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Bringing Convenience To Rural Nicaragua

Bringing Convenience To Rural Nicaragua

Through hard work, a hand up from Agros, and some luck Rosario Calderon Garcia brought convenience to rural Nicaragua. Read her story below.

Hard, physical work is nothing new to Rosario, 36. She joined her father in the fields of rural Nicaragua full-time at age 17. “I’ve always been a fighter,” affirms this single mother of three; ages 20, 9, and 9 months. “[Before], I worked on a farm, working the land, filling bags, harvesting coffee, cutting weeds with a machete” she adds.

It was Rosario’s father who convinced her to join Agros Tierra Nueva village in northern Matagalpa. “He told me about the project and found the way for me to become a partner as well,” she recalls. As an original partner, he saw the opportunities and the change for a brighter future for his daughter and grandchildren.

Three years ago, Rosario and her two children made the move. “I didn’t bring anything with me when I came,” she says. “Literally, the only thing I brought with me were my kids and a few personal items.”

Undeterred by the amount of physical work required, Rosario tackled the challenge that many men found difficult. “Together with my kids, we started working the land,” she explains.

They were blessed with a bountiful bean harvest the first year. Instead of simply squirreling away her sacks of beans, she sold most of them and invested some of the money in livestock. The rest of the income she saved and used to pay others to do her community work for her, giving her more time to dedicate to her children and her crops.

A year and a half ago Rosario decided to take another risk. “There were no stores around here,” she recalls. “People had to go a long way away to buy anything.” To meet their needs and provide an additional stream of income, Rosario decided to start a small store, which she runs from her home.

She didn’t have much, but decided to start with what little savings she had, about 7,000 Cordobas (roughly $260 USD). “I sold rice and sugar, the most basic things,” she says. “Then, when I sold my beans, I invested another 6,000 Cordobas (about $225 USD) and so on and so forth. I have been investing, investing, investing,” she adds.

Today, she has a much wider selection of products for sale to those working to build a life in rural Nicaragua. Nevertheless, she dreams of growing her store even more to include items like shoes and clothes. She uses the income from the store to pay others to work her fields for her, giving her more time to spend with her youngest child, who is just 9 months old.

The store, which continues to be the only one in the community, is a win-win for all. “Now, people don’t have to go far away,” says Rosario, explaining how she stocks things her fellow partners need most, saving them the transportation costs associated with buying them outside of the community. “They help me and I help them,” she adds.Her store, however, is not Rosario’s only hope for the future. She is hedging her bets on future coffee harvests. “I am trying to fill my land with coffee plants,” she says, knowing that coffee often produces a higher return than other traditional crops like corn and beans. “Right now I have 5,000 plants in my greenhouse that I am going to transplant into the ground,” she says with a smile.

Like many partners in Tierra Nueva, Rosario never would have dared to try to plant coffee without the technical and physical support of Agros agricultural staff. “Agros has helped us a lot,” she says. “They have helped us with the materials, helped us know how to have better harvests,” she explains. “Through their technical support, we have had better harvests and more earnings,” she added.

Five years ago, Rosario never would have imagined she and her family would be in such positive circumstances. “We have a house, we have water and we have ecological toilets,” she says. “Before we came here, we didn’t have these things, I never thought I would have a place like this,” she adds with a smile.

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Bringing Clean Water To Nicaragua: Petronilo’s Story

Bringing Clean Water to Nicaragua

Access to clean water is the biggest problem we have in Nicaragua, Petronilo Lopez Diaz, the San Jose President says frankly. In Nicaragua we have to bring clean water from a long way away and there are only three water points in the community for 29 families.

Difficulty with access to water isn’t the only issue. “When we tested the water we learned that the water we drink is contaminated,” he adds. And although Agros health staff taught Petronilo and the community how to purify the water with chlorine tablets available from the Ministry of Health, it has been an uphill battle for the majority of the families to implement this practice. In the beginning, every change is difficult, he says. Some say: “I have never drank water with chlorine, [the chlorine] makes the water taste different.”

Petronilo’s wife, Franseca, was among the skeptics in the beginning, but now stands firm. “I demand that [my family] drink the chlorinated water,” she says. “I have seen the difference [it makes]. In other families [where they don’t chlorinate the water], their children are sick with diarrhea and vomit much more, she says. I tell [other moms] that they need to chlorinate the water.”

“I feel grateful; grateful to God and grateful to Agros International because they supported us,” Petronilo says. “Today my life is very different. [Before] I didn’t think about the future, but now I do,” he concludes with a smile. Today they have clean water in Nicaragua.

As you approach the home of Petronilo and his wife, Franseca, it is easy to tell from the colorful drawings and pictures that cover their house that their family, education, and their children’s accomplishments are of the utmost importance.

It was his family and his inability to provide for their basic needs that pushed Petronilo beyond his comfort zone. [Where we were before] we lived with a lot of difficulties. Sometimes we had work and sometimes we didn’t. “We didn’t have land to cultivate,” he continues, “With the little we were able to earn I can tell you, you can’t take care of your family.”

Petronilo’s life began to change about 10 years ago when a friend of his became a member of one of Agros villages, El Eden, in northern Nicaragua. When Petronilo saw his friend’s success, he asked if there was any way he and his family could join the village too. Unfortunately for Petronilo, the village was full. But that didn’t dampen his spirits. His friend, who was the village president at the time, told Petronilo he should start his own village. He told me, “organize a new group, find 30 members and I’ll talk to the people at Agros to see if they can help you start a new [village].”

Petronilo and his family have now been in San Jose for eight years. Life in San Jose is better, but it has not been easy for Petronilo and the other families. Like Petronilo, many families brought with them their few belongings and what knowledge and experience they had. And although Petronilo had worked in agriculture his whole life, he didn’t know how to cultivate land properly.

Through the help of Agros agricultural technicians, Petronilo and the other partners have learned to take full advantage of his land. “Here, I have learned everything,” he says. “[Even] how to grow vegetables,” he adds with a broad smile. The partners have also been able to learn how to grow passion fruit and other high-value crops. These kinds of crops increase their earning potential and ability to provide for their family’s needs.

Petronilo is proud of what he and his family have accomplished. Today, he has a new purpose in life. Instead of just working to survive, he and his family are working to thrive. “I cultivate the land. I work hard [because] with God’s help I want to pay for this land so that my children can stay here and they can have this land.” To date he has paid $2,865 toward his land.

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Norlan’s Chilis: A Labor of Love

Norlan’s Chilis: A Labor of Love

Norlan is a rock star pepper farmer

Norlan Lopez lives in San Jose, one of our villages in Nicaragua. Before choosing to work with Agros, he knew only corn and beans . “I didn’t know anything [about vegetables],” he told us, shyly. But highly technical crops like vegetables, coffee, and cacao bring much higher profits. He and his wife Martha have a 4 year old daughter, Jocelyn, so even though he knew he was signing up for a steep learning curve and thousands of sweaty hours laboring to nurture these delicate plants, it was more than worth it for his family.

Before Norlan planted his pepper crop, his friends and family told him he was crazy. “Peppers are too hard,” they would say. Despite the ridicule, Norlan pushed on anyway. Norlan invested nearly $2,000 into a chile pepper crop last year and saw an amazing return: he more than doubled his investment. Not only was he able to pay off the crop credit, but he made a $1,400 payment on his land loan and saved $1,000 to reinvest in a new pepper crop this year. Once his friends and family saw the results of Norlan’s hard work, they realized they were wrong. As a result many of his friends and extended family have started cultivating peppers too.

Why Has He Been So Successful?

Norlan has peppers down to a science; an agricultural science. With guidance from Agros agronomists, he has implemented region specific farming techniques that have facilitated extremely good production results. One such technique is contour farming, which saves water and fertilizer by utilizing the natural slopes of the land instead of plowing flat fields. Along with his newly learned techniques, Norlan tends to his crops like they are his children.

Why Is This Story So Important?

Not only is it another triumph towards the eradication of poverty, but this story, the story of Norlan and his family, is one that sets a standard. Agricultural sustainability is central to the foundation of Agros progress in rural villages. Farming, when profitable, allows families to generate enough revenue to not only own their own land, but to also escape the grueling cycle of poverty. But it is not as simple as finding land and planting crops.

The truth is a lot of families struggle with agriculture because smallholder farmers are inherently vulnerable. They can lose everything to unexpected drought, market turbulence, pests or corrupt middlemen.

With the proper tools, education, and market connections, it’s our goal at Agros to develop our farmers’ capacity to withstand these shocks. When a farmer has progressed enough, like Norlan, to reliably produce a consistently excellent crop, then he can transact with agricultural exporters who will guarantee a minimum price and a market.

For Norlan, that means a reliable income, one he can invest in his family’s health, well-being, and dreams.

While Norlan has learned a lot from our agricultural technicians, we have learned even more for him. Our ultimate goal in each one of our communities is to facilitate prosperous agribusinesses like his, along with the needed tools to sustain them.

Norlan’s story is one we want to replicate with every Agros farmer! Norlan summarizes the impact Agros and pepper cultivation has had on him and his family. Here, we have to work hard to be able to pay for the land, but when Jocelyn is grown at least she will have a place to live. If we had continued to work other people’s land we never would have had anything for us.”

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Uncovering Hidden Treasure: Henrry and Maria’s Story

Uncovering Hidden Treasure: Henrry and Maria’s Story

What Henry Hopkins, 35, lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in personality and determination. The small, energetic man is not afraid of hard, physical work or responsibility. He will do whatever is necessary to be able to provide for his family: his wife, Maria, as well as three sons and two daughters.

Henrry’s Childhood

“Life has always been hard for us,” he says, matter-of-factly, as if he never expected anything else. Hard work and poverty are all Henry had ever known. He was born into a family of day laborers. Both his mom and his dad worked other people’s land and lived in rented or loaned structures wherever they could.

For Henry, life was difficult but bearable until his parents separated when he was 10. To this day, he cannot talk about that time without tears welling up in his eyes and his voice beginning to quiver. “I don’t like to remember that time,” is all he manages to get out before tears start to stream down his face.

Maria shares the result of his parent’s divorce: Henry’s mother went to the city, Henry stopped attending school after finishing just his primary education, and he eventually went to live with his uncle, who showed him at a young age how to fend for himself by working in the fields.

Starting a Family

He met Maria and they started a family. They had three boys Kevin, now 16, Elton, now 14, and Henry now 12. They wanted to have more children, but had a hard time even providing for the needs of their three boys so they stopped, hoping their situation would improve, eventually. But, their situation did not improve; it couldn’t without land.

Like their parents before them and other landless farmers, Henry and Maria rented plots of land from large landowners to be able to grow their own food (paying their rent in a share of the crop). They also worked as day laborers on other nearby farms to earn cash for the things they needed but couldn’t grow, like soap, salt and oil. As harvests can be unpredictable and work hard to find, they lived day-by-day, never knowing where their next meal would come from, when they would have the chance to work again or who would loan them land next year.

Life With Agros

Today, things are different. “At least we have food and a house our life is stable,” says Henry. “Thanks to Agros and God, we have changed a lot,” says Henry, with a big smile, noting that access to land has been the biggest change. “The most important change is we have somewhere to live and some where to work,” he says. “Today, we have a treasure,” he says. “The land is our hidden treasure,” says Henry.

But, Henry realizes that although the land is a treasure, it would have been like a diamond trapped deep inside a mine, invisible and of almost no immediate help to him or his family without the appropriate tools and additional support from Agros to be able to access it. [Agros] gave us a house, they helped us bring water, they are helping us be able to diversify our crops.” He says this with a smile, as he boasts that he was able to harvest 4,000 pounds of beans this past season, thanks to improved agriculture techniques.

The Future

Today, Henrry is excited and optimistic about the future. He enjoys learning from Agros agricultural technicians who teach him and other partners how to plant, care for and harvest more lucrative crops; like cacao, rice and coffee. “So far I have only planted one part of my land with coffee,” he explains, excited and anxious to harvest his first crop in the coming months. “I love to work with coffee,” he says. “It is a crop that can earn you lots of money. If I am able, I want to change all my land over to coffee,” he says, explaining that he already has the next group of coffee plants growing in his nursery.

