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Coffee and Adventure Blog

Try these coffee facts out!

 

Here are some interesting facts about coffee while you enjoy your morning brew.

 


 

 

So, did you know that:

1. Coffee is one of the most profitable traded commodities in the world . Proudly second to oil.

2. Coffee beans? They are not beans! THEY ARE FRUIT PITS! I assume that because beans sounds better than pits, beans win out.

3. The world drinks up around 2.2 billion cups of coffee every day! Increase in coffee consumption started in the early ‘70s. This boom in coffee consumption actually has led to a lot of environment damage.

To read more go to: http://www.bernhardtcoffee.com/adventure-coffee-blog/on-coffee

4. Conventional coffee is the most toxic product on the market! Conventional coffee is sprayed with more chemicals, than any other product consumed by humans. Vast doses of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used to grow and produce beans. That is why people should only drink Shade Grown ORGANIC COFFEE!

5. Instant coffee was invented in the early 1900 by the man named George Washington, American inventor of Anglo - Belgian origins.

6. The word “coffee” comes from arabic which means; ’wine of the bean’.

7. Mexico is the largest organic coffee producer in the world, with organic coffee plantations of 150,000 hectares / 371,000 acres representing tens of thousands of tons of coffee beans, mostly harvested by small indigenous farmers.

8. 54% of Americans drink coffee every day! The highest consumption is in New York City!

9. In some places, you may drink coffee with the company of ... cats! You just must go to a special cafe…’CAT CAFE’. What is it? Briefly we may call it a “supervised indoor cat rental”. First cat cafes were founded in South Korea and Japan and seem to be very popular.

We are sure you have some interesting coffee facts to share with us. Send us your coffee knowledge and stories.

The travelling Bernhardt Team (MED)







 

Maple Syrup and Free Enterprise

 

I love maple syrup and let me emphasis the word, love! There are several reasons for this. Who can beat the taste of all natural maple syrup? The image of naked maple trees covered in a blanket of snow being tapped to extract this raw liquid gold late in the winter, early spring.

 

 

 

The smell of real maple syrup being heated up with a tad of butter ready for the stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

Just yum!

Just for the fun of it, here is what is actually in most artificial syrups:

 

CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), SODIUM BENZOATE ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE.

 

But let me get back to the beautiful forest where true maple syrup is made. The other day I had a craving for a stack of homemade pancakes. Sadly, my cupboard was void of maple syrup, so off to the grocery store I went. More and more, I find myself looking at back labels. The maple syrup that I found at my local market was from Quebec, Canada. It appeared to be a tad expensive. Nevertheless I bought it with great anticipation. No authentic maple syrup, no pancakes! It’s that simple.

 

After a delightful breakfast, I decided to do some research on the maple syrup industry and what I found was important enough to share with the Bernhardt fans. Just having had maple syrup from Quebec, Canada, my research took me to this part of the world first. Individual farmers harvest the vast majority of all maple syrup. Quebec is the dominant producer of the global maple syrup production, representing something close to 70% of the volume. This is where the good news stops.

 

The organization which oversees the production of Quebec maple syrup is called the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, otherwise known as FPAQ. Well, it comes to pass that if your harvest your crop in this Canadian province, you are not allowed to openly sell your production openly. Only a tiny fraction is allowed to be sold independently to a few visitors who may come to your farm. The production has to be sold at a fixed price to the FPAQ and that’s that! This is the OPEC of Canada. Farmers have zero say in this and if they decide to go outside the organization and sell to the open market at a price they deemed fair, well.. the fines are astronomical! So much for free trade!

 

Now back to the good news! There was a time that America was the leader in maple syrup production. That was a time before the marketing brains behind article syrup was unleashed on Americans. That lead ended in the 30’s. However, the tide seems to be changing and there is a come back to the real maple syrup production in America. US inventory of this beautiful product is starting to give the French Canadians a run for their syrup! Recent production figures show a double-digit growth. There are now more maple trees growing in the Northeast sector of the United States than what exist currently in Quebec. The existence of newly planted maple trees in New York State alone has grown significantly to the point that their stocks may soon over take the Canadian figures.

