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, and

    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.