Cafe Escapes; 2 new flavors out in 2012

As a Keurig owner for over 7 years now, I'm very familiar with the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. brand.  They are known for their coffee,as well as their  brewing technology and socially responsible business practices.

Back in 2009, Green Mountain released K-Cup packs for Keurig single-cup brewers under the Café Escapes.  The idea was to bring the 'escape' of a delicious, hot drink you normally pick up at the coffee shop, into your home.  The flavor collection was two hot cocoa choices, chai latte, and mocha.  Now, you can personalize your own 'escape' with two more flavor choices.  In 2012 they release the new Vanilla and Caramel versions. 

Cafe Escapes offer hot cocoas and dairy based beverages - 4 of them released in 2009 and two more flavors in 2012.   The four classic flavors are;
New for 2012: 
  • Café Vanilla: A tantalizing cup of the world's favorite flavor
  • Café Caramel: Buttery rich, silky smooth, captivatingly caramelly


    All the flavors are 70 calories or less and gluten free.  They suggest brewing using the 8 oz. setting on your Keurig but I've also brewed them at the 10 oz. setting and found them equally delicious.

    Available for purchase at most grocery and retail stores nationwide,  I've even found them at Best Buy and department stores that carry Keurig brewers.  You can also find them online at CafeEscapes.com, GreenMountainCoffee.com and Keurig.com


    The record-breaking Starbucks drink;, a venti 48-shot mocha Frappuccino soy, mocha drizzle, matcha powder, protein powder, caramel brulee topping with strawberry, two bananas, caramel drizzle, Frappuccino chips and vanilla bean.

    It's your birthday.  You can do whatever you want to do.  So, how about researching Starbucks most expensive drink you could order, and then doing so?

    Beau Chevassus did just that.  He went on his birthday and ordered the record-breaking drink;, a venti 48-shot mocha Frappuccino soy, mocha drizzle, matcha powder, protein powder, caramel brulee topping with strawberry, two bananas, caramel drizzle, Frappuccino chips and vanilla bean.

    Price tag: $47.30.

    This blew away the previous record holder, a $23.60 drink boasting one Java Chip Frappuccino in a Trenta cup, 16 shots of espresso, a shot of soy milk, caramel flavoring, banana puree, strawberry puree, vanilla beans, matcha powder, protein powder, and some caramel and mocha.

    "I did it for fun, for a bit of entertainment and to see if it is at all possible," Chevassus, 27, told the New York Daily News. "I was surprised how cool the Starbucks employees were. They seemed almost more interested in trying to set the record than I was."


    The Chemex® Coffeemaker

    8 cup Chemex Coffee Brewer
    A flawless blending of design and function; the Chemex®.  Selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times, The Chemex® coffeemaker, together with Chemex-Bonded® coffee filters, makes perfect coffee; clear, pure, flavorful, and without bitterness or sediment.

    The coffee only comes in contact with the filter and non-porous glass. With the Chemex® method, you can make coffee as strong as you like without bitterness. Perfect for iced coffee and coffee flavoring for gourmet recipes. Because of its purity, Chemex® brewed coffee can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for heating...without losing its flavor.

    Chosen as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times, the Chemex® coffeemaker is found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    • Selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times
    • With the Chemex® method, you can make coffee as strong as you like without bitterness.
    • Prefolded Chemex Coffee Filter Squares are required for operation all Chemex coffee makers.

    Accessories for the Chemex;  lids, filters, wire and brush;



    Bodum Chambord French Press brewers

    Fresh, simple, functional —since 1944 Denmark ’s Bodum has prided itself on pushing the design envelope, with many international awards to its credit. Focusing on coffee and tea, Bodum products innovate the preparation process while bringing clean, modern lines to the table.

    In 1958, the first Bodum product hit the market: the Santos coffee maker. Based on a vacuum coffee-brewing system, it became an instant sensation, not only in Denmark but in all of Europe. Bodum has continued to produce the original Santos design to this very day.

    In 1974, Bistro, the first Bodum French coffee press, was introduced. It was also the first incorporation of the new Bodum design language—beautiful simplicity and excellent materials for everyday life. Many more variations of the coffee press followed. Since 1974, Bodum has produced more than 60 million French presses.

    The Bodum Group is, and always has been, a family-owned business. Today it is owned by Pia and Joergen Bodum, daughter and son of founder Peter Bodum.

