Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Coffee & Our First International Guest!

Our first International guest comes from Canada! Specifically the city of Red Deer, North of Calgary in the Province of Alberta. He is furthering his education at a local hospital and we are enjoying his company. He is part of a medical team that makes yearly trips to Guatemala and Mongolia helping with some of the medical problems there. While in Guatemala, he learned about a local coffee grower on a plantation- and he shared a few facts with us... Did you know that Coffee bushes produce a cherry that encases one or two beans and a liquid called Kahlua? Or that the light roast of coffee beans contain the most caffeine? Here are a few more fun facts!

#1 Coffee Is Actually A Fruit!

That's right, coffee beans are actually the pits of berries. The coffee berries, sometimes called coffee cherries, are an edible fruit that have coffee beans inside. They are only called 'beans' because of their resemblance to beans.

Did you know you were actually drinking fruit when you were throwing back those lattes? It explains why the Brazilian acai berry shares so many properties with the coffee 'bean'.

#2 Hawaii is the Only U.S. State That Commercially Grows Coffee

Coffee tends to grow better at equatorial climates, so you can't really grow coffee in the contiguous United States. Hawaii, however, has an optimal climate for harvesting java beans.

Hawaii is known for their Kona coffee which is widely exported and popular around the world. As if people in Hawaii didn't have it good enough, they have some of the world's most beautiful beaches and some of the world's best coffee!

#3 It used to be custom in Turkey that if a husband did not provide his wife with coffee, it was grounds for divorce

"Until death or lack of quality coffee beans do you part?" This is an odd requirement, no doubt, but it sort of makes sense, and we bet the required coffee drinking makes for a much happier marriage, anyway!

Thankfully this custom isn't practiced anymore today. Now we live in a world of equality where husbands and wives alike should do the right thing and make coffee for their spouse. Ever made a single cup of coffee for yourself while your significant other was home? Then you've probably also suffered the consequences . . .

#4 Despite what most people think, an espresso has 1/3 the caffeine of a cup of coffee due to serving sizes

Consider throwing a double- or triple-shot into your favorite beverage, because just one might not cut it for the more hardcore caffeine addicts. Or you could make a Red Eye- a shot of espresso inside a cup of coffee, or as we like to call it, beanception.

Some people actually prefer drinking espresso to drip-coffee or French press for that very reason: you can actually control your own caffeine consumption. So if you're reaching for that late night cup of coffee, try an Americana with 1 shot instead of a whole cup of coffee, you'll sleep much sounder.

#5 Brazil is the world's biggest producer of coffee by a wide margin, followed by Vietnam and Colombia

In fact, in 2011 Brazil produced nearly twice as much as Vietnam and Colombia combined and a third of all of the coffee produced in the entire world. This statistic has remained fairly constant for the last 150 years!

Brazil is also one of the only countries on earth that grows both Arabica and Robusta beans. It should come as no surprise that Brazil is the number one exporter of coffee in the world, and coffee makes up a decent chunk of Brazil's whole economy.

#6 Coffee is a Major Commodity

In fact, coffee is the #2 most traded commodity on earth, coming only second to oil! On the NYBOT stock exchange coffee futures are one of the most popular commodities.

Coffee consumption is actually great for the developing world, because 90% of coffee farming happens in developing countries, while most coffee is consumed in the developed world. The coffee trade funnels money from richer countries to poor countries.

#7 There Are Two Kinds of Beans

The two kinds of beans are Arabica and Robusta. The have different tastes and different caffeine content; Arabica beans are more popular around the world. In fact, 70% of coffee drank on earth is Arabica.

Robusta beans grow in different climates and are found largely in Africa and Indonesia. Although most people prefer the taste of Arabica, Robusta has it's fans, and Robusta beans have twice as much caffeine as Arabica!

#8 The two most popular beverages on Earth, in order, are water and coffee.

