From Pandas to Coffee: The Bamboo Coffee Cup Breakdown

We have been using bamboo spoons (and stirrers) for a while and enjoying the size, texture and lack of clanking in the cup. Recently though, I saw some info that formaldehyde can seep from bamboo when using a bamboo cup for a warm drink… like our coffee. So, I dug into the whole pros and cons of bamboo and coffee.


Eco-Friendly: Bamboo is a grass that can grow up to a meter in a day, depending on the species. This rapid growth means that it can be harvested frequently without depleting the resource. Moreover, bamboo cultivation can have a smaller ecological footprint than tree plantations, as it requires fewer pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

Biodegradable: Unlike plastics or certain other materials that can take centuries to break down, bamboo decomposes relatively quickly when exposed to natural elements. This decomposition process returns essential nutrients to the earth and doesn’t produce harmful residues.

Lightweight: The natural structure of bamboo makes it both strong and light. This combination results in a cup that’s easy to carry around, especially beneficial for on-the-go usage.

Natural Insulation: Bamboo has pockets of air within its structure, giving it a natural insulating quality. While it won’t keep your coffee hot for hours like a thermos might, it can provide a bit more insulation than some other materials.

Unique Aesthetics: The natural grains, color variations, and unique patterns in bamboo make each cup distinct. This aesthetic can be appealing for those looking for something that feels organic and artisanal.

Durable: With proper care, bamboo can resist cracking and withstand daily wear and tear. It also won’t shatter into dangerous shards like glass.


Flavor Influence: Especially when first used, bamboo can sometimes have a distinct taste, often described as woody or grassy. This taste can transfer to beverages and can be especially noticeable in more subtle drinks like water or certain teas.

Care Requirements: Bamboo is naturally porous, making it more susceptible to absorbing flavors and moisture. It’s essential to wash bamboo cups shortly after use and dry them thoroughly to prevent mold and bacterial growth.

Durability Limitations: Prolonged exposure to moisture can weaken bamboo, making it prone to splits and cracks. This limitation can make bamboo cups less long-lasting than other materials, especially if not cared for properly.

Heat Sensitivity: Drastic changes in temperature can cause bamboo to warp or crack. So, pouring boiling water directly into a bamboo cup might not be advisable unless it’s designed to handle such temperatures.

Not Always Microwave Safe: Bamboo doesn’t fare well in microwaves because the rapid heating can cause the material to crack. Additionally, if there are any metal elements (like a logo or decoration), it’s unsafe for microwave use.

The Formaldehyde Concern: To make bamboo products more resilient, some manufacturers might treat them with chemicals. This treatment can include formaldehyde-based glues in laminated bamboo products or other chemical finishes. These chemicals, when subjected to heat or acidic foods and drinks, could leach into your beverage.

So, my advice is to do your research and find out by who and when the bamboo mug was created and if it fulfills your worry free coffee drinking pleasure needs.

Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, some will result in my getting a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.


Coffee Time: A Few Tips for Optimal Office Brews After WFH

Since the end of 2022, there is regular news articles about companies that are requiring their team members return to working in the office. That can be a few days a week to going back to a desk in an office full time. Returning to the office means adapting to different routines that we have had working from home, and for many, coffee is an essential part of the workday. Here are some tips to think about to ensure you get great coffee during your office hours.

Invest in a Good Thermos, not all offices have turned the coffee service back on:

  • Benefits: A high-quality thermos retains the temperature of your coffee for longer, ensuring that you can enjoy a hot cup long after brewing.
  • Tips: Look for a thermos with double-wall insulation, a tight-sealing lid, and good user reviews.

Explore Local Coffee Shops, I have found a few of my favorites are gone, the others really need to sell some coffee:

  • Benefits: Local coffee shops often provide unique blends and brewing methods that chains might not offer.
  • Tips: Regular visits might lead to loyalty discounts or understanding the best times to avoid crowds.

