want a creamier consistency, use an immersion blender. I like the slightly more rustic finish.

Mix the flour and butter together in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 15 seconds. Then mix very well until it is smooth.

Turn the Sauté setting back on and mix in the flour/butter mixture and stir until it starts to thicken.
Add the cheeses and stir in. Cancel the Sauté function and add in the half and half. Stir well.

Taste and adjust salt, if necessary.
Serve with some nice sourdough or cheese bread/buns.


Colin Newell is a resident of Victoria B.C. Canada and an active member of the Canadian Media Guild – he enjoys cooking and talking about it.

Enjoy an audio track from the brilliant local talent of Jeff Albert…

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Coffee in the 21st Century · 6 September 2018 by colin newell

1950's coffee trivia

For those who hearken to the 1950’s for a simpler time need only look at an assortment of sexist, mean-spirited ads that seemed to define a generation.

The reality of the time was – coffee quality had declined so much in the 40’s and 50’s that no amount of talent would have fixed it. In that era, as well, people were brewing coffee in percolators which is the single worse way to brew coffee – by running boiling water through the ground coffee and recycling the brewed coffee through the filter a half dozen times before it’s poured.

My mom and dad were still brewing percolated coffee into the late 1960’s until something of a renaissance started to develop – filter brewing coffee with hot water and a single pass – or manually pouring into a Melitta carafe.

For those of us, over 50 years of age, who have been drinking coffee for decades, these are simply the best of times for coffee culture and coffee lovers!

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Fresh Tomato Basil Pasta · 25 August 2018 by colin newell

Fresh Tomato Basil pasta with Balsamic crema

It’s a sure sign of summer’s forward motion towards fall when the garden baskets fill with cherry tomatoes and basil plants bow under the weight of their own bounty.

This simple pasta dish is vegetarian/vegan and is a delight paired with a voluminous red white.

Ingredients –

Fettuccine for pasta – fresher the better.
Olive oil
Cherry tomatoes – around 1 cup or so. Halved.
1/2 cup chopped basil (Fresh!) – and chopped fresh garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chili flakes
Balsamic crema
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Process

Put on salted water for pasta (enough for two people…)
Heat a saute pan with two tablespoons of olive oil.
When heat achieved (medium) put in 3/4 of the halved tomatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper)
Saute for around 2 minutes – then add heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes to taste
Stir for another minute or so and add a 1/4 cup of white wine.
Turn heat down to low medium.
Take half of the chopped basil and throw it into the saute pan. Mix or stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta.
Add it to your Saute pan. Mix to combine. Add 3/4 of the cheese and the remaining basil. Mix to combine.
Divide between two plates and garnish with remaining cheese.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee lover who appreciates simple dishes served with love… and wine…

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Last call from Amelia Earhart · 27 July 2018 by colin newell

Amelia Earhart 1937

Amelia Earhart waded into the Pacific Ocean and climbed into her downed and disabled Lockheed Electra.

She started the engine, turned on the two-way radio and sent out a plea for help, one more desperate than previous messages.

The high tide was getting higher, she had realized. Soon it would suck the plane into deeper water, cutting Earhart off from civilization — and any chance of rescue.

Across the world, a 15-year-old girl listening to the radio in St. Petersburg, Fla., transcribed some of the desperate phrases she heard: “waters high,” “water’s knee deep — let me out” and “help us quick.”

A housewife in Toronto heard a shorter message, but it was no less dire: “We have taken in water . . . we can’t hold on much longer.”

That harrowing scene, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) believes, was probably one of the final moments of Earhart’s life. The group put forth the theory in a paper that analyzes radio distress calls heard in the days after Earhart disappeared.

PostLostRadioAnalysis.pdf

In the summer of 1937, she had sought to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Instead, TIGHAR’s theory holds, she ended up marooned on a desert island, radioing for help.

Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, could only call for help when the tide was so low it wouldn’t flood the engine, TIGHAR theorized. That limited their pleas for help to a few hours each night.

It wasn’t enough, TIGHAR director Ric Gillespie told The Washington Post, and the pair died as castaways.

But those radio messages form a historical record — evidence that Gillespie says runs counter to the U.S. Navy’s official conclusion that Earhart and Noonan died shortly after crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

On July 2, 1937, just after Earhart’s plane disappeared, the U.S. Navy put out an “all ships, all stations” bulletin, TIGHAR wrote. Authorities asked anyone with a radio and a trained ear to listen in to the frequencies she had been using on her trip, 3105 and 6210 kilohertz.

It was not an easy task. The Electra’s radio was designed to communicate only within a few hundred miles. The Pacific Ocean is much bigger.

The searchers listening to Earhart’s frequencies heard a carrier wave, which indicated that someone was speaking, but most heard nothing more than that. Others heard what they interpreted to be a crude attempt at Morse code.

But thanks to the scientific principle of harmonics, TIGHAR says, others heard much more. In addition to the primary frequencies, “the transmitter also put out ‘harmonics (multiples)’ of those wavelengths,” the paper says. “High harmonic frequencies ‘skip’ off the ionosphere and can carry great distances, but clear reception is unpredictable.”

That means Earhart’s cries for help were heard by people who just happened to be listening to their radios at the right time.

According to TIGHAR’s paper:

Scattered across North America and unknown to each other, each listener was astonished to suddenly hear Amelia Earhart pleading for help. They alerted family members, local authorities or local newspapers. Some were investigated by government authorities and found to be believable. Others were dismissed at the time and only recognized many years later. Although few in number, the harmonic receptions provide an important glimpse into the desperate scene that played out on the reef at Gardner Island.

The tide probably forced Earhart and Noonan to hold to a schedule. Seek shelter, shade and food during the sweltering day, then venture out to the craft at low tide, to try the radio again.

Back in the United States, people heard things, tidbits that pointed at trouble.

On July 3, for example, Nina Paxton, an Ashland, Ky., woman, said she heard Earhart say “KHAQQ calling,” and say she was “on or near little island at a point near” … “then she said something about a storm and that the wind was blowing.”

“Will have to get out of here,” she says at one point. “We can’t stay here long.”

What happened to Earhart after that has vexed the world for nearly 81 years, and TIGHAR is not the only group to try to explain the mystery.

Washington Post Link

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