 

For all of us who appreciate free enterprise and free choice, this comes as good news. It is to say that small American maple syrup producers can freely go to the market with their product and sell to whom they like without an organization like FPAQ telling them how to run their business.

 

As long as the big food conglomerates do not buy up all these small American independent farm producers, we just might see the price of maple syrup coming down a bit. And that’s good news for that stack of buttermilk pancakes (with a cup of Bernhardt All Organic coffee next to it).

 

Next time you have the urge to have those tasty buttermilk pancakes, make sure you support the local American maple syrup producers. The small Canadian producers who seek their independence just might thank you for it.

BCLB

 

 

 

 

Bernhardt Team travels to Cuba.

 

 

Inglorious history of the island is known by most of us. We know what had happened and we know why! It is not the time or place for a history lesson or to judge whether the decisions made back then were good or bad. This post is not a political statement, we are mostly interested in people, lifestyle, adventure and of course organic coffee (in Cuba, you can actually come across coffee plants hidden between trees - pure organic, shade grown).

 

The unknown Cuba. Stunning beauty!

 

On the verge of diversion, one can almost feel the wind of change from the North. So what precisely can one see in Cuba?

 

THE PEOPLE

 

On the streets of Havana you can notice strangely excited people, that there is something elusive in the air. There is a spirit of something significant happening! Seemingly nothing has happened, but the change in people’s minds is happening now!

 

For the first time, Cubans (in capital of Havana only) have an access to the internet. It is still partially censored by the government, slow and very expensive for the average Cuban. Despite this, especially for the younger people, it is the window to the outside world! People browse, people talk, share the news and new ideas. They do understand that situation has to change, although they are filled with deep fear which stops them from any action.

 

Moreover, for the first time, people are allowed to start their own private businesses. The type of businesses that are allowed are restricted by those in power and getting the licence is still a complicated bureaucratic process. But finally private initiative has been allowed and it is growing rapidly. As an example, private restaurants are now permissible and some of these operations are really impressive.

El Rum Rum - private initiative!

 

 

The situation appears to be very different in the small towns and countryside of the island (not to be confused with the highly restricted tourist resorts). Unlike in Havana, people do not have an access to the internet, they usually do not speak English, and therefore contact with foreign tourist is more rare. This stark contrast is amazing! It is as though they are living in a completely different country than the rapid change of Havana. It is hard to believe it is 2015 in the back country of Cuba!

A country tobacco grower.

 

 

THE LIFESTYLE

 

When one conjures up the visions of paradise in Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean, one may think of tropical breezes, palm trees, beautiful beaches and exotic fruits to make those fancy holiday drinks. For many of the foreign visitors who come to Cuba and are shuttled to the beach resorts, this is the picture. They really don’t know the true existence of the Cuban people.

For those who like to know the true culture of Cubans, it is important to get out from the guided tours and explore on your own. By talking to the local inhabitants, one would find that their existence is painted in rather dark colours.

Cubans struggle! They struggle for essentials!

They need the basics household goods; building materials, refrigerators, working septic systems, and just clean water. Interestingly, the vast majority of Cubans use powder milk as there is not a reliable delivery system for refrigerated products. Not to mention fair salaries. Their sense of dignity is even pushed to the point where they cannot gain entrance to fancy restaurants or resorts that have been exclusively reserved for tourists!

These were the personal experiences I directly had with the Cuban people during my stay. These are some of their basic issues. The rest they hope for will come one day, but for now, they are living right here, right now!

Surprisingly, the people of Cuba with all their problems, concerns and inconveniences, are the nicest, happy, relaxed and easygoing people I have ever met! They do what they can and hope for a better future.

In Havana...some people actually live in buildings such as these!
 

Varadero resort! Tourist’s paradise!

 

 

THE ADVENTURE

Travelling is always an adventure. It doesn’t matter whether you are going 50 or 5000 miles away. The world is a vast, magnificent place and there is always something to discover and enjoy...everywhere! Cuba is no exception!

