Author Archives: Zoe

About Zoe

Writer (writersbone.wordpress.com), gluten-free food blogger (zscupoftea.com), Pressgram (pressgr.am) evangelist and community leader.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

sweet potato and coconut soup

Hello, hello! As we tread into the last week of the first month of 2014, I hope that you all have had a Happy New Year so far. I have been occupied with Pressgram (as you may be able to tell from my regular tweeting and retweeting – big changes coming soon!) and personal projects, one aspect of which I plan to reveal soon.

I made this soup earlier this month, or during the spell just before New Year’s (it’s all a blur), from a new cookbook I got for Christmas from a friend. Featuring a variety of vegetable-based dishes (okay, vegetarian) from savoury to sweet, with an emphasis on cooking and some baking recipes, this soup was one of the recipes that I immediately bookmarked.

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{Review} Puro Fairtrade Coffee

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I was contacted last month by Puro Coffee, asking if I would be willing to taste their coffee in order to review it. I had not heard of Puro Coffee before, but decided to accept their offer and try their coffee when I saw that they are a Fairtrade coffee company and began learning about their values.

Founded in 2005, Puro Coffee is a brand from a company called Miko Coffee, which has now been roasting coffee beans in Belgium for two hundred and twelve years. The company is particularly famous for roasting acorns instead of coffee beans during World War II, when there was a coffee bean shortage.

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Puro sent me a package with their three coffee blends as well as a hot chocolate drink mix, brown sugar packets, and an espresso coffee cup, all of which were beautifully packed in a rustic burlap sack. Even before trying the coffee, we were immediately impressed by the care that had been taken with the presentation, including the handwritten notes for each of the three coffee blends in addition to the personal note that came with the package, all well done and thoughtfully prepared.

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If you’re in the UK, it is likely that you’ve tried Puro Coffee without realizing it. Although it isn’t available in supermarkets, every National Trust site, restaurants such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek, golf clubs like Wentworth’s, and hairdressers including Headmasters, all serve Puro Coffee. You can go to their website to see where you can buy Puro Coffee if it’s available in your country. Currently they’re looking for a US distributor.

Through their Fairtrade work and parternship with World Land Trust, the company has helped preserve and protect rainforests, with Miko winning a business charity award in 2012 for the partnership between Puro and World Land Trust. In 2008, together with Sir David Attenborough, they launched a webcam in the rainforest to highlight endangered species and their disappearing habitats.

You can also learn more about Puro Coffee and their work in this short documentary:

For my post, so that I would have as well-rounded a review as possible, I asked my Mum, Dad, grandmother, aunt, and some friends to be testers. I’m not a regular coffee drinker, so part of my reviewing process included educating myself about coffee and its varieties – and it was fascinating! One of the interesting trivia facts I learned is that coffee is the second most traded commodity, after oil.

Puro Coffee currently offers three different blends: Puro Organic, Puro Noble, and Puro Fuerte. Puro Organic is one hundred per cent Arabica, a coffee plant that has a naturally lower caffeine content than the more popular commercial variety Robusta; the less caffeine, the less bitter-tasting the coffee will be. The latter two blends, Puro Noble and Puro Fuerte, are blends of Arabica and Robusta. Robusta is the more popular commercial variety and has a higher caffeine content; together, the two balance each other – while the Robusta has a higher caffeine content, the inclusion of the Arabica ensures that the flavour of the coffee is smooth and rounded off, without a bitter aftertaste.

Of the three different blends, our favourite is the Puro Organic for its smooth, gentle flavour with “soft notes of sweet chocolate with tangy citrus”  and the fact that it has a lower caffeine content, which also means that it doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste (a plus for people who like the flavour of coffee, but not the bitter aftertaste). If you like coffee but don’t like getting jitters, this coffee might be for you as you can still enjoy your coffee without becoming hyper, etc. This one would also be good for people enjoy their coffee but want to lower their caffeine intake without drinking decaf. Usually when I do drink coffee, I have decaf because I am a little sensitive to caffeine, although I found I could drink a cup of Puro Organic and still feel fine afterward, which was interesting.

Puro Noble is a slightly bolder coffee, a “rich and lively medium roast with hints of fruit and hazelnut” and is blend of eighty per cent Arabica and twenty per cent Robusta. Puro Fuerte, a dark roast, with a 50/50 blend of Arabica and Robusta and a “touch of spice” lends itself to an even bolder, deeper flavour that regular coffee drinkers may expect.

The hot chocolate mix we also enjoyed, which came in a single serving packet and had a smooth chocolately flavour and pleasant sweetness. (Since it already contained milk powder, the instructions said to use boiled water, which we did.)

We’ve now been enjoying Puro Coffee daily, ourselves, as well as with friends and neighbours – who also agree that it’s good coffee.  Combined with chocolate it also makes a lovely mocha, and of an occasional Friday evening, Bailey’s Irish Cream is a lovely treat on a cold winter evening.:)

Four Years of Z’s Cup of Tea

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Published via Pressgram

Four years of Z’s Cup of Tea! I remember when I couldn’t even fathom that number – and yet, here we are. Sometimes, it feels longer; other times it feels less than that. I need to pinch myself on occasion, figuratively speaking.

Like most people, I think, I trace my blog’s “birthday” to my very first post, published somewhere between October 31st and November 1st. I remember when I reached 100 blog subscribers and I remember where I was, too: in a San Francisco hotel room en route to Disneyland with my family.

Of course, the blog is older than from when I posted my first post. A while ago, I was cleaning and going through my things and I found old notes and even sketches of my blog and what it would look like, what I would post… It evokes a sense of nostalgia and also a certain kind of charm to look back on that.

Woohoo!

Woohoo!

This year on September 19th, I got a notification from WordPress.com congratulating me on four years. Apparently this was when, I suppose, I transferred to zscupoftea.com as the new blog address (early readers might recall the name Ambrosia Tea Party). I imagine that perhaps Z’s Cup of Tea might now have a second birthday, akin to Paddington Bear.

Food blogging has provided me with many wonderful opportunities and has introduced me to a great and supportive community that I didn’t even know existed prior to starting. I couldn’t be more grateful.

Four years is a long time in food blogging, and I know that there are others who have been doing it for far longer. Periodically, people have asked me if I’m going to write a cookbook. As my early readers will know or anyone who simply visits this blog and reads the about page, I started Z’s Cup of Tea after I kept being asked if I would write a cookbook when my family changed our diet to help my brother recover from his autism through diet. However, I didn’t start this blog with the intent of publishing a cookbook or for it to serve as a launchpad for one. (When I started this blog, I didn’t even know that there are those who deliberately start a blog just to get a cookbook deal.)

Do I still want to write a cookbook? That remains a possibility and one that I am open to – I used to dream up ideas – although I am now focused on other things that I’m doing (which I’ll get to in a moment), so it is not a personal priority at this moment.

Outside of Z’s Cup of Tea, this year has also borne an incredible opportunity for me to expand my horizons by becoming part of the Community Leadership Team for Pressgram – before that, I was also on the launch team – a photo publishing app (so far only on iOS, but an Android version is planned) that gives you full creative control and lets you retain ownership of your photos. (In the face of Instagram integrating ads, Pressgram is also ad-free and will remain so.) Pressgram is something that I believe in, with a philosophy that I agree with, and a team that is supportive and fun to work with. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m very passionate about this.

There are more things waiting in the wings, simmering on the back burner and – before I start sounding like McCoy – that I will be sharing in the (hopefully) near future.

Thank you to all my dear and wonderful readers, family, and friends for reading Z’s Cup of Tea during these four years and for all your support. Let us have a toast to another bright year!