Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer package steeping

Review: Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

According to a study conducted by Melitta in 2015, coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in Canada, with 84% of Canadians saying that they drink it.

Normally I'd note the potential bias there but a) potential bias is pretty obvious and b) 84% doesn't seem far-fetched.

According to CBC.ca, 67% of Canadians aged 18-67 drink coffee daily.  According to that same article, coffee drinkers consume, on average, 16.6 cups of coffee per week, or 2.4 cups per day.

Melitta's history

German housewife Melitta Bentz invented the Pour-Over™ over 100 years ago. Before that, coffee was brewed similar to the way tea is steeped now – coffee grounds were boiled in a cloth bag tied with string. This resulted in a cloudy, bitter coffee with an oily residue. The pour-over technique changed the way people made and consumed coffee.

Everyone's got their favourite – and their opinion is “THE RIGHT” one.

Coffee is a personal, very subjective subject. Everyone's got their favourite coffee spot and a preferred at-home method. They like it just so.

Some people prefer a stronger cup, others prefer a weaker cup. Some people want it black, others load it with condiments. Some like it flavoured, others insist on – to quote Denis Leary in this swear-laden rant – coffee flavored coffee. I think that if you need to load it up with condiments or flavour, you don't really like coffee and should choose another beverage. Embrace the bean.

My last five years of coffee makers

When I first moved in with my man almost five years ago he had an espresso machine that he'd modified to his liking. It eventually broke.

We tried French press for awhile, and it was good. I'd used one when I lived alone. We used one as our camping coffee method.

Then we went Keurig but the environmental guilt was too much for us. So much waste! For awhile, after each time I used the Keuring to make a cup of coffee, I would open the k-cups and dump the grounds into the compost bin. After awhile I stopped doing it each time, instead tossing them aside to do a bunch of them “later”. A time came when I stopped altogether. Eventually we started using reusable cups with our own freshly ground coffee but we still had that guilt. Two people have told me recently – and this might just be rumour – that the inventor of Keurig machines feels guilty about his invention and its environmental impact. In my home, we refer to all coffee machines that use cups and pods as “waste packaging dispensers”. I know that biodegradable cups exist now, but the non-recyclable and non-compostable still dominate.

Then came our beloved Aeropress, of which we own at least 3. (One at home, one at work, one at our trailer…) It became my favourite method by far. Using the “inverted” method, I get a strong cup with a thin layer of crema on top. Crema is one of my criteria for enjoyable coffee.

Today: Melitta?

Having experienced many home coffee brewing methods and having a current favourite, I wasn't looking to make a change. I was slightly skeptical when Melitta's PR company offered me Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer to try, but I accepted it with an open mind. I do not accept every product offer. In fact, I decline most. However, Melitta is an established name. They've been around a long time. And I like coffee.

Having a current favourite, I didn't expect much from Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer. I was pleasantly surprised.

Melitta's representative sent me a can of ground coffee but I haven't opened it, choosing instead to grind my own as usual. Nothing is the same as freshly ground. My current beans aren't fancy. They're not fair trade or locally roasted, although I have some favourite local roasts. The beans I currently use are “Colombian Supremo” from a local grocery chain.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer package

Just one disadvantage to start

The first thing I noticed with Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer was a disadvantage: I didn't know how much water to use. One of the brewer's features is a “window” that allows you to see how much coffee you're brewing. However, while it allows you to see into your cup, it doesn't help determine how much water to put into the cone. As I do with the Aeropress, I began the brewing process by slowly pouring a little bit of boiling water into the coffee grounds to saturate them and let them “bloom” before slowly pouring the rest of the water. With the Melitta brewer, I paused after pouring in a little more water, let the cup fill, poured some more water, pausing and pouring until the cup was filled with the desired amount of coffee.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer steeping
You can see the “window” at the bottom.

