Need a caffeine-kicked snacked food? What about caffeinated sunflower seeds in various flavors like dill pickle, ranch or BBQ?

This morning I was going through some of my old 'saved' files and came across some caffeine fueled files from last summer - of 2013.  At the time I guess I was on a kick to find some caffeine-infused snack foods.  Interestingly enough as I checked the current status (September, 2014) of some of the products, I found many were no longer available.  Obviously either a flash-in-pan idea, a fad or possibly was a great product that just didn't have the marketing to take off.

One that I was surprised to see still available was called Sumseeds.

Sumseeds Energized Sunflower Seeds Variety Pack - Tangy Ranch, Original, Salt Pepper, Dill Pickle, Honey BBQ -  These salted sunflower seeds, introduced in 2007 by Dakota Valley Products, not only are caffeinated but also contain the “energy components” taurine, ginseng, and lysine.
  • Convenient variety pack of all flavors
  • Contains 1-1.75 oz bag of Tangy Ranch, Honey BBQ, Original, Dill Pickle, Salt & Pepper
  • Infused with 4 power energy components - Caffeine, Taurine, Lysine, and Ginseng

While researching their product I made the mistake of going directly to their site...  warning, if you do, and you don't have your computer's mute button on, be prepared for a cheesy movie-theater deep voice announcing their product.  It's horribly done and cringeworthy...  literally, I cringed when I heard it.  It cheapens their site and their product as if it's an infomercial warning you you better 'call now!' because only the first 80 people will be available to buy the product.

But if you get past the cheesy site and voice-over you can read about the sunflower seeds that are 'energized' and why they believe their product is better than drinking an energy drink. 

Product description from their website;


Sumseeds is a unique formula of energy, nutrition and taste that's second to none in the energy and snack-food industry!

CAFFEINE - 140mg
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and is proven to be effective in easing fatigue, stimulating awareness, elevating mood and has also been known to enhance performance in endurance sports. In moderation, caffeine can be beneficial for an active life style. Sunflower seeds are typically consumed at a lower rate than "energy drinks" and this diminsishes the energy "shock" that comes from rapidly guzzling a drink.

TAURINE - 96mg
Though Taurine does not have a stimulatory effect on the body, it has been known to alleviate muscle fatigue, which contributes to its appeal to athletes. Additionally, Taurine can reduce sugars in the blood.

LYSINE - 53mg
An essential amino acid, Lysine is a necessary building-block for protein and plays a major role in calcium absorbtion, building muscle protein and recovering from injury or stresses relating to participating in athletic events. Lysine has also been shown to enhance production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies.

GINSENG - 40mg
The "Red Panax" variety of Ginseng has been chosen for Sumseeds as it improves circulation, blood supply and has also been shown to aid in recovery from illness. Popular research also shows that Red Panax Ginseng improves libido and "performance."

Flavorings used in Sumseeds are of the highest quality and consistency possible. Please read the labels below for more detailed information on each flavor.

Energy drinks have a high ratio of sugar to caffeine, which often results in a sudden spike and subsequent crash in blood sugar and energy when consumed rapidly. Energy Drinks can have as many as 30 grams of sugar for only 70-80 mg of caffeine. Sumseeds, however, have ONLY 2 GRAMS or less of sugar for 140 milligrams of caffeine, which provides a more gradual and sustainable energy boost for Sumseeds consumers.

Yes, lighter brewed coffee's pack more of a caffeine punch!

Did you know that the roast of the bean does not determine the caffeine content?

As a matter of fact,  if you are visiting your local Starbucks for the caffeine boost, you might want to give their lightest 'blonde' roast a try.  It packs the caffeine punch!  Surprised?

The degree of the roast misunderstood because it goes against what your eyes and brain are telling you should be true.

The different origination of the coffee bean will give you a vast difference in the flavor to start.  Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Indonesian, African...they all have their own regional flavors but they are similar in the roasting process to start with.

If the are roasted to a medium roast, the acidity will decrease, a bit of fullness added the bitterness is balanced.  

When the bean is continued to be roast, it obviously gets darker.  But with that, the distinction between regions is less pronounced and the roasting itself begins to impart more of itself on the bean.  This means the coffee will not only be darker, but more bitter and fuller.  Along with the longer roasting time and darker color, caffeine levels drop.

The roaster used and the person doing the roasting has a rather large impact on the final flavor of the brew as well.   While I used to think a dark roast was best, and the lighter roasts were merely colored water, I came to realize as I gained information and experience that the lighter roasts not only had higher caffeine content, but you could taste the subtle differences in flavor so much better as well as the under tones that are gone by the time the bean is roasted dark.

