Chick-fil-a has become the latest fast food chain to upgrade their coffee offerings. The fast food chain has popular breakfast sandwiches, but was behind larger chains like McDonalds when it came to coffee options, and in an effort to boost their breakfast sales, they decided to partner with Thrive Farmers Coffee. Thrive is an Atlanta-based startup whose goal is not only to offer retailers better quality coffee, but to offer more revenue to the farmers who grow the beans. Instead of paying the farmers based on the wholesale price of the unprocessed beans, Thrive roasts the beans and sells them, then splits that higher profit with farmers. The payout model offers farmers 50% of the sales price for roasted beans and 75% for green beans that are sold to other coffee roasters.
The Chick-fil-A program has been in development in test stores for over a year, and the chain says that the new brew has boosted coffee sales by 35 percent. The announcement of a national roll-out is huge for Thrive, too. Up until now, the company’s largest account has been a regional Whole Foods-style store, and moving into 1,825 Chick-fil-a stores around the country means that up to 2 million people a day will see the Thrive’s logo.
I haven’t been getting Frappuccinos lately because the past few weeks have been so hot and so humid that I have stuck to more refreshing drinks, like Refreshers and iced teas at Starbucks. Frappuccinos are a little bit more like dessert, as far as I’m concerned, and I prefer to have them when I can enjoy them – not because I have to suck them down quickly to cool off! The other day, I glanced at the Frappuccino menu and noticed that there was a new option on the menu: a Caffe Espresso Frappuccino. As luck would have it, I was in the mood for a blended drink and I was armed with my camera, so I ordered on to give it a try.
The Caffe Espresso Frappuccino is essentially a coffee frappuccino that is topped with coffee/espresso flavored whipped cream and a drizzle of sweet espresso syrup. These may sound like small additions, but they turn a relatively plain drink into something delicious. The Caffe Espresso tastes a lot like tiramisu. I attributed this both to the caramel-like syrup and to the cloud of whipped cream, which really seemed to lighten up the texture of the drink in addition to boosting the coffee flavor. I wouldn’t mind topping off more frappuccinos with this combination and think it would be a great way to temper the sweetness of a caramel frappuccino or boost the coffee flavor of a mocha.
Coffee drinking is easy, while coffee tasting is not. This infographic, which is part of a series called The Truth About Coffee from The Bold Italic, sums up the process pretty well. Coffee tasting, like wine tasting, is a skill that you can develop by drinking lots and lots of high quality product. But the key is that you need high quality coffees where the flavors of citrus, caramel and earthiness – to name just a few – really stand out, so that you can easily identify them and learn to find them in other types of coffee.
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.