The solution to the water volume issue that I came up with is to fill your mug with water, pour that water into a measuring cup, and then note to use that much water next time. (So if your favourite mug holds 1 U.S. cup of liquid, pour 1 cup of boiling water into the cup.) You'd have to do this with every different sized vessel that holds your coffee.
If you've got a better idea, feel free to share it.
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer pouring

Oh, but the smell…

After that, all good. My man walked into the kitchen as I was making the first cup and observed that it smelled good. It really did. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee is one of the best smells in the world, isn't it? Unless you don't like coffee or the smell of it.

The taste?

I tried it black first, and it tasted really good. Much better than I expected.

I proceeded to make one of my Bulletproof-like lattes and it was delicious with its added cinnamon, vanilla and grass-fed dairy, blended to a lovely froth.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Bulletproof

Clean up is a snap!

[*finger snap*, like in a cheesy commercial]

Clean up was easy. Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer takes a #2 cone filter. When the coffee has finished brewing, dump that in the compost bin and rinse the plastic brewer- and the rinsing part is optional.  It's slightly easier to clean than the Aeropress, which requires a good rinse.

Verdict

I still love my Aeropress, but will use the Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer at work. It saves money on buying coffee, and saves the guilt of using one of the Keurig machines at the office. Curious? Go for it! Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer is a great choice. It also costs under $5 in both Canadian and U.S. currencies. You can find it at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other retailers.

My "almost Bulletproof" coffee.
My “almost Bulletproof” coffee.

The Most Popular Drugs in the World

At the end of my Project Claudia post, I promised I'd address this one.

What do you think are the most popular drugs in the world?

By some definitions, it is marijuana but there are two others that are legal and so commonly used that people don't think of them as drugs at all.

Before I tell you what they are, I want to define two terms. Emphasis mine:

1. Drug:

“a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” (Source: Google “drug definition”)
“any article, other than food, intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of humans or other animals.” (Source: dictionary.com)
something and often an illegal substance that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness” (Source: Merriam-Webster)

2. Addiction:
“compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal” (Source: Merriam-Webster)
“the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” (Source: dictionary.com)

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people begin taking drugs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • to feel good
  • to feel better
  • to do better – improve performance
  • curiosity and peer pressure

According to The American Psychiatric Association (APA), symptoms of addiction – or “substance use disorder” are grouped into four categories:

– Impaired control: a craving or strong urge to use the substance; desire or failed attempts to cut down or control substance use
– Social problems: significant problems at home, school, or work, including relationship problems; you stop doing activities you usually enjoy in order to use the substance (or perform the activity, as would be the case with addictions to gambling or internet or porn – to name a few).
– Risky use: you place yourself in settings or situations that could be or are dangerous just so you can continue to use.
– Drug effects: tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. (See M-W definition above.)

Can you think of any everyday, common substances that fit these definitions and characteristics of drugs and addiction?

The two I'm thinking of are both white powders: One bitter, one sweet.

Remember, I'm talking legal drugs here, so no, it's not cocaine.

Common additive substance #1

This is one of them:
caffeinemolecule2

Its molecules are made up of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen atoms.

You likely have the means of making it at home. You likely consume it daily, or often.

It's available in grocery stores and specialty shops.

Two writers in The Atlantic referred to it as, “The World’s Most Popular Drug”.

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The Awesome Life Detox Returns!

awesome_life_detox_728x90

I love this program, and I adore its facilitator, Meghan Telpner. I own several of her ebooks, both of her published books (physical copies!) and have done several of her programs. I went to some of her live workshops when she still held them. I always feel better after I do her programs and I constantly learn from her. She's an inspiration.

After more than a year, the Awesome Life Detox program is returning as a group challenge.

This isn't your regular green juice chugging detox. The focus of the detox is your health, your happiness and ultimately, how to live the most fulfilling, best (awesome) life possible! It's an overhaul of your life with a holistic approach rather than a simplified program that only deals with diet.

Here is a breakdown of the Awesome Life Detox:

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Genuine Health fermented Greek yogurt proteins+

OPA header

Genuine Health fermented Greek yogurt proteins+  is my new favourite product, from one of my favourite companies in the wellness industry.

