May 12, 2013

Link Mugs

Link Mugs

When you are serving coffee to a crowd, how do you handle serving? The easy part is filling up a carafe with coffee – but carrying all those cups can be a pain. One option is to carry them one at a time. Another is to grab multiple mugs by their handles and simply hope that you don’t trip on the way to the table. You could carry them on a large tray but that can be a risky endeavor unless you have table waiting experience (I’ve seen it go wrong and it is a big mess). One potential solution is to get a set of Link Mugs for serving a crowd. The large, earthenware mugs link together and can be carried easily and steadily in a single line. Each mug has a cross on one side a recess on the other that allows them to be linked together for easy carrying and easy serving. The mugs are sold in a set of three, and they just might make a great gift for friends who love to entertain as much as they love coffee.

May 9, 2013

Chefs taste test Astronaut Coffee

Astronaut Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks on earth – and it is popular in space, too. Unfortunately, the astronauts have been drinking coffee of questionable quality for the past few decades, since the brewing processes that we use down here don’t work quite the same way up there. The Space Food Systems Lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston has been doing a little R&D to see if they could come up with some better quality coffee to offer future astronauts. They came up with a few options – Kona Coffee With Cream and Kona Coffee With Cream and Sugar, packed in Capri Sun-style pouchs with built-in straws – and called in a few well known chefs to give them a taste test. David Chang of Momofuku and Traci Des Jardins of Jardiniere both sipped as though they were aboard the space station – and gave fairly good reviews to the new coffee.

I would bet that it tastes better than freeze dried astronaut ice cream, and I could see a fan market for this starting down here. After all, with space tourism in the future, the market for space-appropriate coffee might actually see some growth in the future!

May 7, 2013

Starbucks Frappuccino Summer Lounge Party

Frappuccino, Anyone?

The beach in Santa Monica is one of the best places to spend a summer evening, with all kinds of shops and restaurants to choose from and a steady crowd of locals and tourists enjoying the cool sea air. It is even better if you’re there for a party and I was fortunate enough to be down at the beach the other day for Starbucks’ Frappuccino Summer Lounge Party to celebrate the launch of their new summer drink, the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino.

The party was a chance to try the drink and learn some fun facts about frappuccinos – such as the fact that there are some 36,000 different ingredient combinations that you could potentially put together to customize your frappuccino! Aside from occasionally getting soy milk instead of regular for a change of pace, I tend to keep frappuccinos simple when I order then and was surprised that there were so many possibilities.

Summer Lounge Party

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May 3, 2013

Starbucks Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, reviewed

Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino

The caramel sauce that Starbucks uses to finish off drinks like the caramel macchiato is addicitive, and one of the most popular requests in caramel drinks is for extra caramel (or even extra, extra, extra caramel).┬áThe newest seasonal offering from Starbucks is the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino, a drink designed for the people who like to ask for extra caramel in their frappuccinos. I’m partially kidding, because the drink doesn’t really use all that much extra caramel, but there is some extra in there and it has a lot of caramel flavor, so it should definitely do the trick for caramel fans.

The Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino is a caramel frappuccino that has caramel sauce blended right into it (the usual caramel frappuccino doesn’t). It is poured into a cup that is lined with a generous drizzle of “dark caramel sauce,” and topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and crunchy caramel topping.

It sounds over-the-top – and it is, but in a good way. The drink has a really good caramel flavor and, thanks to the burnt sugar notes in the “dark caramel” sauce, it has a flavor that is reminiscent of dulce de leche or creme brulee, and the crunchy toffee-like bits on top are absurdly addicting. It’s sweet, but you can still taste the coffee in there, so it actually has a pretty nice balance of flavors and will hit the spot when you want something sweet and cold on a hot day.


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