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vegan tiramisù waycap

Wonderfully Creamy Vegan Tiramisù, dairy-free and egg-free

By Coffee Culture

This vegan tiramisù is a dairy-free and egg-free alternative to the world-famous dessert, still absolutely lusciously creamy and full of coffee.

Tiramisù literally means “pick me up” in Italian and its origins are still quite controversial. While the first recipes haven’t appeared in books until the 1960s, legend has it that this delicious and rich dessert was developed by the matron of a brothel to reinvigorate customers at the end of the evening.

This version of tiramisù substitutes the traditional mascarpone with a cheesy plant-based cream, combining a thicker almond milk one with a sweet version of vegan mayo as whipped cream. For a quicker recipe, just replace the “sweet mayo” with store-bought whipped cream.

While you can replace the almond milk with other plant-based milks such as rice (although they might give you a more gel-like consistency), I highly suggest sticking to soy milk for the “sweet mayo” as it is usually higher in fats than other plant-based milk substitutes, giving you a thicker end result.

Use a neutral tasting oil like sunflower, canola, peanut, corn or safflower, while it’s better to stay away from olive oil in this recipe as it has a really strong flavour and do not use coconut oil as it will solidify in the fridge.

Finally, this recipe uses vegan and gluten-free biscuits, dipped in coffee and then crumbled, instead of ladyfingers, but feel free to use your favourite dairy-free and egg-free biscuits.

If you’re interested in more coffee recipes, check out our dark chocolate and coffee mousse!

Ingredients vegan tiramisù



250 gr almond milk

2 tbsp potato starch

2 tsp of sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

250 gr of vegan whipped cream



4 cups of espresso

40 Vegan biscuits

cocoa powder

Vegan whipped cream


200 ml soy milk

250 ml vegetable oil

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp lemon juice

Almond milk and starch cream for vegan tiramisù

In a pan, mix together the corn starch and the vanilla extract or seeds from a vanilla pod. Little by little stir in the almond milk so as to avoid lumps. Heat up on low heat and bring to a boil, continuously stirring until it becomes a thick cream. Take off the heat, transfer to a bowl and let it cool.

Vegan whipped cream

Prepar the plant-based whipped cream either with an immersion blender or with a regular blender.

If you’re using an immersion blender, combine all the ingredients in the blender cup, place the immersion blender in, so that way it sits firmly on the bottom of the cup and pulse until the cream has emulsified. Then you can move the blender up and down to incorporate any oil still sitting on the top.

If you’re using a regular blender, place all the ingredients in the blender except for the oil. Once the ingredients are combined pour in the oil very slowly and turn up the speed gradually from low to high until the cream has thickened.

Unite creams for vegan mascarpone
Unite creams for vegan mascarpone
Vegan mascarpone

Now gradually fold in the almond milk cream into the soy cream until smooth to create your vegan mascarpone.

Coffee, biscuits, cocoa, vegan mascarpone

Now you’re ready to assemble your tiramisù. You can use one deep dish or different glasses for single portions, this recipe makes 4 abundant single portions. Sweeten the coffee to taste, then dip the vegan biscuits in and place at the bottom of dish to make a first base layer. Cover with your vegan mascarpone. Alternate between layers to end with a layer of mascarpone. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder. Let rest in the fridge for a couple of hours and enjoy your vegan tiramisù!

vegan tiramisù waycap

The problem with single-use coffee capsules

By Coffee & Sustainability

“It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance,” said John Sylvan, the co-inventor of Keurig more than 30 years ago, explaining the appeal of single-use coffee capsules. “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

Convenience, ease of use and consistency are surely the reasons for coffee capsules enormous success. You pop your capsule into the machine, a few seconds later you enjoy your coffee. You throw it away without thinking twice about it.

But in the past decade people have become more conscious about the environmental impact of their habits and the coffee capsule industry has come under scrutiny.

In 2014, a video titled “Kill the K Cup” came out and caused an uproar against Keurig. A parody of Hollywood alien invasion movies, it criticised the volume of unrecyclable capsules produced by the American company the previous year, which it claimed, could encircle the Earth 10.5 times.

How many coffee pods are sold each year?

Keurig Green Mountain sold around 13.2 billion capsules in 2018 alone, according to Statista. 2015 was the last year public data was available for the company, which had sold 10.5 billion units in the previous year.

Other leading players are Nestlé (Nespresso and Dolce Gusto) and JDE (Tassimo, L’Or, Senseo). Finding official numbers on how many units are produced and sold each year is increasingly difficult nowadays and mostly based on data from research companies. In fact, Nespresso’s last official data was released in 2012. By then it had sold 27 billion single-use capsules worldwide.

Since 1986, when Nespresso invented the first coffee pod, the single-serve capsule business has flourished constituting 34% of the entire coffee sales (Euromonitor, 2014). 41% of Americans own a single-serve brewing system today. And even though the golden age of coffee capsules has passed – between 2011 and 2016 the market had seen an average annual growth of 18% – the business is still projected to grow by 5% each year by 2021.

The price of convenience

The incredible success of coffee capsules and pods has spread throughout homes despite its costly nature, and consumers might not even realise it.

How do people drink coffee around the world? Read about coffee rituals and traditions

Containing around 9 gr of coffee, one of the cheapest and most popular K-cups is Green Mountain Breakfast blend selling at about 0,62$ per cup. That means that 1kg of coffee comes at a price of around 68$. But for more expensive ones the price can reach just under 100$.

And the coffee in Nespresso can cost even more. At 0,71$ per cup, Nespresso’s Original Line Espresso capsules can make you spend 140$ for 1kg of coffee.