Office Coffee Machine, it might be a good time to get an upgrade or take the time to do a deep cleaning after sitting a few years:

  • Benefits: A good machine can make a noticeable difference in coffee quality.
  • Tips: Advocate for machines that have options for grind size, strength settings, and even milk frothing for variety.

Brew Your Own, if there is power and room, there is a way to bring in your own equipment to do more than the bulk drip offices have:

  • Benefits: Personal brewing methods often produce superior coffee compared to standard office machines.
  • Tips: Keep a grinder at the office to grind beans right before brewing, ensuring peak freshness.

Coffee Subscriptions, is the bulk coffee ‘good enough’ after you have enjoyed the better quality beans while working from home:

  • Benefits: They take the hassle out of remembering to buy coffee and ensure you’re always stocked with fresh beans.
  • Tips: Explore different subscriptions until you find a roast and origin you love. Some subscriptions even allow for coffee variety each month.

Freshness Matters, even if not every pot, occasionally replacing the company provided grounds with yours will help the cup of coffee stay memorable:

  • Benefits: Freshly roasted beans retain their flavor profiles and produce a vibrant cup.
  • Tips: Store beans in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight. If possible, buy whole beans and grind them as you use them.

Filtered Water, if this isn’t offered, you can bring in a inexpensive water filter pitcher:

  • Benefits: Good water can significantly enhance the coffee’s taste, removing any impurities that might alter the coffee’s flavor.
  • Tips: If investing in a water filter for the office isn’t feasible, consider bottled spring water for brewing.

Milk and Alternatives, the challenge with bringing in your own milk or syrup is that everyone else will use it too so don’t plan on it lasting very long:

  • Benefits: Using your preferred milk or alternative can ensure consistency in taste.
  • Tips: Label your milk to prevent others from using it. Some milk alternatives, like oat or almond, offer “barista” versions that froth better.

Coffee Breaks, don’t forget to stop and enjoy your coffee like you did working from home, not a quick chug at your desk and forgetting you even had a coffee:

  • Benefits: Beyond the caffeine boost, breaks can enhance mental clarity and provide socializing opportunities.
  • Tips: Set specific times for breaks to establish a routine, ensuring you’re not always reaching for a cup out of habit.

Share the Love, your there together, use the coffee as time to have a person to person conversation to help folks escape the view of four walls around them:

  • Benefits: Sharing introduces variety and can be a conversation starter with colleagues.
  • Tips: Consider setting up a monthly coffee club where members bring different beans to share and sample.

Mind Your Caffeine Intake, since the coffee can be drank while working, more will be drank without the enjoyment, take note of when and how much your drinking to keep it special:

  • Benefits: Monitoring intake can prevent over-reliance on caffeine, ensuring you’re consuming it for enjoyment rather than necessity.
  • Tips: If you find yourself consuming too much, try alternating with decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas. It’s also worth noting that darker roasts generally have slightly less caffeine than lighter roasts.

I tried a different way of laying out the information in this post, what do you think? Easier to read? I hope this list provides a richer understanding of each point and helps enhance your coffee experience in the office.

Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, some will result in my getting a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.


Mastering Your Brew: 12 Nespresso Tips for Coffee Lovers

Do we make a drip cup of coffee or are we in a rush to a meeting so we turn to the Nespresso machine. The Nespresso machines are designed to be convenient and consistent, but there are still several factors that can influence the taste and quality of the coffee. Here are some tips we found to help to improve the quality of a cup of coffee using a Nespresso machine

Water Quality: Water is the primary component in a cup of coffee, so its quality is crucial. While many might overlook this element, the water you use can significantly influence your coffee’s taste. Minerals and impurities in ordinary tap water can lend unwanted flavors to your brew. Using filtered or bottled water can help in eliminating these inconsistencies and ensuring a cleaner taste in your coffee.

Water Temperature: While Nespresso machines are engineered to heat water to the optimal temperature quickly, patience is key. Ensure the machine is fully heated before brewing. Waiting an extra minute or so after the machine indicates it’s ready can make a difference in extracting the best flavors from the coffee capsule.

Fresh Capsules: Coffee, even when sealed within a capsule, is susceptible to degradation over time. Freshness matters. Always aim to use your capsules reasonably soon after purchasing. As time passes, the aromatic compounds in coffee can dissipate, leading to a less vibrant cup.

Storage: How you store your coffee capsules can influence their quality. Exposure to direct sunlight or high temperatures can hasten the degradation of the coffee inside. Always store your capsules in a cool, dark place to ensure they remain at their best.

Clean Your Machine Regularly: Like any machine that sees regular use, your Nespresso will accumulate residues over time. Coffee oils can build up, leading to off-flavors in your brew. Regularly descale and clean your machine using the recommended descaling kits from Nespresso. This maintenance not only ensures a great-tasting coffee but also extends the life of your machine.

Choose the Right Capsule: Nespresso’s wide range of capsules offers varying intensities and flavor profiles. This diversity means there’s a perfect cup for everyone. But it also necessitates some exploration on your part. Don’t just settle for the first capsule you try. Experiment with different types until you find the flavor profile that resonates with your palate.

Customize Brew Strength: One of the joys of a Nespresso machine is the ability to customize your brew. Some models offer both espresso and lungo settings. If you prefer a milder coffee, try the lungo setting for a longer, more diluted shot. Conversely, for a richer experience, stick with the espresso setting.

Pre-wetting: This might sound like an extra step, but it’s worth the few seconds. Before brewing your coffee, run a shot of hot water through the machine. This not only preheats your cup but also ensures that old coffee grounds aren’t lingering in the spout, which can spoil the taste of your fresh brew.

Use the Right Cup: Your choice of cup can influence the drinking experience. For espresso shots, smaller cups work best. They help maintain the brew’s temperature and concentrate its aroma. For larger beverages, opt for a more substantial mug to accommodate the volume.

Add-ons: If black coffee isn’t your style, consider enhancing your Nespresso experience with some quality add-ons. Milk can transform your brew, and a good milk frother, like Nespresso’s Aeroccino, can produce barista-quality frothed milk at home. The type and freshness of the milk you choose also play a role, so pick wisely.

Tweak to Your Liking: Coffee is a deeply personal experience, and what’s perfect for one person might be far from it for another. Whether it’s adjusting the water amount, experimenting with different milk ratios, or adding sweeteners, don’t be afraid to customize. Your ideal cup is one that suits your tastes, not someone else’s.

Recycle the Capsules: With great coffee comes some responsibility. Nespresso capsules are made of aluminum and are recyclable. Nespresso offers dedicated recycling programs, allowing you to drop off used capsules at collection points or mail them back in prepaid envelopes. Doing so ensures that your coffee habit has a reduced environmental footprint.

We have a couple cups we know make a better cup of coffee with the Nespresso next to the machine, as well, we don’t take the machine lightly. All of the items we covered above helps the rushed cup of coffee still an enjoyable experience.

Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, some will result in my getting a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.


Unlocking the Garden Potential with Used Coffee Grounds

I have been challenged with a little dirt mountain builder in our yard for a few week. I would like the little tunneler to move on rather than do it harm. While looking for natural solutions, I remembered that coffee grounds are liked by many creatures less than we do as a morning drink. Using used coffee grounds in the garden and yard can be beneficial in several ways, though it’s important to use them correctly to maximize their advantages and avoid potential pitfalls. Here’s how you can use coffee grounds and what they can do, apologies in advance, I got started typing and this grew:

Benefits of Used Coffee Grounds:

Soil Amendment: Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, making them a good addition to compost bins. As they break down, they release nitrogen, which is a critical nutrient for plant growth.

Improved Soil Structure: When added to the soil, coffee grounds can help improve its structure by increasing drainage, water retention, and aeration.

