Sunday, January 31, 2010

Go Jump In A Lake! (and take your Contigo mug with you)




Seriously, I'm pretty sure that you could jump in a lake with this mug, take a swim, get out and your coffee still would not have spilled.

I received a free mug from Contigo to review. The model I reviewed was the Contigo (TM) Elle Mug.

Good News: The sleek design is beautiful. So stylish, euro-chic and just plain hot!

Bad News: My coffee only stayed warm for two hours.

Good News: I never leave coffee for two hours - I drink it right away.

VERY GOOD NEWS: THIS MUG IS COMPLETELY SPILLPROOF

There are several different styles to choose from and Contigo makes a bunch of other really cool stuff for grownups and kids on the go!

www.gocontigo.com

Sunday Morning With An Old Friend




"Make New Friends, But Keep The Old, One is Silver and the Other Gold."*


After years of complaining about the fact that Starbucks only offers Guatemala Casi Cielo coffee once a year, I have come to appreciate that if they sold it all year long, then I probably wouldn't like it as much.

It is one of my favorite coffees. I can't remember when I first had it but it was quite a few years ago. It's grown in Latin America and it's a medium body coffee.

According to Starbucks website, "Casi Cielo" means "almost heaven." I don't think I would take it that far because I have tried and reviewed some amazing coffees, but this remains a favorite.

I usually try to hoard a couple of pounds while they're offering it, for those days in June when I get a real craving for it. Although, I think that it is best enjoyed in cold weather.

At 12.95 a pound, it's not cheap, but you can always buy a half pound to try.




*(If anyone knows who wrote this song, I'd love to hear from you. It's a song my daughter used to sing when she was in preschool. I'm told it's an old Girl Scout song but I have no idea who wrote it.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Take Three Tablets And Call Me In The Morning!




I took a stroll through Williams-Sonoma yesterday, just to check out the new items.

Stumbled across a sale table and what do you know - there was a pack of Jura Descaling tablets on sale.

If you don't know about these, they keep your espresso maker in great operating condition - just like a car!

Here's what the pamphlet says:

Jura’s Descaling Tablets are used to descale (or decalcify) your Jura Capresso espresso machine. This is a routine maintenance procedure that should be performed every 3 to 4 months depending on how heavily your machine is used. Each package comes with 9 tablets.


First, the bad news - I don't have a Jura Espresso Machine :(

But, hey, when I do get one, I'm going to use these tablets.

NOW, the GOOD news - I just received a new Jura-Capresso MG600 Coffee Maker.

I'll be reviewing that for you in a few days - so stay tuned.

What can I say? I can't pass up a sale!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I've Still Got Sugar Plums Dancing In My Head




It's almost Valentine's Day and I still have images of Sugar Plums dancing in my head!

Last night, I had major heartburn - but worth it cuz Zachary's Pizza is delicious.

Anyway, that's beside the point. The point is, that I didn't have any Zantac, no Rolaids and not a Tums in sight - so, I made myself a cup of Celestial Seasonings Sugar Plum Spice Tea (leftover from my holiday stash). Really did the trick.

But this box won't last forever. Anybody have any ideas as to other teas that work for heartburn and upset stomach?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Hump Day!








The day is getting off to a good start with my Greek Honey Yogurt in one hand and a cup of Casi Ciello in the other - we can do this!!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cocoa On The Go! - Aladdin's "Cocoa Mix-It Mug"







No time - no problem!

What will Aladdin think of next? I "test drove" their new Cocoa Mix-It Mug. It's so cute!

All you do is put your cocoa powder in the mug, add hot water (up to the fill line - even I can figure that out), put on the lid and give it a spin!

The mug is spill-safe, dishwasher-safe, microwavable and can also be used for green tea machas or protein shakes or whatever else you can think of - shimmy, shimmy cocoa-pop!!

www.aladdin-pmi.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Mr. Espresso" Gourmet Coffee




For this review, I sampled the Organic Bolivian roast. Let me state again - for the record - I am not a coffee expert. I did not go to coffee school. But I know what I like. If I don't like it, I rarely review it because this blog is my opinion. And we all know what they say - everybody has one of those.

That being said, Mr. Espresso is Oak Wood Roasted Coffee, roasted ironically, in "Oak Town" (aka Oakland, California).

The Organic Bolivian roast is serious coffee. Not for amateurs. It is what I would call "strong," but it did not have a bitter aftertaste. Goes down easy. This morning, I brewed a pot in my drip coffee maker. I plan to try it in my Chemex (TM) and will let you know what it's like.

