Roasted. It’s good for you.

Good Friday morning! Have you ever woken up to the finest fragrance of coffee being roasted? That smells morning! Almost as good as the actual liquid you’ll be able to enjoy just a bit later. When we lived in Ethiopia, that’s how I often knew it was time to get up. I am not a morning person, but the thought of newly roasted strong coffee was a great motivator to get up.

Roasting Coffee/tiny lessonsblog

In addition to waking me up, moderate coffee drinking may actually be good for me. Research has recently almost agreed on that. I’m not talking about those who drink 4 or more cups per day, but just having a couple of cups to improve my mood, make my thoughts run faster, jump-start my fat burning machinery, lower my risk for liver diseases and dementia, and maybe even lower my risk to die prematurely. What’s there not to love?

While in Ethiopia, I learned to appreciate the ceremonial, more soulful side of coffee drinking as well. A traditional “coffee ceremony”, where the coffee was prepared from scratch in front of the guests, was often performed at special work related occasions and when visiting the homes of Ethiopian friends. Below one such festive occasion where I wore the Ethiopian national dress – and high heels.

Later, when I frequently traveled to Turkey for work, I got the taste for their strong coffee too. It was served in the morning at breakfast, and then throughout the day in the office. Often with a glass of water. Too much of that dark goodness could easily keep one up the whole night. I can tell. I used to joke that the coffee was so strong one could leave the spoon standing straight up in the cup. But good it was.

My most decadent cup of coffee, however, was enjoyed in Paris one rainy and unseasonably cold September night four years ago.  When it “pours cats and dogs” in Paris, one can take some liberties. So the weather conditions were an excellent excuse to enjoy this rich coffee….as well as the cup.

You can see that the cup where this coffee dessert was served was not made of fine china, but of dark milk chocolate. Yummy.

My most surprising cup of coffee was served on my second visit to Egypt about six years ago. It was not so much the strong Egyptian coffee that I’d had already enjoyed on my first trip, but the condiment it came with. A striking view of the Khafre pyramid just after sunrise right in front of my breakfast table. That was good coffee. And I enjoyed it without hurry.

Tomorrow morning I expect my favorite coffee to be brewed for me and brought to my bedside. No fancy condiments or chocolates – I’m not expecting a pyramid view or to wake up in Paris.  No need for anyone to run to Starbucks. Just my own cup full of freshly brewed black Gevalia coffee.

Have you already enjoyed your morning elixir, coffee or otherwise? Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  -Tiny

Ps. If you liked this post you may also enjoy my first story about coffee. You’ll find it here.

World Rhino Day!

I have been privileged to see both white and black rhinos “live” several times. I hope that future generations will be able to experience them as well.

Christian Sperka Photography | Blog & Site | Custom Luxury Tours

20120804 - CS3_0042 - E - THANDA

Today is Wold Rhino Day – This is a chance to raise awareness and support for these prehistoric creatures. Over 600 rhinos have been killed this year in South Africa alone, that is more than 2 each day!

The Thanda Foundation is a founding member of Project Rhino Kwazulu Natal, an organization dedicated to the fight for Rhino survival.

Please show your support by sharing this message and/or by actively supporting Project Rhino ( Thank you!

Picture by Christian Sperka – Specialist Photography Guide and Resident Wildlife Photographer – Thanda Private Game Reserve

View original post

Around the House

For weekend reading this Saturday, I thought I would take you on a nostalgic tour around the yard and garden of my childhood home. I visited there last week for my dear dad’s 90th birthday.

The first thing I saw from my bedroom window waking up in the morning was the vibrant apple garden. The red “cinnamon” apples were hanging in huge clusters. They were not quite ready to be picked as yet. But the yellow-white apples were ready and so sweet!

I ate dozens of them for snack and for dessert. Could not get enough!

I loved just walking around the big yard and observing the activities going on. Like the mini-garden where my dad was growing vegetables and berries.

We had fresh lettuce for salad at every meal. Just to step out, pick and rinse!

The strawberries and blueberries had already come and gone, but there were still a few raspberries to pick for dessert. And my dad proudly presented a new type of berry, buckthorn, that apparently is very good for you. He eats them every day in his “berry mix”, is very healthy at 90, so I am inclined to trust the evidence.

Lots of other activity was also apparent in the yard, like  my dad’s wood chopping endevour…lots of firewood to heat up the sauna and to provide cozy warmth to his large country kitchen from the wood burning stove in the winter. He has preserved the stove and uses it for his cooking more than the electric one.

My dad has always loved our forest and had started a new hobby. He had collected natural “wood art” and put it on display on one side of the sauna building. Please meet the couple, “Adam and Eve” (inset) and other art works that are part of his large exhibition of various artistic wood formations.

And of course there were hints of fishing activity. The old table where we used to clean the fish still stood next to the sauna building. Like it has always done as long as I can remember.

And the red boat was there too, now full of leaves that were blowing down from the birch and other trees.

However, my main attraction back home is always the lake itself. It is so peaceful and beautiful when it rains..

…and when it shines. When I was a kid, we used to swim in it when the water reached about 50 degrees F. Now I prefer much higher temperatures 🙂

Mid September still carried some fading feel of summer, but the signs of fall were clearly already there. It was a lovely visit back to my family, my childhood and back to the nature.

Hope you enjoyed the tour around the house. Have a great weekend everyone. – Tiny