Coffee or tea…What is the favorite beverage in the UK…a “cuppa” what?…

The driveway from our house to the narrow road.

Fascinating Fact of the Day About St. Teath, Cornwall*:

From this site: “The village sports an old clock tower in the center near the church. It dated back to 1920 and was erected in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War. The clock was built from Delabole slate donated by the quarry and constructed by volunteers to a plan by local mine manager, Mr. Oswald Swete. The four clock faces are driven by a weight-powered mechanism that needs ‘rewinding’ every six days. The village has an interesting history. St Teath (from whom this village acquired its name) came over from Wales, with her sisters, to this area of Cornwall to bring Christianity to those living here. Since then, the village has seen much change with the rise and fall of both mining and the railway. There is plenty of evidence of both around the area.  The oldest part of the village surrounds the village square – the focal point of the annual summer carnival, Remembrance day, Christmas lights, and New Year Celebrations.”

We often assume that the people of the United Kingdom are avid tea drinkers and, although they’ve heartily adopted coffee consumption, making it more prevalent than tea, they are still big tea drinkers.

There’s a ticker running at this site illustrating how many cups of tea are consumed in the UK each day. It’s shocking to see how fast the ticker runs into the millions of cups each day.  

Storage building on the farm.
Coffee consumption has grown in the UK over the years. Here’s an article described here:

“Stereotypes suggest that Brits favor a builder’s brew over any other beverage, but new figures released by the British Coffee Association (BCA) tell a different story.

Reliant on the caffeine spike a morning brew offers to face the day ahead, the BCA has revealed that the UK’s coffee consumption soared to 95 million cups a day in 2018, up from 70 million in 2008. That’s an increase of 25 million over the last ten years.”

The exact stats on coffee versus tea consumption in the UK is confusing and elusive. Some say coffee is more prevalent, while others claim tea is the preferred beverage of choice.

Pygmy goats were checking me out.  Next sunny day, Lorraine will take me out to meet them inside the fences.  Photos will follow.
“Part of the research, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), included a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK. It found that nearly a third of those surveyed said they didn’t drink coffee at all, while at the other end of the scale, six percent admitted to drinking six cups or more a day, with the average person consuming around two cups a day.

“Interestingly, it also revealed that 65 percent of coffee is drunk at home, 25 percent at work or while studying, and the rest is consumed in shops, bars, and restaurants. “In the last decade, we’ve gone from a country of tea-sippers who enjoy the occasional instant coffee to a nation of seasoned coffee connoisseurs exploring a large variety of roast and ground blends,” said Chris Stemman, Executive Director of the BCA.”
Pretty house in Michaelstow.

In our experience while in the frequent presence of Brits over the years of world travel, we’ve seen tea as the preferred beverage.  But then, many of our British friends are regular coffee drinkers.  So, who’s to say they haven’t adopted the passion for coffee drinking so common in the US and many other countries worldwide?

Tea’s illustrious influence in the UK has led to various teas worldwide, but there are certain teas the British favor.  Favorite teas include: 
Most Popular Type of Tea in England
  • Black Tea. Black Tea, of course, tops the list, mostly taken with milk, mostly in teabag form.
  • Earl Grey. Earl Grey was believed to be named after a gift of tea from China was presented to the then UK Prime Minister Charles Grey in 1830
  • Green tea
  • Herbal teas
  • Oolong
  • Others
Cornfield in the neighborhood.

Surprisingly, we don’t see a wide variety of teas at the supermarkets, not nearly as many as I’d seen in the US many moons ago. As for coffee, many Brits drink instant coffee.

Over the past seven months, since I had open-heart surgery, I’ve avoided drinking coffee. I found the caffeine seemed to make my heart race. Instead, I’ve been drinking one cup of green tea (includes caffeine) each morning, followed by herbal teas later in the day. I’ve yet to find a herbal tea that I love.

But, then again I was always both a tea and coffee drinker starting with coffee in the morning and having tea in the afternoon, caffeine never seeming to be an issue. Tom began drinking coffee only in 2004. He now drinks it without sugar and uses coconut cream instead of milk or cream.
Old building/barn converted to a house with solar panels.
Speaking of milk, here’s a morsel:
“The research celebrates Britain as a nation of tea drinkers, with a few surprising results like almost one in five putting the milk in first,” said Emma Stanbury from Arla B.O.B milk which commissioned the study. “And with more than fifty shades of tea, everyone’s favorite is a little different.”

When we grocery shopped a few days ago, I decided to try something I’d never considered in the past…make instant caffeine-free coffee adding “double cream.” Much to my surprise, it tastes delicious, and I believe this will be my new morning beverage.  I’m very enthused about being able to have coffee in the mornings when Tom’s coffee always smells so good.