Compared to some of the most expensive ground coffee supermarket brands available like Illy, which cost around 30$/kg, the price of coffee in capsules is twice or even more than 4 times higher.

One could argue that it is literally the price of convenience and of a freshly-brewed cup at home thanks to the small air-tight containers. However, those little containers, used once and discarded, are exactly what’s wrong with the system.

Even companies who produce them know it by now and have tried to put systems in place to circumvent the issue. Their major strategy is recycling. But what’s wrong with that?

Let’s have a look at the major approaches.

Keurig Green Mountain

Until 2016, Keurig’s capsules were almost impossible to recycle.

Firstly, they were composed of four different layers of materials which needed to be separated and sorted accordingly. Secondly, one of the materials was #7 plastic, a mixed plastic polymer, which is harder to recycle and to make into new products.

So in 2016, Keurig started producing plastic #5 pods and, by 2020, all their pods should be recyclable. On their website, they explain the process in three “easy” steps: peel away the foil, empty the capsule, throw it in the bin.

But there’s a catch!

Every time they write the word recyclable on their page there is an asterisk next to it that leads to the phrase “please check locally. Not recycled in all communities.”

There are three big problems with their approach.

  1. Most municipal collecting and sorting plants are not designed to work with such small objects, but rather with cans and similar. This applies to all capsules in general and not just Keurig’s. So, unless they’ve got specific systems in place, they’ll mostly end up in landfills.
  2. Unless the capsule is thoroughly cleaned of organic material, it’ll add contaminants to the recycling process, making it ineffective (they might end up in landfills) and more costly, weighing mostly on taxpayer’s money. “We’re committed to continuing working with them and trying to find a solution, but telling people something is recyclable when it’s not accepted in the recycling program is just making the (contamination) problem worse right now,” says Jim McKay, Toronto’s city official in charge of recycling.
  3. All this means that a big part of the responsibility is still left to the consumer. But if one of the most appealing aspects of single-use pods is that it allows the consumer to be “lazy”, can industries really rely on their average customer to put in the time and effort to make recycling effective?

Other companies are trying to lift the burden off the consumer’s shoulders. Or at least giving them the illusion that it is so.


Setting aside Nestlé’s Dolce Gusto capsules which are made out of plastic and for which the same problems mentioned above apply, Nespresso has put in place a recycling programme for its aluminium capsules (like Original Line and Vertuo) in 44 countries.

In 6 of these, consumers can dispose of the capsules in their recycling bins. In 15 countries they can ship them off back to Nespresso through the postal system for free. Otherwise there are 122 287 collection points worldwide where you can drop off the used capsules.

There is no need to empty or wash out the capsules, you just throw them as is. In theory, not a bad scheme. Unless you live in one of the countries where you need to drop off the capsule at a collection point and they’re not very close to your home.

Italy Nespresso collection points

As you can see from the map indicating collection points in Italy, while there might be a higher concentration in the North and around big cities, if you’re living in the provinces of the South you might just end up disposing of them in your general waste bin.

So, how effective is Nespresso’s recycling programme?

While Nespresso focuses on its potential capacity to recycle, which is 86% worldwide, its recycling numbers are much lower.

In 2017, Nespresso “valorised” 56% of their used capsules. That means, first of all, that 44% of their capsules end up in landfills. Of the collected capsules, some are used in energy production, only 24.6% are actually recycled. While the coffee is used to produce heat, biogas and compost, most of the recovered aluminium is used in other various projects.

And that is another problem with their system.

Aluminium is a great material because it is potentially infinitely recyclable. But Nespresso doesn’t use recycled aluminium for their capsules. They claim that their capsules require a “specific alloy of aluminium”—alloy 8011 that is not found in recycled aluminium and one of the only sources are recycled Nespresso capsules.

Yet, they don’t use their recovered capsules to create more. They only promote a circular approach when it “makes environmental and economic sense”. Since they started testing the feasibility of a capsule-to-capsule approach in 2015 they’ve produced 10 million capsules (let’s say they produced 10 bn capsules that same year, that would be just 0.1%).

Thus, most of their aluminium comes from virgin material. And while recycled aluminium is quite easy to recycle, ore extraction is highly energy intensive, consuming incredible amounts of water, electricity and resources.

In the US, half of the electricity consumed in the smelting process comes from coal, one of the most polluting fuel sources known to mankind, reports RecycleNation. Extraction of raw bauxite also means reducing native vegetation thus causing loss of habitat and biodiversity, while contributing to soil erosion. Toxic materials from processing also end up in aquifers compromising water quality. High amounts of greenhouse gas (likecarbon dioxide, perfluorocarbons, sodium fluoride, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon) are also released during smelting and processing.

And while Nespresso has made a pledge towards sustainable aluminium sourcing, the use of virgin aluminium still uses 95% more energy than recycling it.

So, on the one hand, despite the company’s efforts, almost half of the capsules sold keep ending up in landfills either due to gaps in their collection system or in the inherent “laziness” of their typical customers. On the other hand, the single-use approach is still making use of invaluable energy and resources which could be avoided.

To bypass all these issues, many companies have turned to producing compostable and biodegradable capsules, which come with their one problems.

Compostable and biodegradable capsules

First off, let’s get the terms right.

Biodegradable refers to any material that will disintegrate in water, soil or air over time with the help of organisms like bacteria and enzymes. This can happen in a short time or it can take years.

On the other hand, compostable also refers to something that breaks down in nature, but it has to increase the nutrient levels of the soils. It also has to disintegrate quite quickly and at the same rate of the other materials which are being composted.