Product Review: My GSI JavaPress Travel Mug - LOVE IT

My hot, black, strong, rich, morning coffee...
from a travel mug!

In July I may have mentioned I was ordering a travel mug from Amazon... ok, I was so excited I shouted it from the roof tops, because I was pretty jazzed.  And?  I was NOT let down.  I love it.

I ordered the GSI French Press style Java Press mug.  (below)

GSI Outdoors Java Press

  • 30 oz french press coffee maker that is simple and portable
  • Crystal-clear, BPA-Free Carafe is lightweight and shatter-resistant allowing you to enjoy French Press coffee anywhere
  • Double-walled, insulated lid holds in temperature while brewing and serving
  • Silicone ring plunger design virtually eliminates coffee 'blow-by' for the most flavorful, mud-free coffee.
  • Insulating EVA sleeve removes easily for cleaning.

 You can see how great of a brew it made!  A nice rich, dark brown coffee...

 From this travel mug style French Press.

Here is what it looks like when it arrives in the box.

Taking it out, you can see the plunger, the mug and the directions - complete with images to make it super easy for those who hate to take the time to read anything.

 Here you can see I've put the coffee in.

The filter is so fine, it keeps all those little crunchy coffee grounds where they are supposed to be... OUT of your coffee.

I loved it so much I often use it for my morning coffee... instead of saving it for my camping bin or my emergency bug out bag.  I think I need to order one or two more.  They are a little pricey;  it will run you between $21-30 depending on the size and color you choose.  But it pays for itself in no time at all.  THUMBS UP!!!

What's a new Keurig 2.0 and how is it different from my Keurig? Can I use my regular K-cups with the new Keurig 2.0 brewer?

Note this post is from September 2014

I first heard about the Keurig K350 2.0 Brewing System about two weeks ago (Summer, 2014).  A little later than some, earlier than others.  I've not been in the market for a coffee brewer and haven't been to any brick and mortar stores lately so I hadn't had any reason to see them or go looking at what was currently available.

Once I started to learn about them, I hesitated before posting about it on my blog.  Why?  Because I am not sure I'm a fan of them... and I still have a little bit of that teenage rebelliousness streak in me.  I was holding out... pondering... thinking about the product... and I had to get over some of my own 'issues' with it and the company before I wanted to write about it.

The 2.0 is the most current generation of coffee brewer/makers from Keurig.  It features a carafe that can brew up to 4 cups on one side as well as the single serve we are used to on the other side.

I think for this post I'm going to keep to the facts.  Here is the product description they have for their new Keurig 2.0 K560 system for example;
Product Description

Say Hello to the Keurig® 2.0 K560 Brewing System - the first Keurig system that features revolutionary Keurig 2.0 Brewing TechnologyTM which is designed to read the lid of each K-CupTM or K-CarafeTM pack to brew the perfect beverage every time.

The K560 brewer allows you to brew a 4-cup carafe with the same ease and convenience of brewing a single-serve cup - all at the touch of a button. It's so smart, and so simple! The brewer has other great features including an extra large 80 ounce water reservoir, 2.8 inch color touch display, programmable clock, an auto brew option and a strength control setting for brewing bolder coffee. There's even a separate setting for hot cocoa and other specialty beverages like lattes and mochas. The K560 model also has a customizable night light in the water reservoir and offers hot water on demand.

They offer a 350, 40 and 550.  If you want to compare a couple of the versions (plus the K560 + pack) you can do so below - these are Amazon inks with information and real people reviews.

A HUGE complaint in the reviews is the fact that many people have bought large boxes of 80 or 100 count k-cups... that are not compatible with the newer Keurig.  Nor will your eco-friendly, reuseable cups work.  Not even the Keurig My K-cup brand.

The Keurig® 2.0 brewer will only function with Keurig® brand packs. That means the Keurig® 2.0 brewer will brew both K-Cup® and Vue® packs and the new K-Carafe™ packs only.

"The My K-Cup® accessory, due to the nature of its design, cannot be made with Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ and will therefore not operate with the new Keurig® 2.0 system."

YES THERE IS A WAY TO GET AROUND THIS:   Cut the top off the official 'new' K-Cups (that have the lid with the white ring on the top) and lay it on top of the older style K-cup you want to use. Some people tape it on the cup, but others have reported you can just lay it on top (like a poker chip).  This will 'trick' the new Keurig 2.0 into thinking it's a newer style cup and you can use up your older style K-cups.

Also, you will no longer be able to adjust the single cup size or temperature.

The Keurig® 2.0 brewing system adjusts the temperature for you based on whether you have inserted a K-Cup® pack or a K-Carafe™ pack.

Questions and Answers about the new
Keurig 2.0
I had a lot of questions about the new brewer and I found them answered
on the Keurig site as well as many questions I never thought to ask.  Here are the questions and answers from the company.

What is Keurig® 2.0 and how is it different?

Our new hot beverage brewing system is called Keurig® 2.0 as we believe this name signifies the next generation of Keurig® brewing systems, which offer advanced features and capabilities not available anywhere else in the marketplace.

The Keurig® 2.0 brewer is the first Keurig® brewer to feature Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ to brew a cup and a carafe. Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology® enables the brewer to recognize the inserted Keurig® pack and optimize to the recommended, customized setting for that particular beverage.

Keurig® 2.0 also brings consumers more choice than ever as the first Keurig® brewing system to brew both a single cup using a K-Cup® pack and a four-cup carafe of coffee using the new Keurig® K-Carafe™ pack.

Do I need to buy special packs for the Keurig® 2.0 brewer?

The Keurig® 2.0 brewer will only function with Keurig® brand packs. That means the Keurig® 2.0 brewer will brew both K-Cup® and Vue® packs and the new K-Carafe™ packs. Keurig® brand packs have been specially designed to work with the Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology® in the Keurig® 2.0 system, which guarantees a perfect brew every time.

I’ve heard Keurig® 2.0 will utilize an interactive technology– what does this mean and how will it work? Why can’t I brew any type of beverage pack like I can now?

Keurig® 2.0 is the first Keurig® brewer to feature Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ to brew a cup and a carafe. Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ enables the brewer to recognize the inserted Keurig® pack and optimize to the recommended, customized setting for that particular beverage.

Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ reads each lid to deliver a perfect cup or carafe every time. This ensures that the Keurig® 2.0 system delivers on the promise of excellent quality beverages, produced simply and consistently, using the best Keurig® brewer technology and new features like strength control.

What is a K-Carafe™ pack?

K-Carafe™ packs are new packs developed specifically for use in the Keurig® 2.0 system. These packs contain up to 26 grams of fresh coffee and brew approximately four cups of coffee into a specially designed Keurig® carafe that holds up to 30 ounces of coffee.

Like our K-Cup® and Vue® packs, the number of ounces (or grams) in each carafe pack varies depending on the beverage. Even among single cup coffee packs, volumes vary depending on the coffee’s roast level, grind, and formulation for optimal brewing.

How many cups will I be able to pour if I use K-Carafe™ packs?

K-Carafe™ packs can be brewed on three settings – 2 to 3 cups (22 ounces); 3 to 4 cups (26 ounces); or 4 to 5 cups (30 ounces).

What is the maximum amount that I can brew using K-Carafe™ packs?

The maximum K-Carafe™ setting is up to 4-5 cups (up to 30 ounces). The Keurig® carafe itself holds up to 32 ounces.

What are the advantages to using this new carafe option versus using my batch brewer?

The Keurig® 2.0 system offers consumers the ability to use one Keurig® system to both brew a single cup and a four-cup carafe simply and conveniently using Keurig® brand packs.

Will there be anything similar to the My K-Cup® reusable filter for the Keurig® 2.0 Brewer?

The Keurig® 2.0 brewer is the first Keurig® brewer to feature Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ to brew a cup and a carafe. Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ enables the brewer to recognize the inserted Keurig® pack and optimize to the recommended, customized setting for that particular beverage.

The My K-Cup® accessory, due to the nature of its design, cannot be made with Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ and will therefore not operate with the new Keurig® 2.0 system.

We will continue to ensure our beverage pack portfolio is priced competitively in the marketplace and offers a wide range of options for more cost-conscious consumers.

How do I brew a K-Carafe™ pack using the Keurig® 2.0 system?

To begin, remove the Drip Tray and secure the Keurig® Carafe in place. When the slight protrusion on the base of the Carafe is connected with the brewer, the Carafe will be perfectly in place for the beverage stream to flow directly into the Keurig® Carafe. There is no need to remove the lid of the Keurig® Carafe.

Select a K-Carafe™ pack and place it firmly in the Pack Holder. Please be sure that the number in the circle is at 9 o’clock when inserting. Then, lower the Handle. Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ will recognize the inserted K-Carafe™ pack and optimize to the recommended, customized setting for that particular beverage. The display to brew a K-Carafe™ pack will appear. Select a Brew Size (the system will automatically suggest the optimum brew size for that beverage type).

Press the blinking “Brew” button and enjoy!

Can I adjust the temperature of my beverage?

The Keurig® 2.0 brewing system adjusts the temperature for you based on whether you have inserted a K-Cup® pack or a K-Carafe™ pack.

The factory settings are 192 degrees Fahrenheit (89 degrees Celsius) for K-Cup® packs and 197 degrees Fahrenheit (92 degrees Celsius) for K-Carafe™ packs.

What is the recommendation for customers who live in high altitudes?

To ensure your brewer works properly at higher altitudes (5,000 feet and above), enable the HIGH ALTITUDE mode in the SETTINGS section of your brewer.

How do I make hot cocoa with the Keurig® 2.0 brewer?

Insert the portion pack and lower the bail.
On the screen, you will notice a button for “Hot Cocoa/ Other”. Activate this button by touching it.
Press the blinking “Brew” button and enjoy!

After enjoying a hot cocoa, it is important to perform a cleansing brew.

How much water does the Water Reservoir hold?
This depends on your brewer model:

K300/350: 60 ounces of water
K400/450: 70 ounces of water
K500/550: 80 ounces of water

Why does the coffee come out in spurts and not a constant stream?

The brewing process depends on the beverage being brewed. If you are brewing a K-Cup® pack and have selected STRONG, the brew process is adjusted to optimize the beverage. This may result in a pulsating stream versus a constant stream for other beverages.

How do I stop the brew process (for K-Cup® packs and K-Carafe™ packs)?

To stop the brewing process, press and hold the Power Button for one second. For safety reasons, do not lift the bail during the brew process. Remove and dispose of any used pack. Brewing a used pack is not recommended

What happens if I remove the Keurig® Carafe during the brew process?

The brewing process will stop. However, you may experience a few droplets as the system comes to a stop, so please be careful.

When the Carafe is put in place again, the system will start from the beginning of the brewing process and will NOT continue where it left off.

I searched everywhere on the brewer, but I can’t find the Power Button. Where is it located?

The Power Button icon is located in the bottom right corner of the brewer screen. It will appear once the brewer has been plugged in.

Where is the serial # located? How many digits is it?

To view the serial number, remove the Water Reservoir. On the exposed side panel of the brewer, you will see the 14-digit, alphanumeric serial number.

What certifications does the Keurig® 2.0 brewer have?

Similar to our other Keurig® brewers, Keurig® 2.0 is UL (Underwriter’s Laboratories, Inc.) Household Listed

How do I perform a cleansing brew?

Start by placing a 12 oz mug on the Drip Tray.
Lift and lower the handle. However, do NOT insert a portion pack.
Hold down the brew button until 6 oz of water dispenses.
Discard the water in the mug.

How often do I need to descale my system?

The frequency of descaling depends on the level of mineral content of your water. This is why we recommend using filtered or bottled water.

Calcium deposits or scale may build up in your brewer and hinder your brewer performance. Regularly descaling your brewer every 3 to 6 months helps prevent this from occurring.

Your system will remind you when to descale with the prompt “Time to descale the brewer!” This reminder tracks the amount of liquid that has passed through the system and then prompts you to descale. If you postpone the descaling process, then the system will remind you again in 6 weeks. The reminder will only go away once the system has actually been descaled.

However, if you feel that your water has a higher level of mineral content, then you should consider descaling more often.

How do I drain and store the Keurig® 2.0 brewer? Is it the same as the others?

Prior to storing the Keurig® 2.0 brewer, please empty the Water Reservoir. You will not be able to empty the internal Water Reservoir.

When ready to re-start the brewer, please follow the instructions starting on page 8 of the Use Instructions.

How do I clean the Keurig® Carafe?

Begin by emptying the Keurig® Carafe and removing the lid.
Wipe the inside of the Keurig® Carafe and the lid with a damp, soapy, lint-free, non-abrasive cloth. Rinse thoroughly. NEVER PLACE THE KEURIG® CARAFE IN THE DISHWASHER.
Replace the lid. Ensure that the lid securely in place prior to brewing your next carafe of coffee.

Are any of the Keurig® 2.0 System components dishwasher safe?

No, we do not recommend placing any part of the K2.0 System in the dishwasher. Washing by hand is best.

Are the external brewer components made from the same materials as the rest of the Keurig line of brewers?

Yes, the Keurig® 2.0 brewer is made of similar, high-quality materials.

What type of plastic is the Water Reservoir made from?

Similar to the existing Keurig® brewers, the Water Reservoir of the Keurig® 2.0 System is made out of a plastic called Polystyrene. This material is FDA approved BPA free.

How much does the Drip Tray hold? Is it normal for there to be liquid in the Drip Tray?

The Drip Tray will hold up to 8 ounces of liquid. We recommend checking it frequently to empty and clean.

Does the Keurig® 2.0 System have the same privileges as the K-Cup® System for our Loyalty Club – Coffee Club (

Yes, members will have the same privileges with the Keurig® 2.0 System as with the existing K-Cup® System.

Can I buy the Keurig® 2.0 System with my rewards points via the Loyalty Club?

No, unfortunately this will not be possible.

What if I don’t like it? Is it still a Money Back Guarantee of 30 days?

Yes, there will be a Money Back Guarantee of 30 days.

How do I separate the bottom of the water filter handle in order to insert the filter?

On the bottom of the handle, press in the tabs on both sides of the base at the same time and pull down to separate.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The new Keurig might be the perfect brewer for you!
And it may not.
Only you can decide what your needs are.

The important things to remember are that if you have 2 or 3 boxes of k-cups in your pantry, it will not use any of the older keurig k-cups. You can't use any adapter in order to use bagged coffee. This 2.0 version will NOT work with non Keurig K cups nor will it work with Ekobrew (or similar) reusable cups.

Replacement parts and accessories are available through Amazon;

Keurig K2.0 Thermal Carafe
FANOR Reusable K Carafe & K Cup Coffee Filter Pod Combo for Keurig 2.0, K200, K300, K400, K500 Series
Charcoal Water Filters Replacements Fits Keurig 2.0 Models by Possiave, Pack of 12


The History of Coffee

The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee
Third in a series of posts of books available on the history of Coffee

The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee

In this captivating book, Stewart Lee Allen treks three-quarters of the way around the world on a caffeinated quest to answer these profound questions: Did the advent of coffee give birth to an enlightened western civilization? Is coffee, indeed, the substance that drives history? From the cliffhanging villages of Southern Yemen, where coffee beans were first cultivated eight hundred years ago, to a cavernous coffeehouse in Calcutta, the drinking spot for two of India’s three Nobel Prize winners . . . from Parisian salons and caf├ęs where the French Revolution was born, to the roadside diners and chain restaurants of the good ol’ U.S.A., where something resembling brown water passes for coffee, Allen wittily proves that the world was wired long before the Internet. And those who deny the power of coffee (namely tea-drinkers) do so at their own peril.

*As of this posting it's available on Amazon for less than $10 (both the paperback and Kindle versions) and if you want a used version of hard cover, there were used versions today starting at $.24 - yep, less than a quarter.)

Coffee: A Dark History

Coffee: A Dark History
Second in a series of posts on the subject of the History of Coffee

Coffee: A Dark History

“Masterful and exhaustive . . . eye-opening lessons in economics, 
ethics, culture and science, resulting in a comprehensive overview 
of a commodity that is second only to oil 
in its importance to world trade.”
 —Worcester Evening News

Coffee trader and historian Antony Wild delivers a rollicking history of the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world after oil—an industry that employs 100 million people throughout the world. From obscure beginnings in east Africa in the fifteenth century as a stimulant in religious devotion, coffee became an imperial commodity, produced by poor tropical countries and consumed by rich temperate ones. Through the centuries, the influence of coffee on the rise of capitalism and its institutions has been enormous. Revolutions were once hatched in coffeehouses, commercial alliances were forged, secret societies were formed, and politics and art were endlessly debated. Today, while coffee chains spread like wildfire, coffee-producing countries are in crisis: with prices at a historic low, they are plagued by unprecedented unemployment, abandoned farms, enforced migration, and massive social disruption. Bridging the gap between coffee’s dismal colonial past and its perilous corporate present, Coffee reveals the shocking exploitation that has always lurked at the heart of the industry.

*As of this posting, available through Amazon - although the hardcopy and paperback are a little pricey, the Kindle edition is under $10.   Also, the reviews on this one are enlightening.  The facts seem to be questionable and the writing style a little flighty.

The History of Coffee

The History of Coffee - Post number 1 in a series of books available on the topic
Click on the image or the title to purchase this book

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.

*As of this posting, available at Amazon for under $14.