Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goes With A Tall Skinny Latte

"The Recessionistas" - A novel of the once rich and powerful

By: Alexandra Lebethal

"The book is set at the beginning of the economic meltdown in 2008. I think Lebenthal does a really good job of detailing the collapse of Wall Street whilst weaving in the personal stories of characters that seem like typical Wall Street people/couples. She describes the beginning of the recession and how it slowly unfolds and impacts the lives of these very financially blessed cast of characters. However, as well written as it is, I only found one character, Renee, likable. The others were a little self-centered and selfish at best and I was left feeling like I couldn’t care less what happened to any of them because they all deserved each other. Lebenthal is a very smart writer and gives a great window into the lifestyles of rich, Wall Street types, however, without giving anything away, some of the clues Renee picks up on and questions are a little weak in my mind. All in all it was an entertaining book and gave a great insight into the lives of the ├╝ber rich."
(Reviewed By Greta B. in San Francisco)

Happy National Coffee Day! Top 10 Tips for Brewing the Perfect Cup (Compliments of Melitta (TM))

Melitta Celebrates National Coffee Day on September 29

Coffee powerhouse offers 10 tips for brewing the perfect cup of coffee

CLEARWATER, Fla. — One of America’s favorite beverages is finally getting its day! September 29, 2010 is National Coffee Day, and for a nation that consumes over one-fifth of the world’s total coffee production, this is a day worth celebrating! In observance of National Coffee Day, Melitta USA, Inc. – best known for its premium line of coffee, coffee makers and coffee filters – is honoring the woman who revolutionized coffee consumption and disclosing secrets to brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

For starters, we’ll be lifting our cup to Melitta Bentz, a German housewife who revolutionized coffee consumption by inventing the coffee filter and drip method of coffee brewing. With the singular goal of making coffee taste better, she devised a filter lined with blotting paper that would remove all the grounds from the brew and eliminate the bitterness caused by over-boiling. Now, 102 years later, her cone filtration system is still considered a superior method of brewing.

So, what’s the key to a really great cup of coffee? That age-old question never seems to go away. Melitta offers the following 10 tips for selecting, storing, brewing and serving the perfect cup of coffee.

1. Buy coffee weekly or bimonthly as ground coffee begins to stale 24 hours after the package is opened.

2. Buy an extra fine grind coffee to get the fullest flavor. Finer particles expose more surface area of the coffee to the water, intensifying flavor extraction. With an extra fine grind, less coffee is needed. Melitta recommends 2 level teaspoons per 6 ounces of water, but obviously one should experiment with the amount that best fits their taste.

3. Think of coffee as fresh produce. Oxygen, light, heat and moisture all reduce the freshness and flavor of the grounds and beans.

4. Do not store coffee in the freezer! Freezing will coagulate the natural oils found in coffee, and ice particles will adversely affect both flavor and aroma.

5. Much like wine, the flavor of coffee is carried in part by the aroma, and cups or mugs that “deliver the aroma” to the nose will make your coffee taste better. Thick porcelain walls hold in warmth.

6. Coffee is roughly 98% water, so water quality plays a critical role in the ultimate taste of your coffee. Start with cold water. Filtered water is best.

7. Use paper filters. Paper filters effectively trap bitter sediments and produce no bitter aftertaste.

8. Cone shaped filters are preferred over basket shaped filters, as the design ensures water saturates more grounds, improving flavor extraction.

9. Adding natural ingredients (ground cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla bean, nutmeg, citrus peel, etc.) provide a uniquely flavorful coffee experience. Add to ground coffee just before brewing.

10. Drink coffee as soon as possible after brewing. If left on a burner, the coffee will continue to cook and starts to degrade in as little as 20 minutes.

About Melitta
For over 100 years, Melitta has dedicated itself to providing the ultimate coffee experience with its premium line of coffee, coffee filters and high quality coffee makers, bringing European indulgence to life. The company was founded in 1908 by Melitta Bentz, after receiving a patent for her two-part coffee filtering system consisting of a filter and filtration paper. The filter system was the first to successfully remove coffee residue in the brewing process, revolutionizing the way coffee was brewed. Melitta USA, Inc., part of the privately held Melitta Group in Minden, Germany, is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. Melitta USA produces coffee and filters in North America and markets the line in the U.S. For more information, visit:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get Ready for New Flavored Via (R) Ready Brew from Starbucks*

SEATTLE, August 30, 2010 - Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) announced today the next step in building the instant coffee category with the introduction of Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffee in U.S. and Canada stores this fall. Just one year since the launch, the Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew portfolio will now include four natural flavors—Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice. Starbucks is the first nationally branded flavored coffee in the U.S. to use only natural flavors and other natural ingredients and currently offers Starbucks® Natural Fusions, a line of naturally flavored ground coffees, at select grocery stores in the U.S.

“We know 60 percent of our customers drink coffee with flavor, and now they will have access to high-quality arabica coffees with natural flavors as only Starbucks can deliver,” said Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks chief marketing officer. “The launch of Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffees demonstrates our drive to inject innovation into the coffee category, deliver products our customers are looking for, and allows us to grow the business globally.”

Starbucks spent years looking for high-quality natural ingredients to combine with natural flavorings and our arabica coffee to get the perfect cup of coffee. The introduction of these two distinctively different natural flavored coffee lines, instant and ground, is part of Starbucks overall business strategy to grow its consumer products and retail businesses. With approximately 11 percent of American households purchasing flavored coffees, Starbucks is entering the $377 million flavored coffee market in the U.S.* Having two forms of flavored coffee, instant and ground, in different distribution channels meets the variety of ways customers drink their coffee—whether it is at home or on-the-go.

Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffee

Beginning this fall, Starbucks will introduce four flavors to the Starbucks VIA® line. These delicious and aromatic blends are inspired by some of Starbucks most popular beverage flavors: Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice. Each packet makes a wonderfully balanced cup of coffee and is ideal for life-on-the-go. Starbucks VIA® Flavored Coffee is a blend of 100 percent arabica instant coffee and rich flavors, and is sweetened with natural cane sugar.

Innovating Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew and expanding the product line beyond the initial Italian Roast and Colombia coffees and into new channels remains a priority for Starbucks. Within one year, Starbucks has launched four Starbucks VIA® products in the portfolio and expanded beyond the U.S. to Canada, the U.K. and Japan, and in mid-September to the Philippines. The Starbucks VIA® portfolio now includes Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Decaffeinated Italian Roast, launched last November, and Starbucks VIA® Iced Coffee, launched in July. Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew is available in more than 37,000 points of distribution in the U.S. including Starbucks stores; food, drug and mass merchandiser stores; foodservice accounts; and through e-commerce.

Starbucks® Natural Fusions

Starbucks® Natural Fusions ground coffee is the industry’s first and only nationally-branded, naturally-flavored premium coffee made with real ingredients such as vanilla, orange peel, and cinnamon ground and blended with the coffee. Starbucks® Natural Fusions is made with high-quality arabica coffee beans perfectly blended and specifically roasted to complement each flavor. The new coffees, in Vanilla, Caramel, and Cinnamon, are available in 11 oz. packages for the suggested retail price of $8.99 in select grocery stores in the U.S. such as Target, Walmart, Safeway and Publix.

About Starbucks Corporation

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest-quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at

*Source: AC Nielsen 2009--$377 million accounts for whole bean, ground and instant flavored coffees, does not include Walmart or club sales.

(Review Coming Soon)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Goes With Coffee. . .Put A Lid On It

If you're a two-fisted drinker like me. . .coffee cup in one hand. . .some delish in the other. . .you will want to order some of these cute cupcake toppers to impress your next coffe klatch. . .these cuties are made with top secret ingredients and are sure to impress.

Perfect for Halloween!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Coffee product placement in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." In several scenes Shia LaBeouf was drinking Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Which brings me to the subject of coffee and movies. Am I the only one who has noticed that theaters have stepped up their coffee game? No more of the "generic" coffee being served in concession stands. At the UA where I saw this movie, they were serving Seattle's Best (TM) and the Century Theaters, proudly pour Starbucks.

Now, turning to coffee and books and books that go great with coffee, CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo has a new book out, "The Weekend That Changed Wall Street - An Eyewitness Account" which I'm reading now. And I can only hope that between the coffee and reading about the fall of Lehman Brothers, I'm able to sleep tonight.

And, oh, check out "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," it's Michael Douglas doing what he does best. What an incredible actor. And one brave guy.

100% Costa Rican Arabica Coffee

I'm enjoying a cup of "Cafe de Altura" coffee this morning delivered directly from Costa Rica. A friend was there for her honeymoon and brought me back a bag. Costa Rica is famous for its gourmet coffee beans. And apparently so famous that you can go into any grocery store, buy a bag of coffee, and be assured that it's going to be good.

Last night, I caught one part of a 3-part special on KQED (PBS) entitled, "Black Coffee." I've said over and over again that I'm not a coffee expert, rather, a coffee lover. But this documentary really caused me to pause and look at coffee in a more serious light. In fact, I pledge here and now to become at least a coffee student. "Black Coffee" included interviews with many coffee farmers, including, farmers in Costa Rica.

And now, I know, more than ever, a cup is not just a cup.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Viva Mexico! (And Martha and Bros. Coffee)

I have really enjoyed my "Mexico" Blend from Martha & Bros. Coffee in San Francisco. This independently owned and operated coffee roaster offers some of the finest beans in the market.

While they call this a "light" roast, it is incredibly rich with flavor for a deep cup of coffee.

Fair trade. Price varies from store to store but it's around 10.95 to 11.95 per pound.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"I Froth, Therefore I Am"

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had just received an Automatic Milk Frother (compliments of Capresso) for review purposes.

Well, the results are in. Perfect froth every time. This thing is amazing. I now consider myself a bonafide barista (well, sort of). This is going to save me a fortune on fancy drinks and it's the perfect way to impress your guests. Instead of that cup of coffee after dinner, make it a latte.

For around 59.99, you can own the Capresso FrothPro. Honestly, this is the best automatic frother I've seen for home use. And it's perfect for the office.

Check it out at:

I'm fancy :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chili Today, Plaintain Coconut Tomorrow - Mango Chili Raw Green Bush Tea Bags from The Republic of Tea

Smells amazing. Light mango taste, just enough to really enjoy it. Don't be scared by the chili, it is not overpowering or even really noticible. Great fruity tea.

Next up on my list of things to try: Plaintain Coconut Raw Green Bush Tea.

(I pledge allegiance to The Republic of Tea)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gonna Take It Nice and Slow

I decided that I would do something different this morning. Monday mornings for me are rush, rush, rush. And routine. I have the same ritual every Monday morning. And while I can't control much of what the work week entails for me, I can control my response to it. Which is why I decided to use a "pour over" Chemex (R) method this morning instead of brewing my coffee in the coffeemaker. Not only does the Chemex (R) make a great cup of coffee, it forces me to slow down and think about what I'm doing. I could make coffee in my coffee pot blindfolded. But with the pour over, I have to be more deliberate, precise, careful and measured with my actions. Careful = slower. Slower = calmer.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Late Night Coffee and a Good Book

What's better than dinner and a movie? Coffee and a good book.

Anyway, tonight I'm excited to couple my cup of Pike's Place with "Star Island," the latest novel from Carl Hiaasen.

"Star Island" as in Miami. Getting my "bi-coastal" groove on with something from each coast.

Saturday nights are not just for parties. They're also for reading about the people who do.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I've Got A Secret

I've been keeping something from you. Everybody knows that I love coffee but I've shared with few people my affinity for Coffee-mate (TM). There, I said it. I like Coffee-mate.

I love a great cup of gourmet coffee, but, I can still appreciate a cup of Yuban. And that's why I'm coming clean. You don't have to tell me what Coffee-mate is made from because I already know. Don't care. And while there is no substitute for the "real thing," a little non-dairy creamer never killed anybody.

Here's to you Coffee-mate. If nothing else, I owe you honesty.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Capresso Froth PRO - Review Coming Soon!

Turn your smoothie into a parfait and your coffee into latte with the push of a button!

Capresso Froth PRO

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lipton (R) Green Tea Superfruit with Purple Acai and Blueberry

It doesn't have to cost a lot to taste good. I picked up this box of LIPTON GREEN TEA SUPERFRUIT at Wal-Mart for about 3.00 dollars. I don't know if the Acai berry has any "special powers" and I don't know about the tea's antioxidant claims. But it's pleasant, especially if you love blueberries, and it's soothing.

Is it going to win any gold ribbons in the Tea Championship? Probably not. But I would definitely buy it again.