Holiday Coffee Creamers of 2010

You know it’s the holidays when limited edition products hit the shelves. In case you haven’t noticed, the coffee creamer selection at your local grocery store has also followed suit. This year, treat yourself to a few favorites, as well as a couple new flavors for 2010.

The holiday creamer flavors from Coffeemate have been available since November and will continue to be sold until January. This year, we see a few latte selections being offered, as well as a couple of never-seen-before flavors. International Delight offers fall/winter limited edition creamers that generally focus on tasty reminders of seasonal sweet treats.

Why don’t you capture the essence of the holidays in your coffee with the following holiday creamers:

International Delight Holiday Creamers

  • Chocolate Mint Truffle – The combination of milk chocolate with a hint of mint tastes like a cup of melted chocolates. Available Fall/Winter 2010.
  • Spiced Rum Vanilla – With an intoxicating scent, the blend of vanilla and cinnamon spiced rum smells just as good as it tastes. Available Fall/Winter 2010.
  • White Chocolate Raspberry – It’s almost like drinking a cup of melted white chocolate and red raspberry cheesecake. Available Fall/Winter 2010.

Coffeemate Holiday Creamers

  • Caramel Apple – Perfect for those longing for the seasonal sweetness of apple and caramel. Available in liquid.
  • Eggnog Latte – It’s like drinking a cup of creamy eggnog without all of the calories. Available in liquid.
  • Gingerbread – Enjoy a taste of gingerbread cookies in your next cup of coffee. Available in liquid.
  • Gingerbread Latte – A creamier and sweeter version of the Gingerbread creamer. Available in liquid.
  • Peppermint Mocha – The combination of mint and chocolate mocha is sure to send you off to a relaxing slumber. Available in liquid and powder.
  • Pumpkin Spice – No need to cut a slice of pumpkin pie when you have this holiday creamer on hand. Also available in liquid and powder.
  • Sugar & Spice – Sugar and spice and everything nice is in this creamer, which offers a cinnamon-y wake up call. Available in liquid.

From Light to Dark – Know Your Coffee

Not all coffee is created equal, as a range of roasts is produced– according to the length of time the beans are heated. An unroasted bean has its own protein, acids, and caffeine. However, it is lacking in taste. Add heat to the equation and chemical reactions take place that transform carbohydrates and fats into aromatic oils. Moisture is burned off and a breakdown of acids leads to the revealing the distinct flavors that coffee beans possess.

Do you know your roasts?

Light Roast

The surface of a light roast is dry. It takes about seven minutes for the coffee beans to “pop” and double in size, which signifies a light roasting. The coffee that is mass produced in America usually possesses a light roast. The taste you get is light-bodied with a slightly grassy or sour flavor. Sometimes, this type of coffee is called cinnamon roast, half city, and New England.

Medium Roast

After nine to eleven minutes have passes, a medium roast is achieved – a favorite amongst specialty sellers in the United States. The flavor of the coffee is somewhat sweeter than a light roast and offers a full body taste with a pleasant aroma. This type of roast is sometimes referred to as full city, American, regular, breakfast, or brown.

Dark Roast

The sound of hissing and popping of coffee beans is an indication that you have a dark roast on your hands. This process takes about 12 to 13 minutes to achieve, where oils start to rise to the surface. The flavor that is achieved is slightly spicy. A distinct aroma and rich chocolaty body are also characteristics of this roast. Sometimes, this kind of coffee is called high, Viennese, French, and continental.

The Darkest Roast

For the darkest roast, beans are heated for more than 14 minutes, where they quiet and start to smoke. Carmelization also takes place, which indicates the carbonizing of bean sugars. A smoky flavor is produced. Italian roasts and espresso are the darkest of roasts.

Using Flavored Syrups in Coffee

Sugar and creamer are not the only things you can use to dress up a plain ol’ cup of coffee, and sometimes you don’t want to commit to an entire bag of flavored ground coffee. Today, you can choose from a rainbow of flavored syrups that allow you to experience an array of nutty, fruity, and exotic tastes. When you’re looking to enhance the flavor of your coffee, consider the following suggestions for flavored syrups:

Monin

Monin Flavored Syrup (shown) offers more than 100 classic and exotic flavors. One minute you could be tapping into the flavor of the ancient Aztecs with Spicy Chocolate and the next, getting tropical with Caribbean Rum. Other favorites include Hazelnut, Vanilla, Irish Cream, Chocolate Mint, Coconut, and Toffee Nut.

