Saturday, March 29, 2014

Put Down the Phone and Pick Up A Cup!


We hear so much about texting and talking while driving, but what about those people who can't seem to take a coffee or lunch break without their telephones up to their ears?

Honestly, I like a good phone conversation as well as the next person, but I think it's all gotten a bit out of control.  Like where do we go from here?

I was walking back from lunch the other day and realized that no one was paying attention to their surroundings, the traffic signals, the other pedestrians, the elderly, disabled, pets and babies.  People are completely addicted to their smart phones, which isn't so smart, sometimes.

I tend to not walk and talk because I don't want to get distracted and step out into traffic or become the victim of a "snatch and grab" which is not at all uncommon in large cities.

So, I thought, "What if everyone decided to, for one day only, not use their cell phones during lunch or break and instead find a nice coffee shop and have a cup of coffee and a cookie or sandwich or other snack?"  Wouldn't that be a great way to decompress without that constant need to be "connected?"

Just to literally "dial it back."

I have a feeling that we might realize that there are better ways to connect with people than by phone.  There's a good chance you might make a new friend or business contact over coffee without using any data or cell plan.

Will you accept the challenge?  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheating on Coffee with My New "Crush" - Teavana Marshmallow Macaron

Teavana Marshmallow Macaron Herbal Tea

Coffee, I will never leave you.  

But, there are some teas that just know how to initiate a love affair before you even know it has started.

Every night for the past few days, I've craved the new Marshmallow Macaron herbal tea from Teavana.  

Teavana is one of those places where you have to be careful.  You're walking through the mall, minding your own business, and bam out of nowhere you see those big dispensers saying "Free Sample."

You come in for a sniff and leave with a hole in your pocket.  So many options!

This tea actually tastes like Marshmallow and Macaron!  Don't know how they did it.  There's even little marshmallows in the tea.

It looks like trail mix!  But, it's tea.

I love my coffee but this stuff is creeping into my bedroom at night!

Can't fight it?  Steep it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake Fair Trade Organic Coffee

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake

I feel bad telling you about one of the best coffees of the year from Peet's when they've already roasted their last batch.  Final roast was March 18th.

It's been a crazy work-week and I hadn't had time to let you know.  But, there is a very good chance that there is still some of this great stuff in your local Peet's coffee shop.

Columbia Nabusimake is "fair," as in fair trade, but also "fair" as in "fairly balanced."  The perfect amount of "pow" combined with the perfect amount of "just right" to make this chocolate-y, robust blend bold but not too bold.

You can no longer purchase it online, but there is absolutely nothing stopping you from visiting every Peet's within a 40 mile radius of your home until you find it.  It's the weekend.  The perfect time for a "coffee hunt."

Peet's Columbia Nabusimake (organic and fair roast) - a limited offering - available only in select Peet's coffee shops.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good Coffee, Good Price, Good for the Environment - Single Serve San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee from Rogers Family Coffee

It had been a while since I'd had San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee.  It's a very popular brand at Costco and other big box stores and I've seen it in the kitchens of my friends.

However, I had never personally tried the Single Serve that Rogers Family now offers.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  The coffee is a good bit less expensive than the traditional K-Cups(R) you find in stores.  It's also 97% biodegradable.  Which is what concerned me.  The "cup" itself seemed a little odd-looking and I was concerned that it wouldn't brew properly or that it might leak.  But, it does work perfectly.

This review is for the "Donut Shop" blend which is a milder roast.  I'm trying to get in the habit of drinking lighter roast coffees, as opposed to the bold roasts I normally drink.  

The fact that they're widely available in grocery stores is another plus.  You don't have to wait for a shipment in the mail or make a special trip to the coffee shop.

A great value for people who use their single-serve brewers every day, due to either time constraints or preference.

All in all, good coffee, affordably priced and helping to save the planet.

Definitely worth trying.

San Francisco Bay Single Serve Coffee from Rogers Family.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Caribou Single Serve Mahogany Dark Roast Makes Springing Forward A Little Easier

Losing an hour's sleep is rough.  I'm using today to prepare for my week ahead.

Lining up my single-serve coffees to have at the ready for my harried and hurried work-day mornings.

First up is Caribou's "Mahogany" Dark Roast Coffee.  Made with a mix of El Salvador and Sumatra beans.  

