There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the heady aroma of a fresh pot of coffee. Folgers even made it their slogan – and they’re not overstating the truth there. But that first cup of coffee comes at a price. You need to grind your beans and start your machine. If you brew a full pot, it is very likely that you might save some time by taking a shower and getting dressed while your java brews, then pour yourself a cup afterwards. If you happen to have some Coffee Bean Soap, however, you can wake up with a refreshing shower and the aroma of coffee at the same time. This soap is shaped like giant coffee beans (each about 2-inches long) and is also coffee scented. Like most soaps, the smell should wear off fairly quickly and won’t leave you heading to work smelling like you just stepped out of a coffee roaster (not that there is anything wrong with that), but it will perk you up a bit while you clean up.
I’ve been hearing lots of public service announcements about the dangers of drowsy driving lately, in addition to those about drunk driving and “buzzed” driving.When you’re drowsy, your reaction times are slow and you’ll find your mind wandering to things besides the road you’re driving on. This is especially dangerous on a monotonous-looking highway on a night when there are an unusually high number of drivers out, like New Year’s Eve. In an effort to help people be safer on the roads, there will be free coffee available at all 27 of the Travel Plazas on the NYS Thruway on New Year’s Eve. It’s a good excuse to stop your car for a moment, stretch your legs and perk up with a bit of caffeine. The drinks will be available from 11 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, so if you’ll be driving that road – make a pit stop. I’m never one to argue with free coffee and if the program helps keep people safer on the road, so much the better!
When it’s cold outside, a hot cup of coffee or tea can go a long way in warming you up. And while they might be fine on just your average winder morning, but around the holidays, it’s nice to make things a little more interesting with some dressed up drinks.
A Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mocha is my top pick of this holiday season. It has a caffeine kick, rich chocolate flavor and just enough peppermint to make it refreshing, to boot. Garnish yours with a sprinkle of chopped up peppermint candies, or simply use a candy cane as a stick stick. I stock up after Christmas when they’re on sale so I have them all season
If you’re a white chocolate fan, a White Chocolate Mocha Bianca is the way to go. This drink is creamy and smooth, made with white chocolate and coffee. The white chocolate is sweet enough that you don’t need to add sugar, so the drink seems even easier to make than hot chocolate.
Speaking of hot chocolate, Drinking Chocolate is a must-try for chocolate drink fans. This variation on hot chocolate includes dark chocolate, milk chocolate and cocoa powder all in one drink. It is thick and rich tasting, a chocolate drink that can stand on its own as dessert. You can add a shot of espresso, too, if you want something with a little coffee in it, as well.
A tea latte, like the Vanilla Rooibus Tea Latte or Earl Grey Tea Latte is a great non-coffee option. These drinks are made with strong tea and steamed milk, and are lightly sweetened. I like adding a little vanilla into them to give them a rounder flavor. You can use just about any type of tea you like, too.
My last pick isn’t a coffee drink at all, it’s a Caramel Apple Cider. This drink starts with steamed, spiced cider and it is laced with caramel sauce and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. It might sound like a strange combination – especially with the whipped cream on top of the apple cider – but it really works. The drink is sweet, festive and very warming, both because of the spices and the temperature of the drink. And if you want to make it even more warming, or more adult, I think you might be able to get away with a splash of brandy in one, too.
Vanilla is a great flavor in just about anything, but put it together with cinnamon and you have a combination that is perfect for warming you up on a cool night – especially when they’re put together in something like Trader Joe’s Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea. This is one of the seasonal winter teas from Trader Joe’s. Although I often go for spicy teas in the winter, this one appealed to me specifically because it was less spicy. I was hoping for a milder, sweeter tea that still had a lot of flavor, and that is just what I got.
The tea tastes surprisingly sweet, with the vanilla in the background and the cinnamon coming to the forefront of the flavors. The cinnamon, unlike the stronger spices found in chai teas, was very mellow and not aggressive or peppery tasting. This is definitely a dessert tea for me. I found that it didn’t need any sweeteners to be sweet, but it does go very well with home. Speaking of desserts, this tea is just right for making a tea latte, where the milk will blend smoothly with the vanilla and cinnamon to give this a very dessert-like feel.