Torani

Torani makes a tasty line of flavored syrups, including nut-inspired options – perfect for adding a little something extra to your lattes and other coffee drinks. Choose Macadamia Nut to create a rich and creamy coffee treat. Other nutty choices include Butter Pecan and Classic Hazelnut. Torani also offers sugar-free and organic syrups for coffee.

DaVinci Sugar Free

For coffee drinkers looking to count their calories, DaVinci offers an impressive line of sugar-free flavored syrups sweetened with Splenda. Featured flavors include Cinnamon, Vanilla, Caramel Sugar, and Dulce de Leche. However, browse the mouth-watering collection to find Praline, White Chocolate, Amaretto, and German Chocolate Cake.

Flavored Syrups for the Holidays

To add the taste of the holidays to your coffee and other hot beverages, consider the wide variety of flavored syrups found on the market. For the fall season and Thanksgiving, Torani offers Pumpkin Pie syrup. Get in the Christmas spirit with coffee spiked with Peppermint or sugar-free Gingerbread flavored syrup from Monin.

National Coffee Day – September 29

From iced cappuccinos to decaf lattes, more than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. Served steaming hot to ice cold with whipped cream on top, this popular beverage dates back to the 9th century. A variety of “holidays” and observances in the name of coffee exist, including September 29 – National Coffee Day. On this day, why don’t you tip back a cup of Joe in honor of the influential brew, as well as enjoy a few interesting facts about coffee.

Celebrate with Coffee Specials

Local and national businesses are known to celebrate National Coffee Day by offering their customers free or discounted cups of coffee. For example, stop by your local Dunkin’ Donuts to grab a free cup of coffee. A portion of all sales at Dunkin’ Donuts will also be donated to the Special Olympics. Starbucks is holding a VIA Taste Challenge on National Coffee Day to celebrate the launch of their new instant coffee. Participants get a complimentary coffee on their next visit and coupons.

It also pays to be active in social media as many businesses wish to attract Coffee Day celebrators with coupons and specials For example, LaMar’s Donuts (with locations in six states) is offering a coupon on their Facebook and Twitter account – good for a free 12-ounce coffee.

Interesting Coffee Facts

  • The first European coffee house opened in Italy in 1645.
  • The Dutch were the first to import coffee and coffee beans on a large scale. They even smuggled coffee seedlings into Europe in 1690 – defying the Arab prohibition regarding the exportation of coffee plants and unroasted coffee seeds.
  • Even decaffeinated coffee contains a small amount of caffeine. Drip coffee possesses the highest amount of caffeine with 115 to 175 mg. Other values include: espresso (100 mg), brewed (80-135 mg), instant (65-100 mg), brewed decaf (3-4 mg), and instant decaf (2-3 mg).
  • It takes a coffee tree five years to mature. The average yield of this one tree will produce the equivalent of one pound of roasted coffee.
  • Where do most of your cups of coffee come from? Perhaps Brazil, where 30 to 40% of the world’s coffee originates.

Drink Ideas for Your Espresso

When you wish to take your espresso drinking to new levels, there are plenty of drink ideas that allow you to explore the dark, rich taste of the popular beverage. Espresso drinks may include added flavors, spicy accents or toppings, such as whipped cream. Whether you’re looking to understand the endless orders at your local coffee shop or want to experiment at home, consider the following drink ideas for espresso:

Espresso Macchiato – Single shot of espresso. 1 to 2 tablespoons of foamed milk as a topping. Served in an espresso cup.

Espresso Dopio (Double Espresso) – Typically served in a cappuccino cup, a double shot of espresso is used – approximately 3 ounces.

Caffe Americanno – Hot water is used to dilute espresso to reach drip coffee strength.

Spicy Viennese Espresso – A blend of a double-shot of espresso, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, 4 ground cloves and ½ teaspoon of allspice. Top with whipped cream.

Black Eye – A double-shot of espresso added to one cup of American style drip coffee.

Espresso con Panna – A single or double espresso shot topped with whipped cream.

Espresso Romano – Fresh lemon peel is the topping of a single shot of espresso.

Cappuccino – A traditional cappuccino is made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam. Served in a small cup, the entire drink is between 4 and 6 ounces. The cappuccino can then be topped with a light sprinkle of ground chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla powder.

Flavored Cappuccino – Coffee syrup is a common method of flavoring your cappuccino. A high-quality choice is Monin syrups.

Mocha Cappuccino – After dissolving cocoa or chocolate syrup with the milk to taste, mix 1/3 part espresso to 2/3 part steamed milk.

Caffe Latte – Mix a double-shot of espresso with approximately 5 ounces of steamed milk. The overall drink usually measures about 9 to 12 ounces. Little or no foam is typically added to the top. Flavor your latte with coffee syrup.

