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Coffee

Happy National Coffee Day!

Coffee fans, unite! We now have our very own day to enjoy the rich variety of caffeinated beverages that are in the coffee world. Of course, all of us that love coffee enjoy it on nearly every day—we don’t need a holiday, fortunately, to have a cup of joe. But when you do pour something, you might turn to a relatively new entry in the coffee world, and that’s cold brew.

If you go to any coffee shop or even go to a retail location or gas station, you’ll notice that you have loads of pre-made options. But they can be pricey. Instead, it’s helpful to learn how to make your own cold brew at home and enjoy all the tasty deliciousness that this drink offers.

People enjoy cold brew because it’s naturally more sweet and less acidic. So how do you expertly add this to your at-home drink menu? This graphic offers a how-to to try.

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: PSL is back at Starbucks along with other fall favorites

PSL season continues with Pumpkin Spice Lattes now at Starbucks locations nationwide and as well as in Canada. This is the 17th year that the drink will be featured at Starbucks locations.

The pumpkin spice industry is worth over $500 million according to the Forbes. This is the earliest that the coffee industry has moved to begin the fall season.

Pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes feature real pumpkin sauce, signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Available hot, iced or blended.

Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew returns to the menu, crafted with Starbucks® Cold Brew sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks

Fall bakery items are also on menus nationwide with the pumpkin trio: Pumpkin Cream Cheese MuffinPumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread. 

There is also a number of pumpkin spice-flavored ground, packaged, and ready-to-drink products now available and NEW Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored K-Cup® Packs + Ground Coffee and Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.

Hopefully this brings this cheer to people. Happy PSL!

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Articles News Restaurant News

PSL Season is Upon Us: Dunkin’ Brings Back Pumpkin Spice Lattes August 19th

Get your taste buds and outfits ready, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season is upon us and will return by Wednesday, August 19th, to Dunkin’ Donuts. It is the earliest that the season has ever started as brands rush to bring back the autumn season.

On the menu…

  • NEW Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte: Spicing up the brand’s fall lineup is an exceptional seasonal sip worthy of even the most fanatical “fallower,” Dunkin’s new Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. Elevating PSL to another level of enjoyment, the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte – available hot or iced – combines rich, smooth espresso with pumpkin and vanilla flavors, topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and cinnamon sugar topping.
  • NEW Chai Latte: Dunkin’s fall celebration includes a new option for tea lovers, offering a sweetened chai tea blend with spices including cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg combined with milk.
  • Pumpkin Flavored Coffees: The classic cup for fueling up in fall, Dunkin’s pumpkin flavor swirl is available in its hot or iced coffee, Chai Latte, Cold Brew, espresso drinks, frozen coffee, and frozen chocolate.
  • Apple Cider Donut and MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats: Dunkin’s Apple Cider Donut features an apple cider cake ring tossed in cinnamon sugar. For a bite-sized serving of seasonal sweetness, guests can also enjoy Apple Cider MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats.
  • Pumpkin Donut, MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats, and Muffin: Fall isn’t complete without the classic treat of Dunkin’s Pumpkin Donut, a glazed pumpkin cake donut that can also be enjoyed as MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats, along with Dunkin’s Pumpkin Muffin, topped with white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.
  • Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: To help feed fall cravings, Dunkin’ is bringing back its Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, featuring five half-slices of maple sugar seasoned bacon, egg, and white cheddar cheese served on a warm, flaky croissant.
Dunkin’.

Satisfying Snackin’ Selection:

  • NEW Stuffed Bagel Minis: Bagel lovers can go small this fall, as Dunkin’ introduces Stuffed Bagel Minis, mini bagel rounds filled with plain cream cheese and served warm. Stuffed Bagel Minis are available in two varieties, Plain and Everything Topping.
  • NEW Steak & Cheese Rollups: Dunkin’ is adding steak to its lineup of rollups, which also include Ham & Cheese and Bacon & Cheese varieties. Steak & Cheese Rollups, which come two per order, include delicious steak and American cheese rolled up in flour tortillas.
  • NEW Maple Sugar Seasoned Snackin’ Bacon: Dunkin’ is also putting a seasonal spin on its beloved Snackin’ Bacon. Guests can enjoy eight snack-sized slices of bacon specially flavored with maple sugar seasoning. Each order comes in a sleeve, making it easy to enjoy on the go.  

