Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fooled Around And Fell In Love

Never say never. I said I would never use a thermal coffee maker. I just had something in my head telling me that the coffee would not taste right. I thought it would be metallic-like. Wrong.

The last few weeks have been a Coffee Lover's dream. My new Capresso MT600 PLUS with thermal carafe brews not only a great pot of coffee, it keeps it hot and there's no burnt taste. I am loving it. If there is anything that takes some getting used to, it would be making sure that I turn the cap to the exact position for pouring. Sometimes when I'm not fully awake, I make a mess on the counter. However, that is a tiny drawback. Besides, I'm sure most of you can see better than I can in the mornings.

It has a programmable timer. But I have to admit, I never program anything. If you know me, you know that I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants - makes for more excitement in the morning!

From Capresso:

Rapid brewing 10-cup programmable coffee maker produces a full-flavored pot of coffee in less than 8 minutes ensuring the proper extraction time for perfectly brewed coffee. The stainless steel thermal vacuum carafe keeps coffee hot for up to 4 hours

Features and Benefits

Brews 10 cups of coffee in under 8 minutes for maximum flavor and aroma
Unique stainless steel-lined heating system eliminates water contact with aluminum and reduces the need for decalcifying
Stainless steel thermal vacuum carafe with drip-free pouring spout keeps coffee hot for up to 4 hours
Fingerprint-proof stainless steel housing provides superior strength and style and eliminates fingerprints
Permanent GoldTone filter is easy to use and easy to clean
24-hour programmable clock/timer with easy to read LED display
Special settings maintains temperature and aroma when brewing only 3-5 cups
Charcoal water filter removes up to 82% of chlorine and other impurities
Electronic filter indicator shows when to replace the charcoal filter
Water level indicator makes filling the right amount of water easy
Drip stop allows you to pour a cup while brewing
Automatic safety shut off
Concealed cord storage

(*Jura-Capresso provided me with a free coffeemaker for the purpose of preparing this review)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The One That Almost Got Away - Casi Cielo 2012

To think that I almost missed this seasonal offering is a thought - well, I just don't want to think about it.

When this coffee was released a couple of months ago (I think in late January), I thought, "I've had plenty of great Guatemalan coffee, Casi Cielo isn't the be all to end all."

So, I didn't buy any. I had a couple of cups on days when they were pouring it at the Starbucks in my office building but I looked at the bags of beans and turned up my nose.

Then last week, all of a sudden, I walked into Starbucks and realized "Hey, it's really gone??" What a fool I had been. I usually hoard pounds of the stuff.

So, I crossed my fingers and asked the manager if he had any left. It was my lucky day. He said, "Let me check." And then he came out of the storeroom and said, "I have one bag left."

I grabbed it.

The moral of the story. You don't miss your Casi Cielo until your well has run dry.

I'll never take this blend for granted again. Promise.

Guatemala Casi Cielo®

"A heavenly coffee from Latin America with a rich flavor, smooth body and cocoa finish." (from

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To Know Me Is To Mug Me

Roses might do it for some girls, but for me, it's all about the mug. And, of course, the coffee.

And what's more special than receiving a new mug for your birthday or holiday? Receiving a new mug just because somebody loves you - and knows what you love.

My sister surprised me last night as we were leaving to go out to dinner. When we drove off in the car, she said, "Hey, look in the back seat, I bought you something." I thought, "Must be a caramel apple." (Cuz I love those too).

Anyway, it was this adorable mug that only a TRUE caffeine-fiend can appreciate.

I squealed with delight.

Because after all, it's the little things that make us the happiest. Am I right?

This mug is so darn cute - and the box is even cuter!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Latte Art - NOT

Let me start out by saying I do not consider myself to be a difficult customer. However, I do like to have a little fun. Is it too much to ask for the barista to "try" and see if they can create a design in the foam? I mean if you have four baristas in a store at 3 o'clock in the afternoon (and very few customers), would it kill one of them to at least try their hand at foam art?

But, noooo, not at this Starbucks. Three people looked at me like I was insane, one guy said 'oh, yeah, I used to know a guy who did that but he doesn't work here any longer.' And the one who made my drink simply shook her head 'no.' Not as in, 'No, I can't do it,' but 'no' as in 'Oh, NO, you didn't ask me for that??"

They didn't even try to squirt a little caramel on there.

So, as not to leave with total egg on my face, I sprinkled a little nutmeg on top.

We'll just have to use our imaginations with this one.

It's times like this when I can really appreciate Yelp.


Sunday, March 11, 2012


Every cloud has a silver lining. I was very disappointed that Cafe Fanny in Berkeley closed last Friday after 28 years :(

Where will I buy my beignets now?

Anyway, the good news is that yesterday Blue Bottle Coffee had a kiosk set up in the parking lot of the shuttered restaurant.

What a nice surprise to find (via Twitter).

I scuttled over and picked up a half pound of Bella Donovan (roasted on March 9 - how's that for fresh?). For 8.50 a half pound, I got a bag of beans which were ground to make a cup of African and Indonesia coffee that was mellow and delicious.

Once again, Blue Bottle comes through.

My only disappointment with Blue Bottle is that because they brew one cup at a time, I can never stop in during the work-week because I don't have time to wait. Of course, anything worth having is worth waiting for - or that's what I've been told.

Have a great Sunday - we have more daylight now - which means more time to look for great coffee, right?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Espresso Twice - March 8-14, 2012*

From Starbucks:

"A perfect espresso beverage isn’t just a morning pick-me-up. March 8-14, buy any full-price espresso beverage from participating U.S. stores before 11 a.m. and bring back your receipt after 2 p.m. the same day to get half off any espresso beverage."

*At participating Starbucks

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

No Time for Breakfast? Not So Fast - BelVita to the Rescue!

Breakfast Biscuits aren't just for the British.

I discovered these lovelies while strolling the aisle of my local supermarket. I passed them up the first time but when I went back the next week, I grabbed a box. Well, actually two boxes. There was a 1.00 coupon in my Sunday paper for Nabisco BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. When the coupons are good, I buy two Sunday papers.

Anyway, the first box I tried was Blueberry - delicious. And one pack was all I needed with my morning coffee to last me until lunch. The next box I opened was Apple Cinnamon - yum again.

Here's what Nabisco says about these BelVita Breakfast Bars:

"The sustained energy in our newBelVita Breakfast Biscuits comes from a combination of specially selected ingredients and a carefully controlled baking process that helps preserve the integrity of the grain. This means the carbohydrates from the grain are slowly released in your body, providing nutritious, long-lasting energy to help fuel your body throughout the morning."

Definitely healthier than a donut. Although, you will never catch me trash-talking donuts here!

Cost: About 3.99 a box (less my one dollar coupon)

Have a great day!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Foam Art - It's All In the Packaging - Or Is It?

Wet - or should I say 'more on the dry side,' with more foam than milk. I like it that way.

Have you ever made a foam mustache with the foam from your espresso? I mean, not in public - but like when no one was looking. I confess. I have.

Anyway, the only thing I didn't like about this Intelligentsia cappuccino was that they had no porcelain cups. When I order my coffee to drink at the bar, I like to drink out of a real cup.

Anyway, the barista at this San Francisco location told me it was 'orders from up high.' Is God really concerned about whether or not we use paper or porcelain? Because, if that's the case, I would think that porcelain would be His preference.

However, this is not a post about religion. It's a post about foam art - or lack thereof - and while the drink itself was fine, there was obviously nothing spectacular about this foam design. Although, that could depend on how long you look at it or what else you had to drink before you ordered the cappuccino.