Coffee

A Sunday Walk Through East Austin

A Sunday Walk Through East Austin

Recently, Cuvee coffee had an open invite for free coffee as part of the POP Austin International Art Show 2014. I invited my friend Grace along since we tend to hang out on Sunday mornings. After we stopped by for a can of coffee (yes, drinking coffee out of a can does feel a little weird) and checked out the Black & Blue Pop Mural, which you can see being made here, we decided to take a tour around the area to see the great sights of East Austin.

DSC_4086This is Grace.

DSC_4088This is me.

DSC_4082This is Cuvee.

DSC_4093This is a mural.

DSC_4092This says who made the mural.

If you didn’t know, the City of Austin has added bike rentals in a few spots downtown. We weren’t planning on going very far, so we didn’t try it out this time around, but it could be useful, especially during SXSW! Find bike locations.

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DSC_4097Next we stopped by the Pop International Show, but the cost, at $30, was a bit steep for a last-minute idea, so we took some pics of the entrance and moved along.

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DSC_4105

DSC_4101The Pop International Art Show was across the street from the Pine Street Station, which used to house the farmers market.  DSC_4107

 

 

DSC_4108It’s got cute murals on the side of the building.

Then we headed over to the HOPE Farmers Market at Plaza Saltillo to smell teas, listen to music and check out the wares.

And on the way back to my car, I couldn’t help but take pics of everything along the way. Like Grace pointing out to what made the plant below a boy… You can probably figure that one out yourself…

Thanks for going on this tour with me!

Book Club Brunch

Book Club Brunch

In May, the monthly (ish) book club I’m a part of decided to add brunch to its menu. Personally, I thought it was a fabulous idea.

What is unique about our book club is that no one dictates what anyone reads. It’s a free for all. We all read whatever we feel like and then we get together and tell the others what we loved, hated, and everything in between, about the books we read since we saw everyone last. I think this format works well when you have a group of friends who like to read, but aren’t all obsessed with a genre (Twilight, romance, Sci-Fi, etc.). I’ve been a part of many book clubs with different measures of success and this one stresses me out the least, since I don’t have to go along with the pace of the other readers at all. Prior I would read the book really fast and then forget what it was about by the time we met again or I couldn’t finish it, so I felt guilty about going and just listening in on the conversation.

Books aside, the brunch aspect was great. We had quite a collection of foods, from bagels to quiche and fruit to crock pot French toast. Eric made us lattes, which was nice touch, and, of course, there were mimosas.

Baby Bea listened intently, as she realized just how intriguing book talk can be. I’m looking forward to meeting again soon as I’ve been pretty busy reading this month—everything from Fifty Shades of Grey (decidedly overrated) to My Life (so far) Without a Date (pretty amusing).

Cheers to readin’ and brunchin’!

 

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Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop expanding

Line outside Sugar Mama's Bakeshop at its one-year anniversary in 2009.

A little birdie told me Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop is expanding … OK, I confess, it was Twitter.

Anyway, their website confirms they are expanding, which will include a small dining area to serve breakfast pastries and coffee.

If you’ve been to Sugar Mama’s, you’ll know it is tiny! But in a good way (unless you’re at the anniversary party, in which it’s super crowded). This will give customers an opportunity to take a moment and enjoy their sweets without having to rush out to allow others in.

They are losing the rootbeer and pina colada flavors, but adding a variety of vegan cupcakes. And if you’re attached to the flavors leaving the menu, they’ll still be available by the dozen if ordered 2 days in advance.

Rainforest Alliance

This is the symbol to look for if you want to help save the world!

I love a good cup of coffee. I can’t tell you which countries have which flavors, but I certainly would love to.

I’m going to be exploring some different beans and other coffee, for lack of a better word, stuff and I hope others will share their experiences with me, too.

I just finished a 16 oz. bag of Fara Coffee, signature roast. Made in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and roasted in Austin, this bag is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Like many people, I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant (although it sounded good), so I looked it up.

The Rainforest Alliance certifies businesses that meet its standards, allowing the business to use its stamp of approval on its products—in this case, a coffee bag—but there are more than 100 crops that can be designated as Rainforest Alliance certified.

Part of the standards means being environmentally and socially friendly.

While the Rainforest  Alliance is concerned with sustainability, it’s not the same thing as being organic. Though farms could be both, the Rainforest Alliance allows some forms of agrochemicals.

The complete set of standards, developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, can be downloaded here or I’ve summarized its main points below.

Fara Coffee is roasted in Austin, TX.

Part 1 ensures the farm and its workers are behind the goals of sustainability and are organized about carrying its goals out.

Part 2 ensures the farms are working with its current ecosystem, so that it is not destroyed in the farms processes.

Part 3 ensures wildlife protection of the animals that may live on the farm or nearby and allow for them to roam free.

Part 4 lays out water conservation measures.

Part 5 ensures fair treatment and good working conditions for workers, including equal hiring opportunity, safe and clean housing for those who house farmers and a variety of other working and living conditions that must be met.

Part 6 continues the treat ment of workers and includes an occupational health and safety program and training.

Part 7 tells a farm how it should cooperate with the community it resides, including protecting and conserving natural resources and prioritizing hiring from the local community.

Part 8 specifies the types of pesticides a farm may use and how much to ensure harm isn’t done to the workers or wildlife.

Part 9 ensures forests are not cut down for growing crops.

Part 10 ensures the farm is clean and that waste is disposed of properly.

If you care about preserving rainforests, how workers are treated and other social and ecological matters, look for the stamp of approval next time you’re at the store.

Definition via Sustainable Agriculture Network

Agrochemical: A chemical substance used in agricultural production systems to
maintain soil fertility (compost or fertilizer), control weeds (herbicide), combat pests
(insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, rodenticides, etc.) or stimulate growth.