There was a time when dunking your donuts into a cup of coffee was the way that you were supposed to eat a donut. It was the way that people were shown eating donuts on TV and depicted in the Sunday comics, and if you went down to the neighborhood diner, you were sure to see people dunking donuts, too. Heck, a whole donut chain is named after the idea of dunking donuts into coffee! I almost never actually see people eating donuts this way these days, even though most coffee shops stock donuts. I don’t dunk, but I do like the idea of a dunked donut, and that is exactly why I like this Donut Mug. It’s shaped like a donut – Simpson’s style, with sprinkles – and you can pour your coffee right into the “bite” at the top. It is just about cute enough to get me to try dunking donuts into my coffee – although I think I might have to start with a matching donut when I get around to giving it a try.
Before coffee beans are roasted, they are known as “green beans.” The green beans are actually green, but there is some variation in color, so the name comes both from the color and from the fact that they need to be roasted before being brewed to bring out their coffee flavor. Green coffee beans contain caffeine and there has been a interest recently in harvesting that caffeine without the coffee flavor associated with it. Green coffee extract is the result of this process.
The extract is extracted from the coffee beans using a variety of (probably proprietary) methods and what you’re left with is a highly caffeinated substance with very little flavor. It is added to energy drinks and used as a nutritional supplement, and some even promote it as helpful supplement to take when trying to lose weight.
There are many caffeine-free herbal teas out there, but just because they’re caffeine-free doesn’t mean that they make a relaxing cup of tea. Many are rich and fruity, better suited to a pick-me-up than something restful. Trader Joe’s Well Rested Tea is a herbal tea that promises to let you down after a busy day. The tea is definitely one of my favorites when I want something to unwind with. It is made with a blend of chamomile, lemongrass, spearmint and peppermint leaves, and it has a very smooth flavor. The mint helps you clear your mind (really!) without being too strong, and the lemongrass blends very well with it to give the tea a clean hint of citrus. Chamomile gave me a little hesitation because it isn’t one of my favorite flavors, but it makes a great base for the even stronger herbs that appear in this tea. It provides a mellow backdrop for the other, brighter flavors.
I like this tea both hot and iced, depending on the weather. In the winter, I’ll definitely stick with hot tea, but it makes a very refreshing iced tea (I prefer unsweetened) on a hot summer night.
Tazo teas have long been a staple in Starbucks stores and tea lovers all have their favorites, although teas don’t get as much of the spotlight as coffees due. Perhaps due to a growing interest from consumers in different teas, Starbucks has announced that it will spinoff a Tazo tea cafe later this year. Starbucks has owned Tazo since 1999, and this would be a huge push in bringing the brand more to the spotlight. The cafe will offer tea, tea lattes and iced teas, as well as a large selection of loose-leaf tea that can be bought in bulk or blended by customers to create custom tea mixes. The overall concept sounds similar to Teavana stores, but with more drinks offered in-store. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a fairly large retail space with tea pots and accessories, as well as more seating than a place like Teavana currently offers.
I also wouldn’t mind seeing some more tea options pop up in regular Starbucks stores again, and if the tea stores are a hit that means we might see London Fog Tea Lattes and similar drinks back on menus in the future.