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Tag Archives: Charleston SC

Uniting the World with Coffee

The Olympics are over, and I am a little sad.  I always enjoying watching the games, but not necessarily for the sport of it, nor to chant “USA! USA! USA!” (though that is a pretty big part). I found that this year, I really liked seeing countries unifying for this beloved tradition that dates back to (probably) 776 BC in Ancient Greece. Of everything this world has gone through, I love that we still unite for these games. Not only does it give us a chance to become increasingly nationalistic for a few weeks, but it reminds us that we are all on this earth, and no matter our language, we can unite under the game. Did you see North Korea and South Korea shake hands!?

Ok, so what does this have to do with the #beanteam? Well, I was thinking… coffee is a HUGE export and is loved by many. Different regions produce different flavored beans, but also make their coffee in very specific ways. I looked it up and found that are numerous countries that export coffee. The United States is not one (which is no surprise) so we go elsewhere. This export really does unite people on an economic and social way.

The National Geographic, which I have always loved for their insight into cultures different from my own, has a coffee specific website that not only addresses the legends and history of coffee, but maps out the major exporters all over the world. Brazil, the largest producer of coffee, put out $22.5 million bags in 1997-1998 crop year (the latest they have data from). Each bag weighs about 132 pounds. I did the math and that equals a LOT of coffee… I can’t even imagine orchestrating the exchange of this stuff. This website even has a forum where anyone can come together and talk about their coffee.  Perhaps my favorite quote on the page is this description of coffee: “‘Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.’ That’s the recipe for coffee, according to the utterly French statesman Talleyrand (1754-1838).” If that isn’t a man passionate about his coffee, I don’t know what is. And this was around 200 years ago. Not much as changed.

So, the Lowcountry Blend, although specific to the Charleston area, offers flavors from our friends in South and Central America. We ask others to help us with our coffee initiatives and in turn, help feed those less fortunate in our area. I will toast to that.

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Posted by on August 14, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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The “Lowcountry”

You know by now that Sunoco’s Charleston blend is called “The Lowcountry Blend” but do you know why Charleston and the surrounding areas is referred to the lowcountry in the first place? I have lived here for a year and I have never once heard why it is called that. So, with the power of the Internet, I looked it up.

In regards to South Carolina, it refers to the “sea islands.” If you have looked at a close-up map of Charleston, you will see there is a lot of water…and a lot of little islands and peninsulas. More specifically, it is often used to describe the land between the ocean and the sand hills.

Perhaps more importantly than geography is the culture that is associated with the term “lowcountry”. It is a historical term based on political and cultural foundations, but is also used to describe a way of life. It describes the uniqueness of the area, with its fashion, elegant style, cuisine, and architecture. Charleston is an eclectic blend of European, American Southern, Caribbean, and African cultures. Add in the Gullah influence and the antebellum and postbellum styles and you get a culture all in its own. The rich history and modern tourism make Charleston a wonderful city for natives, tourists, and students alike.

One aspect that I have noticed in this past year is that Charleston likes its own. It is proud of it’s natives and loves everything local. Driving around, you see more “Native,” “Carolina Girl, “Support Local,” and palmetto and moon bumper stickers than anywhere I have ever seen. There is an ownership that made the Lowcountry the perfect place to launch this coffee blend.

When you find yourself approaching a Sunoco gas station, and stop in for a Lowcountry Blend, think of everything that is behind the name. Picked by Lowcountry residents, it reflects the culture, the history, and everything unique about The Holy City (Charleston!!).

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Cool Down with Lowcountry Blend!

Hey coffee fans! As the summer days continue to heat up throughout the lowcountry, many coffee drinkers turn to iced coffee for relief. But iced coffee has a major problem: before you reach the bottom of your cup, the ice melts and makes the coffee taste watered down. For those of you who enjoy iced coffee, why don’t you consider making a batch of coffee ice cubes?

Lowcountry Blend Ice Cubes

In fact, coffee ice cubes not only prevent water dilution from conventional ice, but it can also strengthen the taste of your Lowcountry Blend, especially if you have added too much milk or sweeteners. You can also use the ice cubes to cool down your hot cup of coffee without watering it down. To make your Lowcountry Blend ice cubes, follow the instructions below.

