Thursday, December 22, 2016

Peet's Coffee and Pastry or Fruit - What Would You Do?



I was faced with a serious choice this morning when I arrived at work.

Choice A - eat the wonderful apple pastry paired with the steaming hot cup of rich Peet's Holiday Blend that I bought on the way to the office, or:

Choice B - partake of the healthy fruit and freshly squeezed juice option that the company provided for holiday cheer.

It's the season to be jolly, right?

You know what to do.

It's almost Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Dreaming of Hawaii - Weaver's Kona Reserve Coffee - A Winter Delight


It's the most wonderful time of the year.  So, why not treat yourself?  

Weaver's White Label Kona Reserve Coffee is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter morning.

If you can't get to paradise, why not bring paradise to you?

It's more expensive than your regular joe, but these kinds of coffees don't happen often.  You work hard.  Go for it.  Before it's gone.

25.95 for an eight ounce bag of beans.  100% pure Kona.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Starbucks Christmas Blend 2016 Vintage (featuring Dark, Aged Sumatra)


Starbucks 2016 Christmas Blend is one of my holiday staples.  I look forward to it every year.

I've enjoyed it in the cafes for over a month and decided I shouldn't miss out on enjoying it at home.

Dark roast, spicy, sweet, everything is "Christmas-ey" about this coffee.  It's what keeps the reindeer moving.   And this week there was a special offer of a five dollar Starbucks gift card with every pound of holiday coffee purchased.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Holiday Coffee Blend Parade Starts Now - First up, Fonté Holiday Blend benefitting the Pike Market School


"Good things come in small packages."  Such is the motto of Fonté Coffee when referring to its Annual Holiday Blend which benefits the Pike Market Childcare and Pre-School in Seattle.  

Brasilian, Aged Sumatra and Tanzania comprise this delicious blend of peaberry beans.

Fonté is proud to present its 24th year of giving back.  Because isn't that what the season is all about?

$20 for a 12 ounce bag of beans in a "designer" label.  

They don't just make great coffee, they're really great people.

Serving the community since 1982, Pike Market Child Care & Preschool extends high quality services for over 100 families annually, providing financial assistance for over 70 percent of enrolled families, of which half earn incomes at or below the poverty level. The school raises over $250,000 in support of these programs each year. It’s now our pleasure to offer our 24th version of Holiday Blend, donating all proceeds from its sale to support the Pike Market Child Care & Preschool’s nutrition program.  (From Fonté Coffee's website)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy National Espresso Day! Where's the rest of my coffee?!!


I don't normally drink espresso.  Only when I want to feel "fancy" or impress guests after dinner.

But today is "National Espresso Day" so I figured instead of ordering my usual "tall drip," I should have an Espresso with foam.

Well, imagine my surprise when the barista handed me this tiny little cup with barely enough "juice" to see underneath the white top.  "Three bucks for this?  Where's the rest of my cup of coffee??!"

Twenty minutes later, heart pumping madly and eyes wide open - I think I get the point of espresso.

It's not for wimps.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Post Election Gratitude - Thankful for Starbucks' Thanksgiving Blend


Honestly, you have to find the bright side to everything.  

And with that said, I'm grateful for Starbucks and their seasonal Thanksgiving Blend coffee which has helped me get through the past couple of days after sleepless nights.

There's tension in the air, unrest in the streets and a general sense of uneasiness about what lies ahead.

It's the little things that sometimes make the difference.  And you have to take your happiness wherever you can - even in a cup of coffee.

I don't know what lies ahead, but if we're lucky, 'this too shall pass.'

Mugs up!!

Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend

Dark-roast, full bodied, spicy and delicious.

Monday, October 31, 2016

No, Tricks - Only Treats with Weaver's Peaberry Reserve Coffee


I love surprises.  Like when I walk into Weaver's Coffee in San Rafael expecting to pick up a pound of one of John Weaver's incomparable blends and discover something especially rare, like the White Label Peaberry Reserve.

From the shape of the bean to the roast to the grinder to the brew, it doesn't get any better than this.

As with all things rare, this won't last long.  I'd encourage you to stop by Weaver's in San Rafael and treat yourself before it's too late.

