Trader Joe’s Joe Coffee appears to be the supermarket chain’s new house blend. It’s not a stretch to guess this, given the name, but another tell-tell factor is the price. This 14-oz can was just $3.99 (at my local TJs, prices may vary). Their coffees are usually a good deal, but this is easily the most affordable option on the shelf. As the house blend, Joe’s is designed to appeal to as many coffee drinkers as possible. It’s a medium-roast coffee, with a medium-low acidity and a medium body. There are notes of chocolate and some woodsiness, but it’s overall just a very smooth and drinkable cup that isn’t entirely remarkable. That’s not a bad thing! It means that it hits its mark as an everyday coffee that will appeal to a wide audience – and at the price point it’s at, the potential audience is pretty big.
A good cup of tea can be very soothing – but relaxing? Not for everyone. For some people, the caffeine content of their favorite tea can keep them up for hours. For others, it’s just the fact that they took a break to rest and collect their thoughts that gets the re-energized. Trader Joe’s Relax Organic Tea is a tea that is actually supposed to be relaxing. It contains no caffeine and is made with a blend of herbs designed to calm and help you to unwind. These herbs include fennel seed, licorice, rooibos, anise, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, peppermint and strawberry leaf.
With so much stuff going on inside the triangular tea bags, I expected the flavors of the tea to be a bit overwhelming. Surprisingly, it had a nice medium body and a great, smooth flavor. Plus, it seemed to live up to the promise of its name – at least, it did for me. The fennel, licorice and peppermint seemed to come through more than the other elements, with the fennel and licorice definitely having a soothing effect, but the mint adds a nice palate-cleansing finish that left me feeling pretty refreshed.
The biggest drawback of espresso is that you need a big and/or heavy machine to produce it. This is for good reason, since it takes a lot of power to force heat and force the water through the grounds to pull a good shot. At least, you needed a big machine until recently. This year, mypressi introduced the TWIST, a hand-held, portable espresso maker.
The Twist uses both fresh coffee grounds and ESE pods and pulls perfect shots of espresso at the touch of a button. It looks something like a baseball at the end of an ice cream scoop handle – but more stylish – and pumps out 135PSI per shot. The first models should be out this fall sometime and should retail for about $129.
You can see a video of it in action here:
New Caledonia coffee comes from – you guessed it – New Caledonia, in Island in the South Pacific. These beans came from the Domaine de Kouandji estate. Like some other pacific island coffees, this one is fairly rare, with production of just 1000 kg per year, and it has some very unique qualities to it. The first thing you’ll notice is that the beans are very small, almost half or 1/3 of the size of your average coffee bean. Another distinctive feature (one that you might not notice) is that this coffee is very low in caffeine content, less than half of the average for other Arabica varieties at about .6%.
The coffee itself is very interesting. It has a creamy, hazelnut note to both the smell of the beans and to the body of the coffee, reminiscent of very milky chocolate or gianduja. There is also a little bit of an herbal note to its finish, and since the coffee is very smooth and light bodied, it comes close to a mellow, lingering black tea finish. It also has some sweet notes in it, like dried fruit. It’s extremely drinkable black and seems like a good choice for a breakfast coffee, where it won’t be paired with foods that may overpower it.