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.
Coffee and donuts are a match made in heaven, whether you actually dunk your donuts in your coffee or simply enjoy them side-by-side. One alternative to this pairing is to go straight for a product that combines the two, and Krispy Kreme has launched two coffee-flavored donuts that they’re hoping will deliver the best of both worlds. The two flavors are Mocha Kreme and Caramel Coffee Kreme. The Mocha is a filled donut stuffed with a chocolate and coffee flavored cream and glazed with milk and chocolate icings. The Caramel donut is a regular donut topped with a caramel and coffee icing, a mocha drizzle and served with a large dollop of “coffee Kreme” on top. They both look like something that you need a big sweet tooth to get through, so they might be a better choice for a dessert donut than a breakfast one, even with all that coffee.
The donuts will be available through the end of March at all locations. And you’ll still be able to get their classic, best-when-they-are-still-warm glazed donuts and a regular cup of coffee to go if you’re a traditionalist.
The Olympics are heavily sponsored by large companies, which get exclusive rights to adertise and distribute their products in return for all the cash that they put up. Coca Cola is the largest beverage sponsor of the Olympic games, but McDonald’s McCafe coffee is the primary source of hot coffee in Sochi for olympic team members and journalists because Coke allowed them the rights to sell hot coffee there. The roughly 11,000 media who have descended upon Sochi can get their joe from McDonald’s, vending machines or concession stands that serve nonbranded brew. The only ones who haven’t been partaking are the NBC news team and their supporting staff. NBC has erected the Sochi Starbucks in its cordoned-off area of the Olympic media center. Baristas serve the free java 24-hours-a-day to the roughly 2,500 people NBC says it sent here. The rotating crew is made up of some 15 baristas from Starbucks coffee shops in Russia, who are flown in, set up with accommodations in Sochi, and paid their regular wages while they’re manning the shop. The Sochi Starbucks serves espresso and chai tea latte drinks, but doesn’t serve black coffee or any of Starbucks’ other signature drinks.
NBC staffers say that their Starbucks, which is not open, is a “supplementary facility” and is being used as a morale booster for their team, but it is creating a stir because staffers have been spotted carrying around the green and white Starbucks cups – displaying the Starbucks branding in what should be Starbucks-free areas, since the coffee giant is not a sponsor of the games.
Coca Cola and McDonalds have reportedly said that they are not concerned with this private, pop-up Starbucks because it doesn’t represent a big threat to their branding at the games, but the news media – many of whom apparently have pretty strong Starbucks addictions – have really made this into a big issue and turned those green and white Starbucks cups into a prized status symbol (at least amount journalists) at the games.
Starbucks recently released two new Blonde Roast coffees to their popular light roast lineup, Aria Blend and Bright Sky Blend. Both are available as preground coffees for the supermarket and they’re also available as K-Cups. Judging by the K-cup collections that I see, and the fact that Starbucks is releasing extra light roasts, I get the impression that the Blonde Roasts are growing in popularity with consumers. For me, the Blonde Roast coffees are very mild. I know plenty of people who absolutely love them because they prefer a more subtle cup of coffee, but I usually prefer the darker roasts, so when I make a Blonde k-cup (or other light roast k-cup), I usually use the small or medium setting on my Keurig to get a more intense flavor from the coffe.
Bright Sky has a light, nutty flavor that reminds me of toasted mixed nuts. There are definitely hints of peanut (although there are no peanuts, so not to worry!) in the coffee. The nutty flavor is smooth and a bit buttery, and it has a pleasantly long finish to it. Aria doesn’t have that nuttiness. Instead, it has a hint of citrus and cocoa to it. It has a cleaner, quicker finish than the Bright Sky, and is a little bit more refreshing.
Of the two, I definitely prefer the Bright Sky, because I like the longer finish and slightly more complex flavor profile. Both are mild, approachable and easy to drink – and as is the case with many light roast K-cups, you can easily adjust the strength by using different brew sizes on your Keurig to make the same coffee work for coffee drinkers with different tastes.