PSL at Home: Guests can also take the taste of pumpkin home with Dunkin’s Pumpkin K-Cup® pods, available at participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide for a limited time. Additionally, Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pods and packaged coffee will be available in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide for a limited time this season.

All items will be available by August 19th nationwide. Happy PSL!

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Articles Coffee Product Reviews Reviews

Review: RoosRoast Coffee – Portland in the 90s and Lobster Butter Love

I worked out of cafes all day in the pre-pandemic era so I’ve been trying to adapt to being home more and still finding a way to explore different coffees. In a way getting coffee delivered is a big game changer since I am more inclined to buy coffee from around the nation than usual.

A friend recommended RoosRoast based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I decided to give them a try. I ordered myself an 8 oz. bag of Portland in the 90s ($8) and 8 oz. bag of Lobster Butter Love ($8) to try. Both darker roasts.

RoosRoast is rated in the Top 10 in Michigan by MLive.com. Like many entrepreneurs, John Roos started his business in his garage. The business has now grown to have multiple locations and is sold at major retailers.

I loved the packaging of the coffee and the way it was delivered with a personalized postcard. I feel like the little touches definitely improve a customer service experience, especially since I can’t actually travel to Michigan at this time or really anywhere.

The Lobster Butter Love.

The first roast I tried was the Lobster Butter Love. Upon first opening the coffee bag, I almost felt like I was smelling seafood which was interesting (there is no lobster though of course). I ran the coffee through my IMUSA moka pot first.

The coffee has strong buttery element as the name implies and is smooth. It is a very easy coffee to enjoy. The flavor is a little overwhelming and great for one cup – but I probably would not enjoy it as a big batch.

I actually fell deeply in love with with the Portland in the 90s dark roast. This coffee I could drink over and over and waking up to this coffee was truly a delight. The smell and flavor was excellent. I would order this one again.

Both coffees were great as pour overs, but honestly I was quite happy with them in my moka pot as well and preferred it in there for a more bold flavor instead of the light, clean flavor that the Chemex gives for these coffees.

Overall, I recommend both coffees from RoosRoast although Portland in 90s is my choice out of the two and would order from them again. The half pound pricing makes it quite easy to try different roasts as well.

Check them out at RoosRoast.com.

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Articles Product Reviews

Product Review: IMUSA Electric Coffee / Moka Maker 3-6 Cup

Full disclosure: This coffee maker was sent to me complimentary by IMUSA in exchange for a review on my blog. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not represent IMUSA or any stakeholders.

I’ve been looking for a new coffee machine lately during quarantine and was fortunate enough to receive one complimentary in the mail a few weeks ago from IMUSA. I’ve bought and used their smaller 3-cup aluminum moka pot in the past, but was looking for an electric solution.

This coffee maker allows you to make a 3-cup or 6-cup brew of espresso in less than 10 minutes. What comes out is a clearly superior brew that beats out even our Keurig machine at home (that costs nearly double the price).

Coffee is easy to make in this appliance. You simply add your water to the base and then add coffee to the filter, screw on and hit the on-button. You can watch your coffee flow into the eletric moka pot through the plastic which is an added bonus.

Before you know it you’ll have plenty of coffee ready to go. We even got a new milk frother to make some lattes at home. Being a regular at coffee shops, the pandemic has made it a little rough for me to enjoy my coffee favorites but I’m thankful there are solutions out there for those at home.

To clean out the machine: Rinse out the reservoir and use water and soap on the top part (after unscrewing). Make sure to dry fully.

I highly recommend the IMUSA Electric Coffee / Moka Maker. You can find it online at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3cae1Ew

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: Blind Tiger Cafe coming to Westfield Brandon Mall

Continuing its expansion, Blind Tiger Cafe is taking over a Starbucks location at the Westfield Brandon Mall across from the Apple Store. The busy mall in a densely populated area makes an interesting move for Blind Tiger who recently acquired another Starbucks location in the WestShore Plaza in Tampa and opened a number of new cafes recently in Downtown Tampa.

