World Mental Health Day 2016


worldmentalhealthday

Today is World Mental Health Day…
1 in 4 people will suffer from a range of mental health issues in their lifetime – depression, anxiety, eating disorders, among other illnesses. Many will suffer with more than one illness at a time.  Despite being incredibly common, there continues to be stigma surrounding mental illness.

We all want to be seen as strong, capable, happy… people don’t like to admit that they’ve struggled, and it’s incredibly hard to admit that we’re suffering.

Incredibly, Starbucks Canada is doing something to help. It’s not often that my two worlds collide – coffee and mental health! (Did you know that I also work as a researcher in mental health at the University of Oxford?!)

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From today, Starbucks Canada is raising the amount of money available to their 19,000 employees (who work more than 20 hours per week) to $5,000 per year for counselling and psychological therapies. Within the context of employer-provided healthcare services, this is unprecedented. It gives a clear message to their employees that they value their staff’s mental well-being, and are will to help when times are tough. What’s even better is that the initiative has come directly from discussions held in employee-led focus groups – it was the number 1 concern they raised about their work-life balance and well-being. And Starbucks Canada listened and did something about it… Gold star to them!
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If you’d like to read more about the details of their initiative, take a look at the article in the Globe and Mail here.

The chances are pretty good that you or someone close to you is currently suffering or has suffered in the past with mental health issues.

Talking is one way to feel better… If you think someone could use a friendly ear, offer it. If you need someone to talk to, ask.

If you’re feeling really low with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please ask your doctor for help or contact your local medical services – there are people who can help you through these dark days.

 

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3 quick tips to make great coffee

3 quick tips to make great coffee

 

When you love coffee, a bad cup of coffee is really bad. Don’t get me wrong, bad coffee is better than no coffee at all, but when you’re in the mood for a cup of something really strong, hot, and delicious that is going to replenish your soul, anything less than the best coffee just isn’t going to do. (I know, 1st world problems!!).

But making great coffee is easier than you think. Here are a 3 quick and easy tips to make your coffee great.

  1. Use cold water.Â
    It’s important to use fresh, cold water when you’re boiling the kettle to make your coffee. I know it might be tempting to use the hot tap to speed things up, but trust me, fresh cold water is THE way to go. If you want to get super fancy, you can use filtered water, but it’s not necessary.
    Basically, if your water is sitting around in a hot water tank for age, waiting to be used, it’s lost a lot of it’s oxygen and has become stagnant. It’s the oxygen that helps it boil, and brings out the flavours of the coffee beans.
    Once your water has come to the boil, let the water settle for a few minutes (90 seconds to 2 minutes) to let the temperature drop ever-so-slightly. If it’s just boiled, you risk scalding the coffee and it’s essential oils, which can have a bit impact on the flavour.
  2. Use freshly ground beans.
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    It’s really important to grind your coffee beans right before you use them. As I just mentioned above, the oils from the beans add to the depth of flavour. When you grind the beans in advance (or buy them ready-ground) the essential oils change in response to the air (or “oxidise”) and can evaporate, resulting in a flatter, less flavourful coffee experience. You also want to use more coffee than you think you’ll need. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to brew strength, but generally, slightly more ground coffee in the pot is better than not enough.
  3. Keep it hot.
    Personally, there is nothing worse than a cup of lukewarm coffee. Once it loses it’s heat, I always feel rushed to get through it while there is still a little warmth in it.
    “What are the best ways to keep it warm?”, you ask? You can use hot milk for starters. If you heat up the milk before adding it to your coffee, it won’t cool your brew down. It also lends a lovely flavour to the milk which adds to the richness of your coffee. Try it, you’ll like it!
    And most importantly, keep your coffee hot while you’re making it. Use one of our beautiful Cafetiere Covers.
    Colourful Poppies Cafetiere Cover by Couva Coffee Couture
    They are guaranteed to keep your coffee warm for up to 60% longer. You can also use one of our gorgeous cup covers on your mug (or if you’re out and about!). The heat reflective lining keeps your coffee at the perfect drinking temperature so that you can enjoy your coffee, just how you like it, for longer.English_Rose_Cup2
    Try these 3 easy steps, and I promise you, you’ll be amazed at what a difference 3 little steps can make.

