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Coffee, is it your really your addiction or just your crutch?

March 28th, 2013 2 Comments

Latte from Alfred Coffee Los Angeles

During my dtox juice cleanse* in Atlanta, I obviously wasn’t drinking ANY coffee. The thought of not having a cup was terrifying because I like not only the taste but also the caffeine getting my body moving in the early hours of the morning. Who doesn’t? So before the cleanse, Shannon (owner of dtox) suggested I try her Pu-erh latte to help me make the transition. (Pu-erh is an aged tea with a decent dose of caffeine and notable health benefits. The older it is the better it gets.)

To make her latte, Shannon steeps The Art of Tea Cocao Coconut Pu-erh and then tops it off with her fresh almond milk frothed with a Capresso frother.

When I tell you this combo tastes better than a real latte, I’m exaggerating. Neither is “better” than the other. But one IS “better” for you and happens to taste unbelievably delicious. In fact, I loved the Pu-erh so much I shunned our Breveille espresso maker and fresh ground Intelligencia beans during the cleanse and then for a month afterwards! I made Shannon’s blend every morning instead. I will say though, somehow hers is better…

Tea with Almond Milk

Don’t get me wrong, my obedience was facilitated by the fact that the best cappuccino was either made my traveling BF or a 20 minute drive from our home in Atlanta. When I returned to Houston and I could hit up Boomtown Coffee 5 minutes from my mom’s house, it was my first stop. But! I only did it once :)

THERE IS A MORE VALUABLE LESSON I LEARNED IN THIS EXPERIENCE.

As I person who enjoyed two to three cups of coffee a day, I really thought I was becoming addicted to it. But when I made the switch to only one Pu-erh a day, I didn’t get crazy headaches or feel more sluggish than normal. I was totally fine. What I realized is that I was using coffee as a crutch because I just like drinking good coffee….and hate drinking water. However, we all know that anything in excess is bad for our bodies. While debate is still out on whether coffee is “bad” for our health because it has proven benefits, I’m sure we can agree the stuff that most people put into their coffee is crap (dairy, soy milk, processed almond milk, syrups, etc). So now I enjoy tea in the morning and at least a gallon of water a day. I can’t say I feel different, but I don’t feel bad or like I’m missing out on anything. Of course I splurge on an occasional cappuccino or latte from time to time, just not two a day like I used to. If you’re wondering what shops serve up the best capps and lattes, I’ll give you a little list of my favorites should you be in one of my “home towns.” NYC

LA

HOUSTON

ATLANTA

OTHER CITIES

(*More on dtox juice and new cleanses soon!) Photo: Latte from Alfred Coffee, new “Ace Hotel” like coffee shop on Melrose Place in West Hollywood. They use Stumptown beans and have baristas who know how to serve them up right!

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5 things I learned about a good cup of coffee

May 26th, 2011 5 Comments

Last week I toured the Java Pura roasting facility in Houston.  Richard and Fielding, the owners, gave me a solid education on coffee. I always knew a good cup of coffee was all about the beans, but I learned there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

  1. You have to find a good roaster who truly cares about the product.  They select the beans from the farms and then determine how they are roasted.
  2. Freshness matters.  According to Fielding, coffee beans are like lettuce in that they don’t last forever.  Look for “Roasted On” date on the bag. Beans are at their best in the first week after they’re roasted and will remain fresh through 2 weeks.  After that, toss ‘em.
  3. Location of the roaster matters. If the beans are only good for 14 days, you don’t want to lose 1 or 2 days due to shipping.  So find a local roaster you love and stick with them.
  4. You don’t need milk or sugar in a good cup of coffee.  Having a smooth cup of coffee will depend on the bean you choose and how you prepare it.  I learned I prefer the “pour over” methond (shown left) instead of a french press because it produces a “cleaner” cup of coffee. A pressed cup is a lot heavier.
  5. Cold coffee can be good. A good cup of coffee will continue to taste good at room temperature. I really like it better this way sometimes.

You can buy Java Pura coffee here or Houstonians can pick up a fresh bag at Central Market.  I love the chocolately Sumatra and the Don Julio.

A few pics from the tour so you can see what I’m talking about above.

Richard Colt – owner of Java Pura – showing me how the beans come raw from the farm.  They smell like hay!

Fielding Cocke – the other owner – has learned the roasting process from their master roaster.

Fielding “breaking the cap” in the “cupping” process.  It’s  just as intricate as a wine tasting.

You’ll find you can smell and taste so many different flavors.

 

I was instructed to slurp up a taste of the coffee so it bursts over my tongue.  Also like wine tasting.

The whole day was so much fun.  Thanks for having me boys!!

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A pleasant surprise

February 3rd, 2011 3 Comments

I have a few girlfriends in Houston who profess their love for Starbucks EVERY morning.  I know, I know, I shouldn’t pass judgement.  To each her own.  But I will contest that whatever alternative you have at your disposal will be much more satisfying.

Yesterday running errands in the Galleria, I decided to hit up Teavana, the herbal tea store around the corner from Starbucks.  I know absolutely nothing about tea blends, but I figured they could whip up a warm, yummy concoction.  I told the guy, “I want something hearty and not too sweet.”  He busted out the Cocoa Praline Tart blend and I was instantly sold. With no added sugar, syrups or milk, he made me a delicious chocolately tea in 5 minutes.  Much better than a nonfat mocha on so many levels!

All of that being said, I opt for a bottled water over Starbucks…which is obviously healthier.

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Good morning beautiful!

February 1st, 2011 No Comments

Wait, don’t go yet….

Damn.

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Not a pretty face.

August 5th, 2010 No Comments

Good morning crater face cappuccino.

Ugh.

After a long night only to be followed by an early morning, I was determined to find a solid cap in Houston.

Big mistake.

I ventured out headed to Inversion on Montrose where they claim their coffee is “artistically inspired and brewed to perfection.” Unfortunately their espresso machine was broken. Seriously? Fail. Then to boehme and Taft Street which were both closed. On my way home I attempted to find Agora which is hidden inside a small forest. Finally I set my sights on Brasil a block away. If it weren’t for Google Maps on the iPad I would have never made it this far.

I stroll in to see platters of fresh scones and I thought I had hit the jackpot.

With my expectations set high (Brasil is up for Best Coffee House in Houston), I ordered my cappuccino, no special requests, even with whole milk.

And this bubbling caldron of coffee is what was set down in front of me. The froth is obviously a catastrophe and the beans taste burned.

Big Frown!

Thankfully, the wheat bagel is DELICIOUS.

So needless to say my early Tuesday morning has been a little rough, but I’m determined to make this another productive day.

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Hippest Corner on The Lower East Side, NYC

July 27th, 2010 No Comments

My friend just may very well live on the most delicious street in Manhattan. Within two blocks of the corner of Clinton and Stanton, you’ll find:

— Clinton Street Baking Company for brunch

— Frankie’s 17 (one of my all time NYC favorites)

— wd 50 (a Michelin star restaurant from Top Chef, James Beard nominee, Wylie Dufresne)

— Donnybrook pub

— San Marizano pizza

— Falai bakery

And now she can add coffee to the list!

Cafe Pedlar is a legit coffee bar that serves the famed Stumptown coffee.

Lucky girl isn’t she?!!

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My first at-home latte.

May 26th, 2010 No Comments

My first illy latte!

Ok, well, my first attempt was unsuccessful, but on my second try I made a delicious latte from an illy pod and milk I steamed (not microwaved!) myself.  And you know what, it tasted really good!!

Unfortunately I couldn’t make the milk foam, but that will come in time.

Bottom line: leaps and bounds better than Starbucks, cheaper in the long run, and I don’t have to put on pants and shoes to get it.

More on my machine here.  I bought it at Sur La Table on sale.  As a comparison I also tried out the Nespresso pod coffee, but I like the taste of illy better.

But what should I name her?

I’m one of those crazy people who names their fun toys/inanimate objects that seem to have a personality.

When it comes to this sassy red sista, our first date was a little rocky, but I think our chemistry will grow into a deep love and appreciation over time. A few mornings and we’ll get into a zone, you know.  So!  She’ll need a name.

Any ideas?

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I’m gonna be a barista!

May 26th, 2010 No Comments

Check out my new toy! After suffering through another terrible latte this morning, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. So I went to Sur La Table, weighed the pros and cons between the illy and Nespresso pod espresso machines with steamers, and settled on illy. Illy coffee beans are just better. I wish I could get the ones that use fresh beans, but they’re SO expensive, and I need the simplicity of pushing a button. Now frothing the milk to perfection will be a challenge. But whatever I make can’t be any worse than SB (sorry baristas). So excited to try this bad boy tomorrow.

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