Sunday, February 27, 2011

What's In Your Wallet?

I think I've mentioned a time or two - or maybe you just guessed - I'm a "collector." Some of my collections include mugs, flamingos, aprons and Starbucks cards.

That's right, the ones that most people purchase or receive as gifts, use, reload and eventually toss. Not me. Not only do I keep every single card I purchase, I try to purchase every new card that comes out. And friends give me their old ones (but don't worry, I only keep them if it's one I don't already have).

This photo represents a mere fraction of the cards I've collected over the years. I was afraid if I posted them all, you guys would think I'm some sort of a nut and stop reading my blog. Well, maybe you think I'm a nut anyway. But, please, don't stop reading my blog.

Anyway, some of them have very special meaning and are dear to my heart. Take the "Greece" one for example. Heck, I've never been to Greece and don't even remember where I picked up the card. But, I can tell you this, if I ever lost it, I would truly be crushed. The one I use most is the "San Francisco" card. That's because I keep reloading it to get rewards. Sort of like "Blue Chip Stamps."

You might think my card collection borders on "hoarder," but, puleez, you can never have too many Starbucks cards. Even if they have a zero balance!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review of Bodum Stovetop Brewing System

The Bodum Santos (TM) Stovetop Brewing System is indeed a show stopper for its presence in the kitchen and brewing method. Creatively styled and brewed through a patented filter developed in the 1950s, the Santos produces coffee to a fine, tasteful, and still aromatic product with nearly no sediment. As I started the unpacking and assembly of the system, I was somewhat intimidated by the beauty and what appeared to be fragility of the glass work for brewing coffee. But things went together seamlessly and presented a classic orbed figure needing only water and coffee to complete the process.

I fired up the Bodum Santos with a calm medium flame and "watched the pot boil" It proverbially did not boil until I turned away to prepare a cooling base to which to transfer the Santos (a watched pot never boils). When I turned back around to continue monitoring the process, the water had uplifted to the coffee, creating an intense mixture and was working its way back down to deposit itself, sediment free into the serving container below.

It requires patience but the end result is worth it. Perfect for entertaining the coffee gourmand.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wimps Need Not Apply

Coffee Du Jour

Weaver's Aged Mocha Java

"Rare, exceptional aged coffees are stored at their tropical origin for anywhere between two to eight years. This gives them golden hues, flavors of fresh-cut cedar, and a smooth-low acidity.
Surprising the palate, our Aged Java compliments the sweet berry and wine flavors of Northern Africa and Yemen. By using Aged Java beans, Weaver's adds a unique twist to the world's most famous coffee blend."
(from Weaver Coffee's Website)

I found it to be smooth with some very sharp notes. Would go well with a hearty breakfast or a nice wedge of hard cheese. However, it can definitely stand on its own.

If you don't like strong coffee, this isn't the one for you. If you are like me and LOVE a bold cup of coffee, this is it.

But, no worries, John Weaver has a selection of coffees sure to please any coffee lover's palate.

Weaver's Aged Mocha Java is 13.95 per pound (an excellent price for a rare blend of coffee)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Thoughts On Rainy Days and Coffee

As I was hustling to work in the rain this morning, juggling my three newspapers under one arm, my big old navy blue tote (which my sister says looks like a suitcase) and my beat-up Kathy bag in the other - it's beat up but it's lucky - I realized I didn't have a free hand to stop and get a cup of Starbucks. They're brewing Verona this week and it's one of my favorites.

So, I looked around and I did an informal survey of how many people were carrying cups of coffee today in the rain versus the number who carry cups of coffee when it's not raining and they don't have to carry umbrellas. And I wondered if they all drank their coffee at the coffee shop instead of carrying it up to their desks or if they were going to drink the office coffee so they wouldn't have to deal with the cup and umbrella simultaneously.

Anyway, I think that my un-scientific study showed that fewer people stop for coffee when it's raining. I, of course, am not one of those people.

So, here I sit at my desk, a tall Verona on my right and dripping all over the place.

It's only water, right?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Oh, Camellia. . .

Today's post either has everything to do with coffee or nothing to do with coffee. It depends on how you look at it.