“But there is currently no legal requirement for how long this decomposition should take, only an industry standard set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. It stipulates that materials must break down completely in six months or less in a commercial compost facility,” TheGuardian reports. And there is only one company which releases compostable certifications in the United States.

So, even if it says so on the box, your biodegradable capsules might still be a problem. Some might not be compostable at all, some might be compostable in processing plants but not in at-home composting, needing specific conditions of heat and humidity. And some might not be processed completely by your city’s particular processing system.

The same can be said from biodegradable plastic which is not recycled with normal plastic, something that can generate confusion in the consumer who might end up throwing it in the wrong bin.

So what’s the solution?

Ditch single-use

As we have seen business models which depend on single-use (plastic or other) focus on recyclability as a solution to the incredible quantity of materials they sell. Materials which need to be extracted, processed, produced, shipped, collected and recycled consuming enormous amounts of energy and resources, while creating pollution and often weighing on the public system and on the taxpayer’s money, even when they work. Which they rarely do.

There are some alternative options for at-home espresso making like reusable capsules that handle the problem at the source by producing little or no waste: some have removable plastic or sticker lids to throw away; others, like Waycap, are long-lasting and leave behind no refuse except for the spent coffee grounds.

Sure, they take a little time and effort to fill and clean. However, this might not be more of a hassle than accurately emptying single-use capsules for effective recycling, or shipping them back or taking them to collection points.

And while of course the price of a refillable capsule is higher than that of single-use capsules when you buy them, the first might be more cost effective in the long term when you compare the price of loose coffee with the price of coffee in pre-packaged pods.

In the end, everyone will find the most appropriate solution for their needs based on their priorities, whether it’s time, convenience or price. But at this point in time we can’t avoid factoring into our choices the environmental impact of our habits and to make ecologically sound decisions we need to admit that there needs to be a radical reduction of single use products worldwide.

For Greenpeace, the solution needs to be “a shift away from throwaway dependant modes towards a new business model that priorities the reduction of raw material needs, through alternative product designs and long-living and reusable products.”

That is the sustainability of the future.

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chocolate coffee mousse

Dark chocolate and coffee mousse recipe

By Coffee Culture

This dark chocolate and coffee mousse is rich and creamy, yet light and fluffy: it is the perfect end to a luxurious dinner. It’s a classic with a twist: intensely chocolaty with a surprising kick of delicious coffee. 

The mousse, a sweet or savoury “foam”, originated in France in the 18th century and it was only a matter of time before the French combined it with the lascivious chocolate beans imported by the Spanish from their colonies.

Discover tasty coffee traditions around the world!

This recipe uses a base of yolks, called pâte à bombe, instead of egg whites to give it a lush and creamy texture. Pâte à bombe is a common base to many “cold” desserts, such semifreddo and tiramisù, utilising a process that eliminates the risks linked to raw eggs through pasteurisation.

Chocolate and coffee mousse ingredients



225 gr of semi-whipped cream

125 gr of dark chocolate

100 ml of pâte à bombe

1 ristretto

Pâte à bombe


6 yolks

30 gr of water

90 gr sugar



Beat the eggs yolks with an electric whisker until fluffy and pale.

In the meantime, put the water and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil to make a syrup. When the syrup reaches a temperature of 121 °C (249 F), pour into the yolks and whisk until the mixture cools down.

Pâte à bombe

Melt the chocolate in a bowl and stir in the warm coffee. Add a third of the semi-whipped cream whisking vigorously to prevent the formation of lumps.

chocolate and whipped cream

Fold in 100 ml of pâte à bombe with slow movements so the mixture doesn’t deflate but stays airy and light.

Chocolate and coffee mousse

Carefully fold in the rest of the cream until uniform.

Chocolate and coffee mousse

Spoon your dark chocolate and coffee mousse into 4-6 serving glasses and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

chocolate coffee mousse
Best time to drink coffee

The best time to drink coffee? Probably not what you are used to

By Health & Beauty

It’s always time to drink coffee. Or is it?

If you’re used to gulping a gallon of coffee as soon as you jump out of bed, you might want to rethink your habits.

Let’s start with a bit of science.

We all have an internal biological clock, the circadian rhythm, which regulates our daily wake and sleep cycles. This clock is responsible for the release of cortisol, a hormone affecting our levels of alertness throughout the day. Cortisol has a peak around 8 to 9 a.m., effectively functioning as a natural alarm clock.

How does coffee keep us awake? Find out in this article about coffee and the brain!

Does caffeine help increase the effects of cortisol?

The answer is no. Drinking coffee during periods of high cortisol levels actually diminishes its effects and builds a greater tolerance for caffeine, so you need more and more to feel that energy boost.

What’s more is that, taken at cortisol peak times, caffeine interferes with the natural production of the hormone. You’ll end up increasingly relying on your cup of joe instead of your body’s own wake-up mechanism.

So, what is the best time to drink coffee?

Scientists have found that there are various times at which cortisol levels peak: between 8 and 9 a.m., between 12 and 1 p.m. and 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. So the best time to drink coffee to get a little energy lift would be in between these periods.

But what if you wake up really early or really late?

According to AsapScience, as soon as you wake up cortisol levels increase by 50%, thus it would be best to wait at least an hour after you get out of bed before your first cup.

And what time should you stop drinking coffee?

Basically, your body is affected by caffeine up to 6 hours after you have last ingested it, even if you are not aware of it, and might disrupt your sleep. If you don’t want to toss and turn in your bed all night, I suggest you try to resist that sweet cup of temptation or switch to decaf in the afternoon.

