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Pumpkin Out, Winter Flavors In

As the warmer weather rolled in ice cubes started filling our cups.  We all know that when it comes to the fall, the featured flavor that seems to take the craze is pumpkin. I don’t know if it is the demand of being around for a short period of time or if it is the fact that is just seems to taste so good with the cold weather, but regardless of the reasons the popularity is undeniable. Now that the snowflakes are blowing in and the seasonal pumpkin runs out, what’s next?

Santa coffee

A number of flavors have been swirling around from eggnog to chocolate to the classic peppermint. The peppermint coffees have sprung up as a nice and simple flavor without any real additives, but if you are looking to treat yourself to something different take a look below…

peppermint coffee

Hot Chocolate:

Winter Craze:

 

gingerbread coffee

Whatever your winter go-to flavor is, may every cup be soothing and invigorating!

What’s your favorite winter go-to drink {a little alcohol in it is ok, too 😉 }?

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Put a New Lid On It!

The aroma as it brews and when you bring it to your lips, the warmth of the mug as you wrap your hands around it, how you can feel the warmth trickle down the back of your throat to your belly…I am sure there is no argument when we say that there is nothing quite like that first sip of coffee in the morning.

Coffee has been an age old tradition and as we pack every minute of every day, it seems like disposable travel cups and lids are part of that tradition nowadays. The main goal of these lids are to keep the coffee warm and in the cup, but have you ever stopped to think about how differently coffee flows out of the little hole in the lid compared to how it flows freely from your mug?

viora lid

Coffee just flows smoother from your mug and this train of thought was used to create the Viora Lid. Instead of having a lid with a small hole, Viora has created a lid that mimics the way a coffee mug works. It has a brand new design that has a reservoir that the coffee pours into and then you sip it from the lid itself.

viora lid specks

The lid also helps capture the coffee aroma as it flows, similar to how a wine is properly served. This lid truly encompasses how coffee should be drank, especially on the go. As an added bonus, the lid also prevents the splash of hot liquids that often occurs with the to-go lids we use now. While this is a relatively new, yet simple idea, it has the potential to change how we can truly ENJOY to-go coffee.

viora lid splash

Again, why didn’t we think of that? :)

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Starbucks Takes Mobile To The Next Level

starbucks delivery

Starbucks has always been one of the biggest names in the worldwide coffee industry and their name and logo very well known amongst coffee drinkers. As the economy grows and changes, so must businesses in order to succeed and Starbucks is no exception. With the spike of smart phone users comes the greater ability to multitask and work on the go. Starbucks has sought to tap into this resource by trying out a mobile pre-ordering app that will allow customers to order and pay for their beverages ahead of time so that you may have the ability to just walk in and out with your order.

starbucks delivery van

However, this is merely just the start for CEO Howard Schultz. His vision is that this mobile app will run smoothly and achieve what no other worldwide coffee company has done, become a delivery service as well. The idea is similar to the pre-ordering on the mobile app, except somebody will deliver it to you while you are working at your desk. Feeling a little hungry too? No need to fret as their foods will be on the delivery menu as well!

starbucks delivery 2

While I am in love with this idea, I foresee a few possible issues that could arise. What happens if only one or two people in an entire office are the only ones to order a coffee? Will that stretch the deliverers too thin with small orders? How will they keep the coffee at the peak temperature for the duration of the delivery? I am sure all of these questions will be answered and dealt with as the mobile app works out some of the kinks. Starbucks delivery will be the talk of the coffee town until it is scheduled to debut in mid to late 2015.

What do you think about being able to have coffee delivered to your office?

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Ogawa Coffee Comes to Boston

ogawa coffeeOne of Japan’s biggest names in coffee, Ogawa Coffee, has made plans to open their very first coffee shop in the United States in the city of Boston. Why Boston versus a place like New York or a closer city like Seattle who is known for coffee? This choice was made for the similarities that they feel Boston has to Kyoto, their headquarters in Japan. Japan is one of the top consumers of coffee around the world, behind USA and Germany.