Espresso Martini – Blend 1 ounce vanilla-flavored vodka, 2 ounces coffee-flavored liqueur, 1 ounce cream or milk, and 1 cup crushed ice in a cocktail shaker. Vigorously shake ingredients to chill, and then pour into martini glasses.

Kahlua Espresso Martini – In a cocktail shaker, add 1 ounce Kahlua, 1 ounce vodka, and ½ ounce fresh brewed espresso. Add ice and vigorously shake. Strain contents into a chilled martini glass.

Sweet Treats for Coffee Lovers

If you’re a coffee lover, it’s only natural to gravitate to desserts that offer a tasty jolt of caffeine. From hard candy to an oven full of espresso-laced cookies, consider the following suggestions when looking for sweet treats that please the coffee connoisseur in you.

Cookies

From Triple Chocolate Espresso Cookies to adding a bit of espresso powder to your favorite recipes, don’t be afraid to slip into your apron and put your oven to good use. The Internet is swarming with cookie recipes that incorporate coffee as one of the ingredients. Other ideas include Espresso Brownies and coffee-flavored biscotti.

Hard Candy

Hard candies come in many different forms and flavors. Some melt in your mouth, while others soften in your hand. Looking for a few ideas?  Bali’s Best Coffee Candy offers flavors such as espresso and latte. Also, don’t forget to take a walk on the wild side and explore international delights, such as the Kasugai Sumiyaki Roasted Coffee Candy, which is very popular in Japan. Other types of hard candy may include coffee-flavored chocolate discs (similar to plain M&Ms) – encased in colored sugary shells.

Chocolate Candy

Consider satisfying your sweet tooth with chocolate bars offering added coffee flavor or beans. For example, Charles Chocolates (at Chocolate.com) makes a Mocha Java Baricon that combines mocha java pieces and 65% bittersweet chocolate. Other candy options include coffee-flavored truffles and coffee liqueur-filled chocolates.

Espresso Beans

Chocolate covered espresso beans are a popular sweet treat for coffee lovers, which come in many different varieties, including dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, and even mint chocolate.

Coffee Spoons

Similar to the concept of honey spoons for tea drinkers, coffee spoons offer a little something extra for a regular cup of Joe. Butterscotch, mocha, chocolate, whiskey, and cocoa are just some of the flavors and ingredients a coffee spoon can add to your favorite beverage.

Dessert Coffees

Whether you add a hint of Irish Cream to your java or top with fresh whipped cream, it’s simple to enjoy a dessert coffee. Sometimes, it’s as easy as purchasing a bag of dessert-flavored coffee, such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie Coffee.

Baking and Cooking with Espresso

Espresso isn’t just a morning pick-me-up, but the popular beverage also has a place in the world of cooking and baking. Hot water forced through finely ground coffee at high pressure is how the darkly colored drink espresso is made. Originating in Italy, the coffee is typically served in small glasses or in “shots” measuring about one ounce. For instance, making the average latte or cappuccino calls for two shots of espresso.

Starbucks is not the only place that you can enjoy a hot cup of rich, dark espresso. Coffee lovers can make their own at home with an espresso maker, which differs from the regular coffeemaker.  Outside of the beverage world, espresso can provide a distinct taste to dishes and desserts.

A few ideas for baking and cooking with espresso include:

Baking with Espresso

Adding a small amount of espresso to your typical dessert recipes can provide a different experience for your taste buds. A few ways to incorporate a coffee flavor for your next sweet treat include:

Espresso Biscotti: When making your favorite biscotti recipe, experiment with instant espresso powder. Start off by adding 1 teaspoon to your typical ingredients list and adjust according to your taste.

Espresso Brownies: Coffee lovers can add 2 tablespoons of espresso powder to any boxed brownie mix to enhance the taste of their next batch. If you like glazing your brownies with a powdered sugar coating, add 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to your recipe.

Espresso Sugar Cream Pie: After brushing the inside of an unbaked pie crust with melted butter, whisk together 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder until well blended. Pour the ingredients into the prepared pie crust. Bake in a 350-degree preheated oven until pie has set – about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool on a rack. Add one cup of chocolate whipped cream as piping for the edge of the pie.

Chocolate Espresso Cookies: Deliver an extra kick to your cookies with about 2 ¼ teaspoons of finely ground espresso beans added to your favorite chocolate cookie recipe.

