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.
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.
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.
Do you ever wish that you could skip the line and have your coffee drink waiting for you at the bar of your local coffee shop in the morning? This scenario is one that has run through every coffee-addict’s mind while waiting in a particularly long, slow line in the morning at a coffee shop. A company called Buck has introduced a program called Coffee Like A Rockstar that will let you, at participating local cafes, skip the line. The idea is that you order your drink through the site or app and pay for it all online, then you simply swing in and pick it up – no waiting.
The program would work best for small, local coffee shops where they could gain an edge over larger chains, as the convenience to the customer could make them more likely to choose the local shop. Starbucks has tried online ordering in the past, but with their volume, the process doesn’t really make much sense. The only downside is that part of the fun of a small, local coffee shop is the atmosphere and the interaction with employees and other customers, most of which would be lost in favor of a quick in-and-out experience. But, if the app drives more business to local coffee joints that join up, it would be a good thing both for their business and for coffee-lovers looking for a little more convenience.
At the moment, there are only two shops participating, both in Burien, Washingtion, the hometown of Buck’s CEO, so you might not get a chance to try it out unless you live in the area. But if you like the sound of the program, it might be something worth talking to the barista (or cafe owner) at your own favorite coffee joint.