Let me back up a few months…

In January, I attended an event that promoted Greens+ Extra Energy. My inner nutrition nerd was stimulated. While I was already an occasional Greens+ user, I fell in love with the company. I subsequently begged them to hire me. They haven't yet, but they still might when the right opportunity comes along. The post I wrote about that event is one of my favourite pieces of writing. I've since quoted this part to other people, regarding the taste of Greens+:

Your entire life you’ve been eating or drinking stuff that’s not delicious simply because it’s good for you. As an adult, you do it because you’re taking responsibility for your own health. Ideally, you’d like it, but if you can tolerate it without hating it, that’s good enough. You suck it up and you do it because it’s part of “adulting”.

I continue to be impressed with the scientific research that goes into Genuine Health products and how conscious they are to combine specific ingredients and specific formats. It's easy for companies to put together a bunch of inferior ingredients, or inferior parts of an ingredient (say, a less effective part of a plant) and call it a healthy formula, but quality matters.

And so, when I got the invitation for the launch of a new product, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I knew that I would be educated and fed. I got up early to go to a breakfast event promoting fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ at Mamakas Taverna (80 Ossington Ave, Toronto).

Here's a snippet of the information I got from Genuine Health's publicity company:

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It’s springtime: Try Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

Recognize those? Those are fiddleheads, in the wild. Along with

Those are fiddleheads, in the wild. Along with ramps/wild leeks, fiddleheads  – also referred to as “fiddlehead ferns” – mark the start of spring and have a very short edible season.

Fiddleheads are the unfurled frond of the ostrich fern. They're so-called because they resemble the curled ornamentation (scroll) on the head (end) of a fiddle. Fiddle head.

Fiddleheads are harvested for use as a vegetable. They're valued because they're beautiful, they have a delicate flavour and because of their brief availability. The psychology of “scarcity” drives people to them – the idea of “It's spring! Fiddleheads are here! Better eat them before they're gone!” Unlike other vegetables, you can't really eat imports because they're so delicate. Fiddleheads are also a score if you can find them while foraging. You must find them before they unfurl. Once they unfurl it's too late.

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wild leeks, ramps

It’s Springtime. Ramp It Up With Wild Leeks!

It's springtime here in Ontario. According to the calendar been springtime for nearly two months, but the weather finally feels like spring. I get really excited with the warmer weather and not just because I'm not a fan of the cold. Sure, March brings maple syrup, and I look forward to that every year, but his time of year, May, is when the new cycle of vegetables begins. Next month we'll start to see fruit and in a month and a half the strawberries will be out. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. This post is about the start of spring vegetables! Over the next few days, I'm going to profile a few of these.

It's been awhile since I blogged regularly and I'm trying to get into a new routine – blogging first thing in the morning – and getting back to what I used to do well, in blog posts and newsletters for the CSA program I was part of. That is, research and present my research. After all, this website is about curating content and educating. My blogging mission statement for the past several years and through several blogs has been “writes to educate”.

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May is Celiac Awareness Month

Category: Diet

This post was originally published on May 8, 2014, to my previous website, canadianfoodiegirl.com. Other, more recent posts on this topic will follow.

On Monday while watching Breakfast Television I learned from Mairlyn Smith that May is Celiac Awareness Month.

To borrow from a Huffington Post article about Celiac Awareness Month:

May is Celiac Awareness Month. It's a prime time for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (“gluten sensitivity”) to pull together and rise above the noise of the gluten-free fad diet. And while Celiac Awareness Month is an exciting time for our community, it's not just about us. It's about the 83 percent of you out there living with celiac disease and not even knowing it.

In the article, Alice Bast raises some amazing points.

#1:

“The biggest barrier to celiac disease diagnosis is its very treatment — the gluten-free diet…. Casually experimenting with the gluten-free diet could prevent you from receiving an accurate diagnosis as people must be on a regular, gluten-containing diet in order to be accurately tested for celiac disease. “

This is one of the reasons celiac disease (defined below) is under-diagnosed professionally. I've seen friends put off getting testing done because they don't want to experience the pain that gluten causes, just to get a diagnosis. I believe that if you feel better not eating gluten, don't eat it. It's a simple elimination diet. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get tested, but you don't need a professional diagnosis to label you and you don't need to label yourself. You don't need to say “I'm celiac” or “I'm gluten intolerant”, just “I feel better when I don't consume gluten.”