Cooking with Espresso

There are also a variety of creative ways to incorporate espresso into some of your favorite meat-related dishes. For example, when you’re looking to shake things up for your next BBQ, consider serving Espresso Rubbed Barbecued Burgers, which are sprinkled with a mixture of espresso powder and freshly ground black pepper on both sides of the patties before grilling.

You could also make an Espresso-Bourbon Sauce to coat grilled meats, such as beef steaks. Combine 1/4 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder in a small saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer the sauce uncovered for 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens and is reduced to about half. Occasionally stir and then add in 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Keep warm until grilled meat is ready for eating.

For a non-bake treat, consider Espresso Bark. First, combine 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon margarine in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 30-second stretches of time until the ingredients have melted and show a smooth consistency. Stir between each round of heating. Mix in 3/4 cup whole coffee beans. Pour the chocolate mix onto the waxed paper and create an even layer. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped white chocolate pieces onto the top of the chocolate. Lightly press the bark and place in freezer until set – around 5 minutes. Break the bark into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Tea & Coffee Hot Spots for Travelers

Calling all avid travelers! If you like browsing artistic collections of teapots or exploring the history of infamous caffeinated brews around the world, then you may enjoy the following museums, which focus on coffee and tea.

Trenton Teapot Collection – Tennessee

From a teapot shaped like an elephant with gold accents to one depicting a mermaid, the Trenton Teapot Collection is credited with carrying the largest collection of Porcelain Veilleuse-Theieres (also known as “night-light teapots”) in the world. Specimens date between 1750 and 1860 with some hailing from India, France, Spain, and Italy – highlighting significant cultural details. It is free to take in the colorful sights of the highly creative teapots. Located in Trenton, Tennessee, the city also hosts a teapot festival.

Kona Coffee Museum and Farm – Hawaii

For a taste of Big Island coffee production, the Uchida Coffee Farm (located south of Kealakekua town on the Kona Coast) offers a tour with guides dressed in period costumes. The original farmhouse, bathhouse, coffee mill and drying platforms await your curiosity.

Coffee Museum – Santos, Sao Paulo

Located at the Official Coffee Exchange in the port city of Santos, you will find the Coffee Museum – dedicated to coffee in Brazil. A historic architectural sight in itself, the Museum is part of a short tour that costs about $1 and runs every 30 minutes. A vintage streetcar starts in front of José Bonifácio Palace and takes you throughout the downtown area, where you can walk over to the Museum and visit at the end of your sightseeing.

Highlights of the museum include the imported marble floor of the Trading Room, the striking stained glass panel on the ceiling of the Trading Room, the coffee scales, and the chance to purchase special coffees at the gift shop. If you’re lucky, you can arrange to attend the three-day barista course held at the Museum that takes place every month for a fee of $180.

Museum of Coffee Technology – Germany

If you enjoy the technical side of making coffee just as much as drinking it, you may want to check out the Museum of Coffee Technology in Emmerich, Germany. It is here that you’ll encounter a collection of about 600 household coffee mills – many of which are fascinatingly decorative. A great deal of roasters is on the premises, highlighting items from 1884 to the 20th century. Large and small commercial and industrial grinders are also on display.

National Tea Museum – China

Possessing the longest history in the world of tea, China is often considered its birthplace. Interestingly, the National Tea Museum claims the only attraction of its kind that offers a tea theme. Opened in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in 1991, the Museum is quite unique, as there are no external walls, but instead – vegetation serves as its boundaries. The history and development of tea in China is separated into four different groups of buildings.

For example, step into the exhibition building to find six halls devoted to the history of growing and processing tea throughout the country: Hall of Tea History, the Kaleidoscope Hall, the Hall of Tea Properties, the Tea-friendship Hall, the Tea Sets Hall, and the Tea Customs Hall. Visit the Kaleidoscope Hall to browse more than 300 kinds of tea. It’s a learning experience that also includes conferences centered on tea culture, tea art performances, as well as a chance to sample a variety of teas.

Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum – London, England

Located in London, England, The Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum is known as the first museum in the world to completely devote its exhibits to the history of tea and coffee. Covering more than 400 years of commercial and social history, it’s been educating and enlightening tourists since 1992. A visit to the museum brings you close to the London Bridge station and Borough Market, where it is open daily. Onsite, there is a tearoom that serves coffee and tea to guests for a price. Enjoy Cream Tea (including scones with clotted cream and jam, cake and tea of your choice for £7) or Afternoon Tea (with cucumber sandwiches, hot crumpet, tea cake, cake and choice of tea for £9). At last check, the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum was undergoing refurbishment, so it would be a good idea to call before planning a visit (020 7403 5650).