Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's the Last Day to Enter to Win a 12 ounce bag of Community Coffee Founder's Blend

Contest ends at midnight on December 31, 2011.

To be entered in a random drawing for a free bag of Founder's Blend (compliments of Community Coffee), please send me an email:

Happy Last Day of the Coffee Drinking Year

Well, it's December 31st. The last day of the year. It's good to be in the land of the living and drinking coffee.

As I reflect back on the year, coffee-wise, I'm happy to say I've enjoyed some delicious old favorites and been pleasantly surprised by some amazing new coffees.

No, I'm not resolving to drink less coffee. Coffee is one of my greatest pleasures and I have no intention of cutting back. I do, however, plan to open my blog to include more coffees that are not necessarily considered "gourmet," but coffees that wake up a good portion of America and that I have not reviewed or talked about here before.

I'm still enjoying some wonderful holiday blends and "hoarded" a couple that should at least last for the first couple of months of 2012.

Here's to a great last day of 2011 and a healthy and safe New Year.

Imbibe responsibly, don't drink and drive and don't forget to have plenty of coffee on-hand.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Did Santa Bring You Any Coffee for Christmas?

I got a pound of Egg Nog Coffee from Cost Plus World Market. I haven't tried it yet. I'm waiting for a day off. Just in case I get a buzz. (snicker)

Seriously, there's so much coffee and only so many cups. But, I've decided if Santa doesn't come to you, then you need to go to Santa.

That said, I'm spending the next few days collecting all the holiday blends I can find left in the stores that I haven't tried yet.

Stay tuned for a report. I'll let you know what I find.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Founder's Blend from Community Coffee - Win a Free 12 oz. bag - right here!

Coffee so special that it's only available for a limited time.

Bad News. No longer available from Community Coffee.

Good News: You can win a free bag here.

To be entered in a random drawing for a free bag of Founder's Blend (compliments of Community Coffee), please send me an email:

12 oz. Whole Bean Private Reserve®
Founders Blend
Founders Blend is comprised of four unique coffees from two continents. We begin with Colombia Toledo-Labateca, which is grown high in the remote Andes Mountains near Venezuela and is a rare social relationship coffee exclusive to Community Coffee Company in the United States. We next add Brazil Santos Bourbon, an old growth variety of Arabica that has become rare and highly prized. We complete the blend with two exceptional coffees from Africa, which come from the high mountain peaks in Kenya and Ethiopia, the birth place of coffee.

Founder’s Blend is carefully medium-dark roasted to develop a sweet floral aroma with a complex winy acidity and a nutty bold body. This is a blend whose sum is truly greater than its parts. It will satisfy refined palates with a finish reminiscent of toasted almonds and hints of dark chocolate. Made with the top 1% Arabica premium and specialty coffee beans. [12 oz. Bag]


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"D" is for Delicious Swiss Miss K-Cups

Yet another reason to buy a Keurig for yourself or a gift this holiday season. I'm a coffee gal, but who doesn't love a cup of hot chocolate during winter?

My daughter is a hot chocolate-holic and she had been drinking the Great Escapes Hot Chocolate K-Cups. And she was very happy with them.

That is, until, she discovered the Swiss Miss "K-Cup"(TM). Swiss Miss(TM) K-Cups are so good. She's crazy for Swiss Miss(TM) and has been drinking a cup every night.

They're not too sweet. But they're rich in flavor and not too "chocolate-y".

Top with mini-marshmallows or a squirt of whipped cream and you've got heaven in a cup.

K-Cups(TM) are taking over the coffee planet!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Goes Great With Coffee (Or Even Without) - Chocolate Chocolate's Sea Salt Caramels

Everybody is mixing chocolate and caramel and sea salt it seems. Starbucks even has a salted caramel mocha.

I received this amazing box of chocolate treats over the weekend. Needless to say, after tonight, there are no more. I can't remember which member of this household got the last chocolate, but it wasn't me!!

These "Sea Salt Caramels" by Chocolate Chocolate are made from the finest chocolate (dark or milk) which covers a creamy caramel. The sea salt on top is truly what sets it apart from a regular chocolate caramel.

I would venture to say that the sea salt caramel might be the next big thing. Right up there with the peanut butter cup.

What a winning combination.

