Category Archives: Coffee Tips

Tips and Tricks for Brewing Bolder Coffee

Darth Roast CoffeeDark roasted coffee is an acquired taste to be certain, and most coffee lovers either love it or hate it. Starbucks is known for their bold roasts, such as Pike’s Place or Cafe Verona blends, but even they realized not everyone likes the intense, more acidic flavors of dark roast and added a blonde roast to their stock.

If you consume dark roasted coffee, or you want to give it a second chance, here are some tips and tricks to help make that bold coffee less acidic and ashy-tasting, and give it a fuller flavor.

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Iced Coffee Hacks

The weather around here bounces back and forth between hot and slightly chilly, but iced coffee season is definitely upon us! We’ve written before on the dos and don’ts of making your own iced coffee, which you should most definitely reread if you need a refresher. This post, however, is about different hacks you can do to make that iced coffee even better or give it a little kick. Sometimes it’s just fun to spruce things or literally spice things up in your iced coffee routine!

Flavored Ice Cubes

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, then you know all about making coffee ice cubes so that the coffee doesn’t dilute as the ice melts. But why stop at coffee ice cubes?

Try making ice cubes from chocolate for a super sweet treat. All you need is cocoa powder, water, agave syrup, and a little bit of your time over a hot stove. ManMade Guide has the recipe on this delicious idea.

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Add a sprig of mint to your ice cube trays, whether you’re making chocolate, coffee, or regular water ice cubes.

Shake the Coffee Cold.

Instead of pouring the coffee over ice cubes, dump all of your iced coffee ingredients into a bartender’s shaker, add ice, and shake it, baby! There’s a reason why bartenders use this method to pour cold cocktails, and it’s not for the arm workout. Continue reading

Coffee Hacks for Better Coffee Experience

CoffeeWe can all agree that coffee is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Most of us coffee aficionados live for our daily cups of coffee. If we could make that experience better, why wouldn’t we? Here are a few coffee hacks to try to improve upon your next cup or perhaps make your daily ritual a little easier.

Rinse coffee filters before using.

As you may have seen from our post last week, when brewing via the pour-over method, it’s best to rinse out the coffee filter to remove that starchy flavor before adding in the coffee grounds and hot water. Why not do the same when using an automatic coffeemaker?

Rinse the filters using hot water before placing them in your coffeemaker, and we can guarantee you’ll taste a difference.

Use cinnamon instead of sugar.

If you’re trying to cut back on sugar and excess calories, try using cinnamon in your next cup instead of sugar.

Is your coffee too bitter? Add in a pinch of salt.

Instead of dumping in more sugar or creamer into you coffee to counteract the bitter taste, sprinkle in a pinch of salt. It’s important to use just a pinch or your coffee will taste salty. The salt naturally counteracts against the bitter flavors. Continue reading

Is there a Difference between ‘Drip’ Coffee and Pour-Over?

There’s been a lot of talk in coffee circles about “drip coffee” and pour-over methods for brewing coffee, which has led to a lot of confusion. Does drip coffee mean it’s from your typical coffeemaker? Is it a special type of brewing? Is the pour-over method a type of drip brew?

The answer to all of these questions is yes.

The drip-brew process for coffee refers to pouring hot water over ground coffee beans and letting the coffee-absorbed water drip from the filter into a mug or carafe. Coffeemakers simply automate this process, letting consumers press a button and walk away without needing to manually boil the water first before pouring it over.

Drip-brew can refer to either coffeemaker-brewed coffee or coffee brewed via pour-over method, but typically, when someone mentions the pour-over method, they mean a manual pour-over brew. Continue reading

3 Fascinating and Economical Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds

coffee-groundsWe’ve talked about different ways to recycle coffee grounds before, such as making coffee granitas, treating for fleas, and even cleaning dishes.

However, here are a few more ideas  for green, economical ways the collective we can reuse coffee grounds. As the World Resources Institute recently estimated that over 7 million TONS of coffee is consumed worldwide each year, that’s a lot of coffee grounds we can reuse for some great applications we use daily.

How daily? Continue reading

Did You Know Coffee Naps are the Best Naps?

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Take a nap after drinking coffee? What? Isn’t coffee supposed to keep you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed awake?

Scientists have found that taking what they call a “coffee nap” will make you rest better and consequently feel better in the process.

The theory behind it is this: when the caffeine enters your brain from the bloodstream, it tries to fit into the neuroreceptors in your neurons. These particular receptors fit the neurotransmitter adrenosine, which normally makes you sleepy. After drinking coffee, the caffeine will compete with the adrenosine for these receptors. It’s able to boot out most of the adrenosine, but not all, hence why you may still feel sluggish after drinking coffee.

The kicker is that after you sleep for 15-20 minutes, a/k/a take a power nap, your brain flushes out the adrenosine. If you sleep longer, then you will plummet into deeper stages of sleep, which are much more difficult to recover from than the coveted power nap.

So since it takes 20 minutes for caffeine to leave your bloodstream and enter your brain, the theory is that if you drink coffee, and then take a nap, your power nap will flush out the adrenosine, leaving more receptors open for the caffeine to attach to. When you wake up, you’ll feel far more refreshed since the adrenosine is gone, and you’ll feel more awake and alert with the extra caffeine hooked into your neurons.

Seems pretty ingenious, right?

Curious to try it out? Here’s how:

  1. Drink coffee, and do it quickly.
  2. As soon as you finish, try to nap. Remember, you don’t have to go completely to sleep to get the effects of a power nap.
  3. Wake up within 20 minutes. Anything longer than that, and you will dive into REM sleep. You want to be awake when the caffeine hits your brain.

Obviously, decaf coffee won’t help you with a power nap. You can still take a power nap with decaf, but it won’t technically be a coffee nap without the added caffeine. Sodas won’t work as well either, as they have too much sugar to let you settle down enough to nap.

Are You Drinking Your Coffee Wrong?

wrongcoffeeThat does sound harsh, doesn’t it–to be told that the way you are consuming coffee is wrong? How we drink coffee is all about personal preference and therefore, opinion, right? So how can we be wrong?

Buzzfeed created a nifty little video that shows 5 ways they claim you are drinking your coffee “wrong,” but what they really mean is they have five tips to help you get the most out of your coffee! A few of these tips we’ve gone over before, but a couple were complete news to me.

Watch the video below, or skip to our written summary with other tips if you can’t or don’t want to watch a video. We get it.

Don’t Drink Old Coffee

We’ve gone over the tip for making coffee ice cubes before to help prevent your iced coffee from getting watered down. Using old coffee is a far better idea than brewing a whole new pot of coffee just for the iced cubes. It cuts down on waste, for starters. However, Buzzfeed introduced another idea for the iced coffee cubes–use them to make a quick iced latte. Fill your glass with the iced coffee cubes and pour milk over it.

Don’t Force Yourself to Power Through Bitter Coffee

Does someone in the office like the coffee to slap them in the face in the morning? Did they brew the pot before you got there? It happens. Instead of forcing yourself to burn through it, because my God, you need that jolt today, add a pinch of salt to the coffee! It sounds disgusting, but adding just a pinch, JUST A PINCH, will naturally counteract the bitterness.

Don’t Dump Sweeteners in Your Coffee

You like your coffee to be a little sweet? That’s exactly what the creamers are for. However, if you’re dumping in loads of creamer and sugar, perhaps you need to change how you’re brewing your coffee. When grinding the beans, add some natural flavors into the whole beans before grinding. For example, add some cinnamon stick flakes or orange zest or tear up a few mint leaves. Now your coffee has some natural sweetness ground in, perfect for adding in some cream (but not sugar!).

Don’t Add Cold Milk to Coffee

This tip essentially teaches you how to make a foamy latte without a cappuccino machine. Pour the milk into a mason jar, shake vigorously for 30 seconds, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds, and then you have “steamed” milk with foam that you can top on your coffee.

Avoid Old Coffee

So we know that you should freeze your old coffee into ice cube trays, but how can you tell if the coffee is old? Obviously, this is simple to tell at your own home, but at the office? That’s a different beast. The video shows how you can use two Styrofoam cups to keep track of the age of the coffee. You’re going to have to watch the video for this one; it’s quite handy and it’s hard to explain without seeing it.

Now the trick here is to get everyone in your office to adhere to the cup timer.

Do you have any other coffee life hacks you want to share? Leave them in the comments below!

4 Other Uses for Coffee Filters

Coffee filters are often quite the cheap commodity for more filters than you may conceivably use in a month’s time. But did you know they could be used for other awesome things around your house that will also prove to be far cheaper than traditional products? Oh yes, coffee filters are about to become a staple in your home, if they weren’t already.

Odor Absorbers

And here's yet another fun use for coffee filters...temporary bowls!