Now you know:

  • Wait at least an hour after waking up before drinking your first cup
  • Take advantage of dips in cortisol levels for a little energy boost, so between 9.30 and 11.30 a.m. and 1.30 to 5 p.m.
  • Hold off or switch to decaf in the afternoon for a good night sleep

So, have you been drinking your coffee wrong this whole time?

Coffee rituals and traditions around the world

By Coffee Culture

How do people in different countries drink coffee?


Whether you’re travelling to another hemisphere or just going to a neighbouring country, try out the local coffee culture.

Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages in the world, but everyone likes it a bit different. Some have it iced, some piping hot, others with a bit of condensed milk or spices. Each country has its own way of preparing and drinking it.

Also from our blog: What a strange coffee! Kopi Luwak, the infamous poop coffee.

Click on the images below to discover some of the wonderful coffee rituals and traditions around the world!

Turkish coffee cup

Turkish Coffee

Origin: Turkey

The traditional preparation of Turkish coffee and its important social role have secured it a place among UNESCO’S List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Turkish coffee is a thick, foamy beverage served in small cups, usually with a glass of water. The methods of preparations are passed on in the family.

Basically, a finely ground powder of freshly roasted beans is mixed with sugar and slowly brewed over the stove in a pot called cezve.

It plays a big role on social occasions such as engagement ceremonies and holidays. It is mainly drunk in coffee-houses where people meet to converse and exchange news.

When you finish drinking, the coffee grounds left at the bottom of the cup may be used to tell a person’s fortune.

Seeds of selim, long black pepper, guinea pepper, african pepper

Touba coffee

Origin: Senegal

Touba coffee is named after the holy city of Touba in Senegal. Apparently, Cheikh Amadou Bamba Mbacké, founder of the Islamic Mouride brotherhood, brought the recipe to the country at the beginning of the 20th century, after his exile in Gabon.

Coffee has often been used to help stay awake through the recital of prayers (one of the first uses apparently) and this coffee adds even more of a kick with the addition of Grains of Selim: an African black pepper, known in Wolof as djar.

You can enjoy it for breakfast from street stalls where vendors mix it acrobatically in recognisable pink cups, while entertaining their clients with anecdotes and stories.

a jebena ethiopian coffee pot

Ethiopian Coffee

Origin: Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and coffee ceremonies are still an important aspect of Ethiopian social life shared with friends and neighbours.

The whole process can be long and involves roasting the green beans over hot coal in a brazier, then coarsely grinding them in a wooden mortar with a pestle and finally boiling them in a clay vessel with a long neck called, jebena. Then it is transferred to another container where it boils again.

After serving, the grounds can be reused up to three times.

dallah traditional arabic coffee pot with cups

Arab Coffee

Origin: Saudi Arabia

Arab coffee has a long-standing tradition, one of the oldest in fact. Wild coffee plants were first cultivated in the Arabian peninsula around the 15th century. Not surprisingly, one of the most popular variety of beans around the world is the Arabica!

Like Turkish coffee, UNESCO has included it in the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity for its relevant social role in Arab society: it is indeed a symbol of generosity and hospitality.

But do not confuse it with Turkish coffee: they are two very different drinks!

Arab coffee is a clear and golden drink, often infused with spices such as cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and saffron. It is served in a demi-tasse with dates, dried fruits or nuts.

It is usually enjoyed in the house and traditionally the whole process of preparation is performed in front of the guests: the roasting, grinding and brewing.

Moreover, the host will follow a serving etiquette: the most important or oldest guest first, filling only one-third of the cup, called finjan. It is polite to drink at least one cup but not more than three and guests can show they are done by shaking the cup.

Greek Frappé


Origin: Greece

Like all genius discoveries, Frappé was invented by chance.

In 1957, Dimitris Vakondios was in Thessaloniki at the International Trade Fair working for Nestlé. They were introducing a new chocolate beverage which was produced using a shaker. While on a break, wanting to drink his usual Nescafé Classic, he couldn’t find any hot water, so he mixed his instant coffee with some cold water in the shaker.

And Frappé was born!

It’s a foamy, iced drink, the ancestor of Frappuccino. Water, instant coffee and sugar are rapidly mixed in the shaker and served in a tall glass on ice. Some evaporated milk might be added. Apparently, instant coffee, very low on oils, is essential for a thick and stable foam that make it feel like an espresso crema.



Origin: Italy

Italians are deeply protective of their coffee drinking style and will criticise anyone abroad who makes an attempt at reproducing the smooth, condensed coffee they invented: the espresso.

Espresso is made by forcing pressurised hot water through a handful of coffee powder producing a short, concentrated drink. Invented at the beginning of the 20th century, it was perfected in 1947 when it acquired its top layer of crema.

Now espresso is used in many different drinks all around the world, but in Italy the drink takes around 30 seconds to make and the expert barista rapidly serves the customers standing at the bar who often down it in one shot.

Every municipality has to impose a maximum price for espresso, considered as a basic need which must be available, thus affordable, to anyone. With a warning: they will charge you more if you’re sitting at a table.

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee

Origin: Ireland

What do flying boats and Irish coffee have in common? Let me explain their weird connection.

In 1942, if you wanted to go from Europe to the states by plane you had to take a flying boat from Foynes, on the Irish west coast, to Botwood, Newfoundland, and then you could go off to New York or something like that.

One night, a flight on this route had to go back to base due to bad weather conditions— which was not unusual. For the cold passengers back from their miserable half journey, the Restaurant of the airport was to prepare food and drink.

