Sunday, March 31, 2013

HAPPY EASTER



Easter Season is a special time. 

Whether you're celebrating the beginning of Spring, the end of Passover, or like me,  the resurrection of the Lord, you probably have some traditions that have been carried out since childhood.

For me, Easter Season is also a time of reflection.  I think about my childhood, how much I miss my parents, grandparents and all those people who in some way marked this day either by coloring eggs, wearing a new outfit or making a special dinner.

My grandmother used to bake a jelly roll cake on holidays.  I was never fond of jelly roll cake, but I wish I had been.  

When we were kids, my mom would dye the Easter lilies from our yard.  

I tried to make traditions with my daughter but somehow I was always scrambling to pull her Easter basket together at the last minute.  

This morning, as I sit here with my cup in hand, I wish you happiness, health, family, good friends, joy and great coffee!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"DON'T TAKE NO WOODEN NICKELS" - A WOODEN STARBUCKS CARD IS A DIFFERENT MATTER




My uncle used to say to us when we were kids, “Remember, don’t take no wooden nickels because you can’t spend them!”  It was his trademark “goodbye.”  

Starbucks is offering a “limited edition” birch wood collectible gift card.  This card is harvested from sustainably managed forests.  I actually bought two.  One for myself and one for a gift.  Not sure how sturdy the cards actually are or how good they are for ‘swiping,’ so I only loaded five bucks on each.  I bought them for the keepsake value more than anything else.

I can truthfully say while it’s not a nickel, it’s actually wood that I can spend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring



So, Spring has sprung and it's raining outside.

Oh, well.  The bright side is that the grass will be green and the flowers will start to bloom. 

I thought with the start of the new season, I would switch up my coffee game.  Instead of ordering a tall drip this afternoon, I thought I'd shake it up and order a cappucino.  Except that what I got was more like a latte.  But it's really technically a cappucino.

Turns out that for a lady who talks about coffee all the time, I don't know my drinks.  What I should have ordered is a "bone dry cappucino."  Because what I wanted was a shot of espresso and a lot of foam.

The cappucino is delicious but it's got more milk than this oft-dairy-challenged-especially late in the afternoon gal can handle. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thumper's Law Applied to Coffee



This review is somewhat "lukewarm."  (Pun intended)

You may recall from the movie,"Bambi," when Bambi is presented to the forest, Thumper makes a comment that Bambi is "kinda wobbly."  It was then that Thumper's mother made the statement, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I had to actually turn to wikipedia to recall who said what because for years I thought it was Bambi's mother who made that famous quote.  The moral (according to wikipedia) is now known as "Thumper's Law."

I said all that to say that I've grown to know Blue Bottle as one of the premiere coffees of the Bay Area, if not the country.

I only buy it occasionally because I never want it to become ordinary.  So, the other night, while eating at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, I noticed a bag of "Retrofit" beans.  I remembered "Retrofit" was a darker roast, or actually an espresso roast. 

I picked up an 8 ounce bag which was somewhere in the neighborhood of $8.50.

The next morning, I dropped the bag of beans into the grinder and brewed up a fresh pot.

And while I would never say that the Blue Bottle Retrofit isn't good, I will say that it wasn't what I expected.  It was definitely good coffee, but not great coffee.  I don't like to give less than flattering reviews.  The fact is, I try lots of coffees that never make it to my blog because "if I can't say something nice, I don't want to say anything at all."

My principle behind that philosophy is that coffee is truly in the eyes or taste of the drinker.  And while I might not think a coffee is great, someone else might think it's "out of this world."  I'm not an expert.  I just love coffee.

That said, while it was a very good coffee, pleasant enough, and I drank it for two mornings in a row, I couldn't help but feel that it wasn't the "Blue Bottle" I had come to know and love.

In all fairness, it could have been my method of brewing (i.e. measurement, etc.).  When time permits, I plan to visit a Blue Bottle cafe and have the "experts" prepare me a cup of "the real deal."


GREEN MOUNTAIN'S "DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND" K-CUP (TM)



Green Mountain's "Double Black Diamond" has a new look.  Happy to say it hasn't affected the flavor.  It's just as good, if not better, than I remembered it when I tried it the first time.

As you know, I prefer a dark roast coffee, but I'm really making an effort to appreciate the medium, and even light - yes, I said, light, roast coffees.

However, it's kind of hard when the K-Cups(TM) keep getting darker and better.

Honestly, if given a blind taste test, I don't think I would have noticed the difference between this K-Cup(TM) and a pot of freshly brewed coffee.  

While I don't use the Keurig the majority of the time, I love the fact that it's there when I need it.  It's quick, convenient, no mess and the only thing I have to clean is my mug.  

Green Mountain is excellent coffee.  No doubt about that.  And they have really perfected the K-Cup(TM).  In my opinion, it's far superior to the original K-Cups(TM) when they came on the scene.  I used to think of the K-Cup(TM) as the coffee for when you don't have any other coffee.  Now, it's become part of my regular rotation.