And if you're not in Northern California, no worries, you can order online at WeaversCoffee.com

"Peaberry is a rare form of coffee where the fruit yields only a single, oval-shaped seed. Because of their unique shape, these beans require both special handling and roasting.
Made using 100% Peaberry from Tanzania blended with a rare, aged Sumatra Peaberry.
This exotic reserve coffee has flavors of dark liquor, spice and syrup with a complex finish."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Simple Sunday Morning at the "Keurig Donut Shop" - "K-Cup of the Day!"



When you purchase a new Keurig brewer, it usually includes an assortment of K-Cups.

And normally, one of the original Donut Shop K-Cups  comes with the new machine.

There was a sale on K-Cups at my local Safeway a couple of weeks ago and I picked up a box of the "Original Donut Shop."  I hadn't had this blend in a very long time.

I've been meaning to tell you how much I like them, but I've been so busy that I almost forgot.

That is, until this quiet Sunday morning when I was lucky enough to nab one of the last two remaining K-Cups in the box.

I think it's safe to say I'm not the only one in my house who thinks "Donut Shop" is pretty darn good.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Stainless versus Glass Carafe and why I'm loving my new Capresso MG900 Automatic Coffee Maker


It's taken me a while to write this review because I wanted to be absolutely certain I was comparing the glass carafe with the stainless carafe with an open mind, or in this case an open cup.

The verdict is in.  

I have used a Capresso machine for close to a decade now, and,  I can without hesitation say that the glass carafe provides a better tasting cup of coffee than the stainless carafe.

I brew a lot of coffee.  I drink a lot of coffee.  I serve a lot of coffee. And for those reasons, I thought that the stainless carafe was better suited for my needs.

I was wrong.

In an independent study conducted by my family and I, we conclude that the glass carafe delivers the purest taste.  Now, there is one drawback for people like myself who often prepare coffee when not fully awake - you must be careful not to break the glass pot.

This new Capresso MG900 is not only beautiful on the counter, it's quick like a bunny and has all the bells and whistles I need.

And at an average suggested retail price of $99.00, it offers a lot of coffee bang for the buck.

Holidays are almost here.  If you're thinking of buying a new automatic drip maker for yourself or a friend, I suggest you seriously consider the Capresso MG900.

Learn more at Capresso.

*FULL DISCLOSURE:  Jura Capresso provided me with a free Capresso MG900 for the purposes of preparing this review.

Fully featured and visually stunning the MG900 10-Cup Rapid Brew Coffee Maker features a stainless steel heating system, ensuring coffee brews at the perfect temperature and water never comes in contact with aluminum.  (From Capresso.com)



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is the Pumpkin Spice Latte an Acquired Taste? Asking for a friend



Would it be terrible if I confessed that I'm not really a fan of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte?

I mean, I don't actually dislike it or anything.  I just don't wait for it to arrive, drink it every day, savor it, worship it.

Which seems to make me in the minority.  Everywhere I go, I see "PSL" or "PSL is back!" or hear people ordering it like every other drink order in Starbucks.

I actually like my pumpkin in pie or muffins or bread or cookies.  Not so much in my coffee.

Maybe I need to challenge myself to the PSL.  And pledge to drink one a week until I learn to love it or the season is over.

Did I say I was asking for a friend?

Feels like Fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bantam Bagels - Best Invention since the Donut Hole! From Shark Tank to Starbucks



Bantam Bagels first appeared on one of my FAVORITE television shows, "Shark Tank."

Somehow, I missed that episode.  However, lucky for me, I didn't miss out on Bantam Bagels.

First tried them a week ago and they keep me coming back for more.

All the cream cheese goodness is stuffed on the inside.  How neat is that?  I've tried the "everything" - stuffed with veggie cream cheese and the "classic," stuffed with regular cream cheese.  Deliciously filling.


Now, I'm a donut gal and I think donut holes are pretty nifty, but I have to say, these Bantam Bagels are creeping up on the competition.

Check out this great article in Fortune Magazine, here!

(Bantam Bagels are also available online)

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Woke Up Like This - Peet's Gaia Organic Blend



I woke up like this.  Literally.

This was a rough morning.  And while I had my usual cup of home brew, I still wasn't quite awake.