So, Chef Joe Sheridan, who was Irish after all, had the great idea to add something a bit stronger to the coffee he was serving to warm up the passengers. Somebody asked him “Is this Brazilian coffee?” to which he answered “No, that’s Irish Coffee!"

Hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, topped with thick cream, who wouldn’t love that after a rainy day?

café au lait

Café au lait

Origin: France

Where would the French be without their croissants dunk in a cup of coffee and milk in the morning? The love story between the French people and café au lait is nearly as old as coffee’s introduction to the country.

Coffee first arrived in France in the 1600s through Turkish mariners in the port of Marseille. While in the beginning the bitter taste was reduced by adding sugar or honey, soon people started diluting it with milk instead.

In 1685, Doctor Monin from Grenoble was praising the virtues of this chocolate-tasting drink to stop the cough and fatten the ill, its properties far increased if the drink was hot.

Apparently, by the 18th century, café au lait had become the object of a true craze and would soon be at everyone’s breakfast table.

Do switch to simple coffee after breakfast time!

Wiener melange

Wiener Melange

Origin: Austria

The Wiener Melange is an Austrian coffee specialty. This Viennese Mix blends steamed dark-roasted coffee with milk and is topped with a hood of foamed milk. Sometimes (only sometimes) a dollop of whipped cream is added. To enjoy in the world-renowned local coffee houses.

The incredible coffee-house culture began at the end of the 17th century when the Armenian spy Deodato, founded the first coffee house in Vienna. However, locals still attribute the achievement to Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, an officer in the Polish-Habsburg army who liberated the city from the Turkish siege.

Soon after, he started serving the drink - apparently dressed in Turkish attire - with an addition of sugar and milk to make the bitter beverage more agreeable for his compatriots. And so it all started.

The Viennese coffee house is described as a place “where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill”. In fact, it has always been a place to spend long hours, reading the newspaper, exchanging news and discussing new ideas. Attended by philosophers and writers, some even had their mail sent there!

Ca phe sua da Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Ca Phe Sua Da

Origin: Vietnam

The second largest coffee exporter in the world (first for the Robusta quality), Vietnam “owes” its thriving coffee culture to the French who introduced coffee plantations in the 1800s.

But the French idyll was soon shattered by a minor yet fundamental inconvenience: Vietnamese people did not drink milk, cows were as rare as swimming suits in the Arctic and, where milk was present, it did not last very long in the heat.

How is one to make their breakfast café au lait in these abysmal conditions? Luckily, in 1864 an American figured out a viable way to conserve milk that solved all their problems: condensed milk.

Now cafés, both casual side-street stalls and more formal indoor environments, gather people of all ages, sitting long hours in conversation. Ca Phe Sua Da (Iced Milk Coffee) is so ubiquitous, it has acquired almost a romantic status and it’s even mentioned in songs.

Its preparation is almost ritualistic: the coffee inside a filtered metal can is brewed directly on top of a glass of condensed milk, then ice is added. It takes around ten minutes, of waiting, sitting, watching the coffee dripping in the glass.

The result is a refreshing, caramel-flavoured, strong and intense coffee cutting through the sweetness of the milk, giving you respite from the afternoon heat.

yuanyang Hong Kong style milk tea with coffee


Origin: Hong Kong

Popular in Hong Kong and some parts of China, this drink combines the British quintessential tradition of milk tea with a caffeine boost. And a very romantic name.

The term yuanyang refers to mandarin ducks, usually appearing as a couple, with the male and female being very different in appearance. This symbol of marital love has thus come to represent the unusual pairing of the drink.

Consumed both hot and cold, this beverage mixes coffee with a higher proportion of Hong Kong-style milk tea, that is black tea with milk (often evaporated or condensed milk).

The result, found among street vendors, is a sweet and creamy drink.

Oleang, oliang, oleng, thai black iced coffee


Origin: Thailand, China

This Thai Black Iced Coffee contains a blend of Robusta beans and roasted grains, such as soybeans, corn kernels and sesame seeds. It’s sharp flavour can be mellowed by adding condensed milk.

The word oleang (or oliang, oleng) comes from the Teochew dialect spoken by the Thai Chinese community, revealing its Chinese origin, and means black ice.

Traditionally, it is brewed in a sock-shaped cloth filter directly in water, also popular in Central and Latin America. It can be found at rustic restaurants or at street-side stalls.

Kan Kohi japanese canned coffee

Kan Kohi

Origin: Japan

With no more than a little effort of the ear, it's easy to probably guess what Kan Kohi is.
You can’t? Come on, say it out loud. That’s exactly what is it: canned coffee!

Extremely popular in Japan, it is sold for example at vending machines all around the country. When it first started to appear in the 60s and 70s, the Japanese went crazy over this stuff.

Black coffee, milk coffee, low sugar or the less common flavoured coffees are available usually in both hot and cold versions.

Cans come in a variety of colours and some seasonal versions are made as well or for special events, a fact which has created a small niche of collectors (but not a big market).

Do not sip while walking: wherever you are, just stop, have your drink and then you can move on.

café de olla mexico

Café de Olla

Origin: Mexico

It’s a traditional drink usually consumed in the small country villages of central Mexico where the climate is cold, rather than in the big cities.

The drink, prepared to boost the soldiers’ energy during the Revolution, was said to be a favourite of Emiliano Zapata, one of its leading figures.

It is made by mixing coffee with cinnamon and piloncillo, also known as panela or raspadura in other Latin countries, which is unrefined whole caned sugar.