Available at Cross Country Cafe.  And the cool thing about Cross Country Cafe is that you can get all of your favorite Keurig products and coffees without leaving your computer.

You can get 24 of the "Double Black Diamond" K-Cups for $13.99 at:

*www.crosscountrycafe.com
24 K-Cup Box

Face your fears head on with the Double Black Diamond extra bold, dark roast Keurig Kcup coffee. Dark roast is an understatement, this is perhaps the darkest of the Keurig Kcup coffees. The aromas are amazing, the taste is heavy bodied, toasty and delicious! Double Black Diamond Keurig Kcup coffee is an extra bold coffee that is strong enough to stand up to the highest water setting of your Keurig brewer. The truly brave drink it black but it tastes decadent with cream. *








Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Coffee Magic That Is The "Misto Box"


This is the perfect gift for the coffee connoisseur.

If you thought "wine of the month" of was cool, just wait until you check out "Misto Box."

Because for every glass of wine you had the night before, you're probably going to need a good hot cup of coffee for the morning after.

That's where Misto Box comes in.

With your "Misto Box" subscription, you get each month:

FOUR - 1.7 - 2 ounce samplings of premium single origin coffee from four different artisan roasters!

It's like traveling the globe for coffee without ever leaving home.

Monthly subscriptions start at $15.00 per month and the subscription price includes shipping.  Save money by ordering six months or a year at a time.

My March Misto Box contained:













Each bag brews 2 to 6 cups of coffee depending on your preference and method of brewing.

This morning, I brewed a mixture of "Barefoot" (from Guatemala) and "Cartel" (from Costa Rica).

Delicious.  Mild brew.  Great combination.

I can't wait to try the "Panther" and "Passion House."  For those, I'll use the "pour-over" method.  

Honestly, I love the idea of trying coffee from different roasters, some of whom, I've never even heard about.

The only downside is that if you find a coffee you really love - you'll have to order more if you want to enjoy a second pot.

The upside - there's plenty more where that came from!

Get the details for yourself at:  www.mistobox.com



*Misto Box sent me a free "March" tour for the purposes of preparing this review.  



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peet's NEW JAVA - It's All About the Coffee



This will not be one of those reviews full of information about origin and complexity and soil and climate.

This is a review of the coffee.  Plain and simple.

Last night on my way home, I stopped into Peet's for a pack of coffee filters.  I used the last one yesterday morning.  I usually use my automatic coffee maker during the week because it's just easier.  And I'm always rushing.  I know.  I know.  

Anyway, I noticed a display with a few bags of what was labeled "New Java."  I'm thinking "New Java, as opposed to Old Java?"  

To be perfectly honest, I've had Mocha Java many times, but I didn't even know there was such a thing as 100% pure java.  See, I'm learning all the time.  It's a process.

Anyway, I picked up a quarter pound of beans.  That's one thing I absolutely love about Peet's. The people there never make you feel bad about ordering a quarter pound.  I mean, it's 17.95 a pound and payday isn't until Friday.  Just keeping it real.

I did ask the guy what the difference was between the Mocha Java and the New Java and he explained that the New Java isn't a combination of beans, but merely the pure java beans which gives it a bolder flavor.

So, this morning I overslept.  Took some cold meds last night and didn't hear the alarm.  Any-hoo, I stumbled to the kitchen (first things first) and made the coffee.  Well, first I ground the beans which was easy to do because it was only a quarter pound so I poured the whole bag in there at once.

Oh.  My.  God.  Talk about good.  Well, this coffee is far beyond good.  It's AWESOME.  I poured some in my thermos to bring to work because I just didn't want the goodness to end.

I will end by telling you this - guess who's buying a pound of  Peet's "New Java" on Friday? 

p.s. - keep this under your hat, because it's a limited edition and I don't want the supply to run out before I get more!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Say "Hello" to My Little Friend - Primula's Coffee Brew Buddy



Some people don't like to drink alone.  But, as much as I enjoy company with a cup of my favorite coffee, I also can appreciate "me" time.  

Meet my new "buddy."  It's from Priumula and it's the new "Coffee Brew Buddy."

I must admit, this thing sat on my desk waiting to be reviewed for a couple of months.  

Confession:  It looked rather odd and unlike the other 'pour over' apparati, so I was skeptical.

But this afternoon, after a bunch of weekend chores, I knew I needed to 'recharge' before I got into my Sunday night ritual.  You guessed it - a new episode of "The Good Wife."



Anyway, I pulled it out of the package and brewed up a cup of one of my favorite Guatemalan coffees.

This "brew buddy" is so neat!  

Easy to measure and "brews" up the best cup for one.



I can really taste the flavor of the blend and it's dishwasher safe, which makes clean-up a breeze.

Great for home use and fits into a travel bag or even your work bag or brief case.

Can't believe it took me so long to meet a new friend.  However, I plan to make it a lasting friendship.

Retails for about 5.99.  Now that's a bargain!


Primula Coffee Brew Buddy (TM)

*Primula provided me with a free Coffee Brew Buddy for the purposes of preparing this review.  The opinions expressed, however, are mine and mine alone.