When I picked up my morning paper (with my first cup in hand), the headline of the Garden Section grabbed my attention. It was a feature story about camellias. You know the flowers. And looking at the picture made me almost cry. I started thinking about my mother and how she grew the most beautiful camellias. Actually, my mother could grow anything.

And then I started thinking about how I had intended to take a bunch of daffodils from my yard to the cemetery before they withered away and how there's never enough time in the weekend to do all the things I plan. Which made me realize that my daffodils didn't hold a candle to my mother's camellia bushes. And how I wished that I hadn't ignored her half the time when she was talking because then maybe, just maybe, I would know more about camellias and flowers and how to do laundry better.

And then the more I drank from my cup, the sadder I got because then I remembered how when I first introduced Mama to gourmet coffee how much she enjoyed it and that she really didn't want to drink instant anymore. And then I started thinking that she was a master gardener but I'm a coffee gourmand. Or, at least I appreciate good coffee.

And that leads me to my last point which is would you rather have a beautiful garden or a Ph.D. in "coffee-ology?" And since I'm never going to be a great gardener, I will continue in my pursuit of the perfect cup.

Ain't it funny how one thing leads to another?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting Reacquainted With An Old Friend

I purchased a cookbook from Starbucks back in 1994. It was titled, "Starbucks Passion for Coffee - A Starbucks Coffee Cookbook." I used it regularly. Especially when I wanted to impress guests. It not only had a lot of wonderful information about coffee, it had some of the best recipes I've ever tried.

Well, somewhere over the years, it got lost. I would think about it every few months when I wanted to whip up something special for a potluck dessert or book club meeting. I always thought that it would eventually appear (like my eyeglasses at the bottom of the clothes hamper) and I would be thrilled and say, "I knew I'd find it!" But that never happened. And now it's out of print.

I'd promised myself that this year would be my "baking challenge year." Because while juggling work and family schedules, the old girl just didn't dazzle in the kitchen like she used to - so, I went to ebay and there I found it. A brand new copy. It arrived completely unopened from an antique shop in Maine wrapped in brown paper.

No more excuses. This year I'm making homemade biscotti.

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"My Sweet Evangeline"

Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie is an epic poem published in 1847 by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem follows an Acadian girl named Evangeline and her search for her lost love Gabriel, set during the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians. (Wikipedia)

This coffee is so good, I had to do it justice by going out and finding some beignets to go with it. To be honest, I was expecting another good coffee from Community Coffee. What I got with the "Evangeline Blend" was a great coffee! It's dark and delicious. Goes down so smooth that I was pouring my second cup before I'd even given it a thought. Low-acidity. Rich flavor. Longfellow would be honored.

Priced at $8.99 for a 12 ounce bag. Evangeline Blend is part of Community Coffee's "Private Reserve" collection

The Evangeline Blend is described as an exclusive gourmet coffee blend created to honor Louisiana’s most enduring legend. In the tradition of the poet Longfellow, this selection was crafted in honor of the bittersweet romance of Evangeline and Gabriel. They combine 100% Arabica coffee beans and dark roast them to produce a deep, semi-sweet flavor with no sharp edges. It is a medium-dark roast, with medium-high acidity and a full body. (Community Coffee website)

Beignets by Cafe Fanny.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Free Flavor Friday! (Compliments of Coffee-Mate)

I swear there's always something happening in this town. And what a way to start Friday. FREE. That's right FREE Coffee-Mate! I tell you the folks at Coffee-Mate really know how to jump start a weekend. And the "Mates" that were serving up samples at the Embarcadero Four in San Francisco were so darn nice.

I walked away with this photo and a coupon good for one free Coffee-Mate (liquid or powder) worth up to 3.99! I mean "free-99."

It's going to be a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day!

Can you really trust the predictions of a guy who stays in hiding? I'm not sure, but word is that Punxsutawney Phil DID NOT see his shadow when he emerged today in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. So, that means we're supposed to have an early Spring.

The more pressing question on my mind is "What kind of coffee does Phil drink?" I take him for a Maxwell House kind of guy.

Don't you just love folklore? It's almost as great as people who speculate on the coffee preferences of others.