Category Archives: Coffee

Green Mountain offers Island Coconut Coffee as a springtime treat

Seasonal Island Coconut Green Mountain Coffee

Seasonal Island Coconut Green Mountain Coffee

The first day of spring was March 20, and just four days later Green Mountain Coffee released its newest seasonal coffee: Island Coconut. Available only for a limited time, it comes in K-cup packs and in bags. I had the opportunity to sample it for free—as a K-cup—and it’s mild and smooth. The exotic flavors are slightly sweet yet fairly subtle. In fact, I am NOT a huge coconut lover, yet I enjoyed this! It’s a light roast, and there are no bitter notes.

Like all of Green Mountain’s seasonal varieties, Island Coconut is Fair Trade Certified™. Fair Trade certification gives farmers a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, which means they can invest in their crops and their communities. In 2000, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters became one of the first roasters in the US to offer Fair Trade Certified™ coffees, and in 2012, the company was named the world’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee by Fair Trade USA for the third consecutive year.

Don’t yet have your own K-cup machine? Keurig’s Elite brewer works fast and makes great coffee, and it comes in Coconut White if you want to keep up the tropical theme inspired by Green Mountain’s Island Coconut coffee. Actually, I happened to notice on the Keurig web site that it’s on sale through 4/17, for $100 (discounted from $120) — I checked the Green Mountain site and it is offering the same deal. On both sites, there’s also a “mini” system on sale for $80 from $100.

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Peet’s Coffee and Tea adds fresh food including healthy salads and sandwiches

 

Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad among new fresh food options at Peet's Coffee and Tea

Turkey sandwich and quinoa salad among new fresh food options at Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s Coffee and Tea recently added a full line of healthy, fresh salads, snacks and sandwiches to its 126 Northern California stores, including the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Monterey. The line includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options (see below for selections). Food is made locally and delivered daily.

The “Fresh Grab & Go” menu was developed in partnership with Bay Area chef Arnold Eric Wong and his local bakery Raison d’être. The chef’s career has included highly acclaimed restaurants such as EOS Restaurant and Wine Bar (Wong’s first restaurant), Café Kati, and E&O Trading Company. “I’m thrilled to be working with Peet’s as they share my deep passion to quality, freshness and using the finest ingredients. And, it’s important that we give Peet’s fans a locally sourced, artisanal food experience that matches the quality of their coffee,” said Chef Wong. “We have carefully crafted these recipes to be health conscious and flavorful, and are making them right here in the kitchen at Raison d’être.”

I haven’t had the opportunity to sample the new menu yet, but with condiments like pumpkin seed pesto aioli and combinations like beluga lentils and Greek feta, I can’t wait to taste a couple items next time I visit Peet’s!

Menu highlights:

Herb Roasted Turkey Sandwich ($6.95): Made with turkey that is slow cooked and complemented with Monterey jack cheese and a homemade pumpkin seed pesto aioli.
Applewood Smoked Ham Sandwich ($6.95): Aromatic applewood smoked ham, Swiss cheese and homemade roasted garlic aioli.
Super Greens & Kale Salad ($6.95): A healthy assortment of kale, greens and fresh Greek feta paired with fig balsamic vinaigrette.
Black Lentil Salad ($4.95):  Fresh black beluga lentils, sweet Greek feta with a tangy red wine vinaigrette.
Quinoa Salad ($4.95): A delicious combination of rainbow quinoa, chickpeas, roasted red peppers and herb vinaigrette.
Fruit Bowl ($4.95): An assortment of fresh, seasonal fruit with an emphasis on berries.
Cheese and Fruit Box ($5.95): Aged Dubliner Irish cheddar, Monterey pepper jack and Danish brie with crisp apples, roasted almonds and organic rice crackers.
Hummus & Carrots ($2.95): Flavorful house made hummus with fresh carrot chips

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Sweets for Christmas Treats

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

Spicy eggnog coffee from Green Mountain Coffee

There are lots of sweets and special coffees available for Christmas treats, including a few selections from Green Mountain Coffee and Lindt Chocolates.

Green Mountain’s two holiday coffees are Gingerbread and Spicy Eggnog. They are both light roasts, and the eggnog variety features cinnamon and nutmeg. Both are good on their own to make cups or pots of coffee, but they also make flavorful additions to baked desserts if you like experimenting in the kitchen.  You might consider them for stocking stuffers or hostess gifts for your next holiday party; they’re available seasonally until supplies run out. They come in bags or K-Cups, online or at stores nationwide.

Lindt has released its newest truffle variety, LINDOR Sea Salt truffles, in time for the holidays but it’s actually available indefinitely (not just for the winter season). These yummy treats can be found online  and in Lindt stores across the country. Although these also make a great gift, once you taste them you might just decide to keep them for yourself. They come in 25-piece and 75-piece bags.

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Delicious holiday offerings and gifts from Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Peet’s Holiday Blend 2013 Gift Package for $25

Peet’s Holiday Blend 2013 Gift Package for $25

If you haven’t done all your Christmas shopping yet, and you have gift recipients who are tea or coffee lovers, Peet’s has some great ideas including special holiday packages.

Holiday teas include Holiday Breakfast Blend ($11.95/tea tin, $9.95 tea bags), a strong black tea that features Darjeeling and other varieties, and the flavorful Good Hope Spice Blend ($6.95/tea bags, only available during the holidays) which includes South African honeybush, orange peel, and allspice.

Peet’s uses “the best of the best” crops each year to create its holiday coffee blend. The 2013 Holiday Blend ($15.95/lb.) features beans from Indonesia, Kenya and Panama. It’s bright, rich and sweet without any one flavor overpowering another: a fabulous blend. Holiday Blend is available in Single K-Cups for the very first time this year ($13.99/box of 16).

Peet’s has put together many holiday treats plus gift packages in a variety of price ranges. Some are available online only, like “A Taste of the Holidays Gift Box” ($49) with tