You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'Mexico'.
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 entries.

A Gourmet Coffee Club Membership – What Are the Benefits?

  • Posted on March 19, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Membership in a gourmet coffee club offers many benefits so discerning coffee drinkers can always have their favorite coffees on hand to brew and enjoy such as:

  • Large selection of specialty coffees from around the world to make coffee drinking a daily sensory experience
  • Freshly roasted to order with a choice of whole bean or ground coffee
  • Reduced costs from on line ordering without having to commute to buy ageing coffee on the shelves
  • Flexibility to make changes, special requests, hold shipments, send gifts, etc.

Gourmet coffee club membership appeals to coffee lovers who want more than the “premium” coffee choices available in the supermarket aisle or at the coffee house or specialty store. Specialty gourmet coffee clubs are very accepted and represent a growing segment of the trade. Let’s review some basics about these clubs and why you should consider joining one.

Specialty coffee is the term given to the top fifteen to twenty per cent in quality of Arabica coffee grown and harvested from select regions worldwide. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with “gourmet” or “premium” coffee. However, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, “...specialty coffee refers to coffees made from exceptional beans grown only in ideal coffee-producing climates. They tend to feature distinctive flavors, which are shaped by the unique characteristics of the soil that produces them.”

Many specialty coffee growing countries have associations of growers, companies, and agencies who deal with enhancements for cultivating, exporting, and marketing coffee. Such associations also lead efforts for rural community development (infrastructure, medical, and education), and for working in harmony with the environment. The 560,000 independent coffee grower members of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) is an excellent example.

Nearly all, if not all, specialty gourmet coffee is made from Arabica coffee beans grown at higher altitudes. Select specialty coffee beans are roasted to perfection. The specialty coffee roast master knows the correct degree to roast the different types of beans to bring out their unique characteristics. These freshly roasted coffee beans are immediately packed and shipped to the customer to brew and enjoy.

Gourmet coffee is always prepared with select specialty coffee beans roasted fresh when ordered. The whole beans then are ground to the correct fineness or coarseness for the brewing method used, and brewed with fresh cold water heated to the correct temperature. Gourmet flavored coffees require one additional process before packing can take place.

One of the benefits of a coffee club membership is that top quality specialty coffee beans are roasted fresh after you order them on line. They are packed and shipped the same day they are roasted. Coffee clubs that feature the process of using only hot air to roast the dried, raw (or “green”) coffee beans deliver great coffee each time. The reason is this roasting method, known as convection roasting™, yields uniformly roasted beans for each batch. Master roasters are part scientist and part artist who know the appropriate amount of time to attain the desired roast level to bring out the best characteristics for that varietal or blend. The result, the club member can get the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Gourmet coffee club membership also offers such benefits as:

  • Having the coffee sent automatically each month at the time of month the member chooses
  • Ease of use – no need to enter the order information each time unless making a change
  • Convenience of having your own gourmet coffee when you want it, no more trips to the coffee house or waiting in line for the morning “premium” coffee
  • Cost savings of brewing your own gourmet coffee for about twenty-five cents per cup
  • Information on the best way to grind the coffee for the method used to prepare it
  • The recommended way to store the opened bag of roasted coffee to keep it fresh to completion.

For instance, whole bean Espresso blends should be ground to the powder-like fineness of espresso grind for preparing with an espresso machine. Conventional brewing methods yield great tasting coffee with the medium-fine grind known as automatic drip grind, while coffee prepared with a coffee press (French press) should use the coarsest grind for best results. To keep the coffee beans fresh once the bag is opened, simply press out the air while folding the bag over as many times as needed and secure with a strip of tape (packing or freezer tape). Then, place the bag in an airtight container (a freezer bag will do, if no container is available) and store at normal room temperature until the next time to brew your gourmet coffee.

Each gourmet coffee club member can tell you about other benefits to be enjoyed from the club membership. Those mentioned here should give you the motivation to find a gourmet coffee club and start enjoying your favorite gourmet coffees, freshly roasted and immediately shipped, at your convenience.

It is best to brew coffee using freshly roasted beans. Ideally speaking, use up your beans within a few weeks from receipt and get ready for your next coffee club membership shipment. You could literally look at a wall calendar and plan to drink coffee from Brazil, Jamaica, Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hawaii, Mexico, Java, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Kenya, and Celebes, for example, throughout the year. As a family, you could plan group activities to review basic geography, cultural traditions, music and travel information about each of the coffee producing countries. Who knows, you may really like one and decide to plan a fun vacation to that destination?

So, ready to enjoy a cup of Altura Superior specialty coffee from Mexico?

Bajo Sextos Nortena Musical Instrument

  • Posted on December 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

The Spanish words for “sixth bass” are Bajo Sextos. It is the name for a special type of musical instrument popular in a relatively small geographical area. The twelve string guitar is a strong component of musical groups formed and prevalent in the area of northern Mexico and southern Texas. It comes in both acoustic and electric forms.

The guitar-like instrument has twelve strings. They are arranged in six double courses. The strings are tuned from the lowest string to the highest string to the notes E, A, D, G, C and F respectively.

From the mid 1950s northern Mexican music has been listened to and enjoyed by Mexicans and Anglos alike. The music goes by several different names, musica mexicana-tejana and conjunto are the most common. The music genre is also known as Tex-Mex, but this is not totally accurate, since the nortena music predated conjunto.

Conjunto ensembles use the bajo to provide the low and rhythmic base line for the music. It enhances the musical line performed by the other instruments. The instrument also is used to carry the chord changes. The instrument is used to enhance other musical groups, but it is best known in the musical genre of nortena and conjunto.

Sextos instruments were originally used in a limited part of the Western Hemisphere. This means that the demand for the guitar might be somewhat limited too. Other stringed instruments such as guitars and banjos are well known. This instrument is not. The construction of a bajo gives you the variety of woods and finishes that are nothing but quality. The back and sides might be made of Indian rosewood, mahogany or cedar. The bridge and fingerboard is often made of rosewood. The top is typically cedar, but more exotic woods are found in some models.

The finish of the instruments is beautiful. The thickness of such instruments might vary somewhat, so the player can choose the instrument that is most comfortable. Many of such specialized guitars are finished with a decorative motif. Handcrafting is an art for those who create the instruments. Those bajos are highly prized.

For the serious performer who wants to be part of a quality group playing nortena music, the bajo sextos is almost a must. It is needed to provide a lower component to the melody and to move the chord changes along during the piece. The best made instruments are attractive to look at without being flashy and provide a sound that is unparalleled.