Henry cannot say enough good things about his experience with Agros and he doesn’t have to. The work speaks for itself as Henry who is part of the community’s board of directors knows well. People come all the time and say, “Help me Henry, I know about Agros. How can I be part of this community?”

Tierra Nueva

Henry’s life is not the only one that has improved. He shares how “It’s not just me. Here there are 150 families here in Tierra Nueva, the whole community is improved. We have land, somewhere to live, and support to be able to continue working. The only thing we are missing is electricity.”

Because of his family’s increased stability and improved outlook on life, Henry and Maria decided they could grow their family again as well. Since joining Agros, they have added two beautiful girls, Urania 2.5 years old and Marisol, 6 months old, to their family. “We needed them,” he says with a smile.

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Bringing American Dream to Honduras Through Land Reform

Bringing American Dream to Honduras Through Land Reform

Although it is technically part of the North American continent the ‘American Dream’ does not apply to peasant farmers in Central America. No matter how hard you pull, it is impossible to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Here, if you want to get ahead, someone has to reach down to give you a hand up. This hand up is possible through land reform in Honduras.

As someone born into poverty, Luis Alonso Pineda, 49, knows firsthand the obstacles he and others face when trying to break the cycle of poverty. He shares:

“For people in Honduras, even though you work and you give forth great effort, you still will not reach your dreams unless you get an opportunity”

Growing up in the countryside, Alonso never had the opportunity to get an education because it was too dangerous for him to travel all the way to the nearest school. So, like others in his circumstances, Alonso learned by doing. He started working young: by the age of 15 he was helping his parents with their crops. At 18, he started working formally as a day laborer. “I worked on someone else’s land to see if I could help my parents pay for food etc…” he remembers.

Although Alonso married and started his own family, his circumstances never changed. “I always depended on someone else,” he says. “I wanted to have a better life, a better future,” he says. “[But], I did not have any hope. [I had accepted the fact] that this was my life, working for someone else.”

But then he heard about an organization in 2008 that was going to help create land reform in Honduras. This organization would give poor farmers the opportunity to purchase land on credit. Alonso was among the first in line. “I told my friends, this is the opportunity.”’”

After years of hard work and credit from Agros, land reform in Honduras is a reality. The village of Bella Vista is this reality.

“Agros keeps its promises,” says Alonso, who is also the three-time community president of Bella Vista. “It keeps them to the degree that the villager is willing to put forth their effort and value the effort that Agros is making,” he says, highlighting the fact that Agros gives people a hand up instead of a hand out. Land reform in Honduras is the opportunity to climb to a better life. But the destination cannot be reached without hard work and sacrifice.

Barring any unforeseen issues, Alonso estimates that they will finish paying for their land in two years — ahead of schedule. “It makes me feel happy [to know that the land is almost paid for],” he says. “It means that my efforts are not in vain and we were able to achieve our goals.”

Thanks to support for Agros land reform in Honduras and the subsequent economic reform is creating sustainable futures for the rural poor. Our Coffee Lovers Club members are a part of this process. 1% from every shipment goes back to Agros to help continue the work of land reform in Honduras and through out Central America.

Want to be part of the solution of land reform in Honduras?


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Backyard Tilapia Farming: German and Ester’s Story

Backyard Tilapia Farming: German and Ester’s Story

For years farmers like German were forced to work for giant haciendas in the region of Piedra de Horeb in Honduras. But, German with the help of Agros found another way to provide for his family — backyard tilapia farming.

German looked to backyard tilapia farming. But in order to have a backyard tilapia fish farm you need big water tanks. With no other option but to work for the haciendas again, German began digging. German dug and dug for 6 months with nothing but a pickaxe. At times, he felt like giving up, but he was encouraged by his children and his wife, Ester. His daughter dug the first shovelful of dirt, and she knew it would give her a future because German told her it would belong to her and give her opportunity.

Now, well-organized, they’ve created their own sustainable, registered, and profitable business. They consistently supply in-demand tilapia to markets that guarantee a steady income. German calls backyard tilapia farming, “el encanto y el esfuerzo” — the enchantment and the struggle. The struggle for the back breaking work of digging each tank and the enchantment for the taste of success come harvest time. German describes their first harvest as “like a party,” that gave hope and inspiration to the community.

