Monday, June 28, 2010

PHILZ - it's all good!

I finally had the chance to experience what all the "buzz" is about. Everywhere I go in the East Bay and San Francisco, people are talking about "Have you had Philz???" I had tasted Philz once at work when somebody brewed a pot, but with Philz, whose mantra is "One Cup At A Time," you have to visit the actual coffee shop to get the full effect.

After waiting patiently for months and months, for the store to open in Berkeley, I checked it out yesterday. I had a cup of the barista's recommendation for a medium roast which was Philz House Blend. This guy knew a lot about his coffee and was super friendly which made my wait for the "one cup at a time" totally tolerable.

They don't have sugar and cream, etc. at a separate table. Philz is "full-service," which means the barista makes it up for you just like a real barista should. So, all you have to do is enjoy.

Bottom line. Great coffee.

At 2.75 for a small cup, a little on the pricey side, but well worth it.

Philz will definitely make it onto my list of weekend errands.

Philz Coffee

San Francisco, San Jose, Peninsula and a new Berkeley location

Friday, June 25, 2010

Boom and Zoom by Zocalo - 'Nuff Said

Okay, the name alone scared the beans out of me. I was afraid to try this coffee even though I'd heard that it was one of the best-sellers at Zocalo Coffeehouse .

"Zoom and Boom," all I could think of was, hey that rhymes with "Gloom and Doom." I'm scared.

I thought, "Is my heart going to jump out of my chest???" But, hey it's Friday and I figured - what the heck? If I die, I'll die with a smile on my face, right?

So, I make a pot for me and my "partners in coffee crime," and what do you know? It is totally A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Deep, dark roast, smooth, not at all bitter and my heart is still beating at a normal rate.

Don't be fooled by the name. "Boom and Zoom" is truly good coffee and you won't wreck your keyboard while drinking it.


Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 569-0102

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And It's Good For You Too!

Check out some of coffee's mysterious benefits in this article by Remy Melina which appeared in LiveScience. (C)

From lowered cancer risks to a sharper memory, more studies are showing that coffee is good for you - but why?

Regular coffee drinkers have a 39 percent decreased risk of head and neck cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Those who drank an estimated four or more cups a day had significantly fewer cancers of the mouth and throat than non coffee drinkers, the study found.

"Coffee contains more than a thousand chemicals, some of which have antioxidant and antimutagenic activities," Mia Hashibe, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Utah and the study's lead researcher, told Life's Little Mysteries. "Further research is necessary to identify which ingredients in coffee are responsible for the results we observed in our study."

Scientists are still trying to determine exactly what it is about coffee that gives it its disease-fighting properties, but recent research is getting closer to unlocking the mysterious power behind the energizing brew.

Your brain on coffee

Coffee may be good for the brain, too. A study earlier this year by neuroscientists at the University of Lisbon showed that drinking coffee can help to prevent the neural degeneration associated with brain disorders and aging. The scientists found that drinking up to four cups of coffee a day over a long period of time actually prevented the deterioration of memory.

Other research has shown that coffee is good for the cardiovascular system. Women who drank one to three cups of java a day reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 24 percent, according to the Iowa Women's Health Study that tracked 27,000 women for 15 years, although it was noted that this benefit diminished as the quantity of coffee rose above three cups.

And while coffee has been given a bad rap for supposedly upping the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, scientific studies have revealed the contrary. Drinking coffee lowers the risk of stroke by 19 percent among women, according to a 2009 Harvard Medical School study that tracked the coffee habits and stroke occurrences among 83,000 American women for nearly a quarter century.

The risk of some cancers may be cut by drinking coffee. Research presented at the 2009 American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference showed that coffee cut male coffee drinkers' risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 60 percent, based on a 20-year study of 50,000 men.

And people who drink coffee reduce their risk of developing liver cancer by 41 percent, compared to people who never drink coffee, according to a study in the journal Hepatology. The researchers theorized that compounds found in coffee may block the action of enzymes involved in detoxifying carcinogenic compounds that may lead to liver cancer, the third largest cause of cancer deaths around the world, after lung and stomach cancer.

Other recent studies have shown that coffee is protective against certain brain tumors, endometrial cancer and advanced prostate cancer, Hashibe said.

While it is true that some of the chemicals present in a cup of joe may be gastrointestinal irritants, coffee is not as much of a cause of heartburn and acid reflux as previously believed. Scientists have actually identified a chemical in coffee, called N-methylpyridinium, which inhibits acid production. The compound is more common in dark roasts like espresso and French roast blends, according to the Research Platform of Molecular Food Science at the University of Vienna.

Chemical coffee concoction

But not all of the chemicals found in coffee are good for you. It's been blasted for containing pesticides and dangerous chemicals.

