Monday Morning Coffee Talk - Daily Cheff Colombian K-cups


I'm currently on my 3rd cup of coffee, but it's the first one that tastes decent.  I was drinking a French Roast blend from Daily Chef but I just wasn't enjoying it so I switched to their Colombian blend and it's just what I needed.

I tried the Daily Chef brand a few months ago to see if it was an acceptable flavor as it was a much more affordable option for the 54 count boxes over my regular Starbucks or Caribou.  The flavor of the Colombian is good, but if you read reviews about the product you'll see there was possibly a design flaw in the cup.  (Reviews for Daily Chef K-Cups).  I also had issues with some of the cups from the first box I bought.  However I've bought 3 boxes since then (2 Colombian and 1 French Roast) and I've not encountered any coffee grounds in my cup since that first box so it may have been a fluke in their machinery or the cups they were using at the time.


My coffee drinking friends might want to look into this affordable brand - (available online or at Sam's Club) and see what you think.  I am pretty happy with supplementing this coffee with a few of the other brands I use as well and haven't had any grounds issues.  With a savings of about $15 over a case of k-cups of other brands, it's certainly worth mentioning.


Folllow Up Review: Green Mountain Well Collection - Antioxidant Blend


I was lucky enough through my position as a BzzAgent, to get to try the new Wellness Collection blend from Green Mountain.  Previously I posted a review on the Focus Blend - which I found ok when drank piping hot, and I liked the energy kick it gave me; however I couldn't say I would choose to drink it over my regular blends just for the taste.  I would however, choose it for the kick when I needed to be focused and get things accomplished.

Last week and again today, I've been enjoying the Antioxidant blend.  I admit I thought they would probably taste exactly the same;  but in the end I've noticed they seem to be completely different.  No heart racing, no energy kick;  just a light, smooth coffee.  Not the same at all.

The Green Mountain Coffee® Wellness Collection:
  • Launched in August 2012 with two brews — Focus Blend and Antioxidant Blend
  • Includes only Fair Trade Certified coffees
  • Is best brewed using the 8 oz. setting on your Keurig® brewer
  • Retails $18.49 (24-ct box of K-Cup® packs)
  • Is available for purchase online at GreenMountainCoffee.com and Keurig.com

Brew your k-cup on the 8 ounce setting as directed.  This gives you their recommended level of vitamins C and E in your cup and is brewed not too watered down to ensure you have good flavor.

I don't have a scientific way of measuring the effectiveness of the vitamins added to the brew, not  over short term anyway; but I can say I would be comfortable drinking this in the morning knowing it was giving me what a vitamin C and vitamin E vitamin would.  This way I get a healthy dose of goodness and benefits with each cup that I would be drinking anyway!

Bottom Line:  Thumbs up on the Antioxidant blend for better flavor, but thumbs up to the Focus blend for the ability to see results instantaneously.






I was given a free sample of the Green Mountain Wellness Blend for Keurig Brewers to try since I'm a BzzAgent.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.








Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker

UPDATE FOR 2017:  This was originally posted in 2012.  Today it's getting hard to find these but occasionally you see sellers on Amazon with them to sell either new or used but I will update a couple similar items at the bottom of this post since I don't believe this product is being made any longer.

The 

  I'm kind of excited about this coffee-themed product.  It's right before Christmas and would make a coffee-drink kind of person very, very happy this holiday season.  I've just spent some time familiarizing myself with the Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker.  It's an all-in-one appliance that allows you to create frosty frappes at home. A cross between a coffee machine and a blender, this easy-to-use frappe maker brews and blends delicious chilled concoctions all at the touch of a button.