Even the train ride into work didn't wake me.  After a crowded, hot and stuffy commute, I was still groggy.

Peet's Coffee to the rescue.

Stumbled into the coffee shop not sure what I expected to find.  What I didn't expect was this Gaia Organic Blend freshly brewed!

Fruity, chocolately and certified organic.

Yes, I can.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Are You Here for the Coffee or the Culture?



Sometimes we just have to stop in our tracks and think about what we're doing.

 I often have the impulse to just patronize a coffee shop because I want to be cool.

That almost happened to me this morning.  And then I realized, "I don't love their coffee.  I like it.  And, it's over a dollar more than the one three doors down.  So why am I here?

And the answer was that I was there because I thought that was where I was supposed to be.  And it's Friday.  I wanted to treat myself.

So, I settled on the shop two doors down where I got a coffee and a scone for the price of a cup at the "cooler" place.

I'm sure I'll stop into the cool place next week.  However, today, I'm proud of myself for not caving into the pressure to be accepted and find happiness in just being caffeinated.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Musings on Coffee


I watched one of those "Rossen Reports" by Jeff Rossen on The Today Show this morning on cheap versus expensive coffee.

And while the "taste test" showed the majority of blind testers preferred the "cheap deli coffee" to the expensive gourmet stuff, there are more than a few variables that one must consider.  I don't know about the delis where you live, but deli coffee can vary in price.

I've always said that it's not price which determines good coffee.  However, there are plenty of factors that go into price that will enhance or take away from your drinking enjoyment.

For one thing, it starts with the bean.  Which leads us to "fair trade," and that whole big discussion.

There's also "brewing method" which has a lot to do with the end result.  More about that soon when I unveil my new coffeemaker.

Not to mention freshness and storage of coffee.

Water.  Filtered versus non-filtered.

Holding times.  A freshly brewed pot versus one that's been on the burner for hours.

I am not trying to invalidate the conclusions of the Today Show's "study," but want to emphasize that you can't judge a cup by its price.  There are a lot of variables involved.

And lastly, let's face it there are people who drink coffee and there are people like us, who LOVE coffee.

Bottoms up.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Starbucks Kopelani Blend - Mahalo!


What a wonderful way to start the week.

This limited offering from Starbucks has all the richness and flavor you'd expect from a blend of Ka'u, East African and Latin American beans.

Smoky and smooth.  It won't be around for long, so I'd suggest you pick up a couple of bags now.

Summer is coming to an end and so this Starbucks Kopelani blend.  

I only wish they offered this roast in a K-cup ®.

Sand not included.

14.95 for a one pound bag of beans.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I Woke Up Like This. Weaver's Aged Mocha Java Coffee


Sip one.  Sip two.  Sip three.  

You had me at Sip One.  Totally feeling the morning with  Weaver's Aged Mocha Java Coffee.

This coffee is one of the many things that get better with time.  

So rich and smooth and pleasing to the palate.  Woodsy, wine-y and wonderful.  Weaver's.

www.weaverscoffee.com

Aged Mocha Java Coffee

Rare, exceptional aged coffees are stored at their tropical origin for anywhere between two to eight years. This gives them golden hues, flavors of fresh-cut cedar, and a smooth-low acidity. Surprising the palate, our Aged Java compliments the sweet berry and wine flavors of Northern Africa and Yemen. By using Aged Java beans, Weaver's adds a unique twist to the world's most famous coffee blend.  (from Weavers.com)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Starbucks Kati Kati Blend - There are no coffee problems, only coffee solutions!


I'm pretty good about knowing when Starbucks is due for a shipment of seasonal coffees.

So, when one of my all-time favorite Kati Kati blend didn't surface in stores, I became alarmed.

After asking at countless Starbucks when it was due and getting a variety of responses from "what is that?" to "that's a seasonal coffee," I had to take matters into my own hands.

I called the Starbucks customer service number and found out that Kati Kati was only available online this year and that there was none in stock.

Say what???!!!

This left me with no choice.

I turned to that "black market" of hard-to-find Starbucks coffee.  Amazon.

Within amweek, I had a half pound bag of Kati Kati in my hands (albeit at a premium).

