Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Palais Des Thés Pour Le Bureau Selection (That's French for "For the Office")

Enjoying a delicious cup of tea at home tonight.  Even though this collection is designed "pour le bureau." 

I'm drinking "Thé Du Hammam."

Fragrant, floral, fruity and complex but doesn’t knock you over the head.  

No hidden agenda.

Simply superb tea!

Perfect for the office - or anywhere!

Palais Des Thés

Renowned French tea brand Palais des Thés introduces four new box sets, to accompany you throughout the entire day -- a sure-to-be-appreciated gift idea for family and friends, bosses and colleagues, teachers and neighbors, for the party hostess or holiday grab bag, the tea lover or tea novice! Or just treat yourself to a moment of relaxation:
For The Morning, try Palais des Thés’ brightly colored orange box of black teas, green teas and scented teas, ideal to rediscover the pleasure of a delicious breakfast, and to enjoy a moment for yourself before the day’s schedule takes over.
For The Brunch, the bright yellow box – like the sun on a beautiful morning – features a refreshing and diverse selection of black and green teas to perfectly complement any brunch style: festive or casual, Eastern or English, savory or sweet.
For The Office, pour yourself a cup from the sky blue box when you need to focus, shut out the hustle and bustle around you, or replenish after a long meeting. Composed of black Single Estate and flavored green teas, this box is a welcome addition on your desk, alongside your computer and favorite mug!
For The Evening, the South African rooibos caffeine-free selection from Palais des Thés is the answer to forget the stress of the day and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Packaged in a deep purple box and flavored with herbs and fragrant ingredients, it offers a palette of flavors that will induce the sweetest of dreams.
Each box contains six teas in the form of 48 handmade cotton tea bags, individually packaged in biodegradable sachets (eight bags of each tea). The box opens book-style and includes descriptions of each tea inside (96g-3.4oz box, $38).
The range is available online at (for shipping to U.S. and Canada) and in both of the brand’s New York City boutiques: Upper West Side (194 Columbus Avenue) and SoHo (156 Prince Street). 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jeremiah's Pick - Private Reserve

I have no idea why I kept passing over the Jeremiah's Pick in my specialty grocer.  For years.  I'd seen it on the shelf, but never thought of trying or reviewing it.

Maybe because I have preconceived and ill-informed notions of what grocery store coffee should be.  I know there are many micro-roasters that now offer their gourmet coffees in upscale supermarkets.  I just happen to be a person who expects to find and purchase gourmet coffees in coffee shops and at farmer's markets.  You know what they say about people with pre-conceived notions - they miss a lot.

Happy I didn't miss Jeremiah's Pick though.

I happened to spy their van in San Francisco last week and all of a sudden thought, "Why haven't you tried Jeremiah's?"  

I love the name.  I love that it's local.

So, thank you to the wonderful coffee peeps at Jeremiah's for hooking me up.

The first blend I sampled was the "Private Reserve."  Now, it's billed as a "dark roast."  But it doesn't taste like a dark roast to me.

It tastes like a medium roast with FULL body.  The taste, well, the taste I can't really articulate, except to tell you, it's SO good.  It tastes "fancy."  Goes down smooth, not a hint of acid and no after-taste.

I'm sure it would pair well with many different pastries, fruit or cheese, but I just drank it 'solo.'

So good, I've had it three days in a row.

First, second and third times were all charms.

Highly recommended.

Jeremiah's Pick Coffee Co.
1495 Evans Avenue
San Francisco, CA  94124

Certified Kosher by Vaad Hakashrus of Northern California

Disclosure:  (*Jeremiah's Pick provided me with free samples of the "Private Reserve" for the purposes of preparing this review.  I'm happy to say that it did not hinder my enjoyment one bit!)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Love in a Mug

For me, having a cup of coffee is more than just routine, it's a statement.  

A statement about who I am and what I like.  

This may sound strange, but every cup has meaning for me.  Sometimes it means that I'm really tired and need to wake up.  Sometimes it means I'm really happy and I want to "celebrate."  Often it means I'm enjoying great company.  Other times, I'm in deep thought, writing or focusing on a project at hand.

But on mornings like this, it means that I'm savoring the moment and thinking about how much friendship means to me.  

That's because, this morning, I'm drinking from the newest mug in my collection.  A butterfly mug from my BFF.  

Her mom, whom I loved dearly, passed away a few years ago.  She collected butterflies.  And when my friend presented me with this mug, it not only told me she knows I love coffee, it told me that she knows I loved her mom and value her friendship.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coffee or Tea? Java Tea (R) Co - "The Activist"

When I first heard about this tea that's really coffee - or is it coffee that's really tea, my first thought was, "what a novel idea."

When Java Tea (R) Co sent me samples to try, I thought, "this is actually tea."  

When I brewed it, I realized, "I get it.  It's tea that gives you the rush of coffee."  Or, in the case of the first one I reviewed, it's tea that gives you the rush of coffee on steroids!

Caution - if you don't want a caffeine high, you don't want "The Activist."  But, if you're one of those people who loves a good rush, with a very unique flavor, you'll love it.

I sampled it in my office and the results were mixed.  