 

In Cuba one has a lot to choose from. There is the famous historical ‘Old Town’ in Havana which is listed as one of the top UNESCO sites, beautiful white sand beaches, lush tropical forests, beautiful mountain ranges and more. Un-expectantly, I was taken to a vast underground natural cave formation. One of the largest in the world. Who would have known?

This is a country filled with possible activities that can keep you busy and in an adventurous mood!

 

I would be amiss if I did not talk about one of the favourite activities in Cuba...being a passenger! Obviously, I am talking about riding around in the old classic American cars which are mostly used as private taxis! It’s more than fun, it’s a marvel. The creative genius of keeping these classics cars running is a book in itself.

 

ORGANIC COFFEE

 

My favorite topic, organic coffee. Coffee in Cuba has been grown since middle of XVIII century. Many of the Western plantations of the island were set up by French immigrants fleeing from the revolution in nearby Haiti.

During the peak of coffee production (mid of 1950), Cuba exported more than 20000 metric tons of coffee beans per year.

In the ‘60 though, coffee production slowly began to decline (we know why!). What was once a dominant Cuban export, became to be an insignificant portion of Cuban trade.

 

Nowadays, 92 percent of the Cuban coffee is grown in area of the Sierra Maestra mountains, usually under forest canopies - shade grown. Cuba produces both arabica and robusta beans with most of the production coming from small family farms.

 

More than 4000 hectares/16 sq miles of the coffee plantations are certified as organic. Cuba exports much of their organic coffee to Europe and Japan. Centered in the Eastern part of the island, the area produces 93 metric tons of the organic beans that is selling at prices 40% higher than the conventional coffee.

 

The rating of this organic coffee is very high and we hope that one day, the roasters at Bernhardt All Organic will be able to incorporate Cuban organic coffee into our blends. And, we hope that these coffee farmers will be able to create private co-ops which has been the success of most coffee producers in Central and South America.

 

We hope your travels will take you to this amazing island with amazing people.

FINALLY

 

Just to remember, that:

 

 

 

The travelling Bernhardt Team (MED)

 

 

Mornings according to Bernhardt Team

Waking up on winter mornings can be very challenging, especially for those of you living in cold northern climates. Being far north of the equator is a different experience than those living in more temperate climates.

Our coffee team this week find us in Northern Europe where we continued to work on improving the Bernhardt All Organic Coffee experience.

At 07:00 hours, it is still pitch black with the howling winds from the North blowing right through you, giving you the feeling of anxiousness at times. It is too cold and too wet to enjoy a walk outside, though we feel a need to keep our mornings productive.

Few days ago we were talking about different ways to start the day right and to get off to a great start and keeping yourself fit, happy and comfortable during winter’s grasp. So as a group, we came up with 7 ideas for the perfect morning!

 

IDEAS FOR A PERFECT MORNING

1. STAY PUT - Don’t jump out of the bed, stay there for few more minutes to stretch. Clear your mind. Try not to think of anything stressful, just focus on your body. Feel it! It doesn’t have to be a long session, 3 minutes will do just fine!


2. YES, EXERCISE - Do you have 15-20 minutes to spare? Some sort of physical activities like pilates (or anything of your choice) will help you to prepare for a better day. You can start with 3 different exercises (10 minutes) and slowly increase the number of them. Short workout like this will definitely wake you up. In the meantime, you may like listening to some motivational podcasts, like:

Happier (my favourite one) http://gretchenrubin.com/podcast/ or

The charged life https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/charged-life-brendon-burchard/id821746377?mt=2

I know how hard it is to get to this routine, but I also know how rewarding it can be!



3. Hmmm … WARM WATER - Taking shower in the morning?

Use fresh, fruity and natural energizing body wash. Additionally, use a clear glycerin rich soap like Neutrogena facial bar. No better feeling than having way to energize the skin. Leave the more sensual bath products for the evening.