Mr. Espresso is served in coffee shops and fine restaurants throughout the Bay Area and the State and can be found in many grocery stores.

It's great coffee and pretty much what you'd expect from a guy with a Coffee Bean for a head :)

www.mrespresso.com

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving






I got my Bialetti Mukka Espresso Maker for Christmas 2008 from Mike and Esther.

So, this post is dedicated to them.

Today is the perfect day for making espresso - it's rainy, it's cold and it's a holiday!

Here's what you need to make perfect espresso:

One Coffee Lover

One Bialetti Mukki Glass Cappuccino Maker

Your Favorite Espresso Roast Coffee (finely ground) - today, I'm using Martha & Bros Espresso Roast (the beans are nice and oily with an "eye shine")

Follow instructions included with Bialetti Mukka Glass Cappuccino Maker and magnifico!

Bellissimo :)


Bialetti Mukka Glass Cappuccino Maker
Available at:

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/sku5279260

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh, By The Way - It's the "Nautical Bean Coffee Company"

A few days ago, I blogged about a wonderful coffee that my nephew brought me from Oceanside.

He had lost the card and couldn't remember the name of the shop or the blend of the coffee.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the car wash, he found the card in between the seats.

The name of the coffee house is the "Nautical Bean Coffee Company," in Oceanside, California.

And the blend of the coffee is Costa Rica "La Minita Estate."

Muy bien. . .


http://www.nauticalbeancoffee.com/

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Special Tribute to Coffee's Best Friend




I was thinking this morning as I drank my first cup of the day, about where, when and how my love for coffee began.

I remembered my mother drinking her cup of Instant Folger's with a fresh glazed donut in the morning. The ultimate junk food junkie, the donut was one of Mama's five daily food groups.

She used to stop me for hot donuts in the morning on the way to school. Back then, I was eating them "dry," as I had not yet started drinking coffee.

So, this morning as I walked into Donut Time in El Cerrito (my favorite spot for donuts), I smiled warmly and realized were it not for these sweet delights with the hole in the middle, I might never have met my true love - coffee.

And, as Johnny at Donut Time always says, before you walk out the door, "Have a Nice Day!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I (Heart) Martha & Bros. Coffee




THESE BROS KNOW COFFEE - AND SO DOES MARTHA!

I thought I knew just about every great coffee company in this town. Well, I was wrong.

I've discovered Martha and Bros. Coffee and boy is it good. I'm sipping on a cup of "Martha's Blend" this morning. It's a medium roast, smooth blend - almost "chocolatey." Not complex or anything - it isn't mild - it isn't strong - it's just good coffee. Very pleasant aftertaste.

And they're not neophytes to the coffee industry. They've been roasting coffee since 1987. They're currently celebrating the grand opening of their latest store located at the corner of Clement Street and 3rd Avenue in the Inner Richmond.


Their coffee is roasted locally - right in the neighborhood which allows you to experience the freshest coffee made from the finest quality beans.

From their flagship store in Noe Valley to Pacific Heights to Bernal Heights to the Excelsior to the Financial District, they've got the City covered (coffee-wise, that is).

For a full listing of their store locations, including hours, visit their website at:


www.marthabros.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"One for My Baby. . .and one more for the Road."




READY, SET, JOE! (TM)

Its quarter to three,
There's no one in the place cept you and me
So set em up joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know

Were drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road. . ."*



Melitta does more than make great filters. They make great coffee and you can make your own great coffee with their new, "Ready Set Joe" Single Cup Coffee Brewer.

The "set up" they sent me (pardon the pun) is nicely integrated and fits well together (cup, 1-cup cone filter basket and filters). The filters contained in the boxed set seemed more porous than the filters sold separately.

The filters in this boxed set allow for faster drain and flow through of liquid; which is on point since you are brewing a “quick” 1-cup. My choice would be to work with finer grinds due to the filter allowing a rapid flow through. Great setup, works well, cleans up nicely.

Also available with a travel mug.

Why settle for regular joe at the office when you can custom brew your own?

Check out this and other great Melitta products at:

www.melitta.com


*"One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" is a popular song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for the musical The Sky's the Limit (1943) and first performed in the film by Fred Astaire. It was popularized by the American singer Frank Sinatra.

What's In A Name?




We all get so caught up in names.

What is the name of the designer of this purse, that suit, those shoes, that fragrance, even bed linen.

But how important is it really? I mean, if I like a set of sheets from Target and they look good, am I going to sleep any better on a set of 1000 thread count designer Italian sheets?

Okay, that wasn't a good example.

But, I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe we need to just enjoy what is put in front of us sometimes.

Which is exactly what I'm doing right now. Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. I'd recommend it to you, except I have no idea what it is.

My nephew (the traveling gourmand) brought it back to me from Southern California.

I came home the other night and two black bags with no labels were sitting on the kitchen counter. I said to my daughter, "Where did this coffee come from?" She said, "Michael dropped it off."

I excitedly dialed his number and said, "WOW, thanks so much for the coffee!! Where did you get it?"

He replied, "Oh, I got it in Oceanside."

I said, "Wow, the beans look great and it smells wonderful. What's the name of the coffee shop?"

He said, "Oh, I can't remember. I lost the card. I just picked it up at a little coffee shop in Oceanside."

I said, "Well, thanks so much. I really appreciate it!" And hung up.

And then I thought to myself, "Geez, how can I blog about coffee if I don't even know what it is?"

That's when I realized, "Isn't the main thing that I like it?"

If anybody out there knows the name - can you let me know?

Never mind - what's in a name anyway?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yuban Coffee - Worth A Second Look. . .


I would never want to give the impression that I'm a coffee snob, but I do tend to pay more attention to the micro-brewed coffees.

Something about being independently owned and operated appeals to me. I grew up in a grocery store and my parents were the "little guys."

But, today as I was cruising the aisles of Safeway looking for a very hard to find tea (which I won't mention here in case you beat me to it), I stumbled upon a sale too good to pass up!

1.99 for an 11 ounce can of Yuban Premium Coffee!!! That's right - under two bucks for a whole can of coffee! This can normally sells for 4.99.

Most of you probably won't remember the old Yuban slogan, "Richness Worth A Second Cup," - well, I'd say it's "A Bargain Worth A Second Chance!"

I presume it's part of a bigger campaign by Yuban which is now owned by Kraft Foods to grab some of the gourmet coffee market during tough times.

I'll let you know how it tastes, but wanted to get the news out before the prices go up.

Tazo Well Being Teas - Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You!





I was so disappointed when I found out that Starbucks was no longer offering the Tazo White Berryblossom Tea. It's one of the few teas that I really like and my "tea taster" (aka my teenage daughter) loves it!

So, I contacted Tazo and found out that Starbucks will be re-introducing a new line of full-leaf tea bags in Starbucks stores tomorrow (1/12/10).

And if that's not enough good news coming from Tazo, the nice folks at Tazo sent me a preview of the "Well-Being" line of Tazo teas to be introduced in February.

Well-Being teas will only be available in grocery and natural outlets (including Target and Whole Foods) in February.


If you like the White Berryblossom, you'll love the new "Rest," tea. If you're a serious tea drinker and like a black tea with a hint of cocoa, go for the "Focus." And if you're one of those people who likes to get their "feng shui" on, you'll love the "Thrive" tea which is a green tea with antioxidants.

Here's what Tazo says about the "Well-Being" Teas:

Tazo® Tea Launches Line of Well-Being Teas


Three new filterbags offer all-natural flavor, holistic sense of everyday balance
In an effort to provide consumers with a wider array of tea choices, Tazo® Tea is introducing a new line to their portfolio – Tazo® Well-Being teas. Available at Whole Foods, Target and other select retailers, these three new blends, Tazo® Thrive, Tazo® Rest and Tazo® Focus, can inspire serenity, tranquility and clarity through Tazo’s artfully selected ingredients. As with all Tazo® teas, the new line features premium, all-natural ingredients blended on site in Portland, Ore., to showcase the flavor consistency and quality.

“Tea drinkers are loyal to Tazo because of our high quality and delicious tasting products,” said Mike De La Cruz, manager, R&D Hand Crafted Beverages & Tazo Tea. “Thoughtfully crafted to provide everyday balance, we hope Tazo® Thrive, Tazo® Rest and Tazo® Focus offer a sense of well being and the exceptional taste our consumers are seeking.”

Presenting the perfect end to a hectic day, Tazo® Rest is a caffeine-free, lulling blend of rose petals, valerian root and citrusy herbs. Tazo® Thrive is a formidable blend of green teas and botanicals. Tazo® Thrive can evoke balance and overall well being and also naturally includes antioxidants. And Tazo® Focus, a cleverly invigorating mix of black tea, roasted yerba maté, orange essence and cocoa peel, awakens the senses.

Beginning February 2010, Tazo® Thrive, Tazo® Rest and Tazo® Focus will be available where consumers buy groceries. Each blend will be available in 16 count boxes at the suggested retail price of $3.99 in the U.S.

Something to look forward to for the tea loving Valentine in your life.

Be Well!

Peace

Friday, January 8, 2010

Setting the Record Straight On Dunkin' Donuts Coffee



A couple of days ago, I blogged about Dunkin' Donuts Dark. I said it was delicious and it is.

However, I also commented that I would recommend purchasing it online to ensure freshness. That was not to imply that I have received "stale" coffee from Dunkin' Donuts in the past, but merely expressing my preference for freshly roasted coffee :)

I have been informed by Dunkin' Donuts' spokesperson that "the shelf life of all coffee is one year to retain optimal freshness."


My coffee had a "best if used by August 28, 2010," date which means it was roasted, ground, packaged and sealed at Dunkin' Donuts on August 27, 2009. The shelf life of all coffee is 1 year.

And the coffee I received (gratis) from the company came from Dunkin' Donuts packaged coffee, so the website to order is:

www.dunkinathome.com

I hope that's as clear as the hole in a Dunkin' Donuts' donut and I still say "Dunkin' Donuts, we need more stores on the West Coast!"

TGIF!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mighty Leaf - Mighty Good Tea


I received a sample of Rooibos Renewal from Mighty Leaf tea and I'd been waiting for just the right time to try it.

Well. . .tonight we rented "New In Town" with Harry Connick Jr. and Rene Zellwiger and it was such a "feel good" movie that I thought it would be nice to try the Rooibos Renewal and relax.

As you know, coffee is my number one drink and I'm just learning to respect and appreciate good tea, but my daughter, who is the "tea specialist" in the family provided the following recap:

A little fruity, kind of floral-y, very calm flavor – not overwhelming – puts ya right to sleep. ;)

Night-night.

When I'm Not Drinking Coffee, I'm Thinking About It


Every year, I buy a new coffee calendar.

But this year, I wanted something different, not just the regular run-of-the mill coffee calendar. Know what I mean?

So, I squealed with delight (well, I didn't really, but I was happy) when I ran across this calendar from Teneues of Germany.

Each month's picture is a work of art. In fact, I'm going to go back to Pegasus and see if I can find another one.

If you can't find one in your favorite calendar/bookstore, call teNeues Publishing at 800-352-0305.

2010 is going to be a very good coffee year. I feel it in my beans. :)

www.teneues.com

I Got FIVE On It - RED ALERT!!




Calling all Cajuns and other Community Coffee Lovers!


For a limited time only and EXCLUSIVELY ONLINE receive FIVE 12 oz. or 16 oz. Red Bag coffees for $20! Stock up on all of your favorite Red Bag blends before this offer expires!

Offer valid until midnight January 10, 2010. Excludes 32 oz. Red Bag Coffees.


www.communitycoffee.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast Coffee - Delish!





Dunkin donuts dark-roast coffee is delicious. It would be even better with a Dunkin’ Donuts donut but if you don’t live near a Dunkin Donuts, and I don’t, then a regular donut will have to do.

Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee can now be found in grocery stores everywhere or my favorite place, Target. However, I think it’s best if you can order it directly from their website because when you get it in the stores, you’re not always getting the freshest coffee and when it’s not super fresh, for me, it loses some of the flavor and it’s just not as good.

But the bag I got (directly from the source) was rich and bold and grown-up tasting. A bag retails for about 7.99 (for a one-pound bag) and that’s really not expensive for gourmet coffee. And you can often find coupons in your Sunday paper or online. So, you don’t have to feel like you’re being extravagant since we’re in an economic downturn.

It’s just good honest, unpretentious coffee.

Although. . .it would really be better with a Dunkin Donuts Donut. . .Dunkin Donuts are you listening??? We need more Dunkin Donuts stores out west!!!

(otherwise, we’ll be dunking croissants in our Dunkin Donuts coffee and that’s just wrong on so many levels)


https://www.dunkindonuts.com

Friday, January 1, 2010

Starting the New Year Off Right! Equator Coffees - Bouchon House Blend








Starting the New Year off right with a cup of Equator Estate Bouchon House Blend!

Roast Magazine named Equator Coffee America's 2010 Roaster of the Year which is why I asked the company if they could send me a sample. I mean, if it's good enough for The French Laundry Restaurant it's good enough for me, right?

This is definitely at the top of my list of coffees to drink in the New Year. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. You can find them at Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods and other fine stores, or contact them directly:

Equator Estate Coffees & Teas
115 Jordan Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
1-800-809-7687

www.equatorcoffees.com


Named America’s 2010 Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine