Tag: coffee

3 of a Kind: Cascara Drinks

by in Restaurants, September 16th, 2015


3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

Making coffee is like seeding a grape. A cup of joe is the result of an intense production process that strips the seed from the husk of a fresh coffee cherry. Those beans are roasted, grinded, then dripped, pressed or steeped into 400 million cups per day in the United States, leaving a whole lot of byproduct in their wake. Rather than compost the remains, third-wave coffee producers are using that leftover dried fruit and hull to make cascara. With the flavor of an herbal tea and a java-like jolt of caffeine, cascara is refreshing, energizing and waste-free.

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5 Coffee Hacks to Make Your Mornings Easier and More Flavorful

by in Drinks, Food Network Chef, August 26th, 2015

5 Coffee Hacks to Make Your Mornings Easier and More FlavorfulAs I type, I am surrounded by a sea of binders and lined papers, high-top shoes, low-top ankle boots, trendy-again ’70s stretchy hipster pants and crisply colored backpacks smelling of factory nylon. Just removing the tags from all this loot makes me feel like taking a nap.

’Tis the season of coffee. (Did I really just say “’tis the season?” It’s not even Labor Day! I think I even outpaced Costco there!) Coffee and autumn go hand in hand in our household. Any time an alarm clock jolts me out of sleep, I want the jolt of caffeine shortly thereafter. My husband makes the coffee as part of our nightly routine, setting the timer for exactly 15 minutes before I wake up, so that I walk downstairs and into the kitchen at the perfect moment, when the machine is gurgling and spattering lightly as it confirms that all the water is gone from the chamber and the machine can finally, confidently turn itself off, while a final few drops of coffee plop gently into the full pot. It’s the glorious announcement of another day full of possibility.

I am a coffee fan (I don’t say “snob” because I find that loosely translates into people who don’t like Starbucks), so I like my coffee exactly right: no sugar and about two tablespoons of half-and-half, or a quarter-cup of milk (but, in that case, heated). Quite simply, the day doesn’t begin without coffee for me. I love the routine, the smell, the warmth and, of course, the caffeine (although I only drink half-caf so I can have two cups without feeling jittery). And all this coffeepot experience has taught me a few little tricks — some coffee hacks, if you will.

1. Mom’s trick to improve cheap coffee:

Growing up, we were incredibly poor, and my mom bought the cheapest coffee she could find at the grocery store. But, no matter, she insisted, because a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon in the filter along with the coffee elevated bargain beans to gourmet status. Well, almost. But this trick did get me through the lean college and graduate school days pretty darned well.

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A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Pumpkin

by in News, August 18th, 2015

A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: PumpkinIf the school year is starting, as it has for some and soon will for others, can Pumpkin Spice Lattes be far behind? The answer, of course, is no. The season for Starbucks’ autumnal drink is close at hand, and for those who had felt compelled to say “no” to the fall favorite after discovering, last year, that it contained no actual pumpkin but did contain the potentially unsafe additive Class IV Caramel Color, the last gasp of summer has brought good news: Starbucks has changed its PSL recipe.

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso and brewed coffee, and a PSL co-creator, wrote this week in a blog post on the company’s website, announcing that, when the PSL returns to stores this fall, “it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”

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Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?

by in News, August 15th, 2015

Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?Cold brew coffee is hot, hot, hot. Local coffee shops and big chains like Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Starbucks are increasingly switching to it from traditional iced coffee. It may also be heating up demand for coffee beans.

Cold brew, said to be smoother and less bitter than regular iced coffee (brewed hot, then cooled), calls for fresh ground coffee beans to steep in cold water for anywhere from 12 to a full 24 hours. But because the cooler temps and relative stillness in the process prevent as much flavor from being extracted from the coffee as regular hot brew, roasters use more (sometimes double) beans per cup.

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Times Like These Call for Serious Iced Coffee: How to Cold-Brew

by in How-to, Recipes, July 15th, 2015

Perfect Iced CoffeeYou probably ditched your hot coffee at about the same time you crammed your winter coats in under-bed storage and clicked on the AC for the first time. Now you take your dose of caffeine with ice cubes. Especially if you get your joe at a coffee shop, you’re bound to rack up quite the tab for your daily fix of the good stuff. Luckily, it’s easy to make iced coffee at home, proving that “cold-brew” is more than just another buzzword; it’s actually the best way to get your refreshing caffeine buzz, as long as you have a little patience.  To achieve the smoothest, least acidic (and best) iced coffee at home, go the cold-brew route with a little help from Food Network Magazine.

