Feb 1, 2013

Tea to My Heart Infuser

Tea to My Heart Infuser

Tea infusers have a lot more personality these days then they used to, and you’ll even find some that are specially designed for the holidays. The Tea to My Heart Infuser is a design that I’ve seen that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. The silicone infuser has a heart with an arrow through it. The main portion of the infuser is the heart, which opens to allow you to put loose leave tea inside. The shaft of the arrow is about 8-inches long, so it will be easy to retrieve even in large mugs. It’s also machine washable, so it is easy to clean.

While this would make a good Valentine’s Day gift (along with some nice tea), it is a gift that will keep on giving because it will last a lot longer than a box of chocolates will. And your loved one will always think of you when they’re having another cuppa.

Jan 31, 2013

Starbucks Reserve Cameroon Mt Oku, reviewed

Cameroon Mt Oku

I must have had the Cameroon Mt Oku coffee from the Starbucks Reserve line dozens of times by now and I’ve been meaning to write this review ever since I had that first cup. The coffee is from the slopes of Mt Oku, a huge volcano in the western part of Cameroon. Cameroon is not a country that you might automatically associate with coffee – and that isn’t because coffee doesn’t grow there, it is simply because much of what what they grow is robusta and doesn’t exactly make it into the spotlight. This coffee is quite different from any other African coffees, it is rich, smooth and has a very low acidity to it. You’ll get floral and pepper notes from the coffee, and very few berry or earth tones. The flavor develops slowly as you drink it and, while the flavor can be quite complex, it is so smooth that it almost sneaks up on your. I think the focal point is how enjoyable and easy to drink it is and, honestly, that is what keeps me coming back time and again.

This coffee is an outstanding value and, honestly, tastes like it should be quite a bit more expensive. I’m certainly not complaining about that, however, because its price point just makes me that much more likely to order it when I’m at a store with a Clover machine.

Jan 29, 2013

Zevro Incred-a-brew Direct Immersion Coffee Maker

Zevro Incred-a-brew Direct Immersion Coffee Maker

If you are a coffee lover, you have probably used a french press at least a few times and know that you can make some great coffee with them. There are only a few small downsides: it can be difficult to clean them and it can be hard to get out all of the coffee without getting any grounds in that last cup. These are small things and aren’t going to stop me from using my french press anytime soon, but they are enough to make me keep my eyes open for other brewing options. The Incred-a-brew Direct Immersion Coffee Maker from Zevro is just one of these choices – and it looks like a good one.  I’ve used their Simpliss-a-Tea tea maker, which features the same design, many times with great results.

The Incred-a-brew Direct Immersion Coffee Maker lets you steep your ground coffee in hot water (much like a french press), but instead of pressing the grounds through the coffee and then pouring from the top, you can actually dispense the coffee directly into your cup through the bottom of the coffee maker. The gadget has a very cool release valve on the top that that dispenses the coffee directly into a cup when you place it on top of one – and, more importantly, it instantly stops the flow when you lift the coffee maker. It only makes one (large) cup of coffee at a time, so it is great when you want a single serving and it doesn’t take quite as much babysitting as a pour-over filter set up.

Jan 24, 2013

Honey Vanilla Tea Latte

Honey Vanilla Tea Latte

Honey is a classic sweetener for tea. I find that I mostly use honey when I have a cold, primarily because tea with honey is what my mom and grandmother would serve me as a kid when I got sick. Honey soothes a sore throat and and hot tea gives you a warm-fuzzy feeling as you sip it. But honey is always delicious in tea and you don’t need to be sick to enjoy it.

This Honey Vanilla Tea Latte is a drink I enjoy on days when I am feeling a little bit under the weather, as well as on days when I simply feel like a great cup of tea. There are plenty of vanilla-infused teas out there that make a great base for this type of drink, and I like to stick with herbal vanilla teas, since I find that the vanilla flavor is a little more distinctive in them. I have been using Tazo Vanilla Rooibus quite a bit, as well as Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Camomile (a very nice tea on its own when you want something soothing), for this drink.

If you don’t have a vanilla-infused tea on hand, a small splash of vanilla extract in your hot tea water will give you the same effect, and add just the right amount of vanilla to perfume to your latte. Add honey to taste – more if you like things sweet, and a little less if you don’t. I usually err on the side of a little extra honey.

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