Don’t Miss This!

November 20, 2008 at 6:46 am | Posted in Urban Grounds | 1 Comment
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On November 22nd we will be hosting the first ever Durban Latte Art Barista Jam! It starts at 6pm and runs until around 9. Baristas from Corner Cafe, Woolworths, Urban Grounds, KZNSA, reFresh and more will be competing for over R1,000 in prizes! Plenty of MCing and a DJ will keep it hopping. There will be lots of prizes for people, and 2 for 1 coffees from 6 to 7pm. Please join us for one last hurrah!

Can Coffee Help You Get in Shape?

November 17, 2008 at 5:40 am | Posted in Coffee Info | Leave a comment

bagcoffeeResearch on the benefits of coffee always makes me happy. I suppose because I am always hoping my coffee drinking habit will do me good in the end! I found this research interesting, since I am officially a coffee addict and am trying to get in better shape. Apparently “no pain, no gain” might not be the truth… if you are a coffee drinker!

If you’re planning on using exercise to get yourself in shape for summer, you might want to drink a couple of cups of coffee first. In a study recently released, researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens found that the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee cut exercise-induced muscle pain in half.

The group studied nine college-aged women who were given caffeine or placebo at 24 and 48 hours after performing what is called eccentric exercise. The two intensities of exercise tests were actually designed to cause soreness in the subjects’ thigh muscles, or quadriceps. It is interesting that the harder the women exercised, the more effective the caffeine was at relieving their muscle pain. Those who consumed caffeine one hour prior to the more difficult exercise test had 48% less pain than the placebo group, while the women who consumed caffeine prior to the less difficult test had 26% less pain than the placebo group.

The authors wrote: “Eccentric exercise occurs when skeletal muscles produce force while being lengthened. For example, the biceps brachii muscles act eccentrically when a cup of coffee is lowered from the mouth to a tabletop. This experiment found that caffeine (equal to approximately 2 cups of brewed coffee) could produce a large reduction in pain resulting from eccentric exercise-induced, delayed-onset muscle injury. This finding may improve the quality of life of individuals who experience skeletal muscle pain after engaging in unaccustomed, eccentrically biased exercise.”  According to Dr. Victor Meridakis, “If you can use caffeine to reduce the pain, it may make it easier to transition from that first week into a much longer exercise program…. but you have to apply some common sense and not go overboard.”
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Reference: Caffeine Attenuates Delayed-Onset Muscle Pain and Force Loss Following Eccentric Exercise. Maridakis V, O’Connor PJ, Dudley GA, McCully KK. J Pain. 2006 Dec 8; [Epub ahead of print]

Our Gaurantee

November 13, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Urban Grounds | 1 Comment
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Customer Glen and his UG barista, Sipho.

This week, as we have told people we are closing, we have been met with the response of, “So…. where are you re-opening?” Let me set the record straight by saying that despite closing, we still have two loves. Those two loves are people and great coffee. That will never change! And, despite the fact that we could not make our concept work at the current location, our dreams have not died. Of course we hope that someday we will be serving up our amazing coffee again! Unfortunately “someday” is not now, but we encourage you to subscribe to this blog and keep up with us. You never know where the wind will blow the Urban Grounds team in the future.

Our fervent thanks go to those who have supported us over the last nine months. You ARE Urban Grounds, and we love you for it! It must be said that the Urban Grounds team is a fantastic bunch of people, a team we consider our customers part of. Every one of you has made this journey special and it has been an honour.  We will see you all at the Barista Jam!

Change is in the air!

November 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many of you may have noticed that change is in the air at Urban Grounds Coffee Emporium! We have decided, after much thought, to close our coffee doors! Exhibit gallery will still be open, and will provide coffee, but Urban Grounds will not be there after 22 November 2008. Of course, we are still coffee crazy and on that premise we want to keep our blog and facebook page rolling for you!

We would like to offer all of our customers a chance to say goodbye and have one last cup of coffee with us! On November 22nd we will be hosting the first ever Durban Latte Art Barista Jam! It starts at 6pm and runs until around 9. Baristas from Corner Cafe, Woolworths, Urban Grounds, KZNSA, reFresh and more will be competing for over R1,000 in prizes! Plenty of MCing and a DJ will keep it hopping. There will be lots of prizes for people, and 2 for 1 coffees from 6 to 7pm. Please join us for one last hurrah!

RSVP here.

Tea, Tea… Glorious Tea

November 5, 2008 at 6:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We have not really gone into detail about the loose leaf teas on offer at Urban Grounds before. Here are some photos of our lovely teas and some tea notes.

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Kenya Black Tea
Kericho, west of the Rift Valley produces most of Kenya’s orthodox teas. Since Kenya’s independence, the large European tea estates have been converted into many small family owned tea farms. Tea is harvested and processed in one of several processing plants. Marinyn is blended from teas from several estates and has the style of a Darjeeling. The neatly twisted, golden tippy leaves steep to a bright, robust, medium bodied tea with a slight fruity or flowery taste.

Gunpowder Green Tea with Mint
Gunpowder tea is dried slowly in rotating drums to a very tightly-rolled ball. It has a slightly dry and fresh flavour. In this classic North African-style blend, it is blended with dried spearmint.

ugstrawlemgteaRooibos – Fairtrade Organic
Ultra-high grade pure rooibos tea.

Orange and Spices
Rooibos tea flavoured with cinnamon, whole cardamom, cloves, vanilla and orange. Beautiful tea visually.

Herbal HM
Herbal infusion with hibiscus, blackberry leaves, apple, orange peel, cardomom, cloves and flowers.
Exceptionally visually exciting.

Hibiscus
Hibiscus tea is reputed to have been popular in ancient Egypt and is very common in North Africa where it is called karkade. It is also used in the Sahel region and in Senegal, the Gambia and Northern Nigeria. It is
called jamaica in Mexico and Central America and has been combined with beer in Trinidad and Tobago. It can be drunk hot or cold, with or without sugar. It has a tart, fruity tang and a beautiful red colour.

ugchamomile1Pure whole flower chamomile
Chamomile has been used by humans since the neolithic age. It is mild and caffeine free and its infusion is considered to be very healthy and relaxing.

Christmas rooibos
A nutmeg and cinnamon rooibos infusion.

Marimba fruit infusion
Hibiscus, orange, fruit. Smells and tastes amazing.
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Forest Berries
Black tea flavoured with elderberries, blackberries, raspberries and raspberry leaves. Great as an iced tea.

Double good fortune Chinese show tea
Three chrysanthemum flowers are wrapped in spring-picked green tea leaves. The three flowers stand vertically in line when the tea is steeped, and express the hope that everything will go smoothly in life. This tea is produced in very small quantities as it takes 45 minutes to make each rosette.

Our selection of tea changes depending on availability and seasons.

Free Election Day Coffee may be Illegal

November 4, 2008 at 6:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

imagesToday the whole world watches as the US decides its next president. Nationwide efforts by Starbucks and Krispy Kreme to reward with free coffee and doughnuts voters doing their civic duty may contrast with Californian legislation banning gifts to the electorate.

Starbucks announced in a commercial during the popular tv show “Saturday Night Live” the nationwide reward of a free cup of coffee to people who said they voted on Tuesday. Likewise, Krispy Kreme will give customers a doughnut in the shape of a star, with red, white and blue sprinkles, to anyone showing the traditional “I Voted” sticker at participating locations.

However, twenty years ago, a different doughnut company ran afoul of California Elections Code section 18521(b), which bans giving anything to people who voted, or if they stayed away from the polls. The law is meant to stop people from being bribed with money, food or alcohol. Punishment is listed as a prison sentence of 16 months to three years.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks said the company was not violating the law because they were using the honour system and not asking for any proof that anyone voted.

Meanwhile the coffee cup poll by the convenience store chain 7-Eleven has given Senator Obama a huge 20 percentage point lead over his rival Senator John McCain. The poll started eight years ago. It had correctly predicted results for both the presidential elections held since then.

God In A Cup

November 3, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Coffee Info | Leave a comment
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It is true that in the specialty coffee world women are drastically outnumbered by copious amounts of highly caffeinated men. As a coffee company owned 100% by women, we were excited (and, honestly, a little surprised) to run across a well written coffee book penned by a woman.

Journalist Michaele Weissman has put together a great overview of the world of specialty coffee in God in a Cup. She traveled around the world with coffee buyers and explored the contrast between mass-produced, commodity coffee and artisan-focused, quality-oriented specialty coffee like we use at Urban Grounds.

This book isn’t really about searching for great tasting coffee, but uses that pursuit to frame the genesis and impact of specialty coffee for consumers and especially producers.

Weissman preserves her artfully-paced narrative by placing the in-depth background information at the back of the book or in boxes, but still provides enough detail in the main text to clearly explain to readers unfamiliar with the coffee trade and the stakes involved.

She does a great job of highlighting the passion — and activism — of the pioneers in this industry. Much of the focus is on her travels and interviews with three of them: Counter Culture’s Peter Giuliano, Intelligentsia’s Geoff Watts, and Stumptown’s Duane Sorenson, but many others are mentioned. Following these coffee buyers provides an opportunity to really understand the complexities involved in producing this crop and bringing it to market. Most revealing for me were the discussions about Fair Trade, and in particular the examination of the cooperative system. The example of the troubles Watts has had with poorly run organizations helps to illustrate that cooperatives (which are the only producers allowed to be certified Fair Trade) are not always the best way to protect farmers.

I approached this book with a little trepidation, as I have read way too many articles about coffee that were superficial, not factual, lacked a fresh approach, or were just examples of lazy reporting. This was none of these. If you are at all interested in coffee (which you must be if you have read this far), I highly recommend this book. Further, get a couple extra copies for your coffee-loving friends, people you would like to convert to specialty coffee, or those in your life that don’t really “get it.” God in a Cup will make a great gift this holiday season. Find it on Kalahari.

Free Coffee For You!

November 1, 2008 at 11:00 am | Posted in Coffee Info, The Coffee, Urban Grounds | 1 Comment
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Here are two ways to get any coffee drink of your choice at Urban Grounds for FREE!

1.  Blog about us on your blog, can be either positive or negative, and link back to our blog.

2.  Join our facebook group (click here) and then upload a photo of yourself at Urban Grounds on the group page.

Enjoy your free coffee! Offer ends 31/12/08, so hurry!

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