Aug 8, 2014

Coffee-Mate La Lechera Dulce de Leche, reviewed

Coffee Mate Dulce de Leche

Coffee-Mate’s Abuelita Coffee Creamer really exceeded my expectations the first time I tried it. I’m a big fan of the original Abuelita Mexican Chocolate products and the creamer actually mananged to deliver that spicy chocolate taste with any artificial chocolate flavor. I was so encouraged by its success that I decided to try the Coffee-Mate La Lechera Dulce de Leche when I spotted it in my local grocery store. This product is another spinoff from Nestle’s lineup of Mexican inspired products and it is flavored with dulce de leche, the addictive and rich milk caramel that is made from sweetened condensed milk.

Dulce de leche itself can be dissolved in coffee, but you really need to add milk or cream to your coffee to get its flavor to stand out. With the creamer, you are ready to sweeten your coffee without using multiple ingredients. The creamer really nailed the flavor of dulce de leche, with a nice balance of sweetness and caramel flavor. Adding just a bit of creamer was enough to give my coffee a mild sweetness, while a generous pour turned a glass of iced coffee into something that tasted like it was made at a coffee house. Like the Abuelita creamer, this one didn’t disappoint and it is definitely worth a try if you’re a lover of dulce de leche and are looking for an easy way to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Aug 6, 2014

Barisieur: A Coffee-Making Alarm Clock

A Coffee-Making Alarm Clock

Folgers commercials used to depict coffee-lovers being lured out of bed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, no alarm clock needed. I don’t know about you, but that coffee would have to be very close to my bed for the smell alone to get me up in the morning. I have considered putting a coffee maker of some kind in my bedroom before, and the Barisieur might just be the solution to my problems. This nifty gadget, designed by British designer Josh Renouf, is an alarm clock that starts to brew you a perfect cup of coffee as soon as it goes off. It has a vintage look that conceals some very slick technology.

A beaker of water sits on top of an induction burner that turns on when the alarm goes off. The burner heats up stainless steel balls inside of the beaker, which will cause the water to boil and will also make a subtle noise that will rouse you from your sleep gently. The steam will travel up a tube and condense to pour out over fresh grounds, and you’ll have a perfect pour-over at just about the moment you are ready to get out of bed. I can’t wait to get one myself, but unfortunately they’re not on sale yet. The projected price is £150-£250, which is a bit steep but could very well be worth it for giving you the perfect way to wake up in the morning.

Aug 4, 2014

Art of Tea Hibiscus Cooler Iced Tea, reviewed

Art of Tea Hibiscus Iced Tea Cooler, reviewed

Iced tea is typically brewed simply by making double or triple strength iced tea and pouring it over ice to chill and dilute it. This isn’t a bad way of making iced tea, but I love it when tea companies make iced tea bags specifically for iced tea. It’s convenient not to have to worry about the ratio of tea to water – especially when you’re making a large batch – and they also usually produce flavors that are more iced tea-friendly than hot teas, using more fruits and fewer heavy spices. Art of Tea does a great job with their iced teas, packaging them in large, pitcher-friendly bags that are perfect for brewing up iced tea for a crowd. They also come with easy to follow instructions that ensure your tea will turn out perfectly every time.

The Art of Tea’s Hibiscus Cooler Iced Tea is one of my new favorite iced tea flavors. It’s made from hibiscus, guayusa, lemongrass, stevia leaves and natural flavors – all organic ingredients – and turns a fantastic pink hue when brewed. It tastes floral and fruity, almost like it has juice in it in addition to the other ingredients! As a fan of jamaica – a hibiscus agua fresca that you can find at most Mexican restaurants – I know that hibiscus has a slightly bitter note to it. It is subtle in the tea, but it adds some nice complexity to the tea and also gives you a little bit of room to add some sugar. I added about a third of a cup of sugar to my tea and found that added some nice sweetness without taking away from how refreshing the tea was on its own. The box contains four large tea bags, which is enough to make four 2-quart pitchers of iced tea. That’s enough to have two for summertime entertaining and two for yourself for later!

Aug 2, 2014

Coconut Rum Mocha

Coconut Rum Mocha

Tropical drinks are usually fruity affairs, brightly colored and served in funky glasses that are topped with tiny umbrellas. Those tiki drinks are delicious, but they are not the only way to enjoy a taste of the tropics. This Coconut Rum Mocha is a delicious dessert coffee drink that is infused with coconut and rum, paired with just the right amount of chocolate. The combination may sound a bit strange, but once you have a sip and see how the creamy coconut, spiced rum and bittersweet chocolate blend together, you’ll find yourself making sure that you have the ingredients on hand at all times.

The coconut flavor comes from cream of coconut. This is a product that is usually found in the liquor aisle at grocery stores or with the rest of the pina colada ingredients at spirits stores. It is pre-sweetened, unlike plain coconut milk, and ready to use right out of the bottle/can. I used spiced rum – Bacardi Oakheart, in this case, though Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, The Kracken, etc. will all work – because it blends very well with coconut and chocolate, providing a nice bridge between the two elements. These two ingredients are a must, but you can be a little bit more flexible with the other elements of the drink and tweak them to suit your tastes. For instance, you can use any kind of hot cocoa mix in this drink (or make your own with sugar and cocoa powder) and any kind of coffee. Since this drink is meant as a nightcap, making it with decaf coffee is a good choice if you want to skip the caffeine before bedtime. One thing that I wouldn’t skip, however, is the whipped cream. It adds a hint of creaminess to the drink and helps meld all those other flavors together each time you take a sip. Plus, desserts are always nicer with a dollop of whipped cream!
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