Monday, 27 February 2012

Melbourne is helping the homeless with a cup of coffee

Have you heard of the STREAT programme? It is a Melbourne based organisation, which focuses on helping young people who live on the streets, to give them a way of learning a trade and making some money along the way.

As applauded in local online news, STREAT is working extra-hard over the Christmas period serving up coffee to the crowds. However, the reason that this event got a mention in the local news is for another reason too: the Youth Affairs minister in the area, Ryan Smith, also paid a visit to the coffee team of STREAT and he arrived with glad tidings for the festive season.

Apparently, deserving young organisations such as STREAT, have something extra- special to look forward to. What is it? There is a pot of funding which is available to over 100 such organisations which help youngsters to become engaged with society and start to climb the employment ladder. The sum of this funding pot is not to be sneezed at either – it is some $21.3 million, according to reports.

STREAT especially focuses on helping homeless youngsters off the streets and into the hospitality industry. As such, there is a focus on street cafes in the area where the participants can learn the skills of the catering industry. The vibe of the food focuses on 'street hawker' foods. The organisation also has a food and coffee cart in the University area. A deserving cause indeed.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

New app to help with suggestions about caffeine intake

I suspect that one of the most popular times to have a cup of coffee is in the morning when the caffeine fix is just what is needed to kick start the day. However, it seems that the many coffee lovers just love to sip on the stuff at any time of day or night. Recently, a new app has been created to help give information to the coffee drinker about the projected levels of caffeine in their system to better understand the sleeping and waking states of the body.

The app was created by two doctors from the Penn State University, Dr Frank Ritter and Dr Kuo-Chuan Yeh. The app is designed to reveal projections of the caffeine levels in an individual over a 24 hour period to help the coffee lover to see the effects of the caffeine on the body and work out the optimum times for certain activities. For instance, the app shows you when you are in a 'sleep zone' when the caffeine levels have dropped so that an individual could sleep. Alternatively, the 'cognitive active zone' is indicated when the individual is awake and alert.

The app also helps users to map out their caffeine intake to maximum effect, depending on their daily schedules. The app is not medical but charts the ideal times for the consumption of coffee to be extra awake and when to leave it to wind down towards sleep.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Kenyan coffee is increasing in popularity

According to recent news reports, things are looking up for the Kenyan coffee industry.

Apparently, there has been a growing interest in supping on freshly brewed coffee from this African country and, as a result, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of coffee bars using coffee machines in the East African country to satisfy this demand.

Once upon a time, it is reported, the Kenyan coffee market was predominantly aimed locally at high-quality hotels and international customers.

However, the tables are turning and many Kenyans - notably those from the middle classes - are developing their own taste for their national product.

For instance, reporters have noticed that the capital of Kenya, the city of Nairobi, has seen a growing number of coffee vendors using more and more aggressive tactics to tout for the business of coffee-lovers.

Apparently it is not just straight forward coffee shops which are cashing in on the new craze. In addition, other catering establishments are also making fresh coffee available, such as in hotels and also in fast food outlets.

In the past, a lot of the coffee shops had foreign owners targeting wealthy clientele but now the man on the street can be found meeting at the coffee establishments. As with coffee houses the world over, it is an excellent place to sit and socialise or to have nice and pleasant surroundings and beverages for a business meeting.

Unlike some Western countries who often associate coffee-drinking as a morning activity, many of the customers to the Kenyan coffee shops tend to want their fix of caffeine between 4-8pm.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Welsh Government wants to raise food hygiene standards

Of course, when any consumer makes the choice to eat food in a catering establishment, their decision will be affected by the level of hygiene in the outlet. However, the Welsh government is seeking to put forward a new draft Bill, which will address concerns of consumers and is intended to help both the customer and the business alike.

What are these new plans? The government of Wales wants food businesses to be obliged to display their food hygiene ratings on site. This means that consumers can check the rating and there is transparency on the issue. The move will also increase the incentive on the business, to ensure that it has good and appropriate hygiene standards and will, hopefully, cut down the levels of any food-borne illnesses. The proposed legislation will cover a range of food businesses – from traditional eateries, such as restaurants, but also other food outlets too, such as takeaways and supermarkets.

There is a proposed scoring system which will be put in place to rate the quality of food hygiene of the food business. Top scores will be a 5 and the lowest score, which indicates the need for urgent improvement, is 0. If a business fails to display the notice of their food hygiene score, there will be penalties of £200 and fines of up to £1,000. The Food Standards Agency will also make funds available to local authorities, to allow them to undertake 'advisory visits' to businesses so that they can learn how to improve their scores.