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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Coffee


I love coffee. I admit it!

Not caffeine. My body reacts badly to too much caffeine. I get the heart flutters and will talk 90 miles a minute. So it's mostly decaf.

My family knows how I love my coffee.

I don't like a heavy, bitter, cigar-butt coffee. I like flavored coffee but NOT the kind that is syrupy sweet. So I'm pretty particular but will keep a cup in my hand if it's made the way I like it.
I like my local Hess station's coffee. I will get a 24 oz cup and fill 1/4 of it with a flavor like French Vanilla, English Toffee, etc. Then I finish it off with their decaf coffee. If I need a little wake-up I will put a couple of Tbsp of regular coffee in it. A brand new cup is $1.61 but I save the paper cups and re-use them a few times because a refill is only .85 per cup. Plus, I use a coffee card that gives me a free coffee after 10 purchased cups (including the refills). I also like my local Hot Spot's coffee. I purchased their plastic mugs and get a mug refill for .27. I don't think you can beat these prices with a Starbuck's stick can you? As for Starbuck, I only like their Chai tea. In my opinion their coffee is too bitter or, the flavored ones, are too sweet. But I do love their Chai tea. It's a real treat.

At home, I buy fresh hazelnut coffee beans from Fresh Market. I grind them in my Vitamix mixer.

Then I store them in a Gevalia Kaffe canister that I got when I used to be a member of that coffee-of-the-month club.

Gevalia Kaffe has great coffee too, but it's just more convenient for me to pick up what I want at Fresh Market which is only about 4 miles away. I buy Sugar Free French Vanilla creamer powder and Fat Free French Vanilla creamer powder and combine the two so that each tsp is 1/2 fat free and 1/2 sugar free. I put 1 tsp into each cup and then add a sprinkle of cinnamon and cardamom in it.

I use a Bunn coffee maker and really like it. The only problem I've had with it (I've had it 4 years now) is cracking in the plastic around the warming plate. But it still works and so I keep using it. I love how quickly it makes the coffee. You have to use Bunn filters because they are a special size. This is a little inconvenient but they are cheap enough, I just have to remember to get them at Walmart when I'm there. I use a fresh filter each time. I don't pile fresh coffee on top of old grounds and "build" on it. I do keep my coffeemaker clean. When I clean it, I use a little bleach in a carafe full of water. This may not be recommended by the manufacturer and I take no responsibility for suggesting it. I'm just saying, I do it. I will use a bottle brush to scrub around the opening where you pour water. I let the bleach/water sit about 10 mins and then pour in another carafe of plain water to force the bleach into the 2nd reservoir. I let it sit another 10 mins and then flush it with 2 carafes of plain water flowing through the system. Then I use white vinegar in a carafe of water. Let it sit about 10 mins and then pour aa carafe of plain water and let it sit another 10 mins. Then begin flushing with up to 5 carafes of plain water. This can take about 30 mins but you can do it while cooking or tidying up the kitchen. You want to be sure the last carafe of water does NOT smell like vinegar. Thats how you know you are finished flushing. Wash the carafe and filter holder. Wipe down the outside and underneath the coffee maker and you have a fresh clean coffee maker.

Coffee beans you aren’t going to grind and brew within two weeks can be kept in the freezer, but they should not be stored in the refrigerator. Moisture isn’t good for coffee. So, when I buy a new bag of coffee, I put it in the freezer door. You can keep whole beans that are well wrapped, in the freezer for a couple of months but mine only stay in there a couple of weeks at most. I have heard that frozen coffee beans will sweat while defrosting and the moisture will destroy the flavor. This means you should let it dry before storing in airtight container. I haven't had this problem but I'm throwing the tip out there. I also read that dark coffee beans should never be frozen. When I'm ready for it, I grind all the beans with my Vitamix mixer and then store in the air tight canister. According to the Joy of Cooking, “The best way to store coffee beans, ground or whole, is in an opaque airtight canister at room temperature.” Don't open the bag and then keep it in the freezer. The coffee beans are porous will take on the smells of anything else in the freezer and can suffer freezer burn. Put it in an airtight container and keep it at room temperature. Some people say you should only grind the beans as you use them instead of grinding the whole bag at one time like I do. There are a lot of variations and comments about purchasing, storing, grinding and brewing coffee. Everyone has their own thoughts on it and it makes interesting reading if you do a Google search on the subject.

What about your coffee mugs? Many people seem to pick up all kinds of mismatched coffee mugs, especially free advertising ones or cute gift mugs. You can quickly end up with way more than you need. Some people have their favorite mugs and don't use all the others that clutter up the cabinet. I decided to have some matching cups for company. You know, the ones that match my everyday china. I also have china sets for each season of the year with, of course, their own matching cups. But, then I have 2 that are my favorite mugs. One pretty much matches my everyday china but is a larger mug. The other is a bright, sunny yellow. I also have some Krispy Kreme coffee mugs. Stan likes those and they commemorate my mother's family who own the Krispy Kreme in Spartanburg, SC. I don't have any other mugs in my cabinets...it's my 2 favorites, the KK mugs or the matching mugs. No mismatched, advertising mugs for me. No gaggle of stacked cups. I've paired down. I have 8 matching teacups and 8 matching coffee mugs and my 2 favorites. I got rid of everything else. (By the way, Stan will only drink Folgers coffee and he will only drink it from styrofoam cups!?! So I keep 20 oz styrofoam cups for him. It's funny how set in our ways we are!)

Stan put up some cup hooks in my cabinet that holds all my cups except for my 2 favorites that rarely get a chance to "sit" in the cabinet. This is a photo taken about 2 yrs ago. The tall paisley mugs are my favorites but I broke one so I got the bright yellow one to replace it.

I also have my travel mugs. I have several and keeping them and their matching tops is it's own little problem. I also have some travel thermoses that I picked up at yardsales...those good stainless steel ones!
I will take coffee on trips in those. I also use them for iced tea or hot soup for picnics. I have a shelf in a cabinet just for these thermoses and travel mugs. I don't keep more than I use and this is where they all go. I try to pop the lids on them (as long as they are dry) to keep them together.

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