And even though the expiration date says that it's only good for another week or so, considering how much I love this stuff, I don't think it will last that long.

There are no coffee problems, only coffee solutions.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cocoa in July? Starbucks Hot Chocolate K-Cups(R)



While I try to stay ahead of the curve on new beverages, I admit that sometimes I fall short.

I'm not perfect.

Which is why I'm kicking myself for only getting turned onto the Starbucks Hot Chocolate K-Cups(R) now.  I picked up a box a month or so ago on sale at the Starbucks coffee shop near the office.  I figured that it's often cold enough here, even in summer, to enjoy a warm cup of chocolate on a breezy evening.

I made myself a cup this evening.  

Good news.  It's amazing.  Especially with whipped cream.  

Bad news.  Apparently Starbucks has discontinued the Hot Chocolate K-Cup.

I feel an email campaign coming on.  Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thanksgiving Coffee's French (Very Dark) Roast Coffee - So Good, I Forgot to Take a Picture!



The funny thing about social media is that unless you take the mandatory photo "for the gram," it's almost like it didn't happen.

Except when you're walking to work and you think about the coffee you made at home that was so good.  And then you say to yourself, "I should blog about it!"  Then you remember that you forgot to take a photo!  Yep, it definitely "happened."

My sister went up to Fort Bragg a couple of weekends ago and I asked her to be sure to stop by Thanksgiving Coffee Company.  I didn't realize that there is no retail store.  It's all wholesale.  

However, tenacity runs in my family, so my sister went into the local Safeway and bought me a bag of Thanksgiving French (Very Dark) Roast.  

It's such good coffee.  Dark, dark roast without any bitterness whatsoever.  A great way to wake up.

Next time, I promise photos.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Before the Third Wave, there was Peerless Coffee - Still Standing with the Best of 'Em!


I've talked before about the fact that Peerless Coffee was my first "gourmet" coffee.  Long before the "third wave," there was this Oakland, California roaster simply selecting and buying the best beans and roasting them to perfection.  With pride and the Vukasin family touch in every roast.

That hasn't changed.  On my last visit, I couldn't help but wax nostalgic about how much they've changed while staying the same.  

While there was always a large variety of roasts, the selection was almost overwhelming. I started to reflect on how my "favorite Peerless blends (President's Blend)," were now surrounded by some new favorites, like the "Berkeley Blend."

Peerless offers a great selection of finely roasted artisan coffee, gourmet teas, a wide variety of coffee and tea makers and equipment AND hot roasted peanuts in the shell.

Handcrafted since 1924.  Read about the Vukasin/Peerless Family store here.

Peerless Coffee & Tea

260 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94607
Office Phone: 510-763-1763
Mail/Order Retail Customer Service:
1-800-310-KONA (5662)

Monday, July 4, 2016

Winding down the 4th of July with A Strong Cup of Coffee and Trader Joe's Shooting Stars Cookies


Can't think of a better way to cap off this Independence Day than with a strong cup of Coffee and Trader Joe's Shooting Stars Cookies!

Sugar Cookies with semi-sweet chocolate stripes and little sprinkle things on top that crackle and pop in your mouth.

Let freedom ring (or, in this case, pop)!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Pique Tea Crystals - No Strings Attached!





This is perfect for people who have issues with "tea bags."  I would liken it to "Tang(R)" for tea lovers.

All kidding aside, PiqueTea is really serious tea.  There's no "residue" at the bottom of the cup or gritty taste.  Just smooth, honest tea with a pleasant flavor. 

For best results let it sit for three minutes before drinking.

At nearly $10 dollars for 14 sachets it's priced a little on the "steep" side, but absolutely wonderful for travel.  



Sunday, June 26, 2016

Get Perky With It- Capresso's 12 Cup "Perk" Percolator

Everything old is new again.

It should come as no surprise that the "old school" percolator has made a resurgence.  And who better to get perky with than Capresso.

Capresso's products are tried and true.  Design elegance combined with functionality and superb quality.

Easy to use, fun to brew and makes a great pot of coffee.  I am having a blast with this coffee maker.  Almost as much fun to make as it is to enjoy.  I'm obsessed with it.