I used a 10 ounce cup setting on my brewer and it made this cup just right.  Not too strong and not too weak.  Bold and satisfying.  And simple.

I could do this with my eyes half-shut, which is exactly what they were when I made this.

Caribou is just one of the many varieties of single-serve coffees available at your fingertips (literally) from Cross Country E-Cafe.  You don't even have to leave home to shop.

I wonder if there's a "repeat" button on my single-serve brewer?

Cross Country E-Cafe
Tel. 1-888-774-6939

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Letting the Good Times Roll with King Cake and Cafe du Monde Coffee

Laissez Bon Temps Roulez!

Happy Fat Tuesday.

Eat, drink and be merry - because tomorrow Lent begins!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Five Best Single Serve Coffee Makers (Promoted by Dolce Gusto and Nescafé)

Guest Post by Samantha Thomas for Nescafé

Is coffee your first love? Can’t say no to the fresh aroma of coffee at home? Truth is, instant coffee doesn’t do the trick for diehard coffee lovers. To brew that perfect cup of coffee, you need a coffee maker that is not only simple to use but also does justice to the flavor and essence of coffee every time you take a sip. If you have been searching for the perfect coffee maker far and wide, here are some of the top coffee makers that you must check out. Take a look:

1.    The French Press or Cafetiere

Looking for a quick, easy way to brew a big pot of delicious coffee at once? The French press is a godsend that you can rely on any day for a fresh and hot cuppa Joe. The advantage of the French press is that it is easy to use and extracts a large quantity of coffee from even a handful of coffee beans.

2.    The Aeropress

For that perfect single mug of coffee, nothing works like the easy to use Aeropress which is considered one of the best coffee makers under $100. It’s fast, easy to clean and portable and also comes with a very affordable price tag. The handy size, style and shape make it a great bargain for an enjoyable cuppa every now and then.

3.    The Dolce Gusto Piccolo

If you’re looking for the perfect single serve coffee maker that combines modern design with powerful features, the Piccolo from Nescafe Dolce Gusto is the answer! Stylish and compact with a sleek appeal, the Piccolo coffee maker can brew a steaming hot mug of espresso or a tall frothy creamy latte in seconds. With the price tag under $100, is one of our favorite models from the Dolce Gusto coffee machine lineup.

4.    Technivorm Moccamaster

Rated as one of the best single serve coffee machines by expert cooks, the Moccamaster is the coffee maker of tomorrow with amazing features that give you more control over the taste, flavor and overall strength of the coffee being prepared. Though the price of the models can go up to fairly high figures, at the end of the day, exquisite coffee makers are actually worth every penny.

5.    The Moka Elite

Super easy to use, the moka elite is the perfect tool out there to create that super cup of moka espresso at home and also tops the list as being one of the best coffee makers under $100. In these coffee machines, the ground coffee capsules are stored in a central casket and water is poured in the bottom chamber. With the rise in steam pressure, the water eventually rises to the top and the infused flavor of the coffee creates the perfect balance of color and strength.
So, this is our list for the best single serve coffee machines – which one is your favorite?

(This is a guest post written by Samantha Thomas of Make It Rain USA.  All opinions and commentary are solely those of Ms. Thomas and Make It Rain on Behalf of Dolce Gusto)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Starbucks Reserve (R) Sumatra Blue Batak - Living for the Weekend

It's the little things that make a big difference.  Like this hot cup of Starbucks Reserve Sumatra Blue Batak I'm enjoying this morning.

It was a particularly rough week at work and I was feeling like I needed something to make me feel better.  So, I stopped off at the Starbucks Clover store and picked up something special.

At 15.95 for an eight ounce bag, it's on the more expensive side, but sometimes you have to treat yourself.

I've had this particular reserve before, but the 2014 Roast delivers on its promise:  "Smooth and earthy with deep, syrupy body and sweet herbal notes."

Living for the weekend.


"For centuries Batak tribe members in the Lintong district on Lake Toba’s southern shore—Sumatra’s prized coffee-growing region—have cultivated big, bold coffees like this one in their backyard gardens.
After the ripest cherries are handpicked, they’re painstakingly wet-hulled in small batches. This unique processing method, which requires constant attention due to humid climate, gives the unroasted beans a distinct blue tint and contributes to the complex herbal flavor, redolent of the lush, fertile land.
This Starbucks Reserve® coffee is available only at select times and stores, so be sure to enjoy it when you can."