Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Goes With Coffee. . .

Okay, so I recently decided to "expand" my blog to include other edibles that go well with coffee. And what goes better with coffee than chocolate?

I used to work with a guy who was from the Midwest. And while he loved California, he really missed his favorite chocolates - Wilbur Buds (TM). So, his mom used to send him cases of semi-sweet Wilbur buds which he kept in the cutest "Dilbert"TM candy jar and generously shared with his co-workers.

So, guess what the mailman brought me today? My "goodie bag" from the Wilbur Candy Company.

I had almost forgotten just how good this chocolate tastes. . .my sample pack included, Wilbur Buds (both milk and semi-sweet), a semi-sweet chocolate bar and the most amazing chocolate marshmallows I've ever tasted! When we were kids, my sister's favorite candy bar was "Rocky Road." (TM)

Well, these marshmallows are like Rocky Road on steroids!!

I swear before I could even sit down to write this review, I had eaten all the marshmallows (with the help of my dear daughter). The marshmallows are hand-made in their candy store in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

I don't think that my opinion could actually do this chocolate justice. I suggest that you visit their website and discover for yourself just what really good chocolate Wilbur makes.

I have a material connection to Wilbur® chocolate because I received a complimentary sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What the "Brew-Ha-Ha" is All About - Microroasting - Today's Review: Newhall Coffee Company

I got into the office early, turned on my computer, went into the kitchen and made a pot of coffee.

I then went back to my desk, checked my emails (looking at the clock) and five minutes later, I returned to the kitchen and the pot was empty. This means:

a) you are losing your mind and you really never made the pot of coffee
b) it's very good coffee
c) you have a big, fat mouth and should never have sent that "all-hands" email that you were brewing a pot of Newhall Coffee!!

Who says bigger is better? Everyone is doing the "microbrew" these days. I've reviewed a bunch of great microbrewed coffees and Newhall Coffee Company is right up there with the best of them.

For this review, I sampled the "Newhall Blend," which is a medium, full bodied roast. This is AMAZING coffee. Due, in large part, I'm sure to the fact that they roast good beans, in small batches and ship only the freshest coffee.

Don't believe me - check it out for yourself.

Newhall Coffee Roasting Company
Newhall, CA 91355


*(The answer is both "b" and "c" - don't brag about how good the coffee is until you've poured your own cup!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Coffee and CupKates

The only thing better than cupcakes is cupcakes and coffee.

I scored a double with a "Smores" cupcake from CupKates( TM) (not a typo) and a cup of Blue Bottle (TM) coffee.

I just happened to pass by the CupKates truck on 4th Street in Berkeley on Sunday on my way to Tacubaya for brunch where they not only make some of the best Mexican food in the Bay, but serve only Blue Bottle coffee.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

And the Mint Goes On. . .Next Up, "Mint Magic" by Celestial Seasonings

"This is a mint tea to drink when you want something different. It has a subtle sweet and spicy smell and flavor, like cinnamon or maybe nutmeg. Nice alternative to straight mint tea!"*

I had heard and read lots of great things about Celestial Seasonings Mint Magic and overlooked it on four separate trips to my favorite natural grocery store.

I was looking for a green box. Silly me. Who said that mint tea had to come in green boxes? That's the problem with stereotypes.

And, who said that mint tea had to be like totally "minty."

No caffeine and perfect for after dinner.

If you have a favorite brand of mint tea, drop me a note, I'd love to hear about it.

* Straight from the lips of a mint tea afficionado.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blueberry Coffee??

That's what everyone in the office said this morning when I brewed a fresh pot of "Wild Mountain Blueberry" by Green Mountain Roasters.

If you don't like the taste of blueberries, this is not the coffee for you. If you don't like flavored coffee, this is not the coffee for you.

If you like blueberries and you like flavored coffee, you will LOVE this offering from Green Mountain. Available in ground or K-Cups.

You may find your thrill - not on Blueberry Hill - but on Green Mountain.

(I received a free package of Green Mountain Wild Blueberry Coffee for this review)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Starbucks Peru Chanchamayo

I went into Starbucks and there sitting on the counter, was the loveliest Press Pot with a sample offering of their new Peru Chanchamayo.

Well, I poured myself a cup and it was cold. So disappointing.

To the rescue - a pleasant young barista - who just happened to be Peruvian. He said, "Would you like me to make a fresh pot?" How could I refuse?

I think this is going to make my list of favorite coffees. Starbucks website says:

"This spring we’re selling a truly exceptional coffee – Peru Chanchamayo. Carefully grown on the eastern slopes of the Andes in central Peru, these beans develop an exquisite taste as they are allowed to slowly ripen. We bring you this exclusive coffee, its lively flavor notes and subtle nuttiness, at the peak of its flavor.

This lively blend is organic, Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ certified and Fair Trade Certified™. We’re proud to say that Peru Chanchamayo meets our stringent guidelines for environmentally, socially and economically responsible coffee."

This coffee would be great with a batch of Peruvian Caramel Cookies and I know just the place to find them - but, that's another blog :)

Starbucks Peru Chanchamayo - good coffee - a good cause.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Check Out My Handle - Isn't It Cool?

