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Gotcha! This is really about coffee and I don't endorse one brand or flavor over another but this story was too much fun not to share - Here's the link: http://www.cafebritt.com/nlgen/newsletter/index.cfm?NLGLAN=1&NLGVOL=28

and the story:

The Finns and their Twins

The Finnish National Museum in Helsinki has an entire room dedicated to coffee. That would surprise just about anyone who hasnt spent the last few decades working in the coffee business. But not those of us who know that Finland and its neighbor to the west, Sweden, are the beating heart center of world coffee consumption. The Finns and Swedes collectively consume twice the coffee per capita as U.S. coffee drinkers and three times more than Costa Ricans.

Their collective thirst for the highest-quality coffee made the two nations a benchmark for us coffee brokers in the 1970s and 1980s. A top-quality, gourmet coffee was one we could sell to the Finns.

And was this great coffee destined for gourmet coffee shops? Nope. The Finns used it as their supermarket brands.

Finland and Sweden eagerly paid top dollar for the best coffee. They bought 15 to 20 percent of Costa Ricas top export coffee back when I was trading. One of Finlands top-selling brands is still called Costa Rica.

Its fair to say that these two nations, who have been drinking coffee since the 1600s, were singly responsible for creating a gourmet niche market. In fact, Scandinavia was my inspiration for the name Caf Britt. Thats why it was so enjoyable to discover the National Museums coffee room, when I was in Helsinki recently for a tourism conference. I learned there about a pivotal historic dilemma that occurred while both Finland and Sweden were still a single, united nation. In 1756, coffee was banned. A top trading house, the Swedish East India Company, wanted to increase market demand for tea.

A national outcry ensued. King Charles XII took a definitively monarch-style approach.

According to the legend, he demanded that the people bring him two identical twins. One twin was to drink only coffee, and the other only tea. Finlands coffee-drinking future hinged on which became the healthier twin.

Imagine the anxiety that must have consumed the nation! Switch to tea?

A museum watercolor called Coffee Ban, depicts a woman hiding coffee in her kitchen, while police search for it in another room.

After all, this is a nation that even today drinks its coffee black. True, as a part of the European Union, Finland and its offerings have become a mainstream. In shops today, youll find espresso machines. You can buy a latte, a mocha.

But the Finns drink coffee for the taste of coffee the taste that continues to inspire all of Caf Britts gourmet roasts.

Switch to tea? All of Finland waited, sipping coffee on the sly, until the fateful moment that secured their coffee-drinking future

The twin who drank the tea died first.

BTW (packsaddle here), anyone who visits Costa Rica should tour the Cafe Britt facility, it is one of the most entertaining tours of its kind that I have ever experienced. Good coffee too!

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Where do you find this coffee?

I have been to Europe 3 times, once to Finland and twice to the Netherlands, both time I could not believe how good the coffee was and how small the cups are!

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Heh, heh, the spoon stands up nicely if you also cook the grits in it.


Dan, if you don't go to Costa Rica you nearly have to order it online. I order a case on one of their special deals (mix and match) a couple of times each year. That way the shipping is free. You can get the info from the web site.

Incidentally there were a couple of other brands that went down really well. Cafe Rey was one that I remember well.


A few years back, when Delta first opened up their routes, I canceled my plans to take the fam out to the Olympic National Park and instead hastily flew us all to Costa Rica. I just rented a car and winged it. We had more fun than anyone should be allowed to. But on the tour of the Cafe Britt facility, my wife (who is a coffee snob) said to me as she tasted their brew, "...if you are ever going to learn to like coffee, THIS is the place." She was right.


In an apocryphal story, we were told that Costa Rica at one time issued a coffee commercial saying, "Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee". Naturally, Colombia responded with some sort of protest - whereupon the Costa Rican government found a couple of guys named Juan Valdez and produced these coffee-drinking Ticans as evidence. Nice.

Of all the places I've visited, I have to say that Costa Rica is near to or at the top for friendly, welcoming people and an environment that feels completely safe for a family traveling there. I hope it stays that way.

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When I attended Purdue University way back when, I worked in the campus newspaper, "The Exponent". Being the muck raking rag it was, we were always on the look out for campus scandals. We turned up, in the budget reports, the fact that the campus commisery bought three grades of coffee. The most expensive went to the faculty club ("University Club") in the student union. The second most expensive went to the student union restaurants, where parents went for lunch with the kid. The third order ( price: fully one fifth the price of the faculty club brand) went to the student dorm cafeterias. I actually got a chance to taste test all three, and could not for the life of me detect any real difference.



Oh Hum. Got at least three days columns out of that, as I remember.



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When camping, I prefer Folger's single serve "tea bag" style servings. boil some water, dunk the bag a few times in a couple of cups and splash in some french vanilla creamer, m m m m


Not a big fan of the french vanilla, but the sweet flavor seemd to satify the need for sugar.



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Coffee should either be dripped or pressed. Never perked or tea bagged.

I have a french press (or freedom press for you patriots) that makes the best cup of Joe imaginable. Light enough for backpacking, in fact, it will join us at Philmont in two weeks.

As for the coffee, no flavors. Coffee is diminished with unnatural flavors. It should be pure, raw coffee from the bean from which God intended it. Colombian is my favorite, but your tastes may vary. Might have to try some of that Costa Rican stuff.


For camping, my grocer supplies me with little vacuum packed ground Colombian coffee in 1.75 oz packets. Makes enough coffee for 3 or 4 decaffinated adults. The press only requires hot water which other scouts can share for their cocoa or tang.

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Gern, the Ticans recommended the same methods and at the factory they exclusively used the press. They exclusively grow the arabica coffee by national law (I think Colombia does too). As I understand it, the flavor depends on climate, soil, amount of sunlight, and roast. I suspect that good coffee can be found grown in many countries but most prefer the arabica to the robusta variety grown on a larger scale in many places.

See: http://www.ineedcoffee.com/02/06/arabica/


Gonzo's coffee bags are a convenient alternative for the trail. But I've seen the press used on the trail as well. Personally, I opt for a good water filter and wait til home for the brew.:)

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Pack, I'm really not sure that waiting to get home in order to have that morning cup of joe will do it for some of us...imagine poor Gern out at Philmont (only 6 more days til my cup of coffee...trudge, trudge).


Having been to so many BSA events (trainings and lock ins, in particular) where the coffee was the color of a weak tea and the only side option was ~shudder~ powdered coffee mate, I've taken to volunteering to provide the coffee myself. At least that guarantees there will be some strong enough, palatable enough, brew to bother drinking. And real half & half to go with it, for those who want it.

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I opt for a good water filter and wait til home for the brew.

Heresy, pure hersey. I'm allowed just one of my many vices on scout trips. Nothing, I say NOTHING, is better than a fresh cup of strong Colombian french pressed coffee fresh from my MSR filter carefully drawn from a babbling Rocky Mountain spring.


Now for the real question, for Philmont, how much? I know what you're thinking. "Did he bring three pounds or only two?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a french press, the most powerful coffee maker in the world, and would brew your cup clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

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The BEST coffee in the world comes from a vacuum brewer


Here is a couple of neat ones:






What vacuum brewers do that the others can't (no, not even the press versions), is that the brew time isn't determined on how fast you can get to the flame, just remove from the heat source and then the water is vacuumed back into the pot.



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