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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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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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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?

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Pocket Sized Coffee

jiva cubes

Faster, easier, convenient…this is what most people are looking for in almost everything they do.  Single serve options, such as the Keurig or FLAVIA Creation brewers, have drastically decreased the time it takes for one to enjoy a freshly brewed cup in the morning {check out our alarm clock brewer post to see what we mean!}.  But what about a solution for those on the go where a k-cup or freshpack brewer is not readily available?  Right out of the “Why didn’t I think of that?” book Natalia & Allen had this brilliant idea to circumvent the long lines at the coffee shops that always made them late for class which blossomed in Jiva Cubes.

jiva cubes 3

There are only two ingredients that go into Jiva Cubes: Premium Colombian Arabica coffee grounds and unrefined cane sugar. Now all you need is water or milk to mix it in. It can be hot or cold, as long as you pop in your cubes and wait 30 seconds and then give it a stir. The recommended amount is two cubes for one cup, but of course it is totally up to you and your preferences. Why the unrefined cane sugar? Creators use it to help hold the grounds together and the unrefined sugar has raw nutrients that are good for us.  They come in 6 different flavors to suit a wide variety of tastes: Classic, Mocha, Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Caramel, and Hot Chocolate.

jiva cubes 2

{Lightbulb over my head!}…you can literally go anywhere and have a great cup of coffee with you. Truly an amazing idea with such simplicity.  Camping in the wilderness and preparing my favorite cup o’joe just got even better!  Where would this cube make your life easier?

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Alarm Clock With A Perk

I don’t know about you, but the most difficult thing to do during the week is to get up in the morning. More specifically, I struggle the most between getting out of bed and having my cup of coffee. Single serve brewers, like the Keurig and Flavia brewers, have drastically shortened the time it takes to deliver my favorite cup o’joe.  Some advanced brewers have timers so you can set it the night before to automatically brew your cup at a certain time the next morning.  Aahhh….got to love modern technology!

Of course everything can be taken to the extreme, so what’s more efficient (or even lazier) than programming your coffee to be ready and waiting for you when you wake up? The only thing I can see improving this process is taking out the walk from my bed to the kitchen, but that seems a bit too good to be true…or is it?

coffee alarm clock

How about a coffee brewing alarm clock? It is called the Barisieur and is currently being created by the U.K. industrial designer Joshua Renouf. This clock brews a cup of coffee for you the moment your alarm goes off. Now I can simply roll over while still in bed and enjoy my coffee, extending the time I get to stay in the warmth of my blankets. This is the equivalent of having a butler come in with your coffee and newspaper as they welcome you to another day and draw you a warm bath.  :)

coffee-alarm-clock-3

 

This sophisticated looking machine will eliminate the harsh sound of the morning alarm and replace it with the sound of the stainless steel ball bearings that are also used to boil the water. The Barisieur has its own compartments to store your ground coffee, sugar, and milk. However the coffee does need to be added the night before so it will actually be brewed.

coffee-alarm-clock-5

There are only two drawbacks that I can think of when it comes to the Barisieur. The first is just being clumsy or still half asleep in the morning and knocking it all over the place or worse, onto yourself.   The second drawback is the anticipated price. It says that the Barisieur is expected to be in the range of 150-250 pounds (not the weight). That is the equivalent to about $252-420 US dollars. That is a large range and a hefty price to pay for an alarm clock.

coffee-alarm-clock-4

 

What routine do you have in the morning that reduces the time it takes to wake up and enjoy your first cup of coffee?

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Keep Your Coffee Safe

We brought our favorite coffee up to the lake last week on vacation and it seemed like everyone in my family brewed my coffee instead of theirs {I know, I definitely have way better taste in most things, including coffee, than my brothers :) }  Now, I love my family and am happy to share just about anything, don’t get me wrong…but when I wake up in the morning, wisps of my dreams still floating through my head as I move slowly to the kitchen thinking about taking that first sip of my favorite brew and it’s all gone?  Grrrrr!  You can imagine exactly what I was thinking about bringing on my next family vacation to protect my coffee…

Safe

All kidding aside, did you know that you really should be protecting your coffee to ensure the best possible freshness, flavor and quality when you’re ready to brew it?  After coffee beans have been roasted {try roasting your own!}, they are actually quite delicate and sensitive to things like light and oxygen. Many of us go to great lengths to preserve the freshness we desire. Recently I stumbled upon a product, appropriately name BeanSafe, that has solved this issue.