Later in the day, I’ll have a few cups of green tea, including each day around 4 pm, tea time minus the biscuits. It’s not quite “high tea” but a treat at that time of day, now that we’re no longer doing “happy hour.” 

This morning, we took on a fantastic drive in the area and came across some excellent sites and a “people” experience we can’t wait to share tomorrow with many photos. Please check back. 
Enjoy your Sunday!  Have a “cuppa,” as the British say!

Photo from one year ago today, September 15, 2018:

This is the same family with seven chicks we’d seen a few months ago. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…El Toledo Coffee Tour…A farming experience unlike any other…

 Our video of roasting coffee beans at El Toledo Coffee Tour.
As a result of the end of the roasting cycle, these dark beans created the darkest roast, which, much to our surprise, contained the least caffeine. The light roast produced at the beginning of the roasting cycle includes the highest levels of caffeine. (See our above video) Who knew?
“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”
Yesterday afternoon this visitor came to call.  This lizard, most likely a Chameleon, was bright green near the vegetation and gray to blend it with the rocks and stone on the veranda.  Fascinating!

When we met farmer/owner Gabriel his warmth, openness, and innate desire to provide each visitor with an exceptional experience were highly evidenced in his welcoming demeanor. 

Arriving earlier than the scheduled 2:00 pm tour, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we had an opportunity to “pick his brain” about his farming techniques coupled with his passion for the farm, which has been in his family for 85-years.

Bananas/plantains are growly abundantly in the coffee fields.
Over the years, they’ve changed his farm from growing beans to be marketed to other manufacturers to working and producing their beans, packaging their product, and bringing it to market to local citizens and visitors.
Each Friday, he and his dad each take up residence at each of two local farmers’ markets, one in Atenas and the other in La Garita (which we’ve yet to visit but will do so soon).  
Coffee beans, not ready for the harvest until they turn red.
They each set up a display of their fine coffee beans, both ground, and the whole bean, along with their delicious coffee wines, the red of which both Tom and I tasted and found to be of excellent red wine quality, somewhat similar to a Port wine. The white was considerably drier and reminded me of a quality Sauterne.
A type of Heliconia plant growing wild in the coffee fields.
There were four major elements to El Toledo Coffee Tour:
1.  The introduction and discussion about organic versus traditional farming and our misconceptions; how diversity in growing a wide array of other fruits and plants along with the coffee beans may eventually impact the quality of the flavor of the coffee beans; how he sees the growth of the farm in years to come; the introduction of other coffee bean products such as the “juice” and the two varieties of wine.
2.  The trek through the hilly terrain, up and down steep and muddy inclines due to recent rains, lasted almost two hours.  We stopped many times along the way as Gabriel explained the value and use of various other crops he’s begun to harvest and, of course, all about coffee bean growing. (It was a vigorous hike. At one point, Tom mumbled “The Queen’s Bath,” and although it was nowhere near as dangerous, at many points, it was pretty tricky.  Click here for the most challenging trek in our travels in Kauai, Hawaii).
3.  A return to the cafe for the coffee tasting, wine tasting, and more educational discussion during which we asked questions.
4.  The actual roasting process for which we’ve included the above video.
Many varieties of flowering plants grow prolifically in the fields attracting insects used as a deterrent to keep the insects off of the coffee beans instead of using toxic pesticides.
Here are a few notes from El Toledo Coffee Tour’s website that further exemplifies the nature of the above discussions:

“Welcome to El Toledo!Toledo coffee is a project that features coffee production in harmony with the environment. Here on the farm, we try to use natural resources to produce our organic coffee to minimize the impact on nature! To reach this objective, it is necessary to make a lot of changes to a typical coffee plantation-changes that we have implemented over the years and are glad we did.

First of all, an organic coffee plantation requires a different way of living and thinking about life. We cannot believe that the most important thing is money, because our health, future, and the environment are priceless!

Gabriel’s father was sorting black beans, frijoles negros which also are grown on the farm.

Once we achieved this change in our thinking, the next step was understanding and opening our eyes to everything we do to preserve our future and our health. In other words, we had to avoid using chemicals and damaging the environment in a way that could harm our health and put our future at risk! It is essential to understand its nature, as simple and as complicated as it is! Nature acts wisely. It can make everything grow in harmony; however, when we try to control everything in our way, we break all those functions using techniques that would make more problems instead of doing better!

Did you know people can grow organic products and still be against the environment?

We’ve learned so many things in our 20 years of experience that we want to share with you! Now, our production method is not only compliant with all the standards of organic farming by the certification we have. It’s more than that. It’s using the means of nature to work with and not against it, and that is the principle by which we live and operate our plantation!”

Check out the size of these plantains, a type of banana.  Gabriel in the hat in this photo kept us all educated and entertained during the tour.

During our five years of world travel (as of upcoming October 31st), we’ve visited many farms and agricultural businesses, which provided us with an education that has enhanced our lives and travels. But, Thursday’s tour with Gabriel at El Toledo Coffee Tour will always remain one of our favorites.

While the coffee roaster was working, Gabriel removed some of the beans at varying stages to illustrate how the color and richness of the roast changes the more extended the beans are roasted.
Right now, I’m avoiding coffee due to its high acidity, but hopefully soon, while we’re still in Atenas, I’ll be able to enjoy a full cup of El Toledo’s light roast. Tom will continue to enjoy the bag of light roast we purchased at the farm in the interim.

Enjoy a cup of locally grown coffee this weekend, wherever you may be!
Photo from one year ago today, September 10, 2016:
Beautiful beach scene from a stop halfway through the four to five-hour harrowing drive from the airport in Denpasar Bali to the villa in Sumbersari.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…El Toledo Coffee Tour…A farming experience unlike any other…

Purple flowers on white vines located on the El Toledo Coffee Farm.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

An identical or similar Woodpecker stopped by again for a visit.

Today, there are just not enough hours in the day to present our entire story and photos from our tour of the El Toledo Coffee Tour. As a result, we’ll share photos of this tour over the next few days, explaining the informational and educational experience we had with Gabriel, the coffee plantation’s owner.

While Gabriel spoke to the eight of us on his passion for coffee farming, his mother brewed three roasts for us, each a mystery from which we chose our favorite; light, medium and dark. Tom and I both chose the light roast, which ultimately, explained Gabriel, contains the most significant amount of caffeine, much to our surprise.

Shortly, we’re leaving for the village to return the rental car and do our weekly grocery shopping.  Tom will hang out in the cafe to wrap up the rental car return with Edgar and later chat with locals who stop by for coffee and easy morning chatter.

With this morning’s late start and many distractions, I’m behind a total of two hours from my usual starting-to-post time. What a busy week we’ve had while making the most of every moment while we’ve had the rental car.

We were served coffee in these tiny cups, perfect for sipping the fine coffee.

Having spent the bulk of the five days out and about sightseeing, we have enough photos and stories to keep us going through the next nine days until we have a rental car again to repeat the same process over and again.

Tom’s eye widened when plates of these vanilla wafers were placed on the table.  Politely, he ate only three or four.

The highlight of the week’s activities, although all were worthwhile, was Thursday’s tour of the El Toledo Coffee farm located on a mountainous road about 25 minutes from the villa. 

Gabriel explained the different roasts, which attribute to the varying degrees of flavor and caffeine. Again, we were shocked to discover that dark roast, although possessing a more robust taste, has the least caffeine, contrary to what most of us believe.

According to “maps,” the drive to El Toledo, as the crow flies, appears to be only about 15 to 20 minutes. But once on the steep winding mountain roads, often behind trucks and slow-moving vehicles, the travel time is considerably greater.

We all had an opportunity to sample his delicious coffee “wine,” one white and the other a deep red. The red was delicious, tasting like an OK port.  How surprising.

Finding this location is tricky. It’s only by using “maps” with “her” saying, “You’ve arrived at your destination,” we found the rough rocky, muddy road necessary to navigate to enter the farm. There’s no off-site parking, so it’s that particular driveway or none. 

During the daily rainstorms, the driveway was muddy and challenging to maneuver, even for the most adept of drivers like Tom. He took him time, fearing he’d damage the rental car. He did fine, and we arrived and left unscathed.

In the lush canopy, even the simplest of plants are stunning.

We’d arrived 40 minutes earlier than the scheduled tour at 2:00 pm, allowing us ample time to interview Gabriel. This gave us an excellent opportunity to learn about his family (we met his mother, father, and aunt). At the same time, we quickly grasped his dedication to healthful, ecologically, and environmentally friendly farming. We’ll discuss more on this in tomorrow’s follow-up story.

A-frame containing various butterflies.

Six other tourists joined us a short time later for the scheduled tour, all of whom were 20-somethings, three young women from Arizona and another woman, and two men from Germany and the Netherlands.

Here again, another yellow Lollipop flower.

Not only did Gabriel (who speaks excellent English) share his unique take on organic vs. non-organic farming, but he explained many aspects of his family farm differing regarding most coffee farming in Costa Rica and throughout the world. 

Tucked away in the deep vegetation, I spotted this pretty pink flower.

With my and Tom’s mutual interest in farming and agriculture throughout the world, Gabriel’s perspective left us reeling over an entirely new spectrum of education we had yet to pursue.  Tomorrow we’ll be posting a coffee roasting video we took during the roasting process.

We encountered a wide array of plants and flowers on the steep and muddy path through the coffee farm.