You’re welcome!

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Top 4 mistakes people make when brewing cafetiere coffee

Top 4 mistakes people make when brewing cafetiere coffee

Beige Linen Couva Coffee Couture

Some people call it a cafetiere, some people call it a French press. No matter what you call it, it makes really great coffee. In a world of complicated coffee kit, the cafetiere keeps things simple, as coffee is meant to be… coffee and water!

Yet, as simple as it is, sometimes things can go wrong… and bad coffee is just such a let down (although I’d still take a really bad cup of coffee over nothing at all!!).

To get a really great brew, try to avoid these 4 common mistakes…

Mistake #4: Â The wrong grind

When it comes to making good coffee, it’s really important to get the grind right based on the brewing method you’re using. For a cafetiere, you need to make sure that the grind isn’t too fine, and isn’t too coarse… It needs to be just right to get the best brew. What you’re looking for is a coarse, even grind. See the picture below.

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If your grind is too fine, it will be quite tricky to push the plunger down. When this happens, you need to be extra careful that the coffee doesn’t bubble up unexpectedly and ‘jump’ out of the pot and scald you.
What you’ll also find with a too-fine grind is that the brew ends up being a bit silty and sludgy, with a greater than normal amount of fine coffee grinds in your cup.

If your coffee grind is too coarse, the coffee won’t extract properly during the brewing process, leaving you with a bit a thin, weak, under-brewed coffee.

Mistake #3: Using the wrong amount of coffee

The key to great coffee in a cafetiere is the extraction process, so you want to be sure you have enough coffee in the pot for the amount of water you’re pouring in.

The general guideline is 1 part coffee to 10 parts water – or about 1 tablespoon of coffee for every cup of water. Now, obviously you’ll need to adjust this if you like your coffee a bit stronger or a bit weaker. To give you an idea, I put about 4 heaped tablespoons of coffee into my 12 cup cafetiere, and it’s just perfect!

Mistake #2: Using water that is the wrong temperature

Did you know that coffee can burn? When you pour boiling water into your coffee pot, the heat of the water can actually scald the oils in the beans and ruin your brew.

The best temperature for coffee brewing is a few degrees off the boil (that’s the technical temperature reading of course!!). When making your coffee, boil your water and then let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute to allow the temperature to come down slightly before your pour it into the pot.

Mistake #1: Cold coffee

This is what I’d consider the biggest mistake for cafetiere coffee. I can’t think of anything more disappointing than a long-anticipated cup of coffee that has gone cold. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but still mighty disappointing! And I’m not talking about a cup that has been left to go stone cold. I’m talking about that cup of coffee that is kind of hot, but sort of lukewarm, and starting to get a bit cool on the top.

Part of the brewing process is to leave the coffee grinds to extract for about 4 minutes. In that time, the glass walls of a cafetiere will let the a considerable amount of heat escape. By the time the coffee is ready to pour, the temperature will have decreased by quite a lot. Add in your milk (if you don’t take the time to heat it up), and your brew has already lost much of its vital heat.

Or what about going back for another cup from the cafetiere, only to find that the intensity of heat has gone out of the brew, leaving it warm and blah. And we all know that it’s a “no no” to pop that coffee in the microwave!

So what is a person to do?!

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Well, we’ve got the perfect solution! Our insulated covers for cafetieres and cups are the PERFECT solution to the problem of cold coffee. Our special heat reflective lining ensures that your coffee stays hotter for up to 60% longer… Lots of time to fully enjoy your cup of coffee nice and hot! And certainly enough time for a second cup!

