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2023-Hiking is a Thing: 2 Important Tips for Drinking Coffee on the Trails

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Remember during the pandemic when suddenly everyone was out walking around, as much as possible, for whatever reason? Then suddenly everyone was going on hikes, every day, sometimes multiple times a day? It was a good time to be a pet dog, for sure. Turns out this trend started well before 2020. For the past 50 years, hiking popularity has exploded, with more people hitting the trails every year. It is now the 4 th most popular outdoor activity in the U.S., after running, biking, and fishing. Guess what? We have lots of hiking spaces here. There are 200,000 miles of trails nationwide, with 3,000 new trails added each year. The Benefits of Hiking Hiking has lots of obvious benefits. With an average hourly 500-calorie burn, vitamin D benefits from the sun, fresh air, immersion in nature’s bounty, and the positive impact of companionship during hiking, this is one wholesome, good-for-you, always interesting activity. Stats from jerseyislandholidays.com show that almost 50 mill

In DC? You MUST Try the Coffee at Bus Boys & Poets, Here's Why

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  Every time we go to Busboys & Poets when we’re in Washington, D.C., I feel as if I’m walking into my own personal immersive coffee house experience. You know that super-progressive, wood-paneled café/ full-service restaurant, with a bar and (wait for it), a BOOKSTORE! It exists. It’s as vibey as it was in 2005 when Andy Shalal started it with a mission that still resonates 18 years later. Late December is a great time to go to Busboys & Poets. The holiday décor is festive and chill, and baby it’s warm inside. Just outside, blue-white lights twinkle on a large pristine Christmas tree, against the backdrop of the Romanesque architecture that defines this part of D.C. Inside, the wood paneling is offset by art deco chandeliers and ceilings, with inlaid brick in the large loungey coffee bar section. Stevie Wonder’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’ plays in the background as you ponder whether to buy “Patriarchy Blues”. Did you know by the way, that You Haven’t Done Nothin’ was a

The Storied History of Coffee: Sex, Science, and the Politics of Respectability

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It is the stuff of dystopian novels. Imagine this: Coffee is illegal. It is considered dangerous and illicit. Consumption can be punished with jail, or even death. Your life can be ruined if there is any evidence that you are trying to grow your own coffee trees. If someone comes into your house and smells hot brew, they must report it to the authorities. It is so far-fetched as to seem laughable, but once upon a time, coffee was considered dirty, lascivious,  and dangerous. Although during the 1500’s, coffee was widely used for social and intellectual purposes throughout the Middle East, in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, it was generally not available in Europe. At that time, many in Britain viewed coffee as some exotic, “Muslim” brew. Slowly coffee made its way into European culture, where it took hold with fervor. By the 1600’s, coffee had sparked a full-on social revolution in Britain where coffeehouses became the center of social life for many men (and a few women as well). In

Drinking Joe Coffee in Union Square, Pondering the Bona Fides of Walking the Talk

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I love NYC during the holiday season. Crisp air, leaves with residual hints of red and yellow, holiday bazaars, ambient street music, and plenty of plein-air noshing and coffee-drinking. Last week, my friend and I took our kids to the playground near Union Square and at one point, I ducked out for coffee. I was determined to try a new place (at least new for me). Joe Coffee at 16 th St. off of Union Square pulled me in with its powder-blue branding and no-nonsense name. Joe Coffee was started in 2003 by Jonathan Rubinstein, with the goal of producing high-quality, amazing-tasting coffee served with “warm hospitality.” There are now 22 locations throughout the city. The coffee was amazing. But I wanted to know more. Sometimes you listen to a company’s spiel about sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, and fair trade, and you realize it’s largely performative. There is a lot of virtue-signaling in the coffee industry. I wanted to know where Joe Coffee stood. Discovering JNP Coffee

Montclair Art Museum Opens the Cornerstone Café and Debuts a New, No-Registration-Required Friday Program

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  Exciting news from the Montclair Art Museum (MAM)! The new Cornerstone Café made its debut last week when it opened to the public for the first time. Cornerstone features a full menu of coffee, tea, espresso-based drinks, and pastries. Located on the first floor, Cornerstone is nicely situated near the coatroom, with tables and a seating area strewn with art-related reading materials---and of course, there’s wifi. The new cafe is staffed by individuals from the Montclair High School transition program and Jewish Vocational Services of Metrowest and is open on Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm . The opening of Cornerstone is part of the museum’s new free-entry Friday program, which basically invites visitors in to experience the museum in a relaxed, open, inclusive, artistically expansive space. While traditionally MAM’s galleries have been free to visitors on Fridays, the new program is unprecedented in the museum’s history—and coffee is the cornerstone of it all. (smile/wink) On F

Goodbye Summer 2022 & Drinking Coffee in Long Branch

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  In the high heat of August, I spent a weekend with friends and family at the Jersey shore. On Saturday, after a day of sand and sea, we went to dinner at Lezama’s in Long Branch. The menu is varied, with a solid offering of trattoria cuisine, as well as a kids’ menu. The food was fresh and well-prepared.  When we ordered, several people at our table asked for coffee. We were told that not only were we getting coffee, but we were getting SPECIAL coffee, specifically Café de Olla Real de Oaxaca, a full-bodied, medium roast, Arabica coffee from the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. The coffee lived up to its reputation. Café de Olla Real de Oaxaca is dark, hot, subtle, slightly caffeinated, and very delicious. But why wouldn’t coffee from Oaxaca, known as the gastronomic capital of Mexico, be magical? With its Pacific coastline and rugged terrain, Oaxaca in the south of Mexico is also one of the top coffee-producing states in Mexico. Its ancient history and Indigenous cultures heavily influe

The Secret Language of Coffee—Can you describe your coffee in 10 words (or less)?

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Coffee has a language of its own. Whether it’s a long macchiato, an Americano, or a ristretto, each drink is unique. A list of 18 coffee drinks, compiled by Webstaurant Store, depicts each drink and shows the difference that one shot of espresso, or a slightly different brewing method can make. What's a Ristretto? I consider myself in the know when it comes to coffee language, but I was shocked by how many coffee drinks I did not recognize in that list. For example, a ristretto sounds amazing. It is brewed in a similar method to espresso---hot, pressurized water is passed through the coffee grounds. However, only half the normal amount of water is used. Ristrettos are STRONG. A red eye combines 6 ounces of drip-brewed coffee with a shot of espresso added, while a black eye is a doubled version of the red eye. And then there’s the breve---a cup of espresso with steamed half-and-half added. While reading all of these coffee drink descriptions, I thought about the joy of descri