As time has marched on this morning, it’s time for me to wrap this up and get dressed in street clothes for our trip into the village. It is easy to spend the better part of each day wearing a swimsuit, but a journey into town requires a bit of added coverage.

A creek was running along the narrow road up into the mountains where El Toledo Coffee Tour is located.

We hope your weekend is filled with pleasant surprises!

Photo from one year ago today, September 9, 2016:

Balinese food truck. For more photos from Bali, please click here.

Coffee, cakes, and camaraderie… A special visit to a quaint local cafe… A perfect day and evening in Fairlight…

We walked quite a distance to reach the Forty Beans cafe, Bob’s daily coffee spot for a coffee, muffin, and local chatter. The cafe is located in Balgowlah, a nearby town. It was fun to meet his friends and meet the owners.

Since we arrived in Fairlight on March 13th, Bob has encouraged us to join him on his daily walk to the park and Forty Beans cafe. For years, he’s made this walk to meet with friends and their dogs when they too stop daily for coffee, cakes, and camaraderie. 

The shop is well appointed with an array of beverages and baked goods along with an ample breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu.

Having been under the weather for so long, I hesitated over the prospect of the long walk up and down many hills native to the area.  But determined to rebuild my strength and agility, we embarked on the journey at 2:00 pm.

A variety of books and local products are offered for sale in Forty Beans.

The post was done. I’d ordered a birthday gift for grandson Jayden’s birthday and began working on Easter gifts for the six grandchildren. And above all, I’d chopped and diced everything we needed to make pizza and salad for our dinner guests arriving at 5:30 pm.

The simple, uncluttered decor is pleasant and inviting.

We had plenty of time for the walk. Little did either of us realize how impressive the walk would be to Forty Beans through grassy knolls, the lush green local park often passing by expansive ocean views and the marina.  

Bob’s coffee and oatmeal cookie. All baked items are made fresh on-site each day.

It was impossible not to stop frequently to take photos gasping over the beautiful scenery along the way. We’ll share the photos over the next several days. At this point, we have enough photos we’ve yet to post to last over our remaining 15 days in Fairlight.

Dogs aren’t allowed inside the cafe but welcome at the outdoor seating. These two types of dog biscuits are for sale for AU $1.00, US $.75.  

We enjoyed the time at Forty Beans, located at 2/11 Lower Beach St, Balgowlah NSW 2093, Australia, meeting the staff and owner and reveling in the pleasant surroundings in a cafe that wasn’t an overly familiar chain or franchise establishment. The smells sent my taste buds into a frenzy, and I ogled the baked items in the case, well aware there was nothing there for me.

The exterior wall is hand-painted with these adorable scenes.

Even Tom resisted ordering anything. Finally, with pizza upcoming for dinner, he decided to hold off. Now that I’m avoiding coffee, tea, and iced tea for a while, ordering water wasn’t appealing. 

Forty Beans has its own painted bicycle advertising the business.  (Bob is holding the bike).

Instead, we focused on pleasant sounds, smells, and ambiance, which explains why customers frequent this popular establishment regularly.

Tom, Forty Bean’s owner Rebecca and Bob.

As Forty Bean’s 3 pm closing time approached, the three of us said our goodbyes and were on our way back to Bob’s lovely property in Fairlight. The return walk was mostly uphill. 

A dog water bowl is located in the outdoor seating area.

I surprised myself how well I did on the hilly roads after being relatively inactive for many months except for one or two long walks a week. It felt so good, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

Comfy banquette in Forty Beans

Now, I’m determined to get out more and walk as much as possible. Back at our place before 4 pm, we sat outside waiting for Ben to finish cleaning the apartment. He did a flawless job, and I appreciated not having to do the dreaded cleaning necessary before dinner guests arrive.

Bob and Tom were listening attentively to Rebecca’s mom, who was seated to their right.

The delightful day easily extended into the evening when Bev, Colin, and Bob arrived promptly at 5:30 pm. The lively conversation and laughter flowed with ease, and before we knew it, it was 9:30 pm.  

Last night, we had a wonderful evening with Bob, Bev, and Colin, renters in his bed and breakfast located upstairs from our apartment.  Sadly, they left this morning to continue on their holiday.  

We’d all had a busy day and were ready to unwind. But, it was hard to say goodbye to our new friends with whom we hope to stay in touch from time to time. We never stop appreciating the opportunity to make wonderful new friends along the way.

Tom did the dishes, and in no time, we were both plopped down on the sofa to watch a documentary on TV. By 10:30, I started fading and headed to bed with my new smartphone in hand. Read a little, snooze a lot. Life is good.

Happy day, dear readers!

Photo from one year ago today, April 7, 2016:

While visiting the Taranaki Pioneer Village in NZ, I told Tom this could come in handy on “overly grumpy” days!  For final photos of our visit to the popular tourist spot, please click here.