For some people, it was a little too much caffeine.   For others, the majority who tried it, and who like something different and exciting, their responses were, "it's sweet, but it's not," "it's soooo good," and "do you mind if I have another cup?"  Everyone loved the little blue sparkles.

Bottom line.  Quality product, good flavor and texture and geared toward "hipsters."  Hey, that's not a bad thing.  Hipsters are taking over the world!

(I brewed "The Activist" using a one cup tea maker.  Java Tea(R) Co recommends the moka pot for the best result.)

From Java Tea(R) Co:

"The Activist"

"Radical in every way. An Espresso style tea with an extreme boost of caffeine. For those unwilling to stay still. Do something."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Donut House K-Cup - How Could I Have Missed This One?

I have to say that I haven't always given K-Cups(R) their proper due.

Perhaps, it's my "newish" Cuisinart Single Serve Brewer which makes them taste better, but I'm certainly enjoying the different varieties.

One that had escaped my attention until recently is the "Donut House Blend."  Maybe it was the packaging that made me think it was too "light" for my taste.  I couldn't have been more wrong

It's not one of those hit you over the head bold coffees, but more of a subtle, sneak up on you, before you know it the cup is half-gone flavor delivery.

The only thing that would make this morning's cup perfect is a glazed donut to "go with."

Available at Cross Country Cafe.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

PEET'S BRAZIL PEABERRY - Cutest Little Beans With the Biggest Best Taste!

I absolutely love Peaberry coffees*.  But it has to be the right roast, of course.

This one hits the mark.  It's so delicious that it's almost like having dessert in my cup.  

I've got a big old "peaberry grin" on my face as I'm writing this, just thinking about this wonderful limited-time offering from Peet's.

These cute little beans are proof that it isn't size that matters - it's quality.  And, of course, it's all in the roasting process.  Sometimes Peet's is a little too, how can I say, "roast-y" for my tastes, but I've noticed in the last couple of years, they've really stepped up their micro-lot game.

Like all good things, it won't last forever.  And if you don't live near a Peet's coffee, you can order online at:

16.95 per pound

(*A "peaberry" is a small, round coffee bean that has unique taste characteristics and makes up only 2-4% of the harvest depending on the crop.)  Source:  Wikipedia

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Starbucks Anniversary Blend 2013 - A Very Good Year

When I look back on all the years I've enjoyed Starbucks Anniversary blend, for some reason, each year seems better than the last.  

I don't know if it's because I can't remember what the previous year's batch tasted like or because it gets better with time.

Whatever the case, 2013, is a banner year for this blend.  Maybe it has to do with the new packaging.  Perhaps it's a subconscious "better."  Nonetheless, it's darn good.

I wanted to wait until I bought the Anniversary Mug so that I could enjoy them as a pair - you know, new mug, new coffee.  But this week's budget didn't include buying new mugs and I thought I'd better grab it now.  Before it's gone.  That's the thing about anniversaries, they only come around once a year.

Bold and Sassy.  Just like I used to be - many "anniversaries" ago.

Get it while it's hot.  Get it?  While it's hot?  Actually, it's also good iced.  

14.95 for a one pound bag.  I bought an 8 ounce bag in the store for 7.95.

Happy Starbucks Anniversary 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

K-Cup Review: "Hang Loose" With Tully's Hawaiian Blend

The new and improved K-Cups(R) are making me lazy.  

Some days, I don't want to take the time to "pour over," "brew," "press," or "percolate."  I just want to drink a cup of coffee - stat.

So, I'm super excited when there's a new K-Cup(R) I haven't tried.

Today it was the Tully's Hawaiian.

I'm not going to embellish.  It didn't knock my lei off, but it did the trick.  It's a pleasant cup of medium roast coffee.

Smooth, mellow and subtly rich.

It only contains 10 percent Hawaiian coffee, so if you're expecting Kona-madness, this isn't it.  But if you want a nice mellow quick start to the day, it's certainly worth the price.  And convenience.

Available at Cross Country Cafe - my favorite 'e-cup-cafe.'

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Government Has Shut Down - Time to Rethink My Coffee Choices

As you know, I love good coffee.  In fact, I prefer coffee to shoes.  What can I say?  I'm hopelessly addicted.

But a visit to a new coffee shop yesterday made me stop and think about how much I'm willing to pay for a cup of coffee these days.

My co-worker said, "Hey, there's a new coffee shop that just opened up across the street and it's the bomb!"  Of course, I said, "Cool.  Let's check it out."

It is your typical "hipster" place.  Airy with lots of space, no seats and nobody over the age of 25 behind the counter.

My friend let me taste her "Havana Latte" and it was delicious.  And, at 4.50, that's probably about the going rate.  

However, I really wanted to try this "hand-poured" regular coffee with lavender, but I thought about all the furloughed workers across the country and just couldn't justify 4.50 for a cup of drip coffee.

So, I came back to the office and went downstairs for a 1.65 cup.  That's a compromise, right?

Honestly speaking, once this mess gets cleared up in DC, I might have to try that lavender stuff.  But for now, I'm just going to brew up a big pot of coffee at home and bring it in my thermos.

(And has anyone tried the new dark-roast Folger's lately?  It's pretty darn good!)