That said you might want to get tested because 1) celiac disease is hereditary, 2) to rule out other ailments that might have similar symptoms, 3) to know for sure. Sometimes confirmation provides peace of mind.

#2:

gluten isn't some fattening ingredient or the golden ticket to weight loss

Two responses here:

1. Processed food is still processed food and junk food is still junk food, even if it's gluten free. Follow the rule of not eating crap. I don't care if those chocolate cookies are made gluten free, they're still chocolate cookies. Enjoy them for what they are, but don't fool yourself into thinking that they're healthy.

2. I've ranted before about people who go gluten free not because it makes them feel better, but because they've been told it will make them lose weight, or because they've heard that gluten is “bad”. Those people tend to not know what gluten is, just that it's the new evil. I suspect there's a placebo effect to avoiding gluten too. That is, the positive effect comes from the belief. This isn't a bad thing. Feeling better is feeling better. The bandwagon-jumping gluten avoiders piss off true celiacs and gluten intolerants who would eat gluten if it didn't make them feel like crap. Or so many of them have told me. In a way, then, the bandwagon jumpers are taking some of the perceived credibility away from those who are suffering from the disease (or, if undiagnosed, those who truly feel awful after consuming gluten) and turning the whole concept of “gluten free” into something not taken seriously when it is serious to those who get sick from it. I've heard tales from people who are truly celiac or gluten intolerant or sensitive sometimes who find themselves telling wait staff, “No really…” and trying to distinguish themselves from people who treat it casually.

On that note, let's look at what celiac disease is and what gluten is:

Continue reading “May is Celiac Awareness Month”

A Non-Vegan Meat Replacer Showcased at The Green Living Show

This weekend in Toronto: The Green Living Show

I stopped by yesterday morning before it opened for a media preview. I didn't get to see everything, because not every booth was set up and I had a long to-do list outside of the show, but I did take particular interest in a food startup company called C-FU Foods/One Hop Kitchen. I'm a sucker for startups. I'm currently working for my third. Here's a description from the C-FU Foods website:

Through our innovative process we’ve created a healthy meat replacement that helps you create culinary staples like burgers, schnitzel or nuggets. It can also act as an alternative to eggs or butter, making it as adaptable as it is sustainable. It’s even a protein powder that you can whip it into a morning shake.

If you think that this refers to soy or wheat gluten or something else vegan, you're wrong.

OneHopKitchen
I thought I got a photo of the sauce on pasta but I can't find it.

It's insects.

There are an estimated 1,462 species of recorded edible insects

The company has two branches. One Hop Kitchen makes their sustainable Bolognese sauces made with crickets & mealworms.

Here are some facts about cricket meal/flour:

  • It contains 10x the amount of B12 as salmon* (Source: Cricket Flours – though one of the lads from C-Fu Foods mentioned high B12 too, and so that's the first thing I googled for this post.)
  • It contains 5.9mg of iron per 100 grams, which is almost TWICE more than the amount you get from spinach, 3.5mg per 100 grams. (Source: Cricket Flours)
  • By dry weight, a single cricket ranges between 65% – 70% pure protein. Beef is between 17% – 40% protein, with the rest being primarily fat (Source: Cricket Flours)
  • 100 grams of cricket contains: 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 5.5 g. of fat, 5.1 g. of carbohydrates, 75.8 mg. calcium, 185.3 mg. of phosphorous, 9.5 mg. of iron, 0.36 mg. of thiamin, 1.09 mg. of riboflavin, 3.10 mg. of niacin and .05% fat. 

 (source: Insects are food)

Mealworms

  • 53% protein, 28% fat

I didn't flinch when I found out about the sauces. I'd been to a bug-tasting dinner before and listened to presentations about eating insects for environmental sustainability and health. My exact phrase to the lads at the table, the first time this phrase has ever left my lips, “It's a psychological mind fuck.”

I did a blind taste test of three sauces. One meat, one mealworm, one cricket. I got them all wrong.

If you're at the Green Living Show this weekend, look for the booth. Can make it this weekend? They'll have a booth at The Gladstone Hotel's Grow Op event on April 22.

Further reading:

 

Ryza is nice-a

Ryza is nice-a was originally published to my other blog, Canadianfoodiegirl.com, on October 23, 2012. This is another one of my favourite posts ever from that site. It may have gotten ideas turning about a separate website for health and wellness. It was definitely a turning point, because who goes to a cooking class sponsored by rice milk and ends up writing about anti-nutrients and phytonutrients?


I recently participated in an interactive cooking class at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens, lead by Chef Patricia Muzzi of Mood Food Culinary. The class featured Ryza brand rice milk.

In the first part of the evening, Chef Muzzi introduced us to the recipes we'd be using, discussed their affects on the brain and gave suggestions for incorporating them into everyday cooking. Her company's mission is to bring awareness to the vital connection between food and the brain and how it impacts overall health and well-being. That's my language.

Participants were split into three groups to create an appetizer, entrée and dessert using Chef Muzzi's recipes with Ryza as the featured ingredient.

On the menu:

Zucchini & Bell Pepper Fritters w Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce Turkey Scaloppini with Leeks & Peas in wild mushroom sauce Sweet Vanilla & Peach Risotto Pudding w Dark Chocolate
Zucchini & Bell Pepper Fritters w Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce
Turkey Scaloppini with Leeks & Peas in wild mushroom sauce
Sweet Vanilla & Peach Risotto Pudding w Dark Chocolate

I dredged the turkey. You might have read this post in which I talk about my hands being my favourite kitchen tool.

Truthfully, I didn't notice the mention of Ryza in the event invitation. When, upon arrival, I learned that the purpose was to promote a product, I was relieved that it was Ryza. A lot of other products would have had me wanting to bolt from the room, but Ryza happens to be my favourite brand of rice milk. My mother introduced it to me years ago.

Why do I like it?

Two reasons:
1. It's made with brown rice.
2. As my mother pointed out, it's the only rice milk on the market without oil as an ingredient.

The idea of sunflower/safflower oil as an additive to rice milk creeps me out.

Ryza comes in two flavours: Original and vanilla. The ingredients of the original: Water, whole grain brown rice, calcium phosphate tribasic, salt, carrageenan, amylase, vitamin A palmitate, zinc gluconate, riboflavin, vitamin D, vitamin B12.

I'm generally not a fan of ingredients that sound science-y, but these are a-ok to me. Calcium phosphate tribasic comes from nature – either bone/bone ash or rock. Carrageenan (a thickener) comes from seaweed.

In theory I prefer to make my own nondairy milks. In practice I buy my nondairy milk because of how quickly the home made stuff spoils. [2016 update: That's changed.]

Listen up, class

Continue reading “Ryza is nice-a”

Greens+ & More: An Afternoon With Genuine Health

Greens+ & More: An Afternoon With Genuine Health

What's the first thing you put into your body each day?

Is it coffee? Tea? lemon water? regular water? juice? a smoothie? or maybe a different green drink? Do you like to drink your greens? What's your experience with greens drinks?

I'm genuinely interested (feel free to comment below). And I needed an opener so that what comes next doesn't appear out of context separate from the rest of this piece.

It's Not Easy Being Green

Memory:

My mother brought home a new greens powder to try, a product called Greens+. Standing in the kitchen, she mixed it with water, tasted it, grimaced, handed it to me, I tasted it, I grimaced. We agreed that it tastes the way fish food smells. We refused to drink it again.

I don’t remember if she returned it, but it was more than 20 years ago.

Continue reading “Greens+ & More: An Afternoon With Genuine Health”