The only thing better than cookies and milk is cookies and coffee, and I’m happy to pair just about any cookie out there with a cup of freshly brewed java. This Hot Cookie USB Mug Warmer was clearly designed by someone who feels exactly the same way. This cookie isn’t one that you can actually eat, though it really does pair well with a cup of coffee. This is a cup warmer that is powered by any USB port and will keep your drink at a temperature of up to 140F for hours at a time (though you’ll probably need at least one or two more cups if you’re going to be working for several hours!). Any ceramic cup can be placed on top of the cookie and your beverage – wether it is tea, coffee or a mug of hot chocolate – will gently heat as it sits. I recommend starting out with a warm beverage because the hot pad is better for maintaining temperature than it is for taking the chill off if your drink is stone-cold. The cookie is about 4-inches in diameter, which should be wide enough to accomodate the vast majority of coffee mugs. The cookie also has an On/Off switch, so you don’t need to plug and unplug it throughout the day.
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.
While loose leaf tea will often brew a better cup of tea, you definitely cannot beat the convenience of tea bags. They’re easy to use and offer hundreds of tea options for just about every single taste. There are a few problems with tea bags, of course, and the biggest is that it is easy for the string and tab of the bag to slip into your cup of tea. When they do, they become soggy and difficult to fish out. The Tea Bag Holding Mug is the perfect solution for people – like me – who always seem to have that tab slip into their steeping cup. The ceramic mug has two small notches on the rim, right near the handle. You can simply loop the string from your teabag around the “tab” and it will remain perfectly in place until you are ready to take it out. The notches are close enough to the handle that you’ll never risk putting your mouth on them (and they’re not sharp enough to do any harm, even if you have an unusual tea-drinking style) and dribbling tea down the side of the glass accidentally. I’m adding this mug to my wish list – and adding it to the list of potential gifts for tea-loving friends!
This week, Starbucks added a new drink to their seasonal spring menu: the Tiramisu Latte. This latte joins the Caramel Flan Latte, which is making a comeback from last year, as part of a line of dessert-inspired drinks good for providing a little indulgence as winter drags on. Of course, for those readers out in Southern Californa enjoying summer temperatures in February, the drinks are also available in Frappuccino format.
The Tiramisu Latte was test marketed last year. It primarily received good reviews from tasters and sounded like a natural fit for a coffee drink, since tiramisu is an espresso-spiked dessert in the first place! The drink is served simply topped with a swirl of whipped cream, unless you request otherwise, and has no special garnish. I, of course, opted to keep the whipped cream on mine because of the whipped cream layer that usually tops a traditional tiramisu. The drink was not overly sweet and had the flavors of cinnamon, cocoa and even a dairy-hint of mascarpone cheese. It did evoke the flavor of a tiramisu, as I could still taste the coffee underneath the other flavors, and the only thing it was really missing out on was the texture of the Italian classic.
I would have preferred to taste a bit more of a dramatic espresso flavor, but I say that as someone who is generous with the coffee when I am making tiramisu myself. That means that I’ll be ordering an extra short the next time that I get one of these drinks. I would also get an affogato-style shot on the frappuccino version to intensify the coffee in a similar way.