 

Check out our newest designs in our webshop! You’re going to love them!

 

DSC_6485Â Â Â DSC_6496Â Â Â Â Colourful Poppies Cafetiere Cover by Couva Coffee Couture

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Coffee with the President…

Coffee with the President…

Last year, my dad introduced me to the wonderfully funny set of videos put together by Jerry Seinfeld called “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. I wrote a little bit about it here.

Since then, Jerry (yes, we’re on a 1st name basis!) has conducted even more incredible interviews. Some of my personal favourites include car rides with Jimmy Fallon, Jim Carrey (playfully called “We love breathing what you’re burning”!), and a preview for the upcoming episode with Steven Martin. We’re talking some serious comedy heavy-weights!

But the ultimate caffeine passenger has to be THE president…. none other than Mr. Barack Obama. Seeing is believing!

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I hope you enjoy these as much as I do :)

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Red cups and the scrutiny of Christmas

Red cups and the scrutiny of Christmas

Photo credit: Starbucks

 For many, the festive holiday season starts once Halloween is done, the candle in the jack-o-lantern has fizzled out, and the last trick-or-treater has fallen quietly into a sugar-induced slumber.

For the fans of large coffee chains, the festive season marks the arrival of a holiday-inspired drink menu with LOTS of sugary, syrupy goodness (although did you see my last post about the pumpkin spice latte?!),  and beautifully decorated cups…Oh, the holiday cups!

It seems like each year,  each coffee chains tries to out-do their competition ,  making their cups more colourful,  more festive, well, just MORE.


On November 1st this year, Starbucks launched their holiday season with the arrival of their much-awaited Red Cups…and you could say the response was less than great.  In fact,  the cups were so boring that people have started digging for hidden meaning behind the simplicity of the design (or lack thereof!). 

Seriously,  it’s become this great big ‘thing’ where some people believe that there is a hidden agenda to the lack of festivity on the cups. In a nutshell,  some are trying to claim that Starbucks is trying to sanitise the Christmas out of the holidays. 

If you don’t believe me,  you can read more about the argument here.

I feel badly for Starbucks… According to the head of design for the company,  the simple design was meant to encourage people to express themselves by drawing on the cups,  adding their own creativity. 

Personally I think that’s rather a bit over ambitious for the average harried coffee drinker, rushing in for their life support beverage first thing in the morning to expect people to whip out their colouring pencils and start creating on the side of their scalding hot cuppa joe.

Now, I may be relatively new to the game of business branding and promotions, particularly around the holiday season, but what I do know is that, at this time of the year especially, people like things to be familiar, easy, comfortable, and dare I say,  nostalgic of years past.
You know what they say… There is no such thing as bad publicity! 

At the end of the day,  they’re cups…for coffee. Coffee cups.  Coffee cups meant to add a little bit of holiday cheer (as well as demonstrate your allegiance with a coffee shop!). But really,  they are cups.


And, actually, I happen to think that the plain red cups are THE perfect blank canvas to compliment our new festive range  Couva Coffee Couture Cup Covers! Not only do they keep your coffee hotter for longer,  but they’ll cover up some of that boring redness!

www.couva.co.uk

Pumpkin Latte Underwhelm

Pumpkin Latte Underwhelm

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know I’m something of a coffee purist.  I’m not one for all the fancy, frothy drinks with the whipped cream and sprinkles that are on offer in a lot of coffee shops these days. Don’t get me wrong,  occasionally I’ll get a bit wild and crazy, and I’ll add a bit of vanilla syrup to a latte, but that’s normally as far out as I’ll stray. (I can literally feel my husband rolling his eyes at my tendencies to stay within my comfort zone!!)
For weeks I’ve been hearing everyone going on and on (and on!) about Pumpkin Spice Lattes with the arrival of autumn. I was beginning to feel like I was missing out on something. There is even a secret Pumpkin Spice Latte club called the “Orange Sleeve Society“! Seriously – it’s a thing!
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Maybe I’m a sucker for strategic marketing, maybe I’m easily swayed by public pressure,  or maybe I was feeling feisty that morning, but while walking with my big bean, we popped in to a well-known coffee shop for a treat. He ordered a kids hot choc, and I (against my better judgement!) ordered my first Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Well,  I don’t think I’ve been so underwhelmed in a long time.

