Coffee and donuts is a traditional pairing and I definitely enjoy a cup of coffee when I’m eating a donut. The coffee cuts the sweetness and grease of the donut perfectly when I have them side-by-side. Some people would rather dunk their donuts than simply have them alongside coffee, and some of the coffees in Dunkin’ Donuts new Bakery Series are clearly designed with these donut-loving coffee fans in mind. I’ve had lots of flavored coffees and can say that I was completely intrigued when I saw Old Fashioned Donut, Jelly Filled Donut and Chocolate Donut coffee flavors.
The coffees all come preground and are designed to work with a traditional drip coffee maker, though there is no reason why you couldn’t use your ground coffee in an refillable k-cup with your Keurig or put it into a pour over coffee maker if that is what you’re working with at home. I brewed up a few batches and put them to a taste test – although in hindsight, I do wish that I had picked up a couple of actual donuts to pair with them.
I got a few insider tips from a flavor scientist who worked on developing this line of coffees and he told me that they are all developed to be consumed with sugar and milk or cream added to the coffee. He said that the sugar and dairy really bring out and smooth out the flavors in the coffee, although you can drink them black if you really want to. I found his advice to be good, because these coffees all tasted noticeably better with milk and sugar and the donut flavors became more “real” and more compelling.
A cup of black tea contains roughly half the caffeine as a cup of black coffee. This means that people who aren’t looking for a lot of caffeine can rely on tea as a way to perk themselves up in the morning, but it also means that there are people who drink coffee just for that caffeine rush and might prefer to be drinking tea instead. I’m a fan of both coffee and tea, of course, but this is exactly why The Republic of Tea created a line of new HiCaf Teas so tea-lovers could get the pick-me-up they want without having to reach for a cup of coffee. The boose in caffeine comes from green tea extract, which is added to all of the teas in the lineup.
I recently tried the new HiCaf Caramel Black Tea and it is absolutely delicious. It has a very smooth, full bodied classic black tea flavor and just enough sweetness from the natural caramel flavor to take that slightly dry edge present in some black teas completely out of the picture. It has a hint of burnt sugar to it and it seems sweet enough on its own that I didn’t want to add any sugar to the hot tea. When served over ice, the tea was excellent with a little sugar added to boost those caramel notes and help them stand out more. I’m a fan and I’ll be trying the other teas in the line, as well.
Chicory is a root that has been roasted, brewed and used as an inexpensive coffee substitute for many, many years, but the most notable modern example of chicory use is in the coffee and chicory blend that is a staple for many New Orleans residents and Mardi Gras-goers every year. It’s a unique drink that becomes addictive once you’ve aquired a taste for it – and it is something that can be hard to find outside of New Orleans – especially if you want to make yours with high quality, freshly roasted chicory (just like your coffee beans!). Blue Bottle Coffee offers a New Orleans Iced Kit that will allow you to make your own delicious New Orleans-style coffee and chicory coffee blend at home. The kit includes their signature recipe, a pound of Blue Bottle’s New Orleans coffee blend and an envelope of pre-measured, roasted French chicory that is scaled for one pound of coffee. You will need to add your own milk, sugar, and ice to finish the recipe and complete your drink. BB recommends whole milk and organic sugar, which is what they use to make the drink themselves. It’s a taste of New Orleans (or at least, a taste of New Orleans via the SF Bay Area!) at home.
It has been a little while since I’ve featured a new Starbucks Reserve coffee, and that is largely because I’ve been stuck in a Sumatra rut for a while. The Starbucks in my area seemed to have a lot more Aged Sumatra than in some past years, and it is so good when brewed in the Clover that I’ve found it difficult to resist when it is on the menu. It finally got phased out but, luckily enough for me, a new Sumatra coffee almost immediately took its place, Blue Batak.
The coffee is produced at high elevations by farmers from the indigenous Batak Tribe in Sumatra. The coffee is wet hulled after it is picked – a process unique to the area where the parchment (thin skin surrounding the beans) is removed before the beans have been dried, and the drying process is finished without the parchment. Most coffee is dried with the parchment in place and it comes off naturally or is removed as the coffee is further processed. This process gives the beans a unique flavor and a distinctive blue hue. Don’t open a bag and expect to see the color there, however. That blue color is in the raw coffee beans and by the time they are dried and roasted, they look a lot like other coffee beans. You can still taste their uniqueness when you brew them, however, and I’ve been told that this makes the coffee a bit polarizing for Sumatra fans.
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