Along with freshly brewed coffee and ice, you can add in any favorite extras, including milk, whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate-milk powder, and more. The unit's "pulse" blending button offers ultimate control over the consistency, while its sleek jar supplies a generous handle for easy serving. To top it off, garnish the beverage with whipped cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate shavings, and enjoy. Whether for yourself or to entertain guests, you can now make a delicious frappe from home. Even better, the unit's small footprint takes up minimal space on the counter for easy, everyday access.
A Quick and Easy Process
You'll never have to hassle with the inconvenience of having to use two or more machines to create the perfect frappe again. The Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker brews and blends in just three minutes, ensuring you get the same great results every time. The dishwasher-safe blending jar and brew basket make clean up easy. To get a delicious frappe, simply follow these three easy steps:
  1. Add your favorite coffee or espresso and water to the top of the machine and your favorite ingredients in the blending jar
  2. Press the Frappe button to start the process
  3. Enjoy your delicious drink
Make a Variety of Beverages
The recipe book has more than 20 delicious recipes featuring a wide variety of easy-to-make drinks that are easily customized to your specific taste. From coffee- and tea-based drinks to adult alcohol-based frosty frappes, you are sure to find the perfect recipes to make the whole family happy. You can also avoid the fattening ingredients used by many coffeehouses by using sugar-free substitutes and fresh ingredients to truly make each recipe your own.
Save Money and Be Your Own Barista
You can create endless varieties of icy, blended coffee drinks in the comfort of your own home with this one machine. It lets you eliminate costly trips to the coffeehouse and put dollars back into your pocket. The Mr. Coffee Cafe Frappe provides a quick, easy, and affordable solution for frappe lovers.

Features and Specifications

  • Brews and blends at the touch of a button
  • Removable brew basket
  • 20-ounce dishwasher-safe blending jar
  • Pulse button to control consistency
  • Three minute blend-and-brew cycle
  • Includes book with 20 recipes

You might also be interested in similar items available though Amazon as the Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker is getting very difficult to find.  I don't believe they make it anymore.  (2017)


Mr. Coffee Iced Cafe - Iced Coffee Maker

Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System with Built-In Frother

 

How long will coffee keep fresh? How do I store it?

Although I am prepared for power outages, flooded roads and other disasters that may cut off my power, water or access to stores for a good amount of time, the one thing I haven't really stored is coffee. This could be a disaster for me, as I have become one of those people who need their morning coffee routine to start my day! Without it I'm 'off' from my schedule and if I don't have my quiet, coffee time to myself, (the hot mug, the aroma, the silence of an early morning and finally, the sipping of my java) I'm a bear the rest of the day.

The reason I haven't stored coffee (yet) is because I've been researching the best version to store and how to store, as well as how long it stores. The information basic is that green coffee stores for about 2 years, but you have to roast it and degas it before you can brew it. This morning we had a power surge and the power briefly went out, right in the middle of me brewing a cup of coffee with a k-cup in my Keurig brewer. This was the wake up call I needed. So without further adieu, I've decided this week is a week to purchase some sort of coffee for long term storage. And this information is the best I've found so far as far as being clear and concise.

Heat Sealed Valve Bags

When coffee is fresh roasted it needs to de-gas. Coffee roasters commonly use heat sealed valve bags that have a one-way valve to allow the gases to escape without allowing any air or odors to get in. As long as the valve bag remains sealed it is "vacuum" packed and will remain as fresh as the day it was roasted until the heat sealed valve bag is opened. Purchasing your coffee in heat-sealed valve bags and keeping them sealed until needed is the best way to store both whole bean coffee and ground coffee for the long term.

Store Coffee in a Cool Dry Place

Once the heat sealed valve bag is opened, the proper way to store all coffee according to the coffee experts is to keep your coffee in a cool dry place. Heat, cold, moisture, oxygen and generally any kind of outside odors are all enemies of fresh coffee so caution should be taken to reduce or eliminate these. Keep in mind that fresh roasted gourmet coffee is porous so it will absorb outside influences. Whole bean coffee is a lot more dense than ground coffee so ground coffee is more susceptible to outside influences that destroy coffee freshness. Storing your coffee in a cool dry place preferably in an air tight sealed container is the best way to keep your coffee fresh for as long as possible.