The listing for the new location is already active on the Westfield Brandon website, but says “coming soon” for now. I recently said that I would like to see more independent coffee shops in the Brandon area so it is definitely exciting to have a new coffee shop in town.

The projected opening date for the location is May 15th according to Blind Tiger Cafe Owner Roberto Torres.

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: Blind Tiger takes over Foundation Coffee spot at Sparkman Wharf Tampa

Foundation Coffee has left Sparkman Wharf after the end of their lease the space is now occupied by Blind Tiger Cafe. Blind Tiger has been rapidly growing in the last two years with new locations in South Tampa, Westchase, WestShore, Downtown Tampa, and now a parcel at Sparkman Wharf.

Foundation Coffee responded to a request for comment: “We could get into a very detailed explanation but suffice to say it was wrong timing for Foundation Coffee. Please join us at our flagship location at 1617 N. Franklin Street in Tampa or our totally outdoor venue at 10020 Carr Rd. In Riverview. Thanks.”

Some of the locations are unconventional and previously were occupied with other coffee companies, for example their recent acquisition at WestShore Plaza replaced Starbucks Coffee. Third wave coffee has been rapidly growing in the past year with Spaddy’s Coffee expanding, Buddy Brew and Kahwa moving into the grocery business, King State opening their first cafe, and a number of new upstarts opening on both sides of Tampa Bay. 

The food hall boom has helped to fuel these expansions across the bay area.

One has to wonder when the market for third wave coffee is going to saturate, but so far it doesn’t seem to be too unstable. There have been a handful of closings including most recently the LCPX Cafe on Armenia Avenue and Mountaineer Coffee in Oldsmar.

Most of popular third wave coffee shops are concentrated in the South Tampa, Downtown Tampa, and Seminole Heights area. It would be interesting to see successful third wave coffee shops in the more scattered parts of town such as in Brandon and Carrollwood which for now just seem to be saturated with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts locations. 

Blind Tiger opens at Sparkman Wharf in Downtown Tampa on Friday, December 13th, 2019.

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Articles Coffee News

NEWS: King State grand opening in Tampa Heights set for June 21st

Update: It looks like King State is no longer having a Grand Opening on Friday, but instead a Friends and Family night.

The highly anticipated King State will finally open their doors next week and have their Grand Opening on Friday, June 21st in Tampa Heights according a report from local newspaper Creative Loafing.

Their cafe will be located at 520 E. Floribraska Avenue, minutes from Lee’s Grocery and Shuffle. The location has been in the works since at least 2016.

The cafe will feature craft beer, wine, and bites as well as their popular coffee roasts. The owners were early proponents of the third wave coffee scene in Tampa which has exploded over the last few years and landed Tampa on many lists for best coffee towns.

The owners were quoted by the Tampa Bay Times in 2015 saying, “If you have two roasters, then four roasters open up next year, and then those four roasters talk to friends, and eight roasters open the next year. All of a sudden, five or 10 years from now, there’s going to be a third-wave coffee shop in every neighborhood.”

The new King State cafe is a major development for the Tampa Heights neighborhood which was bolstered in recent years by food halls such as The Hall on Franklin and Armature Works.

Early investments by Ulele and Foundation Coffee have brought many business interests into the area. The loyal social media following of King State is sure to bring many people into the neighborhood.

With Bay Cannon Brewing coming soon to North Hyde Park, it seems like Tampa is heading into a major next phase of development.

Categories
Articles Coffee

The best coffee in Florida is at Zeal Coffee Roasters and The Lab Coffee

I was reading this article recently about the best coffee across the country in Food & Wine. This senior food editor looked at coffee across the entire country and seemed to give Tampa its due by listing several great spots in town, but somehow completely skipped the best place in Tampa Bay.

I drink coffee nearly every day of my life.

My job requires me to work on my laptop so I pretty much spend all day in coffee shops throughout this nation.

There are plenty of “okay” coffee shops and plenty of great shops. If we’re talking about clear quality and passion for coffee, Zeal Coffee Roasters is the best in Tampa and I’ll be bold enough to say it is the best in this state as well.

Why not? This guy seemed to think it was okay for him to make a declaration about this whole state and somehow ignored Panther Coffee in Miami and others doing great work in Orlando. Did he try all the coffee in the state? I’m not sure.

It is really interesting that all his decisions were King State Coffee outposts. This is nothing against King State because I’m sure their coffee is probably good, but they do not have a physical location yet in Tampa and it has been delayed like pretty much every other business in Tampa learns when they try to open a storefront. It is weird to put a place that isn’t even commonly used in Tampa as the best when they do not even have a location yet. I digress.

Zeal Coffee Roasters does the work. Ask baristas in the city and many of them will tell you they love going to The Lab Coffee Shop in North Hyde Park or NoHo for a coffee. I’ve asked myself. The Lab Coffee is the best kept secret in this city. Buddy Brew? Kahwa? Nope.

What about Bandit Coffee Co. in St. Pete you ask? They are a good coffee shop in St. Pete. I can best describe my many experiences there as okay and their coffee pours as good. Nothing exceptional. Also – St. Pete is not Tampa, please don’t confuse our two very different cities if you are not from here.

I happily spend my hard-earned cash regularly at The Lab Coffee and true coffee fanatics always end up bolting into the cafe while I am sitting there doing my work.

I always end up having a nice discussion with the baristas and customers stopping in – in fact doing work there is difficult because of all the great coffee people you will meet there, but I keep going either way.

There are other coffee chains with nicer decor, say Foundation Coffee or Blind Tiger which are beautiful shops. If we are talking just coffee quality though for your buck, the espresso pours, the lattes, the drips, you can drink Zeal Coffee black and taste plenty of excellent notes throughout each pour and they regularly change the selection.

I just enjoyed an excellent Brazil espresso there recently that was truly great.

There is passion and pride in their work. Their baristas care about their jobs and actually love coffee. They aren’t just there because they need a job, but because they want to be and it is noticeable.

I just grabbed myself a bag of Zeal Coffee’s El Salvador beans that I had waiting for me at home when I arrived back in Tampa from the West Coast, and it was a blissful feeling to come back home to good coffee. I love San Francisco, but there are so many terrible coffee shops there, it is unreal. Sometimes more is less.

The Lab Coffee is the best coffee shop and Zeal Coffee Roasters is the best coffee you can get in this beautiful state and that’s the word. Now back to my coffee.

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Articles Food Events

Vietnamese Coffee Pop-up: Kasama Cà Phê coming to SF

Filipino and Vietnamese culture is colliding with a Vietnamese coffee pop-up from Kasama Cà Phê coming to San Francisco starting on Sunday, February 17th at MAC’D (2127 Polk St.) and The Brew Coop (819 Valencia St.). The pop-up will also appear on Sunday, March 24th and Sunday, April 28th at the same locations.

Kasama is a reference to companionship or togetherness in Filipino culture and cà phê means coffee in Vietnamese.

The menu will consist of strong cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese iced coffee) and ube affogatos (Philippine purple yam ice cream topped with Vietnamese coffee).

Photos via kasamacaphe.com

Vietnamese coffee background

Vietnamese coffee dates back to the 19th century when French colonialists introduced coffee to the country according to BBC News. Most Vietnamese coffee is actually exported today rather than consumed in Vietnam itself and Vietnam was ranked 2nd in the world in 2017 for coffee exports behind Brazil. Recent reports suggest a rise in both the quality and quantity of Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnam is a major producer of Robusta coffee which has more caffeine and has a much more bitter flavor than the commonly-known and used Arabica beans. Robusta makes up at least 79% of Vietnamese coffee production according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs in 2016.

Robusta can be described as earthy, harsh, or grainy. Most consumers of Vietnamese coffee will add condensed milk to sweeten it from its bitter taste. Vietnamese coffee is something you’ll want to ease into if you’re not used to high caffeine coffee.

About the people behind Kasama Cà Phê

The owners of Kasama Cà Phê are first-generation Asian-Americans and are sourcing their coffee beans from Vietnam with a plan to offer coffee from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand in the future and a plan to focus on brewing techniques from Southeast Asia.

Most people probably consume Vietnamese coffee at Vietnamese restaurants or at home at the moment, it will be interesting to see how Kasama Cà Phê differentiates themselves to make it a worthwhile experience.

Find out more about Kasama Cà Phê at kasamacaphe.com