4. MAN’S BEST FRIEND - Take time to give your pets love and care(if you have some of course)!

I know that not everyone can afford spending some quality time with pets in the morning, but preparing their meals, cleaning their space with CARE (it won’t take you more than 10 minutes) and seeing them happy and grateful stops anxiety, makes you calm and serene.

Living in harmony with the nature is the key!


5. EAT - Breakfast, it’s been told, is the most important meal of the day. Treat yourself to a great little feast and of course don’t forget about Bernhardt All Organic coffee.(it doesn’t get better than this!)

You don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing breakfast. It is the quality of choices you make with respect to what you eat. Take your time and enjoy these few minutes. A feast is the enjoyment you get out of the experience.

6. TURN LEFT, TURN RIGHT - Don’t be so predictable!

Choose different routes to get to work, enjoy views, see how neighbourhood is changing. Maybe you will discover something NEW! And if you have the luxury of taking your bicycle to work, by all means do it. The journey might take you a little longer, but you may discover a new favourite place.


7. DON’T HOLD IT IN - Say something positive to people you love (“Good morning, I love you”) or even to complete strangers. Wish them a fantastic day, smile at them!

What goes around comes around! When people are nice one to another, life seems to be easier and more pleasurable!

You don’t have to take all these suggestions to heart. But take a few minutes to think of where you can make slight changes to your morning routine in order to be more enriched.

It has had positive impact on our lives and we hope it does with you as well.


Finally - don’t forget to tell your friends about our great organic coffee. We love to hear from you via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.


To your good health … the travelling Bernhardt Team. (MED)

 

Perfect breakfast

Coming back to the roots of Bernhardt All Organic Coffee... our last trip took us to beautiful Austria (not too far from Münich, Germany) which turned out to be a great success. Starting with the absolutely gorgeous weather, we enjoyed full sun with around 18C/64F temperature in the middle of November, culminating with the great meetings and people we had a chance to meet.

There were great things in between as well, and I would love to share one of these experiences with you!

We were booked in to the family owned hotel in the small, quaint town of Modling, just outside Vienna, which worked just perfectly for us. Little congestion, little noise, very peaceful, and only 20 minutes by train to Vienna.


Our stay in Babenbergerhof hotel was very pleasurable and we found out that the family has been in hotel business since the end of XIX century. The fascinating history of Wehrmacht Soldiers occupying the inn just after the WWII erupted and the painful Russian occupation of the hotel after the war, was revealed to us. Wow!

Everything about our few days at the Babenbergerhof hotel was perfect, but what I would like to praise the most was the breakfast.

Very often we do not book our breakfast at the hotel in conjunction with the room, but rather go outside and explore other options. Top of the list is to always look for the great coffee shops and of course, great coffee - hopefully organic!

Nevertheless, on this trip we decided to eat at the hotel!

How surprised we were to see the international ,first class and absolutely beautiful BREAKFAST. All varieties of cereals, jams (from the jar, not the tiny, plastic containers), beautiful breads, fruits, cakes, cold cuts, eggs, vegetables arranged in this cozy, ‘eating like you are at home’ way.



Being a passionate coffee drinker, I couldn’t miss the ’hot, morning drinks station’ in the Babenbergerhof Hotel.

I was so pleased with the selection of different kinds of loose teas in the jars, that you could prepare your own way! How great is this? No bagged teas, no big brands being an eyesore.

Furthermore and of course most importantly, they have a beautiful, freshly ground coffee, that guests brew for themselves in the individual French presses. One press makes exactly one mug! Obviously I am familiar with the different ways of preparing coffee, but it was a first time that I had the ability to make one mug of individual French press myself outside of my own comfy kitchen!

This superb breakfast is not only avaliable for hotel guests as one can pop in and enjoyed it between the hours of 6:00 am to 10:30 am.

If you happen to be close to Vienna, don’t hesitate to stay in the town of Modling, you won’t be disappointed.


 

The travelling team of Bernhardt (MED) 

On the good manners - beautiful coffee drinking.

Browsing through the internet on the subject of good manners, I stopped on the BBC Capital website (02/20/2015) for the moment, the headlines really got me:

“Western manners: The latest Chinese status symbol”.


I actually should explain, why I was taken by the topic. Recently, I have been noticing a kind of downfall of the etiquette, especially while travelling with the young people. Some of them do not know how to use cutlery properly, how to sit at the table or what are do’s and dont’s of mannerliness. I believe it isn’t acceptable in the modern, civilized nations, moreover, I believe those who aren’t well mannered show disrespect for the party and themselves.


My thinking was, “ How come Asians are so eager to gain all the skills and knowledge Westerners started to neglect?” Do we have to be reminded, what our culture is about? Maybe people should be doing something they consider “old world behaviour” once a day to experience how extraordinary, rewarding and pleasurable it can be?


Refreshing was a trip to Cuba, where (in the average Cuban “casa”) one can enjoy coffee out of famous demitasse. The cups seem to be antiques from the pre-revolution era and we can only imagined who, where and when was using it before, considering decadent character of pre-Castro era.


Drinking coffee out of these graceful works of art in the full sun at 8 am in the morning cannot compare to anything else. Would it be the same with the paper, takeaway cup in my hand?

 

The travelling team of Bernhardt (MED) 

XIX century coffee plantation.

Sourcing great organic coffee is hard work. Recently our travels took us to Cuba where it is believed that the Cuban coffee production is almost entirely organic. This reputation deserved a first hand look.

While travelling through Western part of Cuba, we were brought to the oldest historical coffee plantation that has been inactive for over a century. It is nestled in the forest region of Sierra del Rosario. You can clearly understand from this vantage point what it means to farm organically in a shade grown forest.

The place (reconstructed ruins, not operational) was built in 1802 by French immigrants fleeing from the revolution in nearby Haiti. The site is situated around 240 meters above sea level with an outstanding view on the San Juan valley, which is recognized World Biosphere Reserve.


Next to the “casa”, along the drying platforms there are ruins of slave’s barracks and the bell that was once gathering all of them for work.


“Casa” - now restaurant.


Seeing the old methods of processing coffee beans was priceless.

After harvesting slaves were putting coffee beans to the tajona (grindstone).

The huge grindstone (operated by the slaves) extracted coffee beans from their shells.


The tajona-grindstone.

 

 

Next, the beans were sun-dried on the huge platforms below the gazebo with the grinder.

Coffee Drying Beds

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Even though, Antiguo Cafetal Buena Vista wasn’t the only place we have visited during this trip, for a coffee freaks like us it was a good and enjoyable lesson. I rate it 10 out of 10.

 

The travelling team of Bernhardt.(MED) 

 

8 reasons to Always Buy Organic Coffee

Here at Bernhardt, we believe in the power of coffee. It’s liquid inspiration for wild adventures; potent fuel for great journeys; and the purest of sensory pleasures. Conventional coffee, however, carries a lot of unnecessary (and unpleasant) baggage.


Most drinkers don’t realize that as a crop, standard coffee beans are one of the most heavily polluted in the world. They’re doused with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. Is that really what you want in your Chemex every morning?


To avoid these and other problems, here are 8 reasons why buying organic is a better choice:


8. Support small farmers.

Organic coffee comes from independent growers — not corporate farms. We need to keep the future of farming in the hands of the people, and buying from small growers supports a sustainable future.


7. Improve water quality.

Runoff from chemical fertilizers and pesticides pollutes water supply. Organically grown coffee eliminates this environmental nightmare.


6. Enjoy better flavor.

Studies have shown that organic blends are richer and more flavorful.


5. Protect the health of workers.

Workers in chemically treated fields have to spend day after day breathing in polluted air. On organic farms, employees are free from these kinds of risks.


4. Help the overall environment.

Organic beans are better for the air, the water, and the soil. Organic growing protects soil quality through crop rotation and the use of natural fertilizers; avoids polluting local water supplies; and helps mitigate the greenhouse effect by retaining more carbon in the soil and reducing agricultural energy needs.


3. Consume more antioxidants.

Organic coffee is a prime source of disease-fighting nutrients.


2. Avoid pesticides.

Pesticides have been shown to contribute to an array of health problems, including prostate and other types of cancers, hormone imbalance, Parkinson’s disease, irritation to skin and eyes, and even miscarriages in pregnant women.


1. Improve your health.

Coffee consumption has been linked to lots of health benefits, including reduced risks of diabetes, Parkinson’s, liver cancer, liver disease, heart failure, and more.


Share this info with your coffee-drinking friends and co-workers, and remember, Bernhardt is Certified Organic (not to mention Fair Trade, Shade Grown and Bird Friendly, High Elevation and Swiss Water® Process for Decaf Coffee), always!

 

by Hannah Sentenac  

Love in the forest.

“The winter is coming” - Ned Stark would say!


Winter in Poland may be really cruel with snowstorms, low freezing temperatures and snowdrifts so high you could mistake it for serious trenches. During such winter season, life comes to a stop, especially in the countryside where people enjoy staying in their warm homes with their loved ones near the open fire..

Winter months may be really difficult and tiring, shoveling snow, dealing with bad traffic on the roads, not enough ploughs to keep streets clean. Nevertheless people still survive as they have their methods that they have used for centuries and they had time to come up with the ideas to tame mother nature.

One would say forest animals can easily survive the tough winter too. They have their own ways and methods of enduring the winter cold, as they have been here as long as we have.

Unfortunately it isn’t the truth……

There is no way to find food under meters and meters of snow, there is no way to find leaves on the naked branches. It is very common for those animals ( deers, boars ) to come very close to the human’s settlement when things turn really bad. However, it is extremely dangerous for them - hunters, speeding cars, dogs - to just name few of the threats.


The idea of the forest hay racks has been known for a lengthy period of time, that is people’s way to help wild animals to get through winter.


What is a hay rack?

Usually it is a wooden construction, just like this:

download.jpg

Food and easy access to it may save some lives during the cold months. Very often a special minerals are left next to it too, a professional name for it is “mineral lick”.

During one of our walks, we have spotted a really big one and probably the very popular one, as an area is full of forest animals you can meet every morning on your way to work. Just in the middle of beautiful, autumn forest.

I want to come back in the winter time, to check it out. Will keep you posted!


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The travelling team of Bernhardt (MED) 

On coffee

Now more than ever it pays to be informed about the impact the food we eat has on our health. Unfortunately, it has not been well known fact that coffee is the most toxic product in the market. Next to tobacco, coffee is sprayed with more chemicals than any other product consumed by humans. The chemicals that has been used in the whole process of growing can have a vast impact on our health and well-being.

Conventionally all coffee was shade grown (bird friendly, little or no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides usage). Sadly in the early 70’ following the increase in coffee consumption new varieties of coffee were developed to meet market demands. The new varieties were easier to harvest and produced in the direct sunlight. Vast amount of producers cut the trees (what had an impact on birds’ population) and started to grow these new varieties of the plant.

However growing plants was quicker, more efficient it came with the further cost. New crossbreeds needed vast doses of pesticides and chemical fertilizers to grow and produce beans. Soil erosion and depletion made producers to clear huge areas of rainforest for the new soil.

The health and environmental damage is not acceptable!


In Bernhardt All Organic Coffee we do know how important- for us as a consumers and for our planet as our home- is to produce all organic, shade grown coffee. Proudly I can say that all our products are certified:

  • Certified Organic by USDA
  • Certified Fair Trade by Fair Trade Federation & Fair Trade USA
  • Certified Shade Grown and Bird Friendly by The Smithsonian
  • Certified High Elevation Coffee
  • Certified Swiss Water® Process for Decaf Coffee
  • 100% Bernhardt Arabica choice beans

  • Moreover, it is a well-known fact, that organic coffee is richer in flavour, has more antioxidants and is much better for our health and well-being as well as for our planet. Remember, together we can make a change for the better.


    B Coffee red.jpg

     

    The travelling team of Bernhardt (MED)