Follow FN Magazine’s steps for perfect cold-brew iced coffee (serves 2):

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Cold Brew & Beyond: 5 Coffee Trends to Look for This Summer

by in News, June 26th, 2015

Whether you rely on a big chain or a neighborhood cafe for your daily dose of caffeine, by now you’ve noticed that cold brewed coffee is getting a lot of attention — and for good reason. Unlike traditional iced coffee, which is made by brewing hot coffee at double strength and pouring it over ice, cold brew is steeped for a long time — up to 14 hours, if you wish — at room temperature. The result? A balanced and distinctively smooth cup of joe that’s both chocolatey and low in acidity.

Recently, this barista-approved method has inspired a number of innovative and experimental renditions of summer’s quintessential pick-me-up, like coffee-flavored sodas and beers, and plenty of regional twists on the basic cold brew recipe of ground coffee plus cold water. So the next time a caffeine craving strikes, reach for one of these five trendy takes on the thirst-quenching beverage.

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Spike It: Boozy Cappuccino Granita

by in Recipes, May 8th, 2015

Spiked Cappuccino GranitaHey hey! My name is Jessica and I can’t stop spiking my recipes. I’m here to share them with you in hopes that we can chat over a cocktail-inspired snack.

Let’s talk boozy, frozen treats just in time for the warm weather that is right around the corner. I’m all about a fabulous dessert in the evening, when you’re sitting on the porch as the humidity dies down and fireflies (do you call them “lightening bugs”?) whiz by. Or something frosty that would make for the perfect happy hour treat works, or heck, even a lunchtime dessert with friends is great too. I’m a fan of a lunchtime dessert on a random Wednesday when you’ve just had it with the week — something that cures all.

A spiked granita filled with coffee and sugar and booze sounds just about right when you need to cool down or chill out, right?

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Save Some Coffee for Cocktail Hour

by in Drinks, Recipes, March 28th, 2015

A cup before work, a cup to get through 3 p.m. — why not have a cup during happy hour? Coffee cocktails might be exactly what you need: something that melts away the stress of the day while simultaneously boosting your energy for late-night laundry. Add in some rum or chocolate, and you’ll enjoy your caffeine fix more than ever. Whether you’ve just finished a big dinner with friends or you’re spending a Friday evening in alone, these sips are sure to put a smile on your face.

Pitch-Dark Coffee Stout (pictured above)
Why not have both brews—coffee and beer—at the same time? Coffee liqueur and espresso give you a bit of a jolt while stout rounds out the richness of the drink.

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How to Pour an Artsy Latte

by in Drinks, Food Network Magazine, March 21st, 2015

latte art

Lesson learned by Food Network Magazine editors while working on the April issue: Leave latte art to the professionals. Those pretty heart and rosetta foam patterns you splurge for at the coffee shop are no easy feat. They require hours of practice and a very precise foam consistency. However, if you can master the perfect pour, it’s a great party trick to show off at your next brunch. So if you’re feeling ambitious and have a home espresso machine and milk frother, it’s worth a try. Don’t worry if you fail, though. In Maile Carpenter’s editor’s letter, the editor-in-chief admits that her attempt ended up looking like a “beach ball with arms.” At the very least, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for your local baristas and feel better about dishing out close to $5 for a cup of fancy espresso.

Read on to learn which tools you need, how to froth like a pro and the technique for the perfect pour.

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What Makes Coffee Smell So Good? An Infographic Makes Scents of It

by in Drinks, News, February 28th, 2015

What Makes Coffee Smell So Good?Mmmm … the aroma of coffee. Even some people who don’t drink it enjoy coffee’s heady scent. And those of us who are coffee drinkers may respond to the smell of a freshly brewed pot with a love that can be embarrassing in its fervor.

Why do we adore it so? Past research has indicated that just the smell of coffee sends a wake-up call to the brain and reduces the stress of sleep deprivation, and now there’s an infographic that parses the chemistry of coffee’s aromatic appeal.

“There are a number of different ways in which coffee’s aroma compounds are created,” Compound Interest, the chemistry blog that created the infographic, explains. It adds that the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that makes browned foods like seared steak so delicious, “is a big contributor here, the reaction between proteins and sugars in the coffee beans producing a range of products.” What’s more, the site notes, “degradation and decomposition of other compounds in the coffee beans can also produce aroma compounds.” Brewing also plays a role.

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