And here’s yet another fun use for coffee filters…temporary bowls!

Don’t buy a whole box of baking soda to sit and rot in your refrigerator to absorb those strange smells. Put about 3 tablespoons of baking soda into a coffee filter, make a ball of the filter with the powder, and then tie off the open ends with a rubber band. You can also use the ball of soda to absorb odors in other smelly places, such as near cat litter boxes or in your shoes!

Dryer Sheets

Before you toss a filter into your dryer and press go, hold up, there’s a couple of other steps you must complete first. Step one, dunk the filter into vinegar. Believe it or not, vinegar absorbs odors and prevents static cling. If you want your clothes to smell super fresh, add a few drops of essential oils to the filter before tossing it in. Essential oils are also natural antibacterials, so any germs that your washing machine missed will be taken care of.

Screen Cleaners

Don’t use a paper towel on your smartphone, tablet, or computer monitor; try a coffee filter instead! They’re lint-free, so you won’t have to rewipe your screen with your sleeve or another cloth after cleaning.

Coffee filters are also perfect for cleaning up small spills instead of wasting a whole paper towel.

Baking Greasers

If you need to grease a pan or baking dish, instead of grabbing that stick of butter and rubbing it down directly on the pan, which then calls for you to throw away the butter once done, rub a coffee filter onto the butter. As it is lint-free, it won’t leave anything behind on your butter. No waste, and your hands stay butter-free as well.

Do you have any fun uses for coffee filters? Share them below!

Saving Money on Coffee This Holiday Season

The I Love Coffee blog is one of the best coffee blogs out there, simply because she comes up with creative infographics for boring statistics. In turn, she makes boring statistics seem interesting.

For example, she recently posted how much money millennials will spend on coffee over the holidays, which if you do the math, is staggering.

Courtesy of I Love Coffee blog

Courtesy of I Love Coffee blog

Her study comes from mostly coffeeshop data, as she notes in another infographic that 45.5 cents of every $1 millennials spend on coffee goes to Starbucks. That’s a lot of money to be spent at coffeeshops, and while we totally get the need to keep that coffee fix going, there are so many cheaper ways to stay caffeinated with coffee.

For starters, you can always brew your own. Here’s another lovely infographic to show how much money you can save from brewing your own coffee vs. going to Starbucks.

Courtesy of I Love Coffee blog

Courtesy of I Love Coffee blog

Now if you’re attached to special flavor drinks, don’t think you’re resigned to relying on your favorite latte-brewing shop. Early cappuccino machines used to be a burden and a pain to use and maintain, but thanks to Nescafé, it’s gotten far easier to make cappuccinos and mochas at home. It may seem pricey up front, but if you do the math (we’ve done it for you!) it won’t take long to see how much you will save with the Nescafé Alegria A510.

Not sure how to make those fancy flavored drinks you like at coffee shops with the Nescafé Alegria A510? We have some recipes for that as well, in addition to several different Coffee-mate liquid pump creamers that can turn your latte into that peppermint mocha you love.

Save your money this holiday season for that massive Christmas shopping list you know you have. Brew coffee at home, make your coffee drinks the way you will definitely like it, and enjoy the savings. And if you really can’t let go of Starbucks, we can save you some money on buying Starbucks’ roasts.

Make Your Coffee More Eco-Friendly

is-recycle_coffeeMany environmentalists like to point to coffee-drinkers as some of the biggest culprits when it comes to harming the environment, from the excessive waste of K-cups to drinking coffee from styrofoam cups at the office. If the finger-pointing bothers you, there are several things coffee lovers can do to reduce the amount of waste and be a tad more eco-friendly all around. The best part is, they’re all very simple and easy to do!

Use coffee mugs.

Instead of using plastic or styrofoam cups, invest in a coffee mug or five. Keep one at work, and several at home. You can even create your own coffee mugs on Etsy or on CafePress.

Use washable filters.

Paper filters are great, as they’re easy to clean up, but they create waste. Look into buying permanent filters that need to be washed to save how much gets dumped into a landfill.

Recycle coffee grounds.

We’ve explained before the benefits and how to reuse your old coffee grounds, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Coffee grounds make great additions for your compost pile, but if you don’t have a compost pile, throw your used grounds into your garden. The nitrogen in the grounds makes for an all-natural fertilizer, and the grounds will keep unwanted pests away, such as ants and even stray cats.

Do you have your own eco-friendly coffee tips? Leave them in the comments below!