Changing Seasons Brings Changing Flavors

Halloween CoffeeI don’t know about you but the time has come to move from my summer iced coffee for a warmer, seasonal cup o’ Joe as fall begins to cool things down. As the mornings grow progressively cooler, I feel the need to have a nice warm cup of coffee to not only give me my daily caffeine, but also to warm and wake me up. Then it occurred to me that as the cooler weather rolls in so do the seasonal flavors like pumpkin, hazelnut, caramel, butter toffee, and apple cider. These flavors are a great way to enhance your fall experience. Call me crazy, but they just TASTE better when I drink pumpkin and apple cider in the fall. :-)

While it is fun to try the seasonal flavors as they roll out, I absolutely love the pumpkin flavors associated with fall…pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin bread, and even pumpkin seeds. But fear not, if you are not as big of a pumpkin fanatic as I am, there are still plenty of fantastic flavors to try. The hazelnut coffee is a great one to have in the morning with breakfast. I find that other flavors like caramel, pumpkin spice, and butter toffee are all great mid day beverages for a snack or pick me up. Come evening time…now that’s the perfect time to indulge in some hot apple cider to get that chill out of your bones and unwind without the caffeine.

My advice is to just let loose, experiment and try as many as you can! They are only good for a limited time so enjoy them while they are in season. While I have shared my favorites, I am always open for some other ideas. Here is to enjoying fall with some seasonal beverages, pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and Halloween!


What…a Coffee Stain?!

Man with Stain on His Shirt Drinking CoffeeMurphy’s Law has caught up to all of us at least once, right?  Like dressing nice and then spilling something {of course we’re thinking coffee :)} where it is clearly visible. Catch that spill in time and you can change shirts before you head out the door while others {like me} may not be so lucky and have already left without knowing there is a very visible, prominent stain.

So, what to do about that stain…the key to eliminating these stains from your clothing is to treat it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove. If you are a plan ahead-er you may have a store bought product like a tide stick that can be a fast fix. If you haven’t bought one yet, {I am heading to the store now to get one for sure!} go with the ones that have the oxygen style removers even though they may take a little more time. These break down the stain without harming the clothing.

If you have time before you leave, instead of the stain stick one of these solutions just might do the trick.  First just try and rinse that fresh stain with some cold water. If that didn’t work try using baby wipes, beer, baking soda, or salt and vinegar. Not all together {of course} but each has their own tactic against stains. For each substance make sure you DAB THE STAIN, DON”T RUB IT IN. Baby wipes absorbs both liquid and the stain and some beer poured right on the stain can lift it out of the clothing. Just rinse and repeat a few times to remove all traces of stain. With the salt and vinegar and baking soda you need to create a solution to use with a sponge or paper towel. Mix {WHITE} vinegar with equal amounts of salt and dab off the stain. For baking soda, mix it with some water to create a paste and dab that into the stain and let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse out.

If these options don’t work, then you can try some other home remedies such as mixing powdered detergent and white vinegar together to form a paste and scrub in circles with a tooth brush. Then wash according to the tag directions. If the stain does not come out after the washing machine, DO NOT PLACE IN DRYER! The heat of the dryer will set in the stain and then it will be near impossible to remove. For your last ditch effort, just take it to the dry cleaners so that they can use their tools on it.

dry cleaners sign

Do you know of any other alternatives or home remedies that worked for you?  Go ahead and share!


Smartphones and Coffee (Don’t Spill!)

Coffee and SmartphoneAs I sit down in the morning for some breakfast and coffee, I often pull out my smartphone and browse its endless capabilities. Who hasn’t gotten sucked into an app and totally lost track of time? {Umm…Facebook or Twitter…need I say more?} I began thinking what things my phone could do with coffee. Obviously I don’t mean stir my coffee with it, but instead what kind of apps are available to accompany my coffee experience.

Newspapers have become less and less common among people now that online versions have become available. CNN, NBC, FOX, New York Times, and even NPR are some of the many news sources available for free download on your phone. I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal as I have a subscription for it, but now that I learned there was an app I am hooked! It is so easy to read and keep constantly up to date. Some networks like FOX and CNN have also paired with local TV providers so your can link your accounts and watch news videos all from your device.

There is an app for EVERYTHING, right, so why stop at just news? Coffee is such a staple that there must be coffee apps out there so I did a search on my smartphone…the amount of apps available were endless! Here are some of my favorites:

  • Instant Barista – It provides recipes for coffees, espressos, and even teas. It showed me different techniques and ingredients that I otherwise would have looked over. It kind of gives you the feeling of having all the secrets of a coffee shop. One of my favorite parts about the app is the latte art section. While mine don’t turn out so much like the picture, it is still fun to try.
  • Intelligentsia Coffee – This app was much more intense but promises to deliver the absolute best cup of coffee if you follow their EXACT directions. This app was no joke as it lays out everything you need and even gives you a timer to create the perfect brew. This is fun to read during the week but definitely needs some time to complete so it actually takes action over the weekend.
  • Coffee Guru – My friend in New York uses this quite often as it has led them to their favorite coffee shop. This app has a large listing of indie coffee shops that promote direct and fair trade for the farmers they get their beans from. It gives you a map of nearby shops, a place to save your favorites, and even provides a flavor wheel to help describe your coffee, but you don’t need that after our Coffee 101 lessons!

It is amazing how technology has opened a world of instant information and immediate gratification. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy checking Twitter or playing a little Candy Crush but there is so much more out there. :)

Did you try one of the apps I mentioned or have you used a different app?  Let me know, I am always game for trying something new!


Coffee Is a Type of Produce

Coffee PlantEvery day I take for granted that I will have a freshly brewed cup of coffee.  It got me thinking this morning that someone, somewhere must do a whole lot to let me brew my favorite cup o’joe. Believe it or not, just like produce has it’s own season {and we know how much better it tastes when it IS in season!}, coffee has its own season as well. While it may not seem like a big deal due to the sheer volume of coffee produced around the world, different locations may yield a better cup of fresh coffee depending what time of the year it is.

Many locations around the world have a main harvest of coffee beans where they pick coffee cherries and then must let them rest until maturity before they can be shipped. This can take up to two months so keep in mind that the harvesting period will begin two months before you may receive your fresh coffee and end two months before your coffee is out of season. Some locations may have a few different harvests because of coffee grown in different locations within the country, but in general the harvesting periods and locations are as followed:

  • From February-March: Jamaica, Colombia, Kenya
  • From April to September: Rwanda, Burundi
  • From April to October: Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru
  • From May to September: Papua New Guinea
  • From June to December: Indonesia
  • From September to January: Uganda, Tanzania
  • From September to March: Cuba, Dominican Republic
  • From October to December: Kenya
  • From October to February: India
  • From October to March: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia
  • From October to April: Ethiopia

Probably with technology such as vacuum sealing, you won’t change your coffee-buying habits to fall seasonally with the coffee season of your favorite brew .  We need not be so concerned with each coffee season as the airtight seal keeps the grounds fresh for longer periods of time {Did you know that coffee was the first product ever to be freeze-dried?}. Hats off to all the people, no matter what part of the process they play a part in, to allow me my favorite morning indulgence.

Do you find that your favorite brand of coffee can taste better during different times of the year? We’d like to know!