The coarsely ground coffee beans, sometimes even left whole, blended with the other ingredients are brought to a boil inside an olla, a large clay pot. It is said this process is fundamental to give its particular flavour: rich, smooth and intense.

cafezinho brazil


Origin: Brazil

This “small coffee”, as it’s called in Brasil, is a symbol of hospitality and conviviality: it is served almost anywhere at home and at the office, at the desk as much as in meetings.

Coffee was introduced to the country by the French and by 1840 Brasil was the Top World producer and has since kept its position unchallenged. Brazilian economy and culture have been deeply influenced by this bean.

The country exports the best it has to offer, while Brazilians drink the lowest (still high quality, though) quality beans. So, you can enjoy pretty cheap coffee there.

Most locals drink their coffee with plenty of sugar to offset the bitter taste of lower grown beans and generally have it black. And cafezinho too.

Cafezinho prepared by melting sugar in just-below-boiling-point water and mixing in the coffee. Traditionally this was then poured through a “sock” drip filter made of cloth, either a hand one or on a stand. This makes for a sweet and intense brew.

Testing WayCap with Bebop Coffee Blend

By Video Tips

Check out our video demonstration on how to use WayCap capsules with one of our own blends: Bebop.

Bebop is our special blend of 5 different 100% Arabica coffees for a clear and smooth-bodied cup. Draw in the limpid floral aromas of this complex blend and enjoy the sweet notes of cocoa in the morning.

Bebop contains 100% Arabica Coffees from:

Costarica SHB (Stricly hard bean)
Honduras SHG (Striclty high grown)
Brazill Santos NY 2 Alta Mogiana
Tanzania Kilimanjaro
Ethiopia LIMU White Leopard

drawing of asian palm civet or luwak

Kopi Luwak: civet coffee aka the infamous poop coffee

By Coffee & Sustainability, Info Pills

What is Kopi Luwak?


Kopi Luwak literally means palm civet coffee in Indonesian and, even though it is one of the most expensive coffees in the world, it is elegantly known as “poop coffee”. Originating in Indonesia, it is also produced in the Philippines and Vietnam.

The palm civet is a shy and nocturnal animal sometimes described as cat-like (in fact, it is occasionally called civet cat) but more poetically, perhaps, as the hybrid mix of a “bastard love child of a ferret and a lemur … with your house cat”. Its diet usually consists in plenty of juicy fruits as well as the odd insect and reptile here and there.

But most importantly for us, the luwak has a sweet tooth for coffee cherries, of which is said to pick only the best and ripest, guided by its amazing sense of smell. Then, after a day, a day and a half, the coffee beans come out the other end almost intact but, of course, covered in faeces.

And that’s when things get interesting.

Humans walking around the jungle look for the civet’s droppings and collect them, then wash the beans, process them and sell them for a whole lot of money. Voilà: Kopi Luwak.

How much money exactly are we talking about?


How much does Kopi Luwak cost?


Kopi Luwak generally costs up to 300 dollars per kg although some high-end brands sell it for 2000 dollars a kg, like Ross Kopi from Indonesia. Not too shabby for crappy coffee!

Why is it among the most expensive coffees in the world?

Wild Kopi Luwak is quite rare with only small quantities processed each year. In theory, the luwaks roam freely and eat at night away from prying eyes, so for a farmer stumbling around fresh “produce” in the jungle requires a good knowledge of territory but also quite a bit of luck.

And of course wild civets are also not going to chew truckloads of coffee just so people can make drinks from their scat. Unless their forced to, but this is a topic for later.

Next question is: what makes it so special?

By Jack [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0], via Flickr


What does Kopi Luwak taste like?


The flavour of Kopi Luwak is mainly defined in terms of earthy and musty with hints of caramel and chocolate and some people throw around the word “jungle” as if it were a flavour descriptor.

Apparently though, for the poop coffee enthusiasts, the taste depends upon a number of factors such as tree variety, soil type, seasonal fruits eaten by the civet, so that each small batch is unique.

Above all, what makes Kopi Luwak special is the fact that it’s ingested, digested and defecated by the palm civet.

How does this influence the flavour?

First of all, as we said before, the civet is thought to be particularly picky in regards to the cherries it eats and choosing the most mature fruits is the basis of a quality cup.

Secondly, the fruit undergoes a fermentation process during the animal’s digestion where enzymes break down some of the protein contained in the bean. Because protein is the element that gives coffee its bitter flavour, the result is supposed to be a smooth cup of coffee without any unpleasant aftertaste.


What does coffee taste like? Learn how to use the Coffee Flavour Wheel


Is Kopi Luwak safe to drink?


While indeed the beans collected from the excrement show higher levels of contaminations, the processed beans are quite safe to drink with no contamination from e.coli or other bacteria.

But is Kopi Luwak worth its price?

By surtr [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


All that glitters is not gold


Not everyone agrees with the hype about Kopi Luwak. In fact, it has received some harsh critiques by esteemed reviewers.

After a taste test, renowned cupper Rocky Rhodes of International Coffee Consulting Group reportedly said “it was apparent that Luwak coffee sold for the story, not superior quality”. More explicitly, Andrew Hetzel, from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, writes that “Kopi Luwak coffee is a gimmick, a fairy tale fabricated to sell gullible consumers bad coffee at extraordinarily inflated prices”.



Kopi Luwak and animal cruelty


It would appear that while removing the bitter taste, the luwak’s digestion also lowers the good acidity and flavour. With Kopi Luwak, all the attention is given to one step of a process that should consider the quality of the bean, the terroir, the harvesting and so on. Achieving a smooth cup cannot be the exclusive defining element for a quality coffee.