The Japanese coffee style has been described as being very strong or potent while the Ogawa coffee is known for the thickness and sophistication of their coffee. Unlike the on-the-go mentality of many Americans, Ogawa coffee is one that is served in a Japanese glassware brand called Hario (now found at Williams and Sonoma) and to have the art behind it be appreciated. In order to translate this quality to America, Ogawa coffee has brought the 2010 World Latte Art Champion, Haruna Murayama, to help with the creation of the menu (below is the 2010 World Latte Art Champion submission).

ogawa coffee 2010 coffee latte art

We often take our coffee on the go and use more espresso type beverages than the Japanese do. It will be interesting to see how Ogawa bridges these coffee cultural differences when they debut their first store in the states.  Me, I just can’t wait to see what kind of art will be waiting in my first cup. :)

ogawa coffee latte art

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Espresso On The Go

minipresso pour

We’ve been talking for a while now how gadgets can enhance the way we brew and how fast we can brew coffee {See Pocket-Sized Coffee, Why Didn’t We Think of That?! and Alarm Clock with a Perk to name a few } What do you call a espresso machine that is portable, handheld, and requires no electricity? The MINIPRESSO! This little pill-like capsule holds the grounds, water, and the lid doubles as a cup for your espresso shot. It is powered through a small pump action piston the you squeeze with your hand. This forces the water through the coffee grounds at the same psi standard for all espresso beverages (116 psi).

minipresso open

The convenience of this little capsule is truly well thought out. It can be filled with your own coffee grounds or with their own mini cups called Caffitaly capsules. The water capsule piece on it can also be upgraded to a larger one if you are interested in going beyond just a shot of espresso. The Minipresso is such a sleek design that makes it easy to take wherever you want and enjoy your espresso in the wildest of places, where you could have never thought possible.

minipresso pump

Before you do a Google search you should know it is not shipping yet as they are finishing up their testing and finalizing warranty guidelines. But, you can pre-order it now and receive the Minipresso early in 2015 when they release the final product and ship it.  BONUS: If you pre-order your Minipresso now, you can get it at a ten dollar discount from its already low price of $49!

What do you think about this portable espresso maker?

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October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is already well known for Columbus Day and Halloween, but it is fast becoming synonymous with Breast Cancer, too. The whole month is dedicated to increasing the awareness of breast cancer. Statistically, breast cancer affects one in eight women in different levels of severity. There are many well-known organizations that contribute to the breast cancer fight.  The NFL makes great efforts to increase awareness encouraging all players, staff and facilities to deck out in pink as it is the official color that represents the disease awareness.

nfl breast cancer

Unfortunately, breast cancer is hereditary, but there have been numerous studies suggesting ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Changing one’s diet and including certain vitamins can help our bodies in certain ways with certain foods or beverages. The more wholesome [ or “clean eating”] the better, but some studies have shown you should ingest specific foods in order to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are very good to specifically reduce the risk of estrogen sensitive cancers. Fiber alone has been found to reduce breast cancer when you eat ten grams to your daily diet. An uncommon one, seaweed, has been found to have a preventative effect on breast cancer as well. And if possible, it is very helpful to reduce the amount of consumption for foods that are processed or have pesticides or chemicals associated with them [again, “clean eating”]. This means that organic or hormone free foods are really the best and most nutritious. Of course coffee has got to enter the discussion at some point! It has antioxidants in it that can help protect cells from damage that may lead to cancer.

breast cancer

You can put your love of coffee can to good use by helping the fight against breast cancer with Caribou Coffee. For a limited time, Caribou Coffee has a blend of light roast coffee dedicated to their roast-master, Amy, who lost her life in the fight against breast cancer. So go ahead and get your cup of coffee for yourself, while 10% of the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen fight for the cure against breast cancer. As an added plus, you can visit their page on Facebook and donate a virtual tulip (Amy’s favorite flower) which will then be actually planted in Amy’s National Garden of Hope at the Historic Brookside Gardens in D.C..

amys blend

 

[Medical disclaimer: We are not doctor’s!] Like any lifestyle and/or dietary change, you should always consult your doctor before making any changes to your exercise and diet routines.  Early detection is the best chance of surviving any type of cancer, so make sure you don’t make excuses, see your doctor and get your mammogram, colonoscopy or whatever exam can help you!