Using the growth from backyard tilapia farming, German and Ester have also branched out into other business opportunities. Ester now has her own corn maize that she makes and sells to her community. This diversification of income enables German and Ester to better provide for their children’s future.

Witnessing the success of Piedra’s backyard tilapia farm is an encouraging and promising glimpse at what the future can look like for all of our communities if we implement this market-driven strategy on a much larger scale in the future. Some say give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Using the Agros model we take that one step further. Teach a man to own the pond and he feeds himself, his family, and his community for generations to come.

1% of all Coffee Lovers Club subscriptions goes back to Agros to help families like German and Ester’s build a future for themselves. Thank you for making a difference with your daily cup of coffee.

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Helping Rural Poor Nicaragua: Efrain and Orbelinda’s Story

Helping rural poor Nicaragua has been a goal of Agros since 1999. Here is a story of Agros’s work in Nicargua helping rural poor Nicaragua. This is Efrain and Orbelinda’s story.

Driving along the gravel road that runs no more than 100 yards from Efrain’s house, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to know that just up the hill, hidden behind some trees, is a small neighborhood. The cluster of shelters scattered along the hillside, many of them made at least partly out of black plastic, look more like a squatter community, which is essentially what it is, except it is legal.

These homes sit on a piece of land that belongs to the Nicaraguan government. They set aside this piece of land so people who have nothing could have somewhere legitimate (and out of sight) to settle. There is no entrance, no running water, no electricity, and no sewer.

Like other families in the area, Efrain, 28, his wife, Orbelinda, 31, and their four children: Jeyner, 11; Selena, 8; Yesica, 6, and Malin, 3, live without guarantees that they will be able to stay. “[The land is] not mine,” explains Efrain. “We don’t have any documents that show us as the owners.””

The words ‘struggle’ and ‘survive’ come up often in the conversation with Efrain and Orbelinda. Although they try to remain positive, they are honest about what life looks like for them as landless farmers and day laborers.

Their house is no more than 50 square feet, the walls are made of thin wood boards and provide a small measure of privacy. But with the wide gaps between the walls, the family has very little protection from the elements. “When it rains hard or when there is wind, the rain comes inside,” says Orbelinda, noting that the roof (which is made of black plastic) also leaks. Without running water or an easily accessible water source, the family must trek to a nearby creek to bathe, wash, and collect water. They, along with all the other families in the area, use the water source for all these activities, so naturally the water is not very clean.

Efrain works hard as a day laborer on nearby farms to try to provide for his family’s needs. Orbelinda conservatively estimates that they need between $3 and $5 a day just to provide basic food (beans and tortillas) for their family of six. Efrain doesn’t make that much as a day laborer so he tries to make ends meet by growing some of their food. The problem is, he doesn’t have his own land.

I rent land to cultivate, he explains. This growing season, he has rented two manzanas (about 5 acres) to grow beans. In addition to the cost of the seeds and fertilizers necessary for his crop to succeed, he also owes the landowner about $220 for the use of the land.

Nevertheless, Efrain never misses an opportunity. “I’m not afraid of hard work,” he says. “I like hard work.” The only problem is that at least to date it seems, to him, that the harder he works the further behind he seems to get. It doesn’t seem to matter how much effort he invests, a brighter future and the dream of independence seem to get further and further away.

He doesn’t want much, just a chance to control his own destiny and the opportunity to provide a better future for his children. “I would like to have a dignified place to live and my own land to plant,” he says. That’s all.

But although he dreams of owning his own land, when he wakes up each day he is confronted by the daily need to simply survive. “I’ve always just been able to harvest enough for our food,” he says.

For all these reasons, Efrain was excited to learn about the opportunities from Agros how they are helping rural poor Nicaragua. Efrain is excited to try new agricultural techniques. “I like to do things the right way,” he says, explaining how he has meticulously implemented the guidance from the Agros agricultural technicians. “I am seeing the change in the success of this harvest in the area where we applied the techniques from Agros,” he says.

Today, Efrain is a bit more optimistic about his future with Agros helping rural poor Nicaragua. He hopes his family will be selected to move when the new village is established. “For me, the hardest thing [in life] is the land [having my own land],” he says which is why being part of the new regional project would be, as he says — a dream come true!”

Thanks to our Coffee Lovers Club members helping rural poor Nicaragua is possible. 2% from every club shipment goes back helping rural poor Nicaragua and other countries through our partnerships with Agros and Food 4 Farmers. You too can help with your daily cup of coffee. Join the Coffee Lovers Club and get your first pound free

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Everything You Need to Know About Making Cold Brew Coffee

Everything You Need to Know About Making Cold Brew

Making Cold-brew coffee may finally have become mainstream, but it is far from new. Think of making cold brew coffee as the grown-up and more sophisticated version of iced coffee. Like regular hot coffee, cold brew is pretty easy to make. What keeps its popularity escalating is the number of health benefits that come with every sip. Cool, silky, and caffeinated—cold brew coffee is an awesome beverage you should totally be drinking.

Why Making Cold Brew Coffee Deserves the Attention
There are a couple of reasons why making cold brew coffee should be getting its time in the coffee shop limelight:

No More Diluted Coffee. Pouring hot coffee over ice (or even putting cubes into your steaming cup of joe) is just asking for diluted coffee. Watery coffee is sad coffee, and it makes drinking it seem almost like a chore. Making cold brew coffee requires only the water needed to steep the grounds. If you want to dilute it afterwards, that is up to you.

Lower Acidity. Since the coffee grounds are subjected to boiling water, the chemical profile of the product is very different from what a conventional cup of hot coffee would be. The lower levels of acidity actually make cold-brewed coffee easier on the stomach. Since the acid levels are low, cold brew coffee even brings out the sweeter notes of coffee.

More Caffeine. Now isn’t that some glorious news? Cold brew coffee has a higher bean-to-water ratio than hot brewed coffee, and since it takes longer to steep, the caffeine content is naturally higher.

A Heap of Antioxidants. Since high temperatures are known to destroy antioxidants in almost anything, the longer coffee is exposed to high heat, the less health benefits it has. Cold brew coffee therefore has a higher concentration of several antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid. When coffee beans are roasted, a light roast will reduce the amount of chlorogenic acid in the beans by 60%. A dark roast has no chlorogenic acid left at all.

The only trade-off is that cold brew lacks the same amount of aromatic oils that a cup of hot brewed coffee has. For that reason, if you like your coffee with a kick, cold brew may take some getting used to.

Making Cold Brew Coffee Yourself

Sure, making cold brew coffee may sound like some fancy process that requires a lot of barista-based knowledge. In reality, making cold brew coffee is super easy and perfect for people who aren’t totally hyped to be up in the morning.

You can either choose a cold brew coffee maker or try another home method, like the ones listed below.

If you are grinding your own beans, grind the beans coarsely. You don’t want a fine grind, because that will result in cloudy unsavory coffee.

Two Methods

1. The Jar and Cheesecloth
This method requires two things: a jar or bowl that is deep enough to hold enough water and a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. The ratio between coffee grounds and water is dependent on your own personal taste. It is recommended to start your grind with a ¾ cup of ground beans and 4 cups of cold water. Should you want to make a bigger batch, you can double that to 1.5 cups of beans and 8 cups of water.

Put the grounds in the bowl with water and slide it into the refrigerator overnight. Some people do like to leave the coffee steep at room temperature for about 12 hours then add it to the refrigerator later. The choice is yours. In the morning (or after time has passed), strain the liquid through a coffee filter or cheesecloth then enjoy.

2. The French Press
If you own a 32 oz. French Press, you are going to want ¾ cup ground beans and 4 cups of cold water. Once you have the everything add to the press, put it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. Leave the plunger up. When you are ready to have your cup of cold brew coffee in the morning, push that plunger down, pour, and enjoy!

When it comes to cold-brewing your coffee, the key is not to rush it. You want to make sure the grounds have long enough to soak so that you get a satisfying and luscious cup of coffee.

Cold brewed or hot brewed coffee is delicious. But knowing how to make a cup at any temperature to savour is sure to excite any coffee addict or caffeine connoisseur. There are health benefits and a different taste profile to discover when you drink cold brew. If you have tried making cold brew coffee before, what did you think?