beansafe

This storage container seals in and protects your coffee beans from heat, light, moisture, and oxygen. What I didn’t know is that even CO2 that emits from the beans can damage them as well. BeanSafe has also addressed this issue with a valve on the top of it that allows the unwanted CO2 to escape, without compromising the beans to moisture or oxygen.

coffee bag

Tips to Store Your Coffee At Home

  • Store your daily coffee in an air-tight glass or ceramic container in a dark, cool place (NOT the refrigerator or freezer as contact with moisture will cause the bean to deteriorate).
  • Don’t buy in large quantities unless you use large quantities!  Coffee is like the value of a car, it begins depreciating the minute it’s made.  The quicker you use your coffee the better it will taste.
  • If you do need to store larger quantities, store the excess in smaller portion air tight bags in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Once you open the air tight bag move them immediately into an air-tight container.

How do you store your coffee beans and grounds at home?

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A Proper Way to Brew Iced Coffee

It is summer and that means HOT. I’m not talking just mid day hot, I’m talking about wake up and the mercury in the thermometer is already skyrocketing hot. When it is this kind of hot, just thinking about a hot coffee in the morning makes me sweat before I’ve gotten out of bed. Brewing my own single-serve iced coffee has become such a refreshing morning treat and since I have embraced drinking it more and more, I had to look into how to properly brew it on my own.

iced coffee

If time is of the essence, then a quick, single-serve brew from my k-cup or Flavia machine does the trick.  Use a tumbler (instead of glass) and fill it with ice and brew the hot coffee right into the tumbler.  To avoid the watered-down taste I’d plan ahead the night before an brew a quick cup of whatever flavor I was going to drink in the morning, freeze it into ice cubes and use the coffee ice cubes in the morning.  It was when I noticed that even my quick iced coffee often had a kind of acidic taste to it that the computer came out and the research began. I learned that true iced coffee is a slightly different brewing process and although a bit more lengthy in time does not lack taste in any sense.

To brew your own iced coffee at home you’ll need:

  • Light or Medium roasted coffee beans, ground coarsely (Dark roast are more acidic)
  • Desired container (Something large enough because it takes a day to sit and brew)
  • A Cheese Cloth or Filter
  • Room temperature water

Since the process takes a day to sit and steep like tea, I decided to reuse my gallon orange juice jug. The first step is to add your grounds to a third of your water and stir it in so you have a thick mixture. Then you mix in the rest of your water and let sit for 24 hours. Lastly just give it a stir a couple times over the sitting time. When you are ready to serve, pour your coffee through your cheese cloth or filter to catch the grounds.

iced coffee 2

The water to grounds ratio is totally up to you, depending on how strong you want your coffee. For mine, I put in about 20 tablespoons of my coffee grounds to my gallon jug. And since I used a gallon jug with a narrow top, I couldn’t stir it with a spoon so I just capped the top and gently shook it. I would recommend using something similar to a gallon jug or a pitcher because this allowed for easy serve and storage in the refrigerator.

Did you try this at home?  Let us know how it went for a chance to earn 500 reward points!

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More Than Just For Tea

Just as much as coffee drinkers are fanatic about the coffee they brew and how they brew it, we can’t forget out the tea lover’s out there.  Many tea enthusiasts swear by certain tea brands and how to brew them to get the best cup of tea.  My sister-in-law SWEARS she can tell the difference between kettle pot heated water on the stove and when it’s microwave heated…no joke. :)

With the boom of the single-serve coffee machines, such as the k-cup and freshpack machines, it’s easy to overlook the loyal tea drinkers and their manual process to creating their perfect slice of heaven.  Well, now it’s time for tea drinkers everywhere to know they’re not alone when it comes to machine brewing.  The bkon (pronounced beacon) is a craft brewer for all tea enthusiasts to marvel over.

bkon craft brewer

This machine is unlike any other beverage brewing machine. It has the speed of a Keurig, but the delicate touch of an artist. Through a series of vacuum and pressurized steps, the bkon is able to extract all of the desirable qualities out of the tea, without any bitter aftertaste. This process is called RAIN.

bkon rain process

RAIN stands for Reverse Atmospheric INfusion and it is as mesmerizing to watch as the science behind it. By creating a vacuum and using pressurized energy in the brewing cylinder, you can see it manipulating the tea leaves as they expand to full size for full extraction of all the best qualities in the tea.