Avoid Storing Coffee in a Fridge or Freezer

Many coffee drinkers are surprised to learn that freezing coffee or storing coffee in the refrigerator is actually detrimental to keeping your coffee fresh and should be avoided. Freezing coffee affects the chemical characteristics of the coffee bean or ground coffee. Storing coffee in the refrigerator is not recommended because as mentioned, coffee is very porous and will absorb other food odors that are present.

Green Bean and Roasted Whole Bean Verses Ground Coffee

The taste of coffee will vary depending on the type of coffee, the coarseness of the grind, the type of coffee brewing equipment used and of course, the age of the stored coffee.

Green Coffee Beans have the longest shelf life over roasted whole bean or ground coffee. If stored in a cool, dry place green coffee beans can last more than a year and still retain much of its flavor and aroma. The primary drawback with storing green coffee beans is that they still have to undergo a lengthier process from roasting to brewing. Very few people have their own coffee roasting equipment and green coffee beans are not as readily available on the market.

Roasted Whole Bean Coffee has a longer shelf life than ground coffee and is readily available on the market. When stored in a cool, dry place fresh roasted whole bean coffee will last for a number of weeks without losing too much flavor and aroma. It is preferable to store whole bean coffee in air sealed containers. Ceramic storage containers are recommended since plastic or metal containers can sometimes affect the flavor of the coffee over time. Glass containers are acceptable provided these are stored in cool dark cabinets. Whole bean gourmet coffee is recommended for home use for a number of reasons. As stated, whole bean coffee has a longer shelf life and provides a better, more flavorful cup of coffee, especially if brewed immediately after being ground.

Ground Coffee has the shortest shelf life of all and is best brewed right after being ground. Ground coffee is the most porous form of coffee and can loose its flavor and aroma in a matter of days. It's best to try and keep ground coffee stored for as short a time as possible prior to brewing.

It's that time of year for coffee: Starbuck's Holiday Blend is Available!


This morning I'm reviewing the seasonal Holiday Blend from Starbucks.  Even though the calendar hasn't yet even arrived at Thanksgiving, my foray out-and-about yesterday to run errands was filled with holiday joy and Santa's galore.

One of my errands was to pick up some coffee and even though we own and use a Keurig, I feel guilt spending so much on k-cups when I am easily a 3 or 4 cups per morning kind of girl.  So, I regularly keep whole bean coffee on hand to make a small pot of coffee each morning as well as a back up.  And with that long introduction, I give you today's coffee post;  the Holiday Blend.

Now, even though Starbucks has been releasing this blend since 1985, I have never bought it.  Granted, I wasn't drinking coffee in 1985 (I was just barely a teenager then), but I've never felt compelled to purchase it.  Yesterday however, I did.

The gold and white is pretty and eye-catching and the description on the packaging said it was sweet and had a hint of spice.  Try as I may to squeeze the package in the store and smell through the little air vent, I could not sense even a hint of spice or anything but regular coffee.  Still, I was at the store FOR coffee so I thought I'd give it a go.  It did not come in whole bean style though, only ground.

The Starbucks website describes it this way;  

The secret to this blend is the rare, aged Sumatran beans, which add a depth and mellowness to fine Latin American and Asia/Pacific coffees.

I am going to describe it as a nice Sumatran coffee that isn't as bold as most Sumatran styles, and the mellowness comes through a little more than on the dark Sumantran versions, however I did not detect even a hint of anything 'spice' or 'holiday' in the least.  Herbal, yes.  Spice?  Not so much.

For those looking for a spice or flavor to their 'holiday' blend coffee this is not it.  But it is a really good, nice, smooth coffee!  I am enjoying my second cup right now.  I can easily envision it being served at a holiday party or open house - it would pair lovely with any dessert or on it's own.  It's also great as a morning coffee.  I absolutely give it a thumbs up - but not necessarily for the 'holidays' - but for 'any' day.

 You can order some from Amazon if you can't yet find it in your area;
Starbucks Ground Holiday Blend Coffee 2012 10 oz (Pack of 2)



   







Coffee around the world..... A coffee 'book' and 'music' for your morning caffeine boost





  This morning I came to Coffee Talking with the phrase "coffee around the world" in my head.  It was typing this phrase into my search box that led me to a book about coffee; Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World.

