Halloween is about tricks and treats. The treats usually take the spotlight, but it is always fun to have a trick thrown into the mix once in a while to keep Halloween fun and not completely sugar-coated. These Creepy Cups Halloween Coffee Mugs deliver a little trick with your morning cup of coffee. The Spider Mug and the Skull Mug both have a spooky surprise that is revealed as you drink that cup of coffee down. One has a menacing looking skull that will stare right back at you, and the other has a creepy spider that looks like it could crawl right over the rim of your mug. The best part of these mugs is that they look completely normal from the outside when they’re filled up, so you can serve coffee in them to unsuspecting targets (who, hopefully, can take a joke!) for a little Halloween fun.
Shade grown coffee is exactly what it sounds like: coffee grown in the shade. The coffee bean trees get little, if any, direct sunlight and the coffee beans, in turn, also get very little direct sunlight. Since coffee tends to grow in very temperate climates to begin with, this means that coffee trees are sometimes subjected to extreme temperatures. With shade-grown plants, they will remain in the shade of a high jungle/forest canopy for the majority of the day and their beans will not be subjected to extreme heat no matter how high the temperature climbs.
Coffee trees actually thrive in the shade, but in some areas the forest canopy has been cut back to make room for more coffee plants and increase the yield of coffee crops. The beans that are subjected to high heat tend to ripen faster and are widely regarded to be less flavorful than their slow-developing shade-grown counterparts. That forest canopy also reduces the need for pesticides and leads to an increased biodiversity in the area, meaning that coffee that is shade-grown is more eco-friendly than that which is not.
You can get a pumpkin spice chai latte at Starbucks (or at other coffee shops that offer PSL type drinks) by asking the baristas to add pumpkin spice syrup to your chai tea latte as a sweetener. Pumpkin spice and chai tea are a great combination of two spicy drinks and I don’t know why it isn’t a promoted seasonal item at Starbucks. Fortunately, Tazo fans can pick up a carton of Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte mix at grocery stores and make their own pumpkin spice chai tea lattes at home – and that is exactly what I did.
I spotted this seasonal mix at Target recently, alongside the other Tazo teas in the coffee and tea aisle, where it jumped out because of its autumn orange packaging. I like the regular Tazo chai latte mix because it has a really potent spiciness to it that is just delicious on a cool morning. The pumpkin version is similar – slightly sweet with a lot of spice – with a distinct nod towards the spices that make up the class “pumpkin pie spice” mix: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. You could really taste the cinnamon and cloves, and the finished latte really smelled like fall in a mug. It is delicious if you love chai and even better than the regular chai latte during the fall – or if you want to serve a hot drink alongside a slice of homemade pumpkin pie. Continue reading »
You can “pay it forward” any day of the week by doing something kind or generous for a stranger. For instance, you could pay for the drink of the person behind you in line at Starbucks. From October 9-11, you’ll be rewarded for this kindess if you do. Starbucks is encouraging its customers to #payitforward by giving you a free tall brewed coffee if you buy someone else their favorite beverage. I’ve hear that the #payitforward campaign was inspired by the government shutdown – and the fact that most people wish that the two sparring parties would simply come together and get things done, like they were hired to do. Paying it forward is always a nice thing to do, and a little bit of recognition can go a long way.
I do wish, however, that they would promote this more in stores. I happen to have stopped by a total of three stores today and only one was mentioning it to their customers. An extra sign would have been a nice touch to kick off the event – but by Friday, hopefully a lot more people will be involved!