It doesn't overheat like many of the older model percolators.  Remember, percolator water gets very hot - so be careful.  Should be used with a coarsely ground coffee.  Easy-peasy with the Capresso Burr Grinder.

Suggested Retail Price of the 12 Cup Capresso Perk is $69.00

Get your coffee cake ready.  It's on and perking!



*Capresso provided me with a free percolator for the purposes of preparing this review.  Opinions are my own.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Voulez Vous French Press? How to "French Press' from Weaver's Coffee


Preparation:

Measure 2 tbsp  10g)of ground coffee per each 6 fluid ouces (180 ML) of water

Boil water and let settle for about 15 seconds

Pour water into French Press and stir with a wooden spoon - do not use metal spoons

Keep stirring until French Press is filled to about 1 inch from the top

Place plunger into the French Press and gently press down a quarter of the way and then pull back up so it is just covering the top of the coffee

let it sit for about 3 minutes

Gently press the plunger down to the bottom.  If there is any resistance, wait, (you should be able to push the plunger down with just one finger).  If there is resistance then it is not ready

When the plunger goes down with the press of 1 finger, press it to the bottom and it is ready to serve

Courtesy of Weaver's Coffee!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The $15 dollar cup of coffee, is it worth the price?



While perusing the list of the least and most expensive things in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I ran across several articles which talked about the "$15.00 cup of coffee" at Equator.  The blend is Finca Sophia.  I have tried Equator coffees in the past and I must say they are superb.  Don't think I've ever had a bad roast.  But fifteen bucks for one cup of coffee is a bit much even for a coffee enthusiast like me.

Then last week, I read on twitter that Blue Bottle has a $16.00 cup of coffee.  Blue Bottle's offering is "Port of Mokha."  Sourced from Yemen which is said to be "the birthplace of coffee in the Western world."  I have had Blue Bottle's coffee which is also very good.

I also read that both of these coffees are extremely rare, hard to find, and sell out quickly.

I work hard and can appreciate "treating yourself."  I also think it's about the "experience" just as much as the coffee.  I am grateful for fair-trade and sustainable farming.

However, I just don't know if the economy, or more specifically, my pocket can withstand these prices.  Where do the prices peak?

That said, I would really like to try them both.  You know, for "research purposes."




Wednesday, June 8, 2016

O'Canada! Tim Horton's Dark Roast Single Serve Coffee


While I don't like to use single serve coffee every day, I do appreciate the convenience and the ever-increasing varieties as more and more roasters get on the K-Cup bandwagon.

And since I don't live in Canada, and don't have access to a Tim Horton's coffee shop, I thought that these single-roast cups might give me a "taste" (pun intended) of what this Canadian roaster is all about.

First of all, I love the little "see-through" cup.  Transparency in coffee.  

Second of all, I love the flavor of this dark-roast Tim Horton's single-serve.

Lastly, it makes me feel a lot better about those mornings when I don't have time for a "pour-over," or "french press," or "aero press," or automatic brew.

Fun fact:  I picked up these Canadian coffee cups in. . .Texas.


Friday, June 3, 2016

June is National Iced Tea Month - Cheers!



In case you hadn't heard, June is National Iced Tea Month.

So, what better way to celebrate than with a cold glass of Raspberry Tea from Teapot Depot in Highlands, Texas.

Truth is, I actually went there during the month of May.  You could say that I got a jump start on the holiday.

Personally, I don't think iced tea should be limited to only one month.  I think that there are enough ways to prepare and enjoy it to at least take you through the summer.

So, whether you prefer sun-tea, pour over or instant, this month is all about partaking in as many ways as you can and however you like.

Rules were made to be broken.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jeremiah's Pick - The "Other" San Francisco Treat

 






I'm learning to look for gourmet coffee in the not so usual places.  And I'm noticing more and more that there are some pretty upscale offerings showing up in the grocery store aisles.

Like this bag of Jeremiah's Pick Breakfast Blend Coffee that I picked up in my local Safeway store for only 6.99!

I stopped at the store before I went to get myself a cup of coffee at my local roastery and noticed a deal too good to pass up.

Not only did I end up with a bag of super fresh, really, really delicious coffee - I saved myself 3.00 bucks for a cup and have been drinking this stuff for two days.

Jeremiah's Pick is also available online.