What’s more, the novelty aspect of this coffee has had dire consequences for these little animals. As demand rose, people started caging wild luwaks in confined spaces, often in dismal conditions, feeding them only coffee cherries. The consequences are stress, illness, and a higher mortality rate for the animals.

There is still no way of telling for sure whether Kopi Luwak is from wild or caged civets and no official wild luwak certification, even though some efforts are being made in this direction, by organizations, farmers and even the guy who introduced Kopi Luwak to the West. On the other hand, a lot of what is sold as original Kopi Luwak just isn’t.




It is really up to you whether you want to try one of the most expensive coffees in the world, with the risk of it being either fake or made by exploiting caged civets. You can also try looking for responsible, sustainable farmers that will ensure wild and humane coffee, although these projects are still  veryfew.

But above all, would you try it?

A cup with coffee beans with an Electrocardiagram made out of coffee beans

The health benefits of coffee: the human body

By Health & Beauty

Is coffee good for our body or is it bad for our health?

The latest research shows that coffee doesn’t have any serious negative health effects, but it can actually carry some surprising benefits! (1)

Did you know that roasted coffee is a complex mixture of more than 1000 bioactive compounds and that some of those molecules may help you lose weight, protect your liver as well as lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases (CvD)?

Stay with me while we investigate the health benefits of coffee on the human body!

Does coffee make you live longer? How does it affect the brain? Check out our previous article on the benefits of coffee!


Caffeine can help you lose weight


Coffee beans on a scale

First off, let’s be clear on one point:

while black coffee is quite low on calories, a 24-ounce Starbucks mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream is not going to encourage any slimming down. It contains about 500 calories: that’s a fourth of your daily calorie intake! (1)

So do check how much milk or cream you’re adding to your coffee. You might be consuming more calories that you think.

And now… let’s get to the juicy stuff.

How does coffee promote weight loss?

There are three ways in which caffeine helps you lose weight: through thermogenesis and by stimulating fat oxidation.

These terms might sound haughty, but they enclose pretty useful information. Let me explain a bit more.

Caffeine boosts your metabolism

First of all, caffeine boosts your metabolism by increasing thermogenesis— that is, a metabolic process during which your body burns calories producing heat. You know when you exercise and you start feeling warm and then warmer until you’re all red and sweaty? That’s thermogenesis for you.

So, one study found that a single cup of coffee (100 mg of caffeine) could increase your resting metabolic rate by 3-4%. That means you’re burning calories even if you’re doing nothing at all!

Then, scientists gave participants more cups of coffee and, after 12 hours, they observed that they had consumed more energy than usual: an increase of 150 kcal in the lean volunteers and 79 kcal in the postobese subjects. (2)

Not too bad burning calories simply by drinking coffee!

Caffeine helps burn fats

Secondly, it stimulates fat oxidation: that’s when the bigger fat molecules in your body are broken down in smaller ones.

And as usual, some scientists got together, gave some caffeine to a group of women and, next day, lipid oxidation had increased by 29 and 10% in lean and obese women, respectively. (3)

Bottom line:

high caffeine consumers reduced weight, fat mass, and waist circumference more than low caffeine consumers. (4)

However, weight loss is not the only health benefit of caffeine. It also makes you last longer… in sports!


Coffee enhances sports performance

Silhouette of woman running

Do you remember when we talked about caffeine causing fat oxidation? Well, the smaller fat molecules which come out of that process are a great source of available energy for the body.

When exercising, for example, it increases endurance (in athletes and, if you ever wondered, also in rats). (5) A study found that caffeine improved exercise performance by 12.3%. (6) This makes caffeine an ergogenic substance.

However, other scientists think caffeine’s ability to break down fat is not the only factor involved. In fact, they suggest that caffeine may also be fooling you into feeling less physically tired: it messes with your perceived exertion. (7)

What’s more, caffeine also produces an increase in adrenaline (epinephrine), the hormone that, by making the heart beat faster and muscles contract, provokes our “fight or flight” response which makes us ready for action or a good run. (8)

But there is more!


Coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Three donuts with sprinkles on a wooden table, one is bitten

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Because insulin regulates blood sugar, hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) is a common effect leading, over time, to serious damage to many organs in the body.

Sadly, in 2015, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.6 million deaths worldwide and Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form. (9)

Remarkably, studies have repeatedly shown that coffee consumption is directly related to a reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes: in particular, for each extra cup up to six cups the risk lowered. (10)

Two particular components of coffee seem to be responsible: cafesol, which increases blood sugar intake in the cells, and caffein acid. Both also increased insulin secretion. (11)

However, as this was a study on rat cells and not human cells, there is a lot which needs to be confirmed with more studies.


Coffee has protective effects on the liver

Frontal image of shelves full of beer bottles

Coffee contains molecules such as Chlorogenic acid, caffeine and diterpens (cafesol and kahweol), which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Surprisingly, coffee is the most common source of antioxidants in the Western diet. (10)

These are likely responsible for the mechanism behind the beneficial associations between coffee consumption and liver diseases such as hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis. In addition, caffeine could have direct antifibrotic effects by preventing hepatic stellate cell adhesion and activation. (12)

Put it this way:

usually, the liver does a great job at detoxing the body. But when it’s under too much strain, it can get damaged. So, it tries to repair itself and as a consequence develops scar tissue (fibrosis). When this gets worse it develops into a cirrhosis.