A typical cup of coffee contains about 10 milligrams of known carcinogens, such as benzene and formaldehyde, according to McGill University chemistry professor Joe Schwarcz, writing in "The Fly in the Ointment: 70 Fascinating Commentaries on the Science of Everyday Life" (Ecw Press, 2004). However, other experts argue that these trace amounts are too small to pose a serious cancer risk, and point to studies showing that coffee reduces the risk of several cancers.

In fact, for most adults, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants, or chemicals that prevent cellular damage, according to a study funded by the American Cocoa Research Institute.

"Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source," said Joe Vinson, lead author of a study on antioxidants conducted by the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania. "Nothing else comes close."

While antioxidants help to reduce cell damage and aging, scientists have yet to determine if they are the compounds responsible for coffee's weird -but wonderful- health benefits.

There are many organic and inorganic compounds in a regular cup of coffee, including chemicals called phenolic compounds, melanoidins, and diterpenes. Some of these chemicals are believed to be beneficial, such as chlorogenic acid, which is a natural compound found in coffee beans and other plants that is an antioxidant and believed to aid in digestion, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Coffee is a very complex mixture of various chemicals," Hashibe said. Researchers are still trying to track down exactly what it is that makes coffee so mysteriously beneficial, but it's antioxidant components may be part of its protective effects against cancer.

Potential downside

But because coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant, drinking too much of it could lead to headaches, jitters and a racing heartbeat. Even decaffeinated coffee contains at least trace amounts of the drug, as the decaffeinating process cannot remove caffeine completely.

The safe daily dosage of caffeine is 300 milligrams for adults and 35 to 40 milligrams a day for children, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). While caffeine was once considered unsafe for women to consume while pregnant, the HHS has determined that mothers-to-be who drink less than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day do not put their child in any risk.

However, the HHS warns that women who drink or eat more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day may have a harder time getting pregnant, and a study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research found that high doses of daily caffeine - two or more cups of regular coffee or five 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda - during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage.

"Each individual metabolizes caffeine and the other components of coffee differently," Hashibe said, so broad recommendations for everyone aren't possible. Coffee can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and affect sleep, but do each of these things differently in different people.

Homemade Biscotti

Oblong, thick, cookies designed to be dipped in coffee, cocoa, or wine.
Originally from Italy, "biscotti" translates as "twice baked."

*(These biscotti or is the plural biscotto - were handmade by my daughter using the recipe from the cookbook, "The Skinny Italian" by Terese Guidice of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey.".

Monday, June 21, 2010

Aged to A Tea

The good, the bad and the fancy about getting older.

The Good:

You've lived to see another year.

The Bad:

You will never be able enjoy a book or the newspaper without reading glasses.

The fancy:

You feel entitled to drink tea from a fancy pot any time you like because you've made it to this age and if not now, when?

The bonus:

You have great friends who love you just the way you are.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dunkin' Turbo Coffee - Start Your Engines

This is not your mother's Dunkin' Donuts Coffee.

It's a medium-roast coffee with a smooth rich taste and an extra boost. I can use an extra boost in the mornings.

Look for the 'Dunkin' Turbo Tour' coming to a city near you through September 2010. To find out when the Dunkin' Turbo RV will be in your area with giveaways and free coffee and coupons, visit:

You'll find a full list of locations and times.

Dunkin' is not just for donuts and Dunkin' Turbo is not for wimps!

* I received a free bag of Dunkin' Turbo Coffee for this review

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Best of the Bay" - Catahoula Coffee Company

Congratulations to "Timber" and his team.

Catahoula Coffee Company
12472 San Pablo Avenue
Richmond, CA 94805-1914
(510) 235-0525

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Cute Cakes" by Donsuemor (TM)

These "Cute Cakes" from Donsuemor(TM) make my coffee cup stand on its head and my tea kettle whistle "Amour!"

From the company that brought you those famous madeleines that we all know and love, are these glorious little bites (chocolate or vanilla) covered in the most delicate icing.

For more details on where to purchase these "Cute Cakes" and other Donsuemor treats, including, French Almond Cakes, Madeleines and Lemon and Chocolate Madeleines, visit their website.

"Let Them Eat Cake!"

(They're so gosh darn cute)

*I have a material connection to Donsuemor Bakery because I received a complimentary sample of their products for consideration in preparing to write this content.

The French Are So Romantic!!

Just when you think you've met the "one," another one comes along and then you don't know which one you love more.

That happened to me last week. I didn't think that I had room in my life for another favorite coffee. You know, one " that I just couldn't live without."

But then I meet this "French" number from a place called Zocalo. Dark, like I like it, strong enough to take care of me but delicate enough not to be "pushy." Fresh as could be.

I just couldn't keep my eyes off his shiny beans.

But you know the saying, "if you love something, set it free." So, I did and introduced him to everybody in the office and turns out they all felt the same way. I mean, really, something this good should be shared.

French Roast Coffee

Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Avenue (at Dutton)
San Leandro, CA

"Zocalo Coffeehouse is an independent, locally-owned coffeehouse and roastery, located in San Leandro, California. The name, a Mexican-Spanish word meaning "town square" or "town center," was chosen to reflect the goal of community building, focusing not only on the product, but on the place itself. It's not just about coffee or tea, its about the community."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy National Iced Tea Day!

Whether you take yours sweet or unsweetened, flavored or not, you just can't beat it - especially when the weather is hot!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stash Premium Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea

I wake up a lot during the night. It's not fun. I was thinking that maybe if I drank less caffeine in the evening that would help. It also helps if your digestive system is working properly. A cup of hot herbal tea can often do the trick.

My mother-in-law just left from a recent visit and she was touting the benefits of ginger tea.

So, here I am at the beginning of my journey to find - you guessed it - the best ginger teas.

First up, Stash (TM) Premium Lemon Ginger Herbal Tea (Caffeine Free). 20 tea bags retail for about 3.99.

While the lemon jumps out at you, the ginger sneaks up on you.

Halfway through the cup, it started to tickle my tongue. That's not a bad thing. It was just unexpected.

I only steeped my bag for about three minutes - for stronger flavor, you should probably steep for five minutes.

But beware, if the ginger tickled my tongue with a three minute steep, you might end up laughing yourself to sleep if you steep for five.

And guess what. . .I think it's working because I'm starting to get sleeeeeeepy.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Artisan Roasted Coffee from Orleans Coffee Exchange

Way down yonder in New Orleans, lives some of the finest coffee from El Salvador roasted by coffee artisans who really know their beans.

Years ago, way before gourmet coffee was all the rage, I used to order this wonderful coffee from New Orleans. My favorite blend at that time was the "Cafe Reveille." Hurricane Katrina came through wiped out the plant and office in New Orleans. But you can't keep a good coffee roaster down. They soon rebuilt in Kenner, Louisiana and continue to do what they've done best since 1983, roast and ship great coffee beans.

I checked on them to see how things were going and to reminisce about the good old days and "Cafe Reveille."

Well, "Roastmeister Bob" informed me that "Cafe Reveille" was so last decade! Bob said that while he still roasts a fine batch of Cafe Reveille, that he is also blending and roasting a bunch of other newer coffees which are also great.

He said, "I'll send you something that you're going to love." And he was right. This El Salvador Finca El Porvenir is a medium-roast, slightly sweet and smooth, smooth, smooth.

I made a pot for the troops and it didn't last fifteen minutes!

El Salvador Finca El Porvenir

"Luscious fruity character, tangerine in particular.
Bright and crisp with an apricot aroma."

Check out Orleans Coffee Exchange's full line of artisan roasted coffees at:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Each One, Eat One! It's NATIONAL DONUT DAY

What goes great with coffee?

A donut, of course.

And June 4, is National Donut Day. To celebrate the holiday, Krispy Kreme is giving away free donuts to anyone who stops in. No purchase is necessary.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Defense of Coffee Consumption

The results of a new study on coffee have been released. According to the latest study which refutes the findings of the previous study which refutes the previous-previous study's results which turned the study before that on its head and the beat goes on.

Seems that the Department of Experimental Psychology at Bristol University, led by Peter Rogers, determined that "we don't gain an advantage from caffeine."

Okay, how about I say that I do get an advantage from drinking coffee because guess what? I enjoy drinking it.

Dr. Rogers goes on to say:

"Someone who consumes caffeine regularly when they're at work but not at weekends runs the risk of feeling a bit rubbish by Sunday," Rogers told The Guardian. "It's better to stick with it or keep off it altogether."

Well, that's one bit of advice I'll take from the good doctor. I'll stick with my caffeine habit.

How can you study the effects of waking up to the aroma of coffee wafting through the kitchen? How do you measure the happiness that comes when you pair that cup of coffee with a nice warm scone or a slice of hot buttered toast?

Life is short. Drink more coffee.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Trader Joe's House Blend - Coffee for a Crowd

We had a family party this weekend and my only responsibility was to bring the coffee. Pretty cool, huh? So, I thought what can I get that's great for a crowd which means coffee that tastes good, is pleasing to everyone and is not expensive?

Trader Joe's House Blend ended up being the selection and what a great choice that proved to be. It's a dark roast, but not so dark that people who don't normally drink dark roast can't drink it and it's smooth and their coffees are always fresh and at 6.49 per can, the cost is right!

The verdict? It was a crowd pleaser!

Now that I've given Trader Joe's Coffee a fresh look, I'll be checking out other blends. Any suggestions?