Summers are hot in Los Angeles and 1993 was no exception. That summer, two intrepid Starbucks employees campaigned for the creation of a blended coffee beverage – not unlike blended beverages that they had seen at other, local coffee shops – to be added to Starbucks’ menu. One store in Sherman Oaks started doing a test to see how customers might respond to a blended beverage. The test gathered steam and by 1994, you could buy blended coffee drinks at all of the 10 Starbucks stores in Southern California. The drink also got a name: the Frappuccino. The national launch of the Frappuccino was in 1995 and the rest is history, as the blended drinks became an icon for the coffee chain, winning over not only people looking for a cold beverage on a hot day, but people who weren’t even coffee drinkers in the first place.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the nationwide launch of the Frappuccino and from March 26th through March 30th, you can buy a limited edition Birthday Cake Frappucino at your local Starbucks store. The birthday creation is flavored with vanilla and hazelnut and topped with a pink, raspberry whipped cream. You’ll have to provide your own candle, as it’s not included with purchase.
Unless you are a die-hard traditionalist, you have used a Keurig coffee maker to brew a cup of coffee sometime in the past 10 years. The single-serving K-cup pods are found everyone from quick oil change places to office buildings to home kitchens because they are so convenient and easy to use. Not only is each K-cup portioned for a perfectly sized single serving, but you can brew a wide variety of different types of coffee one after another – something that is not so easy to do with more traditional brewing methods.
K-cups have a downside, however, and that is waste. The individual cups are not recyclable and we are producing a whole lot of them, as the coffee pods are more popular than ever before – and there is no sign of the trend slowing down any time soon. The inventor of the K-cup, John Sylvan, now says that the waste makes him regret ever inventing them.
As he explains the appeal now, “It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” But he had no idea at the time how ubiquitous the product would become.
It isn’t the fact that he sold his company to Green Mountain for $50,000 in 1997 (perhaps he does, however there were many other unsuccessful pod designs on the market at that time) – it’s the fact that the pods were so extremely successful, that they generate more waste than he could initially have imagined. Sylvan also says that he designed a more eco-friendly option, but that Green Mountain didn’t want anything to do with it.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Green Mountain says (and hopefully it’s true) that they have a biodegradable and/or recyclable packaging option in the works, though it’s release is at least a few years away.
I love pairing cookies with coffee. Usually, cookies are served on the side of a mug filled with your favorite cup of java, but in the UK, you may soon be able to get your coffee served inside of a cookie instead of next to it. KFC has introduced an edible coffee cup, marking the launch of Seattle’s Best Coffee at its UK stores. The cup is made from a cookie and is wrapped with edible sugar paper on the outside, so you can see the logo and eat it. The interior of the cup is lined with a generous layer of white chocolate, which melts as it sits on contact with the coffee, but prevents the coffee from soaking into the cookie. Once you finish your coffee, you simply eat the cup and there is no waste – except, perhaps, a napkin to wipe your fingers.
The cups were developed by a group of food scientists from The Robin Collective, who designed them to taste great and function well. They even infused the white chocolate with a variety of different flavors and scents that will make your coffee-drinking experience even more stimulating for the senses.
The cups are supposed to hit KCF stores this summer, so keep an eye out for their release if you live in the UK. IF not, we can only hope that these cool cups are popular enough that they make their way over to the US one of these days!
You should probably be drinking more coffee than you currently do. Coffee consumption has been linked to all kinds of health benefits, including a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can also help to keep you alert and focused. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services puts out new dietary guidelines for Americans every five years and the newest version of the report suggests that more coffee could be better for your health.
Though Americans only drink an average of 1 cup of coffee per day, the new guidelines indicate that 3-5 cups of coffee per day should be considered “moderate” consumption that is permitted – and, perhaps even encouraged – as part of a healthy diet. The guidelines specifically note that consumption of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine is within normal limits, as the research linking coffee consumption to health benefits has always linked caffeinated coffee, not decaf. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be finalized by the end of the year.