What it all comes down to is that coffee can help reduce the damage to the liver and prevent scarring. And, impressively, people who drink even one cup of coffee against people who drink none have a 29% lower risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a 27% lower risk for liver fibrosis and a 39% lower risk for liver cirrhosis. (12)


Coffee has beneficial effects on Cardiovascular diseases

Three ceramic cups. One contains coffee beans, one espresso, another has latte art with a heart

Admit it:

we’ve all felt our heart flurry at least once after a cup of coffee and it wasn’t because of that attractive colleague by the coffee cart. We might have had an irregular blood pressure that day or maybe we hadn’t been drinking coffee in a while.

If we’re not used to drinking coffee, when we do, it gives us a significant increase in blood pressure which declines after our body habituates itself to the drink, in about a week. Even after a couple of weeks we still see our pressure being a bit higher than usual. (1)

Does it mean that coffee is bad for your heart? Not necessarily.

Oddly enough, many long-term studies have found that moderate coffee consumption (around 3 cups a day) was associated with a decreased risk of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) and mortality. If you drink more or less than 3 cups a day there is no improved benefits, but also no more risks. (13)

And the benefits are impressive:

compared with non-drinkers, risks were reduced by 19% for mortality from Cardiovascular Disease, 16% for mortality from coronary heart disease, and 30% for mortality from stroke, at this level of intake. (13)

Coffee and cholesterol

By contrast, there seems to be consistent evidence for small increases in our total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol (that’s the “bad” one) and triglyceride. And the culprit might be diterpenes.

Interestingly, the brewing method influences the amount of diterpenes in our drink: filtered coffee gets rid of most of them, while Turkish and French coffees have high levels, and espresso is sort of in the middle. But if we abstain from coffee for a while, lipid levels usually go back to normal. (12)

A word of caution:

There are some people who are more sensitive to coffee, who are not able to metabolise it as fast as others. It’s not their fault: it’s in their genes!

More accurately it’s caused by a specific manifestation of one of their genes: the *1F allele associated to Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2), which is the main responsible enzyme for the metabolism of caffeine.

If people have this slow allele, it’s probably a good idea to abstain from coffee or risk hypertension. (14)


In a nutshell:

Coffee has many surprising positive effects on the body.

On the one hand it helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism and breaking down fat cells. Beyond that it enhances sports performance because it gives you energy and makes you feel less tired.

On the other hand, with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects it protects your liver, while also lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular diseases.

But remember:

You probably want to stick to black coffee most of the time and leave that whipped cream pick-me-up for a rainy day.


Warning: The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.



(1) Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Ask the Expert: Rob van Dam on coffee and health. 2015

(2) Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr, 1989

(3) Effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese women. Am J Physiol,  1995

(4) Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obes Res, 2005.(5) Caffeine as a lipolytic food component increases endurance performance in rats and athletes. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo), 2001.

(6) Effects of caffeine ingestion on exercise testing: a meta-analysis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2004.

(7)Effects of caffeine ingestion on rating of perceived exertion during and after exercise: a meta‐analysis. Scandinavian journal of medicine and science in sports, 2005.

(8) Morning Coffee Boosts Blood Pressure, Stress Hormones All Day. Science Daily, 1999.

(9) Diabetes fact sheet. WHO, 2017.

(10) Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ, 2017.

(11) Cafestol, a Bioactive Substance in Coffee, Stimulates Insulin Secretion and Increases Glucose Uptake in Muscle Cells: Studies in Vitro. J. Nat. Prod., 2015.

(12) Four or more cups of coffee a day may keep prostate cancer recurrence and progression away. FredHutch, 2013.

(13) Tea and coffee consumption and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2010.

(14)  CYP1A2 genotype modifies the association between coffee intake and the risk of hypertension. J. Hypertens, 2009.

A scan of an etching showing Kaldi surrounded by dancing goats while a man approaches from the left

The discovery of coffee: the legend of Kaldi

By Coffee Culture

Ever wondered how coffee was discovered?


The origins of coffee are still shrouded in mystery, but there a few legends around about the discovery of coffee. The most popular is the legend of Kaldi the goatherd, reported by William H. Ukers in his book All About Coffee.

The story goes something like this:

Once upon a time in Ethiopia there was a shepherd named Kaldi. One day he noticed his (usually “irreproachable”) goats were behaving very strangely. They were prancing and dancing around full of energy and delight. Even his very dignified buck had abandoned his solemn stance to leap about like a kid.

“What’s going on?” he wondered and, upon investigation, he discovered this extravagant behaviour was due to some red berries the goats had been eating. Apparently, Kaldi had quite the gloomy soul so he didn’t ponder much before munching on a mouthful of berries to cheer himself up.

And it worked wonderfully: he became the life of the party (although a very weird party).


Do you want to know more about the origins and distribution of coffee? Check out our article about Arabica vs Robusta coffees


Then, something happened which is probably a raver’s worst nightmare: a monk walked by! You can imagine the scene in front of him left him quite surprised. Goats were pirouetting like there was no tomorrow. The buck was basically doing the Flashdance routine. And in the middle of all this, Kaldi was showing off a mean pastoral dance.

Luckily, the monk had his own cross to bear (even though he most definitely wasn’t Christian).

This particular monk couldn’t prevent himself from nodding off during prayers. So, you see, he immediately saw an opportunity there, when the herder explained the secret to that joyous mayhem. The monk brought the fruits back to the monastery where he dried and boiled them.

Soon, the coffee concoction became popular among all the monks of the realm because it helped them pray, and, perhaps, because it wasn’t half bad.

So we should thank that heavy-hearted Ethiopian shepherd and his dancing goats for their curious and probably reckless mind which led to the discovery of coffee, and also that sleepy monk, if today we can enjoy our delicious steaming cup of coffee in the morning.