Uncommon Grounds tells the story of coffee from its discovery on a hill in ancient Abyssinia to the advent of Starbucks. In this updated edition of the classic work, Mark Pendergrast reviews the dramatic changes in coffee culture over the past decade, from the disastrous “Coffee Crisis” that caused global prices to plummet to the rise of the Fair Trade movement and the “third-wave” of quality-obsessed coffee connoisseurs. As the scope of coffee culture continues to expand, Uncommon Grounds remains more than ever a brilliantly entertaining guide to the currents of one of the world’s favorite beverages.





What goes better with a hot cup of coffee, a nice comfy leather couch and a book in your hand?  Music playing softly in the background!  So of course I had to find a coffee-themed book to go with it.  And here is one; Music from the Coffee Lands


Putumayo World Music was established in 1993 to introduce people to the music of the world's cultures. The label grew out of Putumayo clothing company, founded by Dan Storper in 1975 and sold in 1997. Co-founder Michael Kraus joined Dan to launch Putumayo World Music and establish a non-traditional sales division. Putumayo World Music has become known primarily for its upbeat and melodic compilations of great international music characterized by the company's motto: "guaranteed to make you feel good!"

How about some Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Popcorn with your Hot Coffee?



Cinnamon Brown Sugar
Popcorn coupled with hot coffee?  The perfect blend of sweet and cinnamon to make you think you are enjoying a dessert, not just a snack.

Smartfood Selects have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.  Healthy all natural snacks you can keep for yourself or share with your family and friends.  Whether or not you tell them how healthy they are is up to you... some Moms like to keep that little secret to themselves and let their kids think they are getting 'junk' food.  Don't worry, I won't tell!

Our family doesn't actually like 'sweet' as much as savory - but as a BzzAgent, I was able to receive 3 samples of these healthy snacks to try.  While one was the sweeter brown sugar and cinnamon version, we also tried the Feta Herb Hummus and the Garlic, Tomato, Basil Hummus popped chips.  Those were huge hits in our family!  Although, admittedly I wouldn't pair those with your morning coffee!

SmartFoods Select have a huge variety of choices;

And I'm happy to say I have seen these available in my local grocery stores;  well stocked, with all the varieties.  Sweet, savory?  It's up to you.  But oh-so-good and good for you too!





"how much caffeine would it take to kill you?"

After the recent lawsuit against the manufacturers of Monster energy drinks, Popular Science looked into the question of "how much caffeine would it take to kill you?"

In short, it would take at least six gallons of McDonald's coffee. In April, a coroner's report cited a New Zealand woman's consumption of Coca-Cola as being related to her death. But she reportedly had a number of other unhealthy habits, including smoking cigarettes and a poor diet.

But as Popular Science notes, individual reactions to caffeine intake vary from person to person and are heavily influenced by a number of other factors, including related health issues and the consumption of other substances, such as alcohol.

The Journal of Caffeine Research editor-in-chief Jack James tells PopSci that it takes "about" 10 grams of caffeine to achieve lethal levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult can safely consume 200 mg to 300 mg of caffeine per day, the equivalent of about 2 to 4 cups of coffee. 

However, consuming more than 500 mg per day can begin to trigger side effects, including insomnia, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors.

You can read more of this article here.

Coffee clothing items? Just for fun! Starbucks, Star Wars and even Coffeebean Cufflinks!

This morning I was sipping some coffee and thinking;  "Ah, what coffee post should I make today?"  and I started to think about t-shirts with a coffee theme.  I have one that is a favorite - one of the "Life is Good" shirts you find all over with a cute little coffee cup in the center.  Comfy and fun, I like it and it makes me happy.  So, that was the original influence of this post.

I did a quick search for some coffee clothing (really quick, like 10 seconds...  LOL)  and I found some awesome ideas.