Chantal - I love saying that name Chantal. . .it sounds so sophisticated and grownup.

Chantal - Chantal - Chantal

Well, I've had a Chantal Classic Tea Kettle for years. . .in fact, I'm on my second one. I love the way it whistles - that harmonica whistle always startles my guests and they say, "what is that??" And then I get to say, "Oh, that's just the tea kettle!"

Only thing is that the handle gets hot. Now, Chantal provides this cute little "handle mitt" with the kettle, but I'm always worried that my absent-minded teenager - okay, and her absent-minded mom will forget to use the mitt and end up with toasty fingers.

So, I contacted Chantal Corporation and said, "Hey, don't you have a kettle with handles that don't get hot."

Guess what UPS brought me last week?

A brand new, brushed stainless steel Chantal Loop Kettle! Not only does it look really slick sitting on my stove, but the handles stay cool. And even though I still use a mitt, if I happen to forget, I won't get scorched - ouch!

I'll never give up my Chantal Classic Kettle, but I love my new "Loop" for those frantic mornings when I'm making coffee for me in my Chemex and tea for my daughter.

Check out the "Loop Kettle" and all the other super cool kitchen items from:

And remember - whistle while you work :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

There Once Was A Coffee From Nantucket

There once was a coffee from Nantucket

With texture so smooth, you would love it

It wasn't too dark

It wasn't too light

But this signature blend tasted just right!

Okay, so maybe it wasn't from Nantucket. It was actually from Waterbury, Vermont. And it's made by the Green Mountain Coffee Company and one cup and you'll know why Green Mountain Coffee is all the "buzz."

Nantucket Blend from Green Mountain Coffee.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The "Great Mint Debate" Begins Today. . .

And our first contestant is:

Southern Mint from Revolution Tea (TM)

I'm just learning to appreciate the flavor of mint. Probably because I've become a woman of "a certain age." Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try a few favorite mint teas and see what people think.

If you have a favorite that you'd like to "test," feel free to let me know.

Here are some comments about Revolution Tea's Southern Mint Tea (Caffeine Free):

"Mint tea –sharp, crisp flavor and just one teabag packs a punch ---you get a whole (albeit small) pot out of just one teabag. I think it would be too strong for a regular cup. This tea would actually be a lovely ice tea in the summer."

"This is REAL mint tea. . .nice and robust. Just the way I like my mint."

"Being a "GRITS" (Girl Raised In The South) (sort of) - I like a little mellow with my mint. . .I would think this would be great with a shot of flavored syrup - like maybe an orange?"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If You Don't Know "BOKAR," You Don't Know Beans!

Eight O'Clock Coffee says their Bokar Blend is, "A select blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans, named for two famous coffee-producing areas in Colombia: Bogota and Cartagena. When ground extra fine, makes a spectacular espresso. Available in 12 and 36 oz. bags of whole bean coffee."

I ground mine in my Capresso Burr Grinder, on a number one (finest grind), and then brewed it in my Capresso Coffee Maker. I used one scoop per cup and it was wonderful!

A 12-ounce bag retails for 5.99. That's a great value for a great coffee.

This particular blend is hard to find, so I recommend ordering directly from the Eight O'Clock Coffee website.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Honk If You Love Peet's Coffee

For Peet's sake, it's not that serious. . .or is it?

I stopped at Peet's in Berkeley this morning. I like Peet's Coffee. It's good coffee. It's well-respected, known for its deep tones and bold taste. In fact, it's a Berkeley institution.

But geez - come on people! Folks who love Peet's - they really love Peet's. They are so serious about their coffee, or perhaps, so highly-caffeinated that they will run right over you trying to get to their favorite java.

Garuda, House Blend, Major Dickason's. . .all familiar names to "Peet-Niks." (That's what Peet's calls its die-hard followers.)

Don't get me wrong, I like a good cup of coffee just as well as the next person, but people - remember - hopefully, it won't be your last cup - ever!!

Breathe-stretch-let it go.

For Peet's Sake - be kind to your fellow coffee lovers.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Talking 'Bout A Revolution - Revolution Brand Tea (TM)

"Don't you know
They're talkin' about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Dont you know
They're talkin' about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper."

(Tracy Chapman)

No need to whisper about this revolution. In fact, shout about it. Tell the world about it. Read my lips. Revolution Tea.

As if the cute little individual boxes weren't enough to get your attention, Revolution Tea comes all dressed up in these cute little nylon mesh infuser bags.

These full-leaf teas (black, green and herbal) are like a revolution which starts in your cup, goes to your mouth and works its way up to your head. . .feel the "feng-shui," taste the zen and smell the amazing scents which awaken your olfactory senses.

Greta tried the Earl Grey with Lavender and called it "amazing, the perfect balance of Earl Grey and lavender." She should know, by golly, she's from England!

And for those who don't like it hot - these are perfect making iced tea and if you want a little "something-something" different, check out Revolution's 3-D Multi-Dimensional Beverage made with genuine juice.

Go ahead - get your drink on and shout about it!