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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Jan 22, 2013

Want to get your Coffee Like a Rockstar?

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.

Jan 18, 2013

US Coffee Revenue Set to Surpass Soda

Coffee Graph vs Soda

A cup of coffee is a popular way to start the day for many people. By lunchtime, some people will have looked for drinks elsewhere, and opted for juice, tea or soda over another cup of coffee. At least, this used to be the way things worked. In the last 10 years, US coffee consumption has increased by over 50% – while soda consumption, both for diet and regular drinks, has been in decline. This chart depicts the revenue of both the soda and coffee markets (not coffee shops, just purchased coffee), and it is easy to see that the advantage will soon be with coffee as it is set to potentially overtake soda revenue (data from IBISWorld). There are a couple of reasons that this has happened, and while studies aren’t pointing to one thing specifically, it doesn’t take a lot to see that these reasons definitely carry some weight.

  1. Coffee is healthier than soda. There are studies all the time about the new potential health benefits of coffee and caffeine. Sugar has been blamed for the “obesity epidemic and there is simply lots of anti-soda propaganda out there.
  2. Bottled water and energy drinks are popular. These categories are taking market share away from soda – and while the same parent companies are still profiting because they own products in these categories, drinkers of bottled water and energy drinks are often former soda drinkers.
  3. Coffee has class. It’s not just that we like coffee, but now consumers are much more educated and appreciative of good coffee than ever before. So, we drink more.
  4. Coffee is expensive. Unlike soda, which is inexpensive to produce, coffee is a pricey and labor-intensive agricultural product. As demand increases, so do prices and that pushes the coffee industry further into the black.
Jan 16, 2013

Lion Latte Art

Nicole's Lion Latte Art

I will admit that I’m not the most skilled latte artist out there when it comes to free-pouring rosettes and such, but I do like to practice even though my creations sometimes look a little on the abstract side. I can make some darn good microfoam, though, and will often opt for etched latte art – made using a toothpick – to decorate my drinks. This lion is a recent favorite of mine and I’m pretty sure that he makes the drinks taste even better.

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