Really not that surprising when you think about it. After all, it's hard for everyone to wake up all across the world, isn't it? Coffee has become, in the modern day, a staple of countless cultures worldwide for a variety of reasons.

Coffee is also a large part of the world's economy for this reason. This would be alarming if coffee was as bad for you as we used to think, but research now shows that coffee is a healthy habit that people around the world should happily indulge in on a daily basis.

#9 New York drinks about 7 times as much coffee as the rest of the world

Well, they DO call it the city that never sleeps....maybe this is why? You know, New Yorkers, we've heard it helps if you don't drink any coffee after sunset. Just a tip.

There's some speculation as to why the Big Apple drinks so much coffee; a lot of it might have to do with population density. Since it is such a packed city, there are literally coffee shops everywhere. It also doesn't hurt that coffee is such a large part of the American culture.

#10 U.S. Prez Theodore Roosevelt Drank A TON of Coffee

Seriously, this is not an exaggeration: Teddy was known to drink a gallon of coffee a day. No wonder he was able to get so much done in the wake of the American Civil War!

Good old Teddy also helped Maxwell House come up with their famous slogan, 'Good Till The Last Drop'. He actually came up with that slogan while drinking coffee in Andrew Jackson's living room!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chosen for BSO Tour!

The Crossings Bed & Breakfast in Billings, Montana decorated for Christmas
The Crossings was chosen to be on the Billings Symphony Orchestra Tour for 2013. It was an honor for us to take part. We were asked to host an open house the weekend after Thanksgiving for BSO supporters to view our Holiday decor and tour the Bed & Breakfast.

A simple Charlie Brown Christmas tree at The Crossings Bed & Breakfast
We were challenged with this being the first year in this house. We felt we would like to decorate the dining room and front room in a way that would speak of the Yellowstone River that is within a stones throw from the house.

So We found a tree on the banks of the river and let it thaw, then placed a string of candle lights, pine cone decor, a string of cinnamon and berries, and lovely red cardinals. Burlap covered the base of the tree and three 2-quart jars with red candles made lanterns.

The dining room has to be used for business so, we decorated the fireplace with warm Wintry decor, staying with the Red dominant color and lanterns.

Our table decor is little wooden boxes with green trimmings and jar lanterns. We placed quart jar lanterns in each window- and between the windows we hung a leather strap with Bells on from a sleigh long ago. On our porch, we hung lanterns and added a tobbagon and ice skates inspiring inmages of simpler times.

The Billings Symphony Orchestra Chorale singing at The Crossing B&BIt was about -14 the day of the tour, so the guests we met were brave and determined- just like the ones who settled on the Yellowstone River! During our open house, we were serenaded by the BSO Chorale and two delightful young ladies played violins for us.

We enjoyed our open house and we wish The Billings Sympnony Orchestra a wonderful new season.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pajama Party

Last week I had a discussion with a mom who wanted to book a Pajama Party sleepover for several 9 year olds at the Bed & Breakfast! As we talked about the possibilities of how this could work, I was reminded of a Pajama Party of my own coming up! This month, my sisters and brother will be taking over the house and we will spend the day up till the wee hours of the night catching up on our lives since we live in different cities. I hope many families, or long time friends, or even a group of nine year old girls use this house to enjoy their time together and make lifelong memories.

Monday, July 1, 2013

We Are Beginning

The Crossings Bed & Breakfast in Billings, Montana under construction

It seems as if I have worked on this adventure for many years. Our homes have always been open to friends and family who needed a place to rest or who wanted to stop in and catch up on our lives. Through all the years of first having one guest bedroom , then came children- and guests would have to sleep in child approved sheets and sometimes with a variety of stuffed animals...up to now, with five guest rooms made just for the purpose their happiness. Many details had to come together at just the right time and in the right way for us to be at this place in our lives. And... we are grateful. We love our new house- we are ready to have several guests sharing their stories with us and one another, so that each day becomes a full spectrum of shared experiences, things we can learn from one another, and just the fun of listening to spun tales!! I love this new adventure!