After years of studying the art of handcrafting small batches of premium chocolates, founder Dan Abel came back to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri to open his own candy company. His creations were the result of years of apprenticing with master candy makers across the country. In February of 1981, the young candy maker opened his first Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company store. The candy kitchen was visible through the windows of the retail store – allowing customers to see chocolates created before their very eyes. Manufacturing fresh chocolates at the retail store was a new concept, breaking the mold of large factories and mass production.
Today, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company is an award-winning 2nd generation chocolate company. At the heart of the company is a family of candy makers who work alongside a talented staff of artisan chocolatiers with over 100 years of combined confectionery experience. Original recipes from the turn of the century are slowly cooked into copper kettles and stirred by hand. Chocolates are hand decorated or ‘striped’ and polished before packaged into boxes. Premium ingredients are used in all of our chocolates including fresh whole milk, fresh whipping cream, pure cane sugar, grade AA butter, pure Madagascar Vanilla, fresh fruit and all natural milk and dark chocolate.
In 2002, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company began franchising its retail store concept. The franchise stores were designed to represent the original St. Louis store. Each store has a small kitchen to make fresh chocolates on premise. This ensures that customers will receive only the freshest products.
In 2009, the Abel family re-launched the legendary Mavrakos chocolate brand after holding the recipe book passed down from the Mavrakos owners in 1984. Mavrakos was a true example of the art of handcrafting small batches of fresh chocolates. Many of the Mavrakos secrets have been unlocked in the Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company candy kitchen.
In 2011, Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Company created the Gourmet Wholesale Division which wholesales its line of chocolates across the United States. Our most important accomplishment, however, is the smile we see on all of our customers’ faces when they leave the store with their favorite assortment of chocolates. All of our chocolates come with “A Smile In Every Box®.”

(Chocolate Chocolate sent me a free box of sea salt caramels for the purposes of preparing this review, which in no way influenced my opinion nor hindered my ability to enjoy them).

Great for giving or getting!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Battle of the Blue Mountains Continues - Next Up, Jamaica Blue Mountain by Catahoula

This stuff is so good that Catahoula can't keep it on the shelves. Mainly because it's not something they carry year round. In fact, I pre-paid for mine just to make sure I didn't miss out.

This Blue Mountain, a pure coffee, is lightly roasted and extremely mild.

The first cup I reviewed, I brewed in my Capresso automatic coffee maker. It was good. But when I used the pour-over method with my Chemex and slightly more coffee, it was pure delight.

(This is a limited offering and retails for 20.00 per half pound.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

K-Cups With Street Cred

You're out of excuses for why you don't own a Keurig brewer.

Now, Starbucks(R) is making "K-Cups"(R)!

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing better than a pot of freshly brewed coffee, but with the addition of Starbucks to the K-Cup(R) roster, you're going to have to put up a pretty decent argument for not buying a Keurig(R).

It's perfect for those times when you don't feel like firing up the coffeemaker, or you want to break the ice with new guests or change the subject with that second date that's going horribly wrong.

I sampled the French Roast and Breakfast Blend. There are even Tazo(R) Tea K-Cups! Yup. You heard right.

My personal favorite is the Starbucks French Roast but I've always been partial to the "parlez vous Francais."

So, quit stalling. Surf on over to the Keurig(R) page and finish your holiday shopping.

Your aunt doesn't need another clock. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holla at Your Girl! I Scored a "12th Day" Starbucks Mug!

The early bird doesn't always catch the worm.

I'm sure you all heard about the "12 Days of Christmas" promotion from Starbucks.

Well, the 12th day - was on the 12th of December - last Monday. And, the deal of the day was free drip coffee every day for the entire month of January when you purchased the "12 Days Mug."

I thought to myself, "I am not going to get caught up in this madness. Each store probably got one mug. I'm not getting up at 4 a.m. just to get a mug. I don't need another commuter mug." Blah, blah, blah.

Well, I walked into a Starbucks (location shall remain anonymous) on yesterday (Tuesday!) and what did I spy but one little mug sitting all by its lonesome.

So, for 19.95, I have a collectible and cute mug for the holidays and can look forward to 31 days of free java.

Can't touch this.

Monday, December 12, 2011

As Promised: Cafe Escapes (R) Chai Latte K-Cup Review

"I used the 8-count when I inserted the chai latte into the Keurig.

