Katie Learns to Cook, Chapter 7 cont’d: Kitchen Staples, Coffees & Teas

September 9, 2012

Clearly, this is one of my favorite sections – coffee AND tea?  Count me in!

Instead of breaking out some vocabulary, I thought I’d keep it short and sweet tonight (sorry its so late!) and talk about a few of the things I found most interesting for the end of this Kitchen Staples Chapter.



Fact:  It starts as the fruit of a tree, that has two seeds.  Seeds = coffee beans.

There are two kinds of coffee beans used, arabica and robusta.  Arabica taste better than robusta, but robusta trees are a bit heartier.

The soil in which the trees that coffee beans come from, plays a direct role in the taste of the coffee.

Coffee Roasts can release and change the flavors in coffee.

City Roast: aka American roast, a typically flat tasting coffee, that is very often served in the US.

Brazilian:  slightly darker roast than the city roast.   For a Brazilian roast, the beans are starting to have a little oil left on them.

Viennese: a medium dark roast, darker than the Brazilian but not quite as dark as the french roast.

French Roast : this is aka the New Orleans/Dark roast and is considered a smoother coffee.  French roast beans will be visibly oily.

Espresso Roast: aka Italian roast, and the darkest of all the roasts.  These beans are definitely oily.


One of the more interesting things about coffee, was that the beans themselves are naturally caffeinated.  So, it begs the question – how do you get decaf coffee?  A quick search was interesting and I’m hoping to expand on that in a post later this week.



So.  I’ve been “sneak previewing” my favorite fact about tea that I learned in this chapter all week.  So now I get to share it with you all.

1.  Tea comes from a plant.

2.  There are a lot of teas.

3.  How many plants do you think exist that make all of those teas?

Answer:  one.

That’s right, black teagreen tea and oolong tea all come from one species of plant.

Black tea is fermented, green tea is not  and oolong tea is a combination of the two.  Similar to coffee, teas are categorized geographically, because the soil the plant is grown in directly effects the flavor.  For example, one of my personal favorites, Lapsang Souchong is a smoky tea that comes from the Lapsang district of China, but Darjeeling tea, an almost delicate black tea, comes from plants grown at the base of the Himalayas.

A tisane or herbal tea, doesn’t actually contain tea.  Usually they’re herbal infusions, examples being chamomile and ginseng, or even peppermint.

I’m a big fan of the ritual of tea, tea parties, tea brewing, etc.  My Mother in Law got me a fun magazine, Tea Time, that has a lot of history and information about different teas, recipes for food to serve with teas and different tea houses that may serve you a traditional afternoon or high tea.  There are a few in Lancaster and St. Louis, so i’m hoping to try and frequent one or two in the future.

And with that, I will leave you to your Sunday night!


One Response to “Katie Learns to Cook, Chapter 7 cont’d: Kitchen Staples, Coffees & Teas”

  1. […] – do you guys remember my Sunday post about coffee?  And I said that I wanted to take a closer look at how they take a naturally caffeinated product […]

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