tea leaves before and after

Although I do not fully understand the science behind this technology, I do know is that this complex machine puts on a nice 90’s lava lamp kind of show before it delivers a perfect slice of heaven into my cup and to boot, it self cleans itself!

bkon bubbles

The bkon is not limited to just tea however, it’s only the beginning. Your imagination may be the only thing that limits this genie lamp. Whether you want to insert loose tea leaves, coffee grounds, dried fruits, or spices, this machine extracts it all. Because of the wide range of ingredients you can use, it’s perfect for any time of the day. From the morning cup of tea, to an evening cocktail or even a glass of water in the middle of the day, the possibilities are endless. No time to be creative?  This technology is paired with a touch screen that keeps about 200 different recipes stored for you. The only recipe you can’t program into it is how to make a bad beverage. Just be careful of the current price tag…….cough…$13,000….cough.

So tea lovers weigh in…how do you brew your perfect cup of tea and what do you think about the bcon?

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Coffee Is Making Me Hungry

coffee breakfast

Ok, I admit it…I am a closet Food Network junkie!  Getting sucked into this channel tends to end poorly for me because it makes me incredibly hungry for the delicious foods they are preparing and before I know it, hours have gone by. If the dish isn’t too difficult, I may even try to replicate it while it’s still fresh in my memory, but even then it doesn’t always come out like the finished meal on tv. One morning I stopped at the Food Network and was fascinated at how many different ways they incorporated coffee into the show.

Now, I’m not talking about the hosts drinking some coffee and then whizzing through a recipe. These hosts were actually using coffee as an INGREDIENT in their recipes! The coffee was used on pork chops, in muffins and on ribs and steak as a rub. These all sounded pretty good to me, but there was one that really stood out…coffee butter. The recipe was simply pancakes or waffles (although you can even make coffee pancakes) with coffee infused butter on top. Of course my sweet tooth made me think maple syrup would need to be poured on top, too. :)

Coffee and butter

You can use whatever coffee you like to make this recipe because all you’re doing is whisking the coffee and soft, unsalted butter together. The ratio is half cup of brewed coffee to 4 tablespoons of butter. Make sure that the coffee is cooled before mixing together as you don’t want it to just melt the butter into the coffee. After pondering this simple recipe, I began to think outside the box. I could keep this coffee butter in the fridge and then put it in any recipe in place of the butter required!  It may be crazy and I am not sure it will work in baking situations, but you know I’ll have to try that next :).

Coffee butter is quickly becoming a breakfast essential at my table, thanks to the Food Network.  I am curious, have you found a way to incorporate coffee into one of your recipes?  Let us know!

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Need An Extra Boost?

Americano

I ran into some of my nieces and nephews over the weekend and was quickly brought back to my college days as they all talked about exam cram time they are going through right now. It consists of late nights and early mornings for that last minute studying in hopes to maximize your grade potential. Many students turn to their favorite cup o’joe to help boost their energy, stay up longer and hopefully increase focus through exam week.

Luckily there’s no more cram time in my future but I do find for many in the workforce, it’s common in the afternoon to “hit a wall” (around 2:30 p.m.) where focus is tough and you’re struggling to keep your eyes open. Some may resort to energy drinks but those are not always very healthy for our bodies.

espresso

Coffee Shop Boost: An easy little caffeine boost that you can do at any coffee shop, is to add an espresso shot to your drink. Espresso is made through a small amount of hot water being forced into finely ground coffee and creating a greater concentration of flavors. Another option is to get a beverage called the Cafe Americano. This can be a single or double shot of espresso that has a greater water ratio. Or if you’re passing through a Dunkin Donuts you can try their Turbo Coffee or Turbo Shot. These are some simple alterations to your everyday routine that can give you that extra boost you are looking for.

Death Wish Coffee

How about a cup of WORLD’S STRONGEST COFFEE? Appropriately named Death Wish Coffee, this company has worked tirelessly to create their perfected product through their roasting techniques and more importantly, through their small batches. How does this coffee stack up to it’s more well-known counterparts?

Coffee Comparison Death

 

Of course we’d be we’d be remiss not to mention that exercising regularly and healthy eating are great, natural ways to energize your body. :)  What do you do to help increase your energy and focus when you start to slow down but still need to be focused and effective?