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Thursday 6 October 2011

Swimming in Coffee

Two things are on my mind today and as usual one is related to parenting and one to food, shocking I know!

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am opinionated.  It's not that I have to share my opinion, it's just that if you ask me what I think about any given subject, it is likely I will have thoughts to share.  Fortunately for me, my husband, family and friends appreciate this in me and often ask me for my thoughts.  As an optimist and an extravert, I feel honoured to be given an outlet for my thoughts and feelings amongst those I love.  Guess what?  That means you too my sweet blog readers!  If you came to visit this place then you have likely already realized I have a lot to say and I thank you for reading and also for returning!

First let's talk parenting.  Today was Tricia's first swim lesson.  She is passed out cold at present after givinh her time in the pool her all, like really her ALL.  She didn't appreciate my suggestions to follow the instructions for floating and she didn't care for the fact that she couldn't touch the bottom and so needed me for support throughout most of the class.  What she really wanted was to figure it out herself and go down the slide 900 times.  We had a couple of chats on the side about listening etc but those didn't change the fact that she LOVES to be in the water and I was in the way of total freedom.

I am happy she is brave in the water.  I am happy she is taking lessons and I am happy that we are both learning and growing everyday.  Her lesson today was different than mine, in fact I don't know if there was a lesson for her.  She just knows she wants to do that again.  The lesson for me is simple, it is:  Let Tricia be Tricia.  I cannot demand she be meek or mild.  I cannot demand she learn differently than she does (can you say experiential learner?) and I cannot be upset or embarrassed that my baby is not afraid of new things like her momma.  I was the most timid child ever and couldn't bare to be in a new situation without the support of someone I trusted.  Tricia on the other hand would happily come find me if and when she needs me.  I have actually prayed and asked God to give me children who don't learn to be afraid from me.  I don't want them to struggle through life missing out on good things because they can't overcome their fear of change or newness or different.  I want them to be bold, fearless and full of love and excitement for life.  I guess God knew He should start me off in the right direction with Tricia.  His ways are marvelous!

The second thing I have been thinking about is coffee.  Coffee is a big deal to me.  Some of you may already know that I have been serving coffee (good coffee) for 11 years and I love it!  The smell, the taste, the social moments shared between friends (kudos to all hot drinks), these are the foundations for my love of the stuff.  Now, while I consider purchasing locally produced products an important thing for us consumers, sadly I must inform you that coffee will never grow in Canada.  Due to this unfortunate reality buying coffee can present any number of dilemmas.  Type of bean, roast, location of plantation, price, packaging, organic and trade certifications.  These are all components of coffee that can have a significant impact on what ends up in your cup.  I am not a food snob, but I have to confess to you that I bought cheap ground coffee this past week and have been regretting it more seriously than you might believe.  Not only does it taste like burnt cigarettes but it lacks depth, cost me nothing, and I know nothing about where it came from, what's in it (type of bean and origin) or who grew it.  I feel sad for them wherever they are, I hope they don't drink it themselves.

The reality is that I truly and firmly believe in Fairly Traded Organic coffee (See this link for the Wikipedia low down).  I also love the idea of single plantation but am not tied to that one.  Already some of you are rolling your eyes and mumbling "hippy" to yourselves and that is fine by me.  It is likely because you don't have all the facts.  The reason fair trade is important is for the same reason that farmers markets are important.  It is so that you can connect to your grower in a unique and wonderful way.  It is so that you can walk away from your purchase with the knowledge that you are helping to sustain the livelihoods of folks who love what they do and want to continue to do it well.  The amazing thing is that it tastes better too.  Whether it is a woman's cooperative or a family run estate, Fair Trade certification makes field to cup possible on an intimate level that ensures the folks growing those beans care how they turn out, how they are stored and where they go.  They want your cup of coffee to be good so that you will want to buy their coffee again.  Do you pay a little more? Yup.  Is it worth every penny? You'd better believe it!  If you aren't convinced come to my house for a tasting.  I will convert you in moments and then we can have a great chat over a cup of Joe.  I won't talk organic now but you'll be hard pressed to find a Fair Trade grower who doesn't also grow organically, so there.

Now for a recipe.  I love hot coffee and I love iced coffee, I just hate lukewarm coffee.  The following instructions are for making your hot coffee and then using the leftovers for iced coffee.  No wasting when the coffee is good and you paid a fair price for it, right?

Coffee Katie Style
I use a drip percolator or filter cone into a thermos, but if you prefer a Bodum you just need to buy whole beans so you can grind them less finely than most pre-ground products.  Note: I also always pre-heat my cup with a little hot water and I use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir so I don't lose heat into a metal spoon.

6 level Tbsp Fair Trade Coffee, medium or dark roast, ground (please don't skimp on coffee since the flavour is killed when watery)
6 cups cold water
Fixings for your perfect cup (I take 10% cream and 1/2 tsp organic sugar ideally)
1 cup Leftover coffee
2 tsp sugar syrup per cup, or to taste
2 Tbsp Milk, per cup
1 Tbsp10% Cream, per cup
1/2 cup Ice, per cup


1. Make a simple sugar syrup by placing 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small pot and bringing to a boil.  Stir once and cool.  Keep in fridge for up to a month.

2. Brew your hot coffee and enjoy a cup with a friend or with a book, or at your desk.

3. Within 1/2 an hour of brewing your coffee, turn it off and let it cool.  Place in the fridge as soon as possible.  Once it is nice and cold and you are ready for a different kind of caffinated beverage combine the milk, cream, coffee and sugar syrup with the cold coffee.

4. Place ice in a large cup and pour coffee mixture over ice, let sit 1 minute so it can get nice and cold.  I recommend mixing the coffee separate from the ice so it doesn't need stirring.  Enjoy!


  1. Aww!! Sounds like quite the swimming lesson! Love hearing about all your new adventures.

  2. The second thing I have been thinking about is coffee. Coffee is a big deal to me. Some of you may already know that I have been serving coffee (good coffee) for 11 years and I love it! buy pakistani designer lawn online , lawn dress online shopping , The smell, the taste, the social moments shared between friends (kudos to all hot drinks), these are the foundations for my love of the stuff.