Chef's Hat: The world’s most stimulating elixir

It's easy to make your own specialty coffee, like a Chocolate Banana Energy Drink

Photo illustration /

Millions of people across the world start their day with that smooth cup of java.

It is estimated that over 2.2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. This makes coffee the No. 1 beverage around the globe.

That really is not a big surprise. It is the world’s second largest commodity, right behind crude oil.

Indeed, this little cup of java is a very large worldwide business.

Historians believe that coffee was discovered by a goat herder in Ethiopia in the 1500s. He saw his goats eating coffee cherries. After the goats ate the cherries they had a lot of energy and they didn’t sleep at night.


This herder shared his findings with local monks. The monks made a drink with the coffee beans and they realized they could stay up all night and pray.

Coffee is actually a bush. The beans themselves are the pit of a berry, which makes them a fruit.

Why do we call them beans? Those bits of the berries closely resemble beans, thus the name.

There are two types of coffee:

  • Arabica coffee: The beans for this type of coffee come from trees that produce a fairly small crop. The beans have a more distinctive and more subtle taste than the second type of coffee beans.
  • Robusta coffee: These beans come from plants that are heartier and produce a bigger harvest.

Naturally, the cost of planting, maintaining and harvesting beans is less for robusta than for arabica coffee beans.

While robusta coffees have a high caffeine concentration, true coffee lovers find these coffees have a flat taste without the depth of flavor found in arabica coffees.

A few interesting facts about coffee:

  • Love that decaf drink? Coffee beans are decaffeinated and then the caffeine is often sold to soda and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Only two states grow coffee — California, which is fairly new to growing the beans, and Hawaii. Hawaii has the perfect growing conditions, which include high altitudes, tropical climates and rich soil.
  • Don’t like cold coffee? Coffee stays warmer 20% longer when you add a few splashes of cream.
  • Today most of us sip (or guzzle ) our morning cup. However, coffee was originally chewed. Historians believe the first African tribes to enjoy coffee did so by grinding the berries, adding some animal fat and then rolling these caffeinated treats into edible energy balls.

The fun thing about coffee if the many variations. Besides that plain old coffee, there are espressos, lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, frappes, cold brews and numerous other concoctions that you often find at the local coffee shop.
While it may seem like you need fancy equipment and exotic ingredients, it really is not that difficult to whip up a special caffeinated drink. If you are counting calories, any of these drinks can be made with low-fat milk and sugar-free creamer, and you can leave off the whipped cream.


When you need a push to get through the day, forget that boring, plain coffee and get your afternoon moving with one of these specialty drinks. Happy Eating!

Chocolate Banana Energy Drink

Chef's Hat Chocolate Banana Energy Coffee March 2023.jpg
Get your day going with a homemade Chocolate Banana Energy Drink. This one was made in March 2023.
Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

  • ¾ cup cold coffee
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup ice
  • Whipped cream

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until well mixed. Taste. If the mixture is a bit bitter, add another teaspoon of honey. Mix again.

Pour the mixture into a mug and top with whipped cream.

Brownie Caramel Coffee Afternoon Delight

  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 teaspoons white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon French vanilla coffee creamer
  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce
  • 1 crumbled chocolate brownie
  • Whipped cream

Pour one cup of hot coffee into a large mug. Add the white and milk chocolate chips and stir until the chips are melted. Add the coffee creamer and caramel sauce, and stir well.

Top with whipped cream and the crumbled brownie pieces.

Peppermint Mocha


  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 8 ounces hot coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla coffee creamer
  • Whipped cream

Pour the coffee in a large mug. Add the white and chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add the peppermint extract and creamer, and stir. Taste. If the peppermint flavor is not strong enough, add an additional ¼ teaspoon peppermint. Stir and taste to make sure you have the desired flavor.

Top with whipped cream.

Cinnamon Spiced Mocha

  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1 tablespoon French vanilla creamer
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Whipped cream
  • Additional cinnamon

Place the coffee in a large mug. Add the creamer, sugar, cocoa, ginger, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until well combined. Taste. If the drink is too bitter for you, add another ¼ teaspoon of sugar and then adjust as necessary.

Top with a large portion of whipped cream. Sprinkle additional cinnamon over the whipped cream.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

Opinion by Donna Evans
What To Read Next
Get Local