What are Energems? Where can I buy them? What's in them?

Since I'm not a fan of chocolate or of sweets, it's not too surprising that I didn't know about this product; but the fact that it's like getting your coffee-fueled energy only in a little chocolate candy form;  I thought I'd check it out for the Coffee Talking page.

I actually saw this product listed in a random 'little bit of everything' catalog online.  I didn't buy them, but made a mental note to look them online and see what they were.

What better place to find out about them than their own website?   I checked out their FAQ page to get the low-down on this energy packed little chocolate bit.

Q. What are Energems?
Energems are bite-sized, energy supplements in the form of a hard coated gem made with real milk chocolate, caffeine, B-vitamins and a proprietary energy blend.

Energems enhance memory, focus and concentration. There are 3 servings (9 gems) per box. A single serving (3 gems) has the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee or energy drink. Each gem has only 15 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. Energems’ unique delivery system allows consumers to conveniently and discretely consume the appropriate amount of energy as needed, when needed

Q. What flavors do Energems come in?
Energems comes in three delicious flavors: Milk Chocolate, Mint Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate.

Q. How many Energems should I consume?
It’s as easy as one, two, three: one serving = 3 gems, so take one, two or three gems depending on how much of an energy boost you need.

Do not exceed two boxes (18 gems) per day. Each box should be consumed hours apart.

Q. Where are Energems made?
Energems are made in the U.S.A. They are made with high quality milk chocolate that is produced in Chicago.

Q. What are the ingredients in the energy blend?
Energems contain caffeine, B-vitamins and a proprietary energy blend.

Q. Is the energy blend similar to energy drinks and shots?
No. Not at all. First, Energems also contain L-theanine, a natural supplement which improves with memory, focus and concentration as well as counteracts the jitters associated with caffeine.

Many energy drinks and shots contain Phenylalanine, a major ingredient in Aspartame. Energems do not.

Q. Why a chocolate energy supplement?
So many of us have tried bittersweet energy drinks and shots with the same reaction: ugh! Over 83% of Americans consume chocolate. What a better way to increase your energy than a great tasting, chocolate based energy supplement? And, it’s made with real milk chocolate!

And one serving of Energems has only 45 calories and 2 grams of fat, so they are easy on the waistline! And only 7 grams of natural sugar per serving!

Q. How much caffeine is in one serving of Energems?
With 75mg of caffeine per serving, three Energems has about the same amount of caffeine as one cup of coffee.

We recommend limiting consumption of Energems to no more than two boxes per day, with each serving consumed several hours apart.

Q. Will Energems give me the jitters?
Energems were formulated with your needs in mind. The last thing you need from your energy supplement are the shakes and jitters. L-theanine helps counteract the jitters often associated with caffeine.

3-Box Variety Pack of Energems (Chocolate, Mint, Peanut Butter)

Energems were featured in the December 2014 issue of O Magazine.

 PDF with information and nutrition on all three variety flavors

Available online through Amazon or at many gas stations and convenience stores:

Barnes & Noble
BP Stations
Circle K
Piggly Wiggly Alabama
...... and more

We're producing an awful lot of waste with our K-Cups

Yesterday morning I caught a short article in Huffington Post about k-cups.  I thought I'd bring it up cover coffee this morning on Just the Coffee Talking.

It's a topic I've visited before... a couple times actually.  It's my concern about all those little k-cups that are going into landfills and dumps all over our country.

Let's Talk Plastic

Last year, Keurig (Green Mountain) produced 9.8 billion K-Cups that were brewed on millions of machines around the world - and most of those pods are not recyclable.

Keurig says on its website that it plans for all of its K-Cups to be completely recyclable by 2020 but in the mean time, every year we are throwing away enough K-Cups to circle the globe almost 11 times.  

I have reusable K-Cups - both their own brand (which they are still selling for about $12-14 in retail stores!?) as well as a couple other more affordable brands.  I also bought an Ecobrew and Solfil - and I have bought reusable cups as gifts for family members that also have Keurig machines.  As a matter of fact, I picked up an additional 3-pack of reusable cups for my oldest daughter and gave it to her as a 'silly little gift' at Christmas.  The thing about the reusable filters is that sometimes they break, sometimes they let more than acceptable grounds through to your coffee cup (mmm, crunchy!) and let's face it; it's not fun to have to empty them out into your garden, compost or garbage and then rinse or wash them again.  It really is easier to use a disposable K-Cup.  And therein lies the problem of all these K-Cups filling our world with plastic trash.

Let's talk price for a second

When you buy whole bean or ground coffee, do you price compare?  Most of us do.  We want a good tasting bean and roast but we want to get a decent price for it too.  So we keep our eye out for sales and sometimes use coupons.  We grow frustrated when we see our favorite bagged beans may be up to $14 or even $18 and we may even bypass our favorites for a lesser quality, but cheaper bag of coffee beans or ground coffee.

But guess what?  Single-brew machines may be a convenient alternative, but the actual price of the beans inside the pods can reach upwards of $50 a pound.

When I buy K-Cups, whether it is in the grocery store, online or at my local membership store in bulk, I always compare the price per cup.  I debate and weigh the price per cup compared to my budget that week, and how badly I want to buy my favorite blend over how much I want to pay.  Many times I will buy 1 box of 10-18 count of my favorite blend at a higher price per cup and then 2-3 boxes of the blend I don't love as much, but it's more affordable.

So when you think to yourself that K-Cups are actually costing you upwards of $50 per pound, when you are debating buying the $8 per pound beans verses the expensive $14 bag... it puts it into perspective.

Do I have any answers?  Nope.

As readers of this blog know, I love my Keurig coffee - and I use both disposable and reuseable cups.  I also brew my coffee in my French Press Mug, use one of my 3 (or 4?) brewers or even use my espresso machine some mornings.

I don't have any answers - I just thought I'd discuss the topic this morning.  It's just the coffee talking again......

You might also be interested in;

Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter
STK's Reusable K-Cups 3 Count for Keurig
Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Brown Coffee Filter
Ekobrew Cup, Refillable Cup for Keurig

Do you own a Keurig 2.0 brewer? What do you think? Have they crossed the line to 'greed' and complete disregard for the customer?

I've done a couple 'informative' posts on the Keurig 2.0 brewer already but I've not put my own $.02 in since I've not purchased one.

I bought our first Keurig back in 2005 and have been a Keurig owner since.  I have many coffee brewers however (you can see them on 'I personally own' page) but I've never given in to the Keurig 2.  It's partly because I don't 'need' it, partly due to spending money on something I am not completely sold on, and partly because I tend to have a rebellious nature to me that I still haven't lost from my teenage years.

What I like about them;
  • The ability to brew more than 1 cup at a time if I have guests over, or if my husband and I both want to fill our travel mugs and leave at the same time, etc.
  • The flavor of the Keurig brews; a pot of coffee in a traditional brewer with a carafe and burner tastes... burnt.  I can't deny the flavor of a Keurig brew.  Especially since I've been a Keurig owner for almost 10 years now.
  • There are now re-useable cup options that use my own coffee

What I don't like about them;
  • The 'licensing' hold they have on the market of not only brewers but coffee pods
  • Filling the garbage landfills with plastic yet making it difficult for eco-cups that aren't theirs
  • A poor selection of coffee if you have brands and flavors you like
  • Your favorite brands of coffee can't sell compatible cups unless they pay Keurig for the license

Etc. Etc.

There is a re-useable cup that supposedly can be used in the Keurig 2 brewer, however the reviews are mixed.  I'm not sure how the opinions can be so black and white, but they are are.  People love it and say it works perfectly or they hate it and say it absolutely won't work.  There is much 'gray' area there!  So... how does the product work 100% perfect for some and "not at all" for others?

I can't answer; I don't own it yet myself.  I can only read the reviews.

Eco-Fill 2.0 Refillable Coffee Capsule for Keurig 2.0 and original Keurig brewing systems

• Use your favorite coffee for every cup - pick the flavors and quantity you choose
• Saves up to 80% over the cost of pre-filled single serve capsules
• Can be used with or without EZ-Cup disposable filters
• Compatible with Keurig 2.0 systems and most K-cup brewers
• Easy to use, rinse to clean, dishwasher safe
• Economical and Eco-friendly with no waste - Save the Environment and Save Money
• 100% satisfaction guarantee - Extra thick BPA-free plastic
• Permanent micro etched stainless steel filter with stylish Eco-Fill embossing
• K-cup holder stays in place, just insert Eco-Fill 2.0 as you would a K-cup
• Limited lifetime warranty with Proprietary patented design by Perfect Pod
Use your favorite coffee and save money too! The Eco-Fill 2.0 is the highest value and highest quality refillable single serve capsule on the market. The integrated micro etched stainless steel foil filter provides the best filtration possible from a permanent filter however paper filters are recommended for espresso grind coffees. The Eco-Fill 2.0 lid is attached with a reliable mechanical hinge that is guaranteed not to break. Use any coffee you like and enjoy your favorite blends.
If you have a Keurig coffee maker and a home coffee grinder you can make your own custom k-cups and get the perfect coffee pods. Our coffee filters make owning a Keurig more affordable. Now you have the choice of coffee blends, coffee grids and coffee brew strength. If you want your favorite cup coffee day after day or need a variety of individual servings our reusable coffee pods will improve your Keurig coffee experience.

I'm still tempted to purchase the brewer - taking a deep breath and getting past all the issues I have with their approach to not play nice with any other coffee companies or brewers even though they have obviously made a bazillion jillion kazillion dollars already and own the market in single brewers....  (see, that rebellious side of me).  But I would like to give it a go.  See what's it is about, review it and try it.

Do you own one?

What do you think?

Would you purchase one again?  
Have you had issues with it breaking down like the single cup Keurigs have a bad habit of doing?  
Do you have a hard time finding local coffee options for it?  
Do you have to order your coffee from them online?

Thoughts?  Please share!

Keurig 2.0 K350 Brewing System - Black

Keurig 2.0 Coffee & Tea Brewer Maker K560 - Bonus Set Includes 32oz Carafe + 48 K-Cups + 4 K-Carafe Packs + Water Filter & Handle
Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe for Keurig 2.0, K300, K400, K500 Series
Keurig K550 2.0 Brewer, Silver

Coffee Caramels

All things coffee....  even caramels! 

1 c sugar
1 c corn syrup
1 c evaporated milk
1/4 c double strength coffee or espresso
4 oz. butter, cut in pieces
1/2 t vanilla extract

Cook the sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan to firm ball stage.  For those of who use thermometers, that would be 246 degrees - stirring often.  Combine the evaporated milk with the coffee and add it very slowly to the sugar mixture along with the butter.  Add it slowly so it continues to boil.  Keep stirring until the mixture is back to firm ball stage again.  (246 degrees). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pour into a buttered pan.  Let cool completely, turn out and slice.

How to make Pour Over Coffee

Americans always want what is 'new', even if it's old. That goes for coffee making as well.  Everything old is new again.  While some of the generations before us as well as many countries who aren't blessed with reliable power, electricity in every home or obviously, the coffee makers that most of us use every day use this method to brew their coffee because they have to or it's their culture; Americans are turning {back} to it because it's something 'new' and different again. 

Pour over coffee is an old-fashioned technique that, for me, is something useful when I have to  (camping without a coffee pot) or when I have time to sit and relax and totally enjoy the brewing process from start to finish.  It's not a method I used to choose to employ when I am rushing out the door in the morning trying to make it to the office on time.

So.... How to Make Pour Over Coffee?
The overly simplified version;

The process is easy;  you are simply pouring very hot water over coffee grounds in a filter of some style and letting it run through to your mug.

My Grandma would be smirking at us right now.

For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to choose and use the Aerolatte Ceramic Coffee Filter mug as an example.

  • It's believed by many that a ceramic or glass filter container is best for flavor because the hot water doesn't run over plastic parts and impart any of those flavors into the brew.
  • I also want to mention; use good quality, cold water.  If your home as a water softener or has soft water, your coffee is never going to taste as good as coffee brewed with harder water.  Personally, I can taste 'salt' in all homes with water softeners (one of our previous homes as well) so I would invest in bottled water to make our coffee because that 'soft' taste really can ruin a perfectly good ground.
  • Lastly; choose your grounds wisely.  If you like the caffeine kick, choose a lighter roast.  If you like the robust flavor, go for a darker roast.  

You basically just place your filter holder on top of a coffee cup and insert a paper filter inside the (ceramic)  coffee filter and add your favorite coffee grounds, before slowly pouring hot water on top.

This particular model is the Aerolatte Ceramic Coffee Filter

Here is your grounds, in a paper filter, in the ceramic filter holder.

 Here it is (in a clear glass mug so you can see what's happening) in action.

How to make Pour Over Coffee
The more detailed version;

  1. Heat your water in a teapot on the stove, or even in the microwave if you wish.   I usually get my hot water straight from my Keurig machine which brews it at 192 degrees. I like to use about 8 oz water per 2 Tablespoons of grounds myself but you can adjust to your taste.  Heat about 2 oz. more water than you need, as you will want to wet the paper filter with it.
  2. You can use fresh ground beans (for best flavor) or you can use the pre-ground version you can buy in the stores as well.  
  3. Place the filter of choice (ceramic, glass, plastic container that holds the coffee filter) on top of the mug, and place a paper filter inside.  You can buy paper filters specifically for your choice of filter holder - check your instructions or if you are like, me, use the regular white paper filters and just fold them over to fit.
  4. Using about 2 oz. of the hot water, wet the paper filter and mug by pouring the hot water over the filter. This removes any 'paper filter' or chemical taste and heats up your mug - as a cold mug will reduce the temperature of your coffee!  (And I'm a picky-nut about my coffee being 192 degrees or I can't drink it.)
  5. (If your water is completely boiling out of the microwave or teapot, let it set just a moment to cool to about 195 degrees.)
  6. Dump the water that you poured through the filter into the mug to wet the filter and heat the mug.  Add your coffee grounds to the wet filter.
  7. Start to pour the water directly over the grounds to wet them.  Go slow, as it will foam up a bit at first.  Stop, let the foam go down in a couple seconds and then finish pouring slowly, in circles around the grounds until it's all used and all the water has dripped through, down into the coffee mug. Make sure your mug is big enough to hold the amount of water you chose, or you could have a spill over!

Enjoy your hot, freshly brewed, pour over coffee.

You might also be interested in these other similar products;

Grosche Austin Pour Over Coffee Maker
Zevro Incred 'a Brew-Direct Immersion Brewing System for Coffee
Melitta Ready Set Joe Single Cup Coffee Brewer
Melitta Coffee Maker, Single Cup Pour-Over Brewer with Travel Mug, Red (Pack of 2)