Guest Post by David from

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13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Coffee

13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Coffee

Each and every one of us has our own excuse for drinking coffee. Some do it for social purposes, for an extra dose of energy, or because they simply like the taste. However, there are very few people who admit that they need the coffee, not just want it. Or more precisely, it’s your brain that needs it.

In these cases, our brain knows better than us. It knows what it needs to clear that annoying fog resting around it at the same time every day. And here are a few quick reasons why you should give in to that urge, according to Dripped Coffee’s infographic:


  1. It gives you an energy boost
  2. It reduces the risk of depression
  3. It reduces cravings and helps you burn calories
  4. It strengthens your DNA
  5. It improves your focus and stimulates your central nervous system
  6. It improves your short term memory
  7. It protects against diseases such as Alzheimer’s, gout or type 2 diabetes.

Your brain sees coffee as humans see a hug: it’s soothing, its helpful, and it’s one of the best addictions to have. We know we are coffee addicts; we just don’t care. And if we are to be completely honest, neither does our brain.

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How Coffee May Lower Melanoma Risk

lower melanoma risk

How Coffee May Lower Melanoma Risk

Guest post by Remy Bernard ~ Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes

I’ll be honest, I’m a little biased when it comes to talking about anything related to coffee. It’s the first thing I’m after when I wake up in the morning and it never lets me down when I need to get going in the afternoon. I can count on it. Not to mention the hundreds of experiences, memories, sights and smells I have come to associate with expertly roasted and well-brewed coffee. So many of the details of this humble bean have integrated themselves into some of the most fulfilling parts of my daily life.

So naturally, I was excited when, over the last 10 years or so, tons of research started pouring out of the scientific community touting the various health benefits of my beloved beans. The blog has already covered in detail how coffee can help prevent diabetes and even keep your heart healthy, but another recently discovered arrow in the health-boosting quiver of coffee is its ability to lower your risk for melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer. A study performed in 2015 found that drinking around 4 cups of coffee a day (not a problem here) has a definitive link to lower melanoma risk.

Just to quickly dive into what we are dealing with, melanoma is the 5th most common form of cancer in the United States, and tops the list as the leader in skin-cancer related deaths. In 2016, about 9,500 people died from melanoma out of the 77,000 that received a diagnosis. This puts the mortality rate at a staggering 12%. I talk about these numbers not to get all doom and gloom, but just to drive home that it has the potential to be a very serious problem. I am very interested in doing everything I can to lower melanoma risk.

So how does coffee play into all this? Well, even though exposure to UV light is the risk factor you have the most control over, there are others that will raise, or lower your risk. In the National Cancer Institute study linked above, compounds found in coffee were shown to actually lower melanoma risk. In the study, researchers analyzed the data from 447,357 subjects and determined that there was a lower melanoma risk by up to 20% for those who consumed four or more cups per day, compared to those in the study that did not drink any coffee.

It is important to note that this protective effect only took place when the subjects consumed caffeinated coffee. Although it’s not totally clear, it would seem since compounds like polyphenols and diterpenes are already associated with the health benefits of coffee, the caffeine is largely responsible for the protective mechanism. Other studies have also shown that there is a ‘sunscreen effect’ produced by caffeine that inhibits DNA mutations that can lead to development of skin cancer.

While most researchers largely point to caffeine as the super hero in the story, it’s important to acknowledge that other variables may come into play when correlating it with the reduction. For example, the people that tend to drink tons of coffee may work indoors more where the access to a full carafe of hot coffee is easier to come by, while those working outdoors and in the sun all day don’t have the ability to drink cup after cup throughout the day. I only mention this because when looking at newer scientific data, it’s always important to consider all sides of the argument. Practicing safe sun habits will always be the most important thing you can do to protect yourself.

Like I said before, I would recommend practicing common sense when it comes to your health, but it is nice to know that the more we look into coffee, the more we find out about how good it can be for us. I’m not going to go sit in the sun all day without sunscreen while pounding cup after cup of coffee and hope for the best, but I will continue to consume my 3-4 cups a day and relish in study after study that tells me coffee is so much more than just a delicious beverage.

Remy Bernard – Owner and Editor at Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes

A baker, chef and writer, Remy started as a way to deepen and spread her passion for making delicious food. She can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.