1. After brewing your Lowcountry Blend, pour the coffee into ice trays.

2. Freeze the coffee overnight

3. Open your freezer the following day and the ice cubes are ready for use!

Lowcountry Blend Ice Cream

Other ways to cool down with Lowcountry Blend is to make coffee ice cream! This frozen treat combines the energy boost from coffee with the refreshing coolness of ice cream. It’s simple to make at home, and it’s delicious!

Coffee Ice Cream Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press grinds through a fine mesh sieve)

Coffee Ice Cream Directions

1. Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

3. Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling!). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating without it  running. This can take about 10 minutes.

5. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.

6 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker. Once the ice cream thickens, it’s ready to be served!

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Get a Slice of This!

Happy Friday everyone! It is already August and that means school is near.  I hope that you all take advantage of the tax-free weekend!

Are you a fan of pizza, pasta, salad, sandwiches, and delicious desserts?  If your answer was “yes,” give Brixx Pizza a try!  The first Brixx Pizza was opened in 1998 and now there are fourteen locations that travel up the east coast.  The idea behind Brixx Pizza was to create an atmosphere that combined the techniques of fine dining, with the feel of being casual.  Brixx Pizza offers a variety of foods, some of my favorite being, the Margherita Pizza, the Spinach and Artichoke dip with pita, and the Southwest Chicken Salad.  You should really try those and then try the rest of the menu!  Brixx Pizza does an excellent job of creating new flavors and colors on ordinary pizza.  For instance, Brixx now has a Thai Chicken Pizza.  This pizza brings the taste of Thailand to those on the east coast!  You should really give that pizza a try if you are up for something different, unoriginal, and a little bit spicy.

This past Wednesday, the Brixx Pizza in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina showed their support for the #beanteam and the Lowcountry Blend.  Never forget that with every cup of coffee that is purchased from a Sunoco APlus store, a cup of coffee is donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank.  So, as we say a huge ‘thank you’ to those at Brixx Pizza for supporting our cause, give them a huge ‘thank you’ by visiting one of their fourteen locations on the east coast!

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Fortune Telling with Lowcountry Blend

Drinking a cup of Lowcountry Blend could actually hold clues to your present and future. After drinking a cup of coffee, the coffee grounds left behind in the cup create symbols, which reveal your fortune. People from all over the globe have been reading coffee grounds for thousands of years, and coffee readings are typically done by women of the family during gatherings.

Coffee Preparation

By the time you drink coffee, there are usually no coffee grounds remaining. So it’s important to prepare your cup of Lowcountry Blend in a specific way. Boil your coffee on the stovetop. If you don’t boil the coffee grounds, the grounds will float in your coffee, which makes it difficult to drink. Pour the coffee without filtering the coffee grounds, and most grounds should fall to the bottom of your cup.

Drinking the Coffee 
I know it’s tempting to drink all your Lowcountry Blend, but make sure to leave some grounds at the bottom of the cup. When your drinking Lowcountry Blend, turn your coffee cup slowly while drinking so you can strain the grounds.

The Fortune Telling
Here’s the exciting part! The interpreter/ fortune-teller should hold the cup in one hand while holding the person’s hand simultaneously. Coffee grounds that lie to the right indicate the future, and leaves to the left reveal the past. Then the fortune-teller will look for images in the coffee ground. If you see symbols at the bottom of the cup, it means that the fortune will happen later as opposed to sooner.

Symbols
In general, work your way through the cup starting with the handle reading clockwise, and try to find connections between each symbol. Make sure to write down the symbols and the information you receive that day so you can begin to see how things develop when they do. Take a look at the common symbols below:

Apple: Fertility and creativity.
Arch: Money in business matters.
Bread: Nurture your desires, hopes and dreams.
Bridge: A major decision needs to be made – which way should you go?
Camera: Someone is attracted to you.
Coins: Money is on the way.
Diamonds: A marriage proposal is expected? If the person is married, this may be a symbol of money and material wealth.
Flowers: Flowers indicate happiness.
Genie Lamp: Your wish will be granted.
Harp: Traditional romance.
Heart: A love affair, if the heart is broken or misshapen then the person is broken-hearted.
Knots: Concern over something, take care that it does not negatively affect your health.
Road: Creative opportunities are bringing you to another level.
Ship: A business opportunity is presenting itself.