I smiled when the water commenced brewing because the “color” was perfect – just the way I like it. Creamy-caramel color.

I did not notice the aroma until I purposely put the cup closer to my noise – instantly I noticed the “cinnamon” and “chai” aromas which started my salivary glands.

Wow! The taste is amazing…just the right amount of sweetener…the cinnamon tasted really good. There is also a hint of “tanginess” but not bitter.

This is definitely a wonderful product. Can’t wait for the Second Cup."

(reviewed by Maritza of San Francisco)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Can Call Me Ray, or You Can Call Me Jay, But You Doesn't Have to Call Me Johnson

How many people remember the character actor Bill Saluga? He was better known as Raymond J. Johnson. He did this schtick that was hilarious and drove people insane at the same time. And it was all about his name.

Now, how many people order coffee under their real name?

I know, personally, I often make up a name when ordering a fancy drink at a coffeehouse. I mean, it's just easier sometimes. It's noisy, the barista is busy and do they really care who I am anyway? So, instead of using my real name, I'll use a nickname or maybe I'll just say "Sue." It's not like I'm signing a contract, right? And who doesn't like to play pretend?

I started giving this more thought the other day when I went for coffee with a co-worker. Her name is Carol but she ordered her latte under "Coco." And I turned to her and said, "Did you say Coco??" And that's when I learned that I'm not the only one who plays the name game. She said Coco was the name her Dad called her.

So, me being me, I started thinking of doing this thing where every time I went to a different coffee shop (not one of my usual haunts, of course), I would order specialty coffee drinks under a different name. Maybe I'll be Zsa Zsa or Paris or Chloe or Diddy. I think it would be a kick.

I just hope I don't forget to pick my drink up at the bar when they call my name.

Malabar Gold - Thanks, Timber!

Thanks to Tim Manhart, the roastmeister and owner of Catahoula Coffee, I'm enjoying a cup of liquid gold this morning. Malabar Gold.

The thing I like most about visiting Catahoula is that you never know what treasure you'll find. Yesterday, I happened upon Timber as he was roasting a batch of Malabar Gold.

Malabar Gold is a rare find and it won't be around long, so you'll want to order yours today.

Retail Price: Around $9.00 for eight ounces. A real bargain for coffee this good.

*Monsooned Malabar is a variety of dry processed coffee beans. The harvested and processed beans are exposed to the monsoon winds for a period of about three to four months, causing the beans to swell and lose the original acidity, resulting in a sweet and syrupy brew. The coffee is unique to the Malabar Coast of Karnataka and Kerala and has protected status under the Geographical Indications of Goods Act. The name Monsooned Malabar is derived from exposure to the monsoon winds of the Malabar coast.
The blend is heavy bodied, pungent and is considered to be dry with a musty, chocolatey aroma and notes of spice and nuts.

The origins of Monsooned Malabar date back to the times of the British Raj, when, during the months that the beans were transported by sea from India to Europe, the humidity and the sea winds combined to cause the coffee to ripen from the fresh green to a more aged pale yellow.

When transportation was modernised, the length of this journey was dramatically reduced and the beans were much better protected from the fierce elements. However, the Europeans noticed that the coffee beans now arriving in their ports lacked the depth and character of the coffee beans received in days gone by.

It was determined that in the past the coffee beans had been transformed by exposure to the sea air and monsoon winds and rain. An alternative process was implemented to replicate these conditions, so that these incredible coffee beans could be enjoyed once again.

*(Source: Wikipedia)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pike Place Special Reserve - Worth A Trip To Seattle

Who cares if it rains in Seattle a lot. Turns out it's the only place you can get Pike Place Special Reserve.

Last month, I told you about the neat gift my niece brought me back from a trip to Seattle. A "Special Reserve" that's so special, you can only find it at a couple of Starbucks locations in Seattle.

Well, after admiring the packaging in my curio for several weeks now, I finally cracked it open. Oh. My. God.

This is like no other Pike Place blend I've had.

It's a deep roast, bold and smoky. Sort of made me feel like 1930s film star when I was drinking it.

Anyway, maybe they're "Sleepless in Seattle"* because there's so much good coffee, you don't want to sleep!

If anybody knows where I can find this stuff without traveling, please let me know. Amazing.

(* 1993 film directed by Nora Ephron and starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan)