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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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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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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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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?