*To find more symbols, go to http://www.superstitionsof.com/coffee-readings.htm. The next time you drink a cup of Lowcountry Blend, sit down, relax, and enjoy your coffee reading!

 
 

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What’s Your Coffee Personality?

Happy Thursday friends! We are past that middle hump of the week and nearing the weekend. I’m sure we all have some fun-filled plans lined up. So today I will keep it light and fun.

So how many of us have gone out on a coffee date? You meet someone new and wonder what this person may possibly be like. Or perhaps while you are at your local café and happen to people watch (like I do) and wonder what that handsome gentleman who just ordered a caramel macchiato may be into? Well, you’re in luck! I read this cute little article about What Your Coffee Order Says About You to a Date.

This article deciphers coffee drinkers who like their coffee black, 8AM decaf with half and half, double shot espresso, cold brew in a bottle, cappuccino, macchiato, soy latte, iced vanilla mint Frappuccino with extra whipped cream and those who choose to be rebellious by ordering tea at a coffee chop.

Depending on what kind of day it is or has been, I either order a double shot espresso or macchiato. The double shot espresso personality reads, “They are not self-starters, but they are definitely go-getters. Life is a series of events that they attack with gusto. They go big, but God knows they never go home. In the dating realm, it obviously takes energy and stamina to keep up with a Double Shot Espresso drinker.”

While the macchiato personality reads, “Cerebral and refined, they linger over the small pleasures in life. They always return library books before they’re due. Rest assured — you can rely on them in any situation.” Hmm… Maybe next time I will say “hello” to that handsome macchiato-ordering gentleman when I see him.

To find out more about the other personalities, read the rest of the article here. Also, Friday (tomorrow) from 9:30 to 10:45am, the #beanteam belles will have an event at Fort Sumter Tours at Patriots Point in Charleston. If you’re free, stop by to meet the #beanteam belles, sample some Lowcountry Blend and enjoy a tour of historical places in Charleston with Fort Sumter Tours SpiritLine Cruises. See y’all there!

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Being a #beanteam Member

This week, I am deviating from the norm a bit, and I want to express what a unforgettable experience it has been to be a “#beanteam” member this summer (and it isn’t over yet!). At the end of last semester, this internship was recommended to me, and I figured it was a perfect way to spend the summer. I have a strong passion for public and media relations (which is why I am pursuing my Master’s in it), and knew launching a new product would be exciting. I also was excited to meet some pretty great people along the way and learn a little about my new home. Now, I am not saying that I did not expect this experience to be as rewarding as it has been, but it really has exceeded expectations (and to my fellow #beanteam “belles,” I know you feel the same way!).

Right from the get-go, employees from Sunoco, Inc. and The Bravo Group have been welcoming, encouraging, motivating, and genuinely happy to have us on board. I don’t think I am saying anything shocking when I argue that the college-aged generation isn’t always taken very seriously. As an intern, I have done everything from mindlessly stapling mailers to being the only official PR representative for a business.  I greatly appreciate the creative freedom and trust that has been given to us this summer, as we can take pride and ownership toward our work while experiencing the direct and positive return on investment.

As I work diligently on the comprehensive video and help plan a final presentation for the two companies, I can only be excited to see where this leads and how we are setting the precedent for other coffee initiatives around the country. Studying public relations can be difficult, because every campaign, every company, every environment is going to be different. That is why these internships are so valuable: you have to get out their and experience it! You just have to find the right people who will put faith in your abilities and let you show them what you are capable of.

So, when you go to your local Sunoco gas station and sip on that soothing Lowcountry Blend, think of the people who are working hard behind the scenes. It isn’t only about making a sale. It is about the experience that EVERYONE earns in the process that is the true reward.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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