First off, are they meant to be so sweet?! Honestly, I needed a drink of water halfway through because it was making me thirsty!
Next, I couldn’t taste the coffee…Was it even in there? Between the clawing sweetness, the overabundance of cinnamon (not sure what other “spice” was meant to be in there!), and the mountain of whipped cream, I’m not sure there was coffee in there!

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Finally, I seemed to have missed any hint of pumpkin. Although, that said, pumpkin doesn’t really taste of much anyway – just sort of earthy and sweet.


Not to be completely negative about the whole experience,  I have to say that this coffee connoisseur is not a fan of the much-acclaimed Pumpkin Spice Latte.

For now, I’ll stick to my flat white (maybe with some vanilla syrup in it on a crazy day!).

I guess I’ll just have to find another bandwagon to jump on!  

Mona Lisa is a coffee lover!

Mona Lisa is a coffee lover!



How fantastic is this?! Who knew that the Mona Lisa was such a HUGE fan of coffee! 
3,604 cups of coffee were used to create a giant Mona Lisa in Sydney , Australia .  Each cup of coffee was filled with different amounts of milk to create the different shades to recreate this masterpiece!

Now,  if each of the 3,604 cups of coffee was wearing a Couva Cup Cover, none of that delicious coffee would have gone to waste!

Shhh…Sneak Peak!

Shhh…Sneak Peak!

I don’t know about you, but it feels like Summer is already a distant memory. With the welcome of Autumn, there is a slight chill in the air, and the leaves are slowly changing from the luscious green to golden yellows, sultry amber, and rich reds. 

I realise that things have been a bit quiet on the blog lately, but we’ve been busy behind the scenes here at Couva HQ with lots of new and exciting things that we can’t wait to share with you. 

First, our snazzy new website and webshop is nearly ready! We can’t wait! Now you’ll be able to get your very own Couva products delivered right to your door, no matter where you live.

Second, we’ve started to think about Christmas (shock! horror!). 


It’s only a matter of weeks until we’re going to be at the Taste of London Christmas show at Tobacco Dock from the 19th to the 22nd of November.
We’re going to have lots of lovely new Couvas, gorgeous accessories, and terrific gift ideas for the coffee connoisseurs on your list! Here is a sneaky little peak to tempt you… but we don’t want to give too much away 😉


Watch this space for more exciting Couva news! 

www.couva.co.uk
Cold brew coffee

Cold brew coffee

With the temperatures in Britain reaching a record-breaking 36.9oC yesterday, it really was one of those days where all you wanted to do was drink ice cold drinks all day long. 


By nature, I’m not an iced cold drink kind of person – I’m more inclined to drink lovely warm drinks, regardless of the weather. 

But today, it was hot… I mean HOT! And nothing but iced cold drinks would do. 

It got me thinking about the latest trend that is cropping up all over the place – cold brew coffee. 

What is cold brew coffee you ask? 

I’m not talking about the typical iced coffees we’ve seen in years past. Those frothy, whipped concoctions full of cream, flavours, and sugar. 
Even “iced coffee” that you see in high-street chains is typically hot-brewed coffee chilled and then poured over ice. Generally, the coffee is brewed much stronger to account for the ice that will ultimately dilute it. What you end up with tends to be more bitter and intense because of the extraction of the beans with hot water. 

