Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Two Mistakes to Make With Coffee

Do you like to enjoy a single cup of coffee in the morning, afternoon, or perhaps even evening? Whether you are an avid coffee drinker or only have it once in a while, you may or may not be guilty of committing one or both of these mistakes. Doing the right thing with coffee can seem tricky but the reality is that you just have to know the basics, unless you want to be a coffee guru.

One of the most common mistakes to make when brewing coffee, even with k cup coffee, is to use unfiltered water or tap water. Why is this bad news? Well, when you have a cup of coffee, you are drinking a cup of something that is roughly 98 percent water. When you use tap water, the things in the tap water can alter the flavor of the coffee that is being brewed and you may end up with a cup of coffee that is actually less than ideal. This is especially true if your tap water is less than ideal; if it tastes funny, then so will your coffee (we mean it is hard water or well water, if it looks or tastes different than normal, contact authorities). If you can, use cold, filtered water. One of the best ways to always have some cold, filtered water on hand to brew your coffee with is to have a water pitcher that has a built in filter; now you always have ice cold water that is clean (make sure to change the filter when instructed).

The second most common mistake to make with coffee is to store your k cups in the freezer, or if you buy in bulk, then the coffee canister. This is a no-no. Coffee should be stored in a dry, cool place; hear that? Dry. This means that you should keep it away from the moisture of the freezer (and for that matter, the fridge). When you keep your coffee in the freezer, the moisture condenses on the coffee and makes it wet. The ideal place to keep your coffee will keep it away from light, heat, air, and moisture; a cupboard not right by the fridge is often a great spot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Coffee Trends - Putting Butter in Your Coffee

That's right, folks, one of the latest coffee trends is to put a bit of butter in your coffee. This latest trend will either make you do one of two things: feel a newfound burst of energy that you have never felt from just a cup of coffee before OR it will make you lose your lunch.

Give it the college try, put just a bit of butter in your next cup of coffee, or don't; this is blog post, not a cop. The only caveat to this trend, should you try it, is that the butter has to be unsalted, grass-fed butter (the cows were grass-fed, for anybody who was confused by that). The reason for the unsalted, grass-fed butter instead of normal butter is that the creators of this trend believe that normal butter has a lot of unnecessary ingredients and the grass-fed is much more natural and healthy; why unsalted? Well, do you want salty coffee?

So what do you gain from putting some butter in your coffee? As I previously mentioned, a better sense of energy than you can allegedly get from a normal cup of coffee. According to people who participate in this trend, normal coffee gives you a buzz of energy but after a couple hours, you come crashing down; when you put some of this special butter in it, you get that buzz of energy but it is apparently much more stable and lasts longer, plus, coming off the energy is less of a crash and more of a glide.

How does this happen? Well, according to coffee experts, it is the MCT oil from the special butter in the coffee that is digested faster than many other fats, so your energy is felt sooner.

Of course, the grand idea of butter in coffee is not necessarily new; people of Tibet (Tibetans) have put butter in their tea to create Yak butter tea.

So how does it taste? Apparently, it tastes like a very creamy latte. So go ahead, brew some single cup coffee and plop in a piece of butter, remember, unsalted & grass-fed!

The trend is gaining some traction with its 3 million (and growing) followers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fun Knowledge About Hot Cocoa

Hot cocoa is a beverage that is enjoyed by thousands, perhaps millions, of people every year; as people, we tend to prefer our hot cocoa during the winter months but it is still loved and consumed during the spring & summer as well by the loyal enthusiasts. However, there is some history behind the rich, creamy beverage that greets us with love at every sip. Do you know your hot cocoa knowledge? If not, buckle up, we're going to school.

Hot chocolate aka hot cocoa is a warm beverage that is either made from shave chocolate or powder and then mixed with water or milk and some sugar. For many, milk or dark chocolate is the only way to go but for the more adventurous fans, white hot chocolate is a great way to go.

Legend has it that the first chocolate based drink was made by the Mayans over 2000 years ago; it is also believed the Aztecs made some sort of chocolate beverage since chocolate was a staple of the Aztec diet and culture. When Europeans were discovering the world, they also discovered this chocolate drink by the natives and brought it back with them to the new world.

Did you know there is a distinction between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Well, there is! Hot chocolate is actually creating the luxurious drink from bar chocolate, which contains the sugar, cocoa, and cocoa butter. You shave the bar chocolate and melt it down. Now hot cocoa is making the drink from powder, which has the sugar and cocoa extracted (this is likely what most of us do when we make the beverage). If you make hot cocoa from k cups then you are definitely drinking hot cocoa and not hot chocolate because they can't fit a chocolate bar in those k cups. Sorry.

Hot chocolate is able to be made with dark chocolate, semisweet (which tastes quite a bit like dark), bittersweet, and milk chocolate which is then shaved or chopped into smaller bits and then mixed with milk and sugar and heated. In the United States, we tend to make it from the powder, hot cocoa, which already contains the cocoa, sugar, and some dairy ingredient so we can even make it with water. In the UK, hot chocolate can be thicker than what we see and can be as thick as some pure chocolate kinds.