Worm Attractant: Worms love coffee grounds. Adding them to your garden soil or compost bin can attract more worms, which help to aerate the soil and break down organic matter more quickly.

Natural Pest Deterrent: Used coffee grounds can deter certain pests. Sprinkling grounds around plants may help to keep away ants, snails, and slugs.

Fungal Diseases Suppressant: Some studies have shown that coffee grounds can help suppress fungal diseases in the garden, though more research is needed to confirm these findings.

How to Use Coffee Grounds in the Garden:

In the Compost Bin:

  • Why? Coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, which is a primary component necessary for decomposing organic matter in a compost pile.
  • How to Use: Add your used coffee grounds to your compost bin. Remember, compost requires a balanced diet to break down efficiently. Coffee grounds are considered a “green” or nitrogen-rich component. For every part of coffee grounds you add, ensure you add an equal or greater portion of “browns” (carbon-rich materials) such as dried leaves, twigs, or cardboard. This will ensure efficient decomposition and prevent the compost from becoming too wet or smelly.
  • Tip: Rinse your coffee grounds if you’re storing them for a while before adding them to the compost bin. This will help prevent mold formation.

As a Mulch:

  • Why? Mulching helps retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Coffee grounds can serve as an organic mulch option.
  • How to Use: Spread a layer of used coffee grounds around the base of your plants, but ensure it’s no more than half an inch thick. A layer thicker than this can become compacted and create a barrier, preventing water from penetrating. To improve its efficiency as mulch, mix the coffee grounds with other organic mulch materials, such as straw, bark, or leaves.
  • Tip: Occasionally aerate or fluff up the coffee ground mulch layer to ensure it doesn’t compact too much and allows for proper water penetration.

Direct Soil Amendment:

  • Why? Coffee grounds can enhance the structure and nutrient content of garden soil.
  • How to Use: Before planting, mix used coffee grounds into the top few inches of your soil. This will introduce organic matter and slowly release nutrients as the grounds decompose.
  • Tip: It’s a good practice to mix coffee grounds with other organic materials, like compost or well-rotted manure, to offer a balanced nutrient boost to the soil.

Worm Bin:

  • Why? Vermicomposting, or worm composting, uses worms to break down organic waste into high-quality compost known as worm castings.
  • How to Use: Introduce used coffee grounds into your worm bin. The worms will feed on the grounds and produce worm castings, which are rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms.
  • Tip: Don’t overload the bin with coffee grounds. Ensure it’s just a part of the worms’ diet, mixed with other organic materials.

Natural Pest Deterrent:

  • Why? Certain pests are repelled by the scent and texture of coffee grounds.
  • How to Use: To deter pests such as ants, slugs, and snails, sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of plants that are being affected or around the perimeter of garden beds.
  • Tip: Refresh the coffee grounds periodically, especially after heavy rains, to maintain their deterrent effect.


Acidity: Coffee grounds are often said to be acidic, but the acidity can be largely removed in the brewing process, making used grounds closer to neutral. However, if you’re concerned about the acidity, it’s best to add them to a compost pile rather than directly to the soil, as the composting process will help neutralize pH.

Overuse: Like any soil amendment, moderation is key. Too many coffee grounds can compact and create a barrier in the soil, preventing moisture and air from getting through.

Allelopathic Properties: There’s some debate over whether coffee grounds can inhibit the growth of certain plants due to their allelopathic properties. To be safe, especially if you’re new to using coffee grounds, you might want to start by testing them on a small area or adding them to your compost rather than directly to the garden.

Caffeine: There’s some evidence to suggest that the residual caffeine in coffee grounds can inhibit the growth of nearby plants, so it’s something to be aware of if you’re applying them in large quantities.

Avoid Attracting Pests: While coffee grounds can deter some pests, if they’re not fully used or if they start molding, they can attract others. Make sure the grounds are used (i.e., they’ve had water run through them) and dry them out if you plan to store them for a while before use.

Used coffee grounds can be a valuable addition to the garden, but like any other tool or amendment, they should be used wisely and in moderation.

Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, some will result in my getting a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.


Blending Traditions: Designing the Perfect Coffee Oasis

For a touch of fun while sitting at a cafe recently, I started thinking about imagining designing a dream coffee shop, blending the most cherished elements and moments. My vision gravitates towards a fusion of a traditional library and an Italian café, juxtaposed with vibrant, contemporary touches. The ambiance might vary, influenced by the day’s disposition or the company I keep. One setting evokes vitality, while the other beckons for a slower pace. Both cater to casual hangouts, formal meetings, or indulging in the subtle art of people-watching. Here’s my curated list for a serene and inviting setting, sprinkled with features that cater to diverse tastes. What would you include in yours?


  • Warm Tones: Earthy tones with hints of coffee browns, creams, and wooden accents.
  • Low-Lit Spaces: Soft lighting, with hanging pendant lights and maybe some antique chandeliers.
  • Acoustic Environment: Soft background music – perhaps a mix of indie, jazz, and classical tunes. Enough to add to the atmosphere but not overwhelm conversations.


  • Varied Options: From communal long tables for larger groups to intimate booths and single-seater armchairs.
  • Outdoor Space: A lovely patio or balcony seating with ample greenery and maybe a little water feature for tranquility.
  • Coffee Bar: A long, solid wood or marble counter where patrons can sit and chat directly with baristas, witnessing the art of coffee-making firsthand.

The Coffee Lab:

  • Open Design: An open coffee-making area where patrons can see the entire process, fostering transparency and engagement.
  • State-of-the-Art Equipment: From siphons to espresso machines, and every possible tool for coffee-making. Perhaps also a roasting section where beans are roasted in-house.
  • Tasting Counter: A space dedicated for coffee tasting sessions, workshops, and brewing classes.

Community Space:

  • Bookshelves: A mini-library where patrons can read or exchange books.
  • Bulletin Board: For local events, artist exhibitions, or coffee workshops.
  • Workshop Area: For hosting coffee brewing workshops, barista training, or even unrelated events like poetry readings or acoustic nights.

Sustainable Practices:

  • Reusable Cups: Encourage patrons to bring their own or rent a café mug.
  • Composting: Used coffee grounds can be offered for gardeners or used in the café’s garden.
  • Local and Ethical: Source beans from local and ethical growers, emphasizing fair trade and organic beans.


  • Diverse Bean Selection: From different regions, offering a world tour of flavors.
  • Education: Detailed descriptions of each coffee type, its origin, flavor profile, and best brewing methods.
  • Snacks and Delicacies: A selection of pastries, sandwiches, and treats from around the world to complement the coffee.

Retail Section:

  • Beans: Packaged coffee beans for sale.
  • Merchandise: Everything from mugs, shirts, to brewing equipment.
  • DIY Kits: Kits with all essentials for patrons to brew their own coffee at home.

Tech Features:

  • App Integration: For ordering in advance, loyalty rewards, and maybe even virtual coffee-tasting workshops.
  • Free Wi-Fi: With perhaps secluded zones for those who wish to work without disturbance.
  • Charging spots: Wireless recharging built into the tables to just sit a phone down to charge.

Artistic Flair:

  • Local Art: Wall spaces dedicated to local artists to display their art, rotated regularly.
  • Coffee Art: A dedicated space for baristas to showcase their best latte art, maybe even host competitions.

Comforts (fun to have extras depending where the cafe is located):

  • Fireplace: A cozy corner with a fireplace for colder days.
  • Water Features: For a soothing environment.
  • Plants: Indoor plants to refresh the air and add life to the cafe.

Ultimately, the ideal café should be a harmonious blend of art, community, and of course, coffee. It should be a space where patrons not only come to drink coffee but to experience it.

Please note that if you purchase from clicking on the link, some will result in my getting a tiny bit of that sale to help keep this site going.