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 What I’m talking about is “cold brew” – a way to brew coffee by steeping coarse coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for about 18-24 hours. You end up with a concentrated coffee essence, which is generally diluted and served chilled.  The lack of heat means that there isn’t the same harshness and acidity that you can get with hot brewing methods. As you might imagine, the process is much gentler to the bean, meaning that you end up with a much softer and sweeter brew, allowing for the subtle flavours of the beans to really shine through. 
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There are all sorts of snazzy contraptions that you can buy designed specifically with brewing iced coffee in mind, like this very swish cold-brew coffee bottle from Hario

But you don’t really need any special kit to give it a try. Try this recipe for super easy, and super delicious cold brew coffee:

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Cold Brew Coffee (makes 4 cups of concentrated cold coffee, which gives about 8 cups of finished cold coffee to drink)

You’ll need: 
1 1/3 cups ground coffee (*you want the grind to be coarse…If it’s too fine, you’ll end up with powdery, grimy coffee – and that’s bad!)
4 cups water (cold or room temp)
Big jar or pitcher
Fine mesh strainer (or a clean dish towel, a coffee filter, or anything to filter out the grounds)

What to do: 
1. Put your ground coffee in the jar or pitcher. Pour the water over the top.
2. Stir gently to combine.
3. Cover it and let it sit for at least 8 hours at room temperature. Ideally, you’re looking to leave it for 18-24 hours to get a good, strong brew. The longer you leave it, the stronger the brew becomes. 
4. Carefully, pour the mixture over a strainer into another pitcher or a large bowl. Clean your original jar or pitcher because you’ll need it again. 
5. Carefully pour the strained mixture a second time into the clean jar or pitcher.
6. There you have it – Cold brew coffee concentrate!  

To serve:
The 4 cups of cold coffee concentrate will make about 8 cups of iced coffee. This should keep in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long!).
You’ll want to dilute this before drinking, roughly 2 parts of water for 1 part of cold brew coffee concentrate (i.e. 2 cups of water + 1 cup of cold brew coffee). Add more or less water, depending on how strong you like yours! You can add some milk (almond, coconut, dairy) if you’d like, and something sweet to taste. You could even get really snazzy and  create some really interesting coffee cocktails… coffee martini anyone?! 

And of course, if you just can’t wait 18-24 hours for an ice cold brew, there are many brands of ready-to-drink proper iced coffee now on the market. 

At the London Coffee Festival, I had the pleasure of trying a few. Personally, my fave from the show was Good Beans

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Another really deelish off-the-shelf brew is Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if it’s a cold-brew or simply a hot brew coffee made cold…Either way, it’s yummy!
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With some more hot & sweltering days on the way, why not give cold brewing a try?!

If you do, let us know how you get on! Leave us a comment, or share with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! We’d love to hear from you!

Happy mother’s day!

Happy mother’s day!


Photo credit: Etsy

To all the mothers all over the world, I want to wish you a very happy mother’s day! We wouldn’t be here without you!
And a very special mention to my mum… she’s really very super and has instilled in me the love of all things creative and delicious in this world! 

For many mums, hot coffee is distant memory. The moment a cup is poured, some distraction or other comes along. Mother’s day, for many, is the one day of the year they can enjoy a nice HOT cup of coffee. 


But, have you heard of some pretty snazzy little cup covers that keep coffee hot for up to 60% longer? The really cute ones in great fabrics that can fit on mugs or takeaway cups? 

The ones that have the loyalty card pocket that fits a coffee shop 
gift card perfectly (*hint hint!!)? 

That’s right! The Couva Cup Covers make THE perfect gift for mums all over the world… 



Why? 
  1. They keep hot drinks hotter for up to 60% longer – seriously. 
  2. The loyalty card pocket is a perfect place for a gift card to mum’s favourite cafe! 
  3. They protect fingers from hot drinks. Forget those horrible cardboard sleeves! 
  4. They are better for the environment.
  5. They look great!


Want to buy one? 
Our webshop is coming any day now! I’ll keep you posted. 

In the meantime, why not visit one of our retailers? Check out a list on our website: