Another "Paying it Forward in Coffee" Story

A few days ago I posted about something gaining speed in the "do good today" coffee world;  suspended coffee.  Where you buy yours, and one or two more a hundred extra and ask the coffee shop to give it to whomever might need it - mainly those 'down and out' (see my previous post).

This afternoon I'm enjoying an iced coffee, reading the news and come across another feel-good story regarding free coffe - this time from Ellen's Good News on Yahoo  (Source).

Alyssa Josephine O'Neill was a normal, outgoing teenager, a cheerleader at her Erie, Pennsylvania high school, and was preparing for her freshman year at The Behrend College. She had been diagnosed with epilepsy in January 2012, but didn't let that stop her from enjoying her life.

On September 3, Alyssa texted her mom asking if they could go to Starbucks so she could try a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the very first time, but they never got the chance. The next day, the 18-year-old passed away from an epileptic seizure.

"We tried to think of something that we could do that would be a little bit positive," her father Jason O'Neill told us in a Skype chat. He and his wife, Alyssa's mother Sarah, went to their local Starbucks and bought Pumpkin Spice Latte for themselves, as well as the next 40 customers. All they asked of the baristas was that they write #AJO on the cups, and explain to the customers why their drink was free.

What they weren't expecting was that customers who received their drinks would respond the exact same way, by paying it forward. Soon enough, the O'Neill's #AJO campaign spread throughout their community, the country, and the world.

"Next thing you know, we hear about someone 
donating $600 at a different location," 
says Sarah. "It just spread like wildfire."

 The acts of kindness in Alyssa's memory aren't limited to the seasonal beverage. The O'Neills hope that people will be inspired by this movement to do other good deeds to improve the lives of others.

"Just take the five minutes out of your day to do something nice," says Sarah. "It doesn't have to cost you a dime."

Says her father, "We'd like to pay it forward and try to make everybody a little bit of a better person, because that's what Alyssa did."

What is up with the popularity of horse head masks? Or Unicorns, pig masks or squirrel masks for that matter!

Tonight's post isn't about 'coffee' but it's after 8:pm, I'm hanging out until it's time to take my dogs 'out' at 9:pm and yes... I've just finished 2 cups of coffee.  So, there is a coffee-tie-in.  Kind of.  Sort of.

Let's talk Halloween masks.  And uh... horse head masks?  (And unicorn masks, pig masks, squirrel masks and more).  Apparently there is something going on with horse head masks and everyone wants one.  Why?  I have no idea.  

In my little circle of friends, none of us have one, none of us want one.  But apparently it's cool to have one, wear one in the craziest of places (go into the gas station and buy a Slurpee wearing your horse head mask?  Ok... I guess.)  Although I may think it's bizarre it's a fad... and it's popular.   When I looked them up on Amazon I was a little freaked out by it.  I'm not sure why.  But I was.

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New to Me - A 'Camping Coffee' that comes with it's own brew bag! Nature's Coffee Kettle

Yesterday while running errands, I stopped in the local sporting good store to 'window shop'. One of my favorite areas to browse is the camping supplies aisles. As I wandered through, I noticed something 'new' in the camp-friendly food display. Coffee. Not instant coffee, but real, honest to goodness coffee that you brew in a lightweight pouch. I hate instant coffee. To me it tastes a little bit like burnt beef bouillon. I gladly give up space and weight to bring my aluminum camp coffee pot and ground coffee with after having had to endure a camping trip with instant and later, a second camping trip where I literally left the camp in the early morning, drove to the nearest gas station, bought a large, hot, fresh brewed cuppa and returned back to camp to join the rest of the crew for breakfast. That is how much I hate instant... but love my morning coffee.

Always dubious of new things hitting the market, I picked it up and inspected it for myself and read the instructions. It's a heavy duty but thin and very light weight mylar style pouch, like you find Mountain House and other packaged freeze dried foods in, but comes with a capped pouring spout and an opening in the top in which to put your hot water, which flows over the coffee grounds and brews hot coffee. That was a really long sentence. Sorry.

It's called "Nature's Coffee Kettle" and comes with 1 ground coffee packet included.
  • Real Coffee for the Real Outdoors. Not instant coffee, brews real coffee in a bag. Simply: POUR, WAIT, and ENJOY.
  • Lightweight: No need for French press or other bulky gear. Weighs just 1.2 ounces.
  • Compact: Everything you need to make four or more cups of real coffee in an ultra-thin pouch.
  • Bold Taste: Made with 100% Arabica coffee beans, the taste will absolutely surprise you. Note: The slower the pour, the stronger the brew. Tip: seal zipper and tilt bag to refilter.
  • Reusable:The sturdy bag is reusable and has many purposes. Use our refill packs to save money and waste.

It honestly was very, very light. 1.2 ounces. It brews 4 cups of coffee, and by following directions and pouring the first cup very slowly, I can get a nice, strong brew. Also, while you could reuse the bag for other things or toss it after use, the thing I liked about it was they also sell refill packs. When the coffee is gone, it's back to being a lightweight mylar pouch again (think Capri Sun style) so it can be repacked, taking up little space and the next morning used again with a simple refill pack that is similar to the little packs you see in hotel rooms.

Looking up the product on Amazon this morning I see they also off the Nature's Hot Chocolate Kettle version. I'm not a fan of hot chocolate myself, but I know every camping trip with extended family results in a lot of happy faces when the hot chocolate packets are brought out. Also, the refill packets are my favorite brew; Columbian! (COLOMBIAN COFFEE REFILL PACK )

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Tenacious Little Tree

Regular readers know we have two dogs we rescued as new puppies last Spring.  I go 'out' with them every morning and typically try to take a nice, hot cup of coffee out with me to enjoy.  Last week I was walking around our back 'yard' which is not really a yard at all as we live on the side of basically, a small mountain and is almost pure rock leading to the woods behind the house.

As I stood there watching the dogs I looked down and saw this little tree growing from a small crack in the middle of the rock.  I chuckled to myself and thought;  "Wow, that is one tenacious little tree" and snapped a picture on my phone.

To me, I see it and think;  Persistence.  Strength.  Tenacity. 

Motivation for the day.

What is 'Suspended' Coffee?

You may have seen it spread on Twitter or Facebook and wondered what it was and if it really existed;  "Suspended" Coffee.  I first saw it on Twitter and it goes something like this;

We enter a little coffeehouse with a friend of mine and give our order.
While we're approaching our table two people come in and they go to the counter:
Five coffees, please. Two of them for us and three suspended.
They pay for their order, take the two and leave.
I ask my friend: What are those 'suspended' coffees?
Wait for it and you will see...

Some more people enter. Two girls ask for one coffee each, pay and go.
The next order was for seven coffees and it was made by three lawyers:
three for them and four 'suspended'.

While I still wonder what's the deal with those 'suspended' coffees,
I enjoy the sunny weather and the beautiful view towards
the square in front of the cafe.
Suddenly a man dressed in shabby clothes who looks
like a beggar comes in through the door and kindly asks:
Do you have a suspended coffee?

It's simple... people pay in advance for a coffee meant for
someone who cannot afford a warm beverage.
It is generally an anonymous act of charity.
Officially, that picture has nothing to do with suspended coffee, but it looked good so someone, somewhere used it with the story and well, it's starting to spread like wildfire.

But is it true?

Yes.  Kind of.  Sort of.  But not so much in the USA.
But I bet it will.

From Wikipedia;
A caffè sospeso (Italian: suspended coffee) is a cup of coffee paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. The tradition began in the working-class cafés of Naples, where someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying the price of two coffees but receiving and consuming only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a sospeso available would then be served a coffee for free. Coffee shops in other countries have adopted the sospeso to increase sales.

Although it originated in Europe, a few news articles I researched this morning said that various reporters had visited various coffee houses to see if this was true and many said they hadn't had anyone purchase 'suspended' coffees in 15 years or so.

However, with the internet's help I can almost guarantee this is now going to be catching on (again) only possibly, in an even bigger way.

Hot Ginger Ale. So... like Apple Cider with Fizz?

Who am I to judge what others want to drink, right?  But admittedly, when I saw an article announcing "Coca-Cola Japan introduces hot ginger ale"  -I had a gag reflex.

Japan likes to launch some uh, interesting items (Pepsi flavored Cheetos anyone?) but now, let's heat things up; Coca-Cola Japan will launch first-ever hot can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale in vending machines Oct. 21.

While my initial gag reflux was due in part because the only time I really drank Ginger Ale as a child was when I was sick and my parents would offer to it to help quell my upset stomach - after reading more of the details of this drink I'm thinking, "Well, on second thought, maybe it's not so bad."

Why the change of heart?

"The piping-hot product manages to maintain the carbonation
 during the heating process to produce a spicy 
cinnamon-and-apple-flavored beverage."

The cinnamon and apple flavors it reportedly use reminds me of nice hot apple cider.  But with fizz.  Yes, apparently they've been able to maintain the carbonation through the heating process - and that my friend, has my interest piqued.

Unfortunately, unless I want to travel to Japan in October or perhaps try to find some on ebay, I'm out of luck.  It's not going to be offered the USA.