    The French press lets the coffee beans develop their fullest aroma so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it is the brewing method of choice for coffee tasters trying to determine quality beans. The simplest route to an excellent cup of coffee: coarsely ground coffee, hot water, wait for 4 minutes and press down the plunger. The Chambord has been a classic almost from the day it came out - still is and always will be. This latest update comes with a lid that closes off the spout which makes the Chambord spill-proof should it get knocked over. It also makes for better temperature control. The Chambord is made from borosilicate glass, plastic, rome-plated/gold-plated steel and silicone and is dishwasher safe.

    You might be interested in the Bodum French Press brewers;


    Hario Mini Mill Slim Coffee Grinder - pretty good reviews in general

    This morning over my third (or fourth?) cup of coffee; I started to think about coffee grinders.  Not for every day use in the home, but a manual grinder.  One I could use if the power went out, I was camping, or to put in my emergency storage gear and other emergency preps.  I've talked about this over coffee before, but I have to admit, I haven't invested in a manual grinder yet because, well, frankly?  There is never any 'extra' in the budget to purchase it.   This is what I get for having two kids currently in college and one more not far behind.

    I started my search pretty simply with just 'coffee grinder' and the results brought up hundreds, but my eye was caught by this one as it was 'mini' 'slim' and 'manual'.   So, let's check this out.  It's called the Hario Mini Mill Slim Coffee Grinder and sells for about $34 on average, depending on where you buy it.  (The $34 is the Amazon quote as of today.)

    The Hario Slim product in a nutshell is described as such by the company;
    • Easy to clean / easy to mill coffee
    • Size: 70 dia × 220mm H for a cup of coffee powder 24g (2 for full)
    • Space saver with slim design / it can be a stored without handle
    • Cap hopper grip handle: polypropylene / mill: ceramic / mill seatspring handle shaft: Stainless
    This is not my description - but is the product description and I think a little is lost in the translation from Japanese to English.  I did take the liberty of changing the word 'storage' to 'stored' in the third bullet point.  I left the rest.

    So, let's get down to the English version of what this product is about.   It's only about 7 inches tall and is about 2 inches round.  Small.  Very small.  If you are looking to pack it into a backpack for camping or as backup in the cupboard, this is a good thing.  If it's for daily use, just be prepared to hold it in a pretty strong grip when you use it each morning.  I actually think the smaller size is better for my hand, but probably irritating to my husband.

    In general, the reviews are good and it has about 4.5 stars out of a possible 5.  That's not too shabby when you consider there are currently 282 reviews on Amazon and only 17 of those were low stars.  The one and only complaint the 17 low reviewers gave was the inside of the product being 'stripped' and not grinding correctly after a time.   In comparison however, many of the other reviews had been using this grinder daily for 6 months, 8 months and even 2 1/2 years.   Like most products made in this day and age, you get what you get.  Sometimes you get a lemon.   I'm going to say that the ratio of people happy with the product verses the handful that have the grinders break is low so I would go into the purchase 'aware' of this issue but I wouldn't let it dissuade me from the purchase if this is the model I decided to try.

    Grinders are pretty self explanatory - good thing since apparently the instructions for this one only come in Japanese.  It's just like a pepper grinder.  Unscrew, add product, screw and turn - using the nut to adjust the grind.

    Over and over the 'consistent grind' was praised for this model;  good to know if you have a certain grind you like best for the strength of your brew.  Since it's a manual grind, you are going to work for your morning coffee - not as quick and easy as the touch of a button with an electric - but if you are interested and reading about manual grinders, then you already know this. 
    Truth be told, since I am looking at manual grinders for emergency storage and camping, I'm not in a hurry to purchase one, so there are other places my $35 will go right now... but I do like this one for the small, slim size, the consistency of the grind and the storage option of the handle remover.  I'm giving it a thumbs up.


    Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte

    People who read my site or come to my house know I love my Mr. Coffee Frappe maker.  I use it almost daily (sometimes twice a day) to make delicious frozen coffee drinks;  and that is/was during the winter months!  I imagine it will be getting double duty this summer. 

    Another product they offer is one I don't personally own, but thought I'd provide some information on it since I love it's sister product so much.  This is the hot latte version and is great for people who like hot flavored drinks they want to make at home and save some fundage.

    The Mr. Coffee Café Latte makes lattes in one simple touch.  A quick, easy and affordable solution for latte lovers. The automated process will brew coffee or espresso while heating and frothing milk to create a home brewed latte.
    The recipe book includes 20 different varieties of easy to make drinks that are tasty, fun and will help you save money compared to visiting the coffeehouse chains. From a basic latte to a decadent gingerbread latte, the process is easy and consistently delivers great results.
    Easy to Use and Serve
    The Café Latte features easy to use controls and an automatic latte cycle. In just three steps, you can create your perfect latte.
    1. Load water and espresso or coffee grounds into the top of the lid
    2. Add milk and desired ingredients to the latte carafe (froth may vary by type of milk used)
    3. Push the Power lever down to turn on the latte maker
    When the latte creation process is complete, the machine will turn off automatically and your latte will be ready to serve. Fill your favorite mug, spoon any additional foam into your cup to complete your latte, and enjoy.
    Latte ideas
    Make up to twenty different delicious drinks from home with recipes from the included recipe guide
    Simple to Clean
    Clean up of the Café Latte is a breeze and should be done after each use. To start, pour out remaining liquids from the latte pitcher. Then, remove the lid and wipe down the pitcher with a damp sponge or cloth. The carafe is not dishwasher-safe. Simply wipe the exterior of the machine with a damp cloth. You can place the dishwasher safe coffee brew basket in the dishwasher.
    Hot chocolate
    Makes Hot Chocolate Too
    You can also treat the whole family to hot chocolate with the Café Latte. Simply add milk and hot chocolate ingredients to the latte jar and switch the selector lever to the heat & froth function. When the unit is turned on, it will heat and froth the milk without activating the brewing function.

    You can find this Mr. Coffee product in many retail stores, you can also order it from Amazon here;  Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte


    Used Daily in our House: Torani Syrups (and a full list of available flavors)

    Some of the Torani Syrups I grabbed from our cupboard

    This morning's Coffee Talk is straight from my kitchen cupboard;  Torani flavored syrups.  Most people know them for one thing;  flavoring your coffee.

    Admittedly, I don't care for flavored hot coffee too much.  I like it when it's a cold, cloudy, rainy or snowy day... but I take my morning coffee, as hot as possible, dark, strong and black.

    However, I use Torani syrups almost daily in our home.  I enjoy hot coffee in the morning but in the afternoon I typically whip up a frozen iced coffee drink thanks to my Mr. Coffee Frappe Maker.  Torani peppermint, vanilla, caramel, almond, hazelnut and french vanilla are my normal flavors for those kinds of drinks.  I also use Torani in baking, cooking, icee type slushes and more.  

    Almond, peppermint, vanilla, brown sugar cinnamon and pumpkin pie flavoring are often used in my baking, while the pumpkin pie and brown sugar cinnamon when added equally with the same amount of water, makes amazing carrots.  (Just put a cup of Torani Syrup and a cup of water in a pan.  Add cleaned, sliced, fresh carrots (about a cup or two), bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender.  Drain, add a little butter, salt and pepper and you have incredible carrots to serve as a side dish.)

    As much as I love the flavored syrups... I can't get any of them at my nearest local grocery store, and the other stores near me only carry the basics;  hazelnut, vanilla, French vanilla and sometimes almond or chocolate.   To get a little more variety, I can go to the nearest World Market store, which stock a lot of flavors, but I still can't get some of the flavors I want.  They are, however, available online.  You can order direct from the Torani site, but also from Amazon.

    As of today, I checked to get the most recent list of available flavors.  Some of them will surprise you... and I always smile when I see the 'bacon' or 'chicken n' waffles'  flavored syrup, but you just might find a flavor you've been searching for.  I prefer the sugar free versions - however there are more choices in the regular style.  I'll list both.

    Torani Syrups

    Almond (Orgeat)
    Almond Roca®
    Bananas Foster
    Black Currant
    Blood Orange
    Blue Raspberry

    Brown Sugar Cinnamon
    Butter Pecan
    Butter Rum
    Cane Sweetener
    Caramel Apple
    Chai Tea Spice
    Cherry Lime

    Chicken 'N Waffles
    Cookie Dough
    Chocolate Mac Nut
    Chocolate Milano
    Chocolate Mint
    Cinnamon Vanilla
    Classic Caramel
    Classic Hazelnut
    Classic Root Beer

    Crème Caramel
    Crème de Banana
    Crème de Cacao
    Crème de Menthe
    English Toffee
    French Vanilla

    Green Apple
    Honey Vanilla
    Irish Cream
    Italian Eggnog

    Macadamia Nut
    Maple Flavor
    Passion Fruit
    Peanut Butter
    Pumpkin Pie

    Pumpkin Spice
    Red Raspberry
    Red Velvet Cake
    Ruby Red Grapefruit
    Salted Caramel
    Toasted Marshmallow

    Vanilla Bean
    White Chocolate

    Torani Sugar Free Versions

    Sugar Free Almond Roca®
    Sugar Free Almond
    Sugar Free Black Cherry
    Sugar Free Brown Sugar Cinnamon
    Sugar Free Caramel
    Sugar Free Cookie Dough
    Sugar Free Chocolate Mac
    Sugar Free Chocolate

    Sugar Free Cinnamon Vanilla
    Sugar Free Classic Caramel
    Sugar Free Classic Hazelnut
    Sugar Free Coconut
    Sugar Free Coffee
    Sugar Free English Toffee
    Sugar Free French Vanilla
    Sugar Free Gingerbread

    Sugar Free Hazelnut
    Sugar Free Irish Cream
    Sugar Free Lemon
    Sugar Free Lime
    Sugar Free Mango
    Sugar Free Orange
    Sugar Free Peach
    Sugar Free Peanut Butter

    Sugar Free Peppermint
    Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie
    Sugar Free Raspberry
    Sugar Free Red Raspberry
    Sugar Free Salted Caramel
    Sugar Free Strawberry
    Sugar Free Vanilla Bean
    Sugar Free Vanilla

    Sugar Free Watermelon
    Sugar Free White Chocolate

    You might be interested in;

    Torani Variety Pack, Regular, 25.4-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 6)
    Torani Variety Pack, Sugar Free, 25.4-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 6)


    In Which I Learned What a Vacuum Coffee Maker Was. Is.


    If you saw this contraption sitting on a kitchen counter, would you know what it was?  Many people have seen these tucked away in great-grandma's attic (or a version of it... maybe not this modern!)   It's a vacuum coffee maker, and some people swear by them and only use this style!  Me?  Until this week, I had never seen one.

    A vacuum coffee maker brews coffee using two chambers where vapor pressure and vacuum produce coffee. This type of coffee maker is also known as vac pot, siphon or syphon coffee maker, and was invented by Loeff of Berlin in the 1830s.

    These devices have since been used for more than a century in many parts of the world.  Design and composition of the vacuum coffee maker varies. The chamber material is borosilicate glass (pyrex), metal, or plastic, and the filter can be either a glass rod or a screen made of metal, cloth, paper, or nylon. The Napier Vacuum Machine, presented in 1840, was an early example of this technique.

    While vacuum coffee makers generally were excessively complex for everyday use, they were prized for producing a clear brew, and were quite popular until the middle of the twentieth century.

    Here is what I found online about how they work;  Vapor pressure forces the water into the upper chamber.  As temperature increases, the vapor pressure of water increases, increasing the pressure in the bottom vessel and pushing water up the siphon. At the normal boiling point of 100°C, the vapor pressure equals the standard atmospheric pressure of 760 Torr (760 mm of mercury).

    A vacuum coffee maker operates as a siphon, where heating and cooling the lower vessel change the vapor pressure of water in the lower, first pushing the water up into the upper vessel, then allowing the water to fall back down into the lower vessel.

    Concretely, the principle of a vacuum coffee maker is to heat water in the lower vessel of the brewer until expansion forces the contents through a narrow tube into an upper vessel containing coffee grounds (as water temperature increases, dense liquid water increasingly converts to less dense water vapor gas, which takes up more space and thus increases pressure); when the water reaches and exceeds the boiling point (so the vapor pressure equals and then exceeds atmospheric pressure), the (water vapor) pressure in the lower vessel exceeds the (atmospheric) pressure in the top vessel and water is pushed up the siphon tube into the upper vessel. During brewing, a small amount of water and sufficient water vapor remain in the lower vessel and are kept hot enough so the pressure will support the column of water in the siphon. When enough time has elapsed that the coffee has finished brewing, the heat is removed and the pressure in the bottom vessel drops, so the force of gravity (acting on the water) and atmospheric pressure (pressing on the upper vessel) push the water down into the lower vessel, through a strainer and away from the grounds, ending brewing. The coffee can then be decanted from the lower chamber; the device must usually be taken apart to pour out the coffee.

    The iconic Moka pot coffee maker functions on the same principle but the water is forced up from the bottom chamber through a third middle chamber containing the coffee grounds to the top chamber which has an air gap to prevent the brewed coffee from returning downwards. The prepared coffee is then poured off from the top.

    It sounds crazy confusing to me.

    If you are interested in buying a modern version of this style and like the 'best' of things;  The Chemex® coffeemaker was selected by the Illinois Institute of Technology as one of the 100 best designed products of modern times.  But note:  Prefolded Chemex filter squares are required for operation all Chemex brand coffee makers.

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