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An Alarming Re-Branding

nescafe alarm top

While we’re on the subject of innovative alarm clocks {see our recent perk post} we came across this cute gem. Nescafe has created their own type of alarm clock that is simple yet has a clever twist to it {pun intended!}. This alarm clock is actually the lid to your coffee grounds. In an effort to re-brand themselves, Nescafe has created a limited supply of their special alarm clocks in a gift box.

nescafe alarm box

Simply, these stylish lids have an alarm that is underneath the lid. You put the lid on the Nescafe coffee and set the alarm for the desired wake-up time. Once it goes off, the only way to turn it off is to take the lid off. Not sure that one could be any closer to making their coffee than having to open up your grounds to turn your alarm clock off! These boxes include coffee, the special alarm clock lid, a mug, and a booklet to describe Nescafe history and the items included.

nescafe alarm three

Such a simple idea yet very effective and I love anything that gives me an excuse to play with my coffee. Hhmmm…I wonder which alarm tone I would choose?

What are some innovative ways you’ve used to help you get to your coffee quicker?

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Seriously, why didn’t we think of that?!

Even though most people slowly transition from iced coffee to hot coffee as the cooler fall weather sets in, there are always those die-hard iced coffee drinkers.  Luckily for you, we came across this awesome new invention called the Zoku Iced Coffee Maker. What makes this product stand out from others is the cooling process does not water down your coffee like the traditional pour over ice method. The container resembles a thermos that you pre-chill before you pour your coffee directly into it. After that, you simply put on the insulating sleeve that keeps your now cold beverage cold and you are good to go! This cups does just about everything except brew the coffee for you…

Zoku

Which is the perfect lead into this next find! It is called the Hey Joe Coffee Mug and this little guy is quite possibly the first of many future creations in revolutionizing how we view coffee on the go.

hey joe

This travel sized mug can regulate the temperature of your coffee and brew it all from the same device, anywhere. It has a water compartment, a heater plate, a compartment for the coffee, and a rechargeable battery on the bottom. The only limit we can see is that currently only their brand coffee pods fit in the mug, but we have a feeling that it’s only going to get better from here!

hey joe how to

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Why Not Eat The Cup Too?

Coffee is a game-changer for many people and has become a staple at meal time, not just breakfast or dinner. It has been served hot, cold, and even mixed in with foods. There are seasonal flavors, breakfast flavors, and decaf for the evenings. Becoming more environmentally conscious top’s many to-do lists while at the same time convenience tends to trump all.  How can we continue to consume large quantities of coffee and still enjoy the convenience of disposable cups?  What if the coffee cup….was edible?!

alfred coffee

A small shop in L.A. by the name of Alfred Coffee and Kitchen has been open for about a year now and has been making some ripples in the coffee world for their special espresso shots. These small drinks of espresso or macchiato are served in a chocolate dipped ice cream cone. Coffee AND chocolate…sign me up!

alfred coffee cone

An idea in the works: Environmentalists rejoice that there is no cup waste but the size does pose an issue for someone who wants more than just a shot of coffee. One big challenge is that the espresso and macchiato has to be cool enough in order to keep the beverage from melting the chocolate and ultimately making the cone soggy. Regardless of the challenges, hats off to Alfred Coffee & Kitchen for this ingenious idea and we can’t wait to how they improve on the idea.

Do you have any other ideas on how to consume your coffee and reduce your environmental footprint?

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Coffee + Nap = Coffee Naps!

coffee nap
For many life is so busy it’s hard to avoid that early afternoon “drag” feeling when your morning coffee may be wearing off and/or your body is working overtime digesting that big lunch you ate. Chances are you have two thoughts in your head: “I want to take a nap” and “I need another cup of coffee”.  Which one is the best pick-me-up?  A new study shows both may be in the cards for you!

coffee nao

How It Works: There are a few keys to this technique in order to make it work. The first is that you must drink your caffeinated beverage quickly and fall asleep before it starts to kick in. {We say caffeinated beverage because any will do, such as tea, coffee, or espresso.}  You may want to try something like an espresso because it is typically a smaller drink, which makes it easier to consume quickly. The second key is to make sure your nap is no longer than 20 minutes. Less is certainly okay but more will make your body go into a deeper sleep which will make you feel more tired from waking up from.

coffee nap 2

Behind the Study: Researchers at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom found that these “coffee naps” rejuvenated their participants more than just naps or coffee alone and scored the fewest errors in their driving simulator. Scientifically, the process helps to remove a molecule in our brain called Adenosine. This molecule plugs into our brain receptors and makes us feel tired. These same receptors are what caffeine plugs into to make us feel alert. Therefore this technique helps to clear out the Adenosine and make room for the caffeine that we just drank. Crazy to think that these seemingly opposite things, coffee versus sleep, really provides the most alertness when mixed!

Are you able to fall asleep fast enough to take a coffee nap?