Know a coffee fan who is also a geek?  Let them show their geekness with a  Caffeine Molecule T-shirt.  Another kind of geek that everyone loves, is the Star Wars geek.  What if you were to mix a love of Star WARS with Star BUCKS.  What would you get?  You would get a Star Wars Coffee t-shirt!

For the fashionista male, what about  Coffee Bean Cufflinks?  And this one for the guy who believes the only thing you need is Guns & Coffee.

Got more simple tastes?  Me too.  I like this idea.  I just buy the Starbucks Logo Heat Iron On Transfer and put it on whatever t-shirt I want!





The products I mentioned above;


     


Collapsible Travel Mugs Reviews

This mornings post is one I went 'looking for' myself after seeing a product in the store made for our dogs.  You may have seen the collapsible travel bowls for dogs and cats?  They are all the rage right now and are little bowls and water containers that collapse flat when you don't need them and then you pop them up to use. (Collapsible Travel Cup.)  This got me thinking about the little plastic collapsible cups we had in our camper as a small child.  I believe my Mom got them from Tupperware at the time.  Little, tiny plastic orange cups that collapsed into a small circle about an inch or less tall.

So that my friends is what I was thinking about and decided to check Amazon to see what decent rated options were out there.   Now, the first thing to point out is I found different products were judged sometimes harshly depending on what people needed or wanted them for.   For instance, one small stainless steel version was rated low by a lot of people because they were upset it was smaller than they expected.  Other reviewers were thrilled with the size as they wanted a very small glass simply for taking their medication or in one case, a traveling party-goer who wanted to use it as a large shot glass.  See?  It's all relative.

What I was looking for....   camping, hiking and emergency supplies mostly.   Also in the back of my mind was throwing one into the back of my truck for the puppies as well.  So here is what I found that I thought worth mentioning.


Hands down, this seemed to be a winner.  The Coghlans Fold-a-cup was highly rated by reviewers and it seemed many were previous owners of this cup who had lost it while traveling or had one already, loved it, and wanted to buy more.   Many liked to use it when traveling to Europe where they don't put glasses in the bathrooms. 

Sturdy, comfortable, easy to use, easy to collapse, works for hot or cold drinks and is durable to last for years, it was one of the best reviewed.







These colorful cups were not only rated pretty good, but have a little secret.  This set of 3 accordion shaped portable plastic cups contain a pill holder (attached to the underside of the lid).  Love this option for people like my Mother who is a breast cancer survivor and has to take a daily regiment of pills. 





Collapsible Striped Folding Cups - 3 pack


They are small in size so not too bulky and won't take up much room.  Collapsible travel cups are small enough to fit inside your pocket!  When you need to take a drink simply remove the top and pull it up. Cup then expands up to full 3 inch tall size that holds 3 ounces of water. When finished the cup folds down to a 2" diameter disk that is only 7/8" thick. Capacity 3 fluid ounces. Comes in solid colors or striped colors



Lastly was this little guy.  Highly rated, seems to be durable and works well.  The only people rating it less than 4 or 5 stars were complaining it was more like a bowl than a cup. However;  that was the planned design. 

Click the image to go to it's description page on Amazon. 
  Because it's so generous in size and does well with hot liquids, some people loved this for their hot coffee and drinks while others wanted to use it has a bowl.  I think this option is great for camping and in your 72 hour emergency bags (bug out bags).  I would personally think to use it first as a bowl to rehydrate freeze dried meals, but I would also be fine with using as a mug for my morning coffee at a campfire.  Click the image to go to it's description page on Amazon. 

  • Collapsible bellows design expands from a pack-friendly 1.7" height to a generous 22 fl oz ml capacity
  • Folding handle folds flat and extends and locks in two positions - one for eating and drinking and one for use as a scoop and measuring cup
  • Sure-sealing lid made of Infinity Clear Polypropylene screws into the rim of the mug to keep your meals in and the outdoors out
  • Perfectly-suited to rehydrating and eating
  • Includes: 22 fl oz mug, Lid