Hot chocolate also has some health benefits from the antioxidants that are found in chocolate.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Wild And Interesting Facts About Tea

So tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, it ranks right up there with coffee and water. As online coffee retailers, we knew that you would love to know about the great and interesting facts about tea. There is a good chance that many of us on Earth have had at least one cup of tea in our lifetimes, so why not expand our knowledge about it?

1) In order for something to be considered "tea", it has to have leaves from the tea plant, or scientifically known as Camellia sinensis. If it just a bunch of herbs and leaves of plants that are not the Camellia sinensis, it is actually called Tisanes. Typically, when you find something marked "tea" in the grocery store, you are actually drinking a tisane.

2) Decaffeinating tea on your own is possible. When you want a cup of tea for its warmth and wonderful flavor and aroma, it can
be hard to find tea that is non-caffeinated when all you have around you is the perky stuff! So how do you get the tea without the caffeine when you have no seemingly possible way to get it? Decaffeinate it yourself. Rumor has it that all you have to do is brew the tea for 30 seconds or brew it twice (after throwing away the tea from the first brew). In order to do decaffeinate it yourself, you have to brew the tea for about 10 minutes (this removes about 90 percent of the caffeine). Then brew it again.

3) Soy lecithin actually isn't bad for you. Soy lecithin has been found in many kinds of teas and originally, it was thought that it was bad for you. However, researchers found out that when in moderation, it can be good for things like ulcerative colitis.

4) While tea can have caffeine and that stuff can wake you up, it has been found that the intense effects of the stuff is diminished when consumed via tea instead of coffee. This is because tea has something called L-Theanine. L-theanine has beneficial effects on the brain like being able to induce meditative states; it can help you relax but doesn't make you feel drowsy. It has even been found to help with stress and anxiety.

5) In the United States, we often drink something called a chai tea latte; tea mixed with lots of spices and milk. However, in many Asian countries, this drink will get you some awkward looks because chai  just means "tea" in many of those languages. So a chai tea would be redundant. "Can I have a tea tea?"

6) In some countries, like Burma, they drink tea but they also eat it. Yep, they eat it. They pickle the leaves and call it lephet. The tea leaves are softened, cooled, rolled, and aged.

7) In some countries, mostly in ancient times, they would use tea for something besides eating and drinking; they would use it to practice witchcraft; a ritual was performed that was called Tasseomancy.

Hopefully now you feel smarter about the tea you drink and can whip out some of these awesomely cool facts at tea parties. If you have a love for tea but not the time to shop for it in stores, then visit Coffeevines and purchase your tea online! Even though we are online national coffee distributors, we also have a vast selection of teas and hot chocolate.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Coffee Roasts & Their Differences

If you are into coffee, then you should know that there are different coffee roasts; not all coffee beans are roasted the same way. If you are new to coffee and didn't even know roasting the beans was a thing, well, we'll help you with that.

Roasting a process that is done to the beans that heats the beans from the weird looking raw greenish bean into the brown, fragrant, magical wonder that we often see in coffee shops and stores. When the beans are raw, they can be kept in that way for quite a long time; once roasted, use them or lose them.

Roasting coffee beans is not something considered for those new to coffee; roasting is considered an art form and takes years to master. It has been said that roasting coffee beans takes a quick mind and quick hands.

So why roast? It makes the bean have that delicious flavor and smell. If you were to eat or smell a raw bean, it would probably remind you of grass. Imagine drinking a grassy liquid (not like the grass shots from Jamba) instead of the coffee we know and love today.

So what are the different kinds of coffee roasts?

  • Light roasts, or mild roasts. These beans are lighter in color, like a light brown. The mild roast is used for softer, or milder, coffee blends. Common names for mild roasts include: light city, cinnamon, half city, and New England. 
  • Medium roasts. This roast is obviously a medium brown color, like a milk chocolate color. These beans have a heartier flavor and aroma. The medium roast is perhaps the most popular in the United States. Some common names for this roast include city, American, and breakfast. 
  • Medium-dark roast. This kind is a bit darker than medium and has a bit more flavor and aroma while not being as intense as dark roast. It has a more bittersweet taste. A common name for this roast is full city. 
  • Dark roasts. These beans have the most shine to them due to the longer roasting process. Due to the longer process, they have a more bitter flavor than the other kinds of roasts; however, coffee that is dark roast tends to have less acidity than the others as well. You can find variety in the dark roast arena; beans range from slightly dark to charred. Some common names for dark include high, continental, New Orleans, European, espresso, Viennese, Italian, and French. 
You can find light, medium, and dark roasts on our site from Coffeevines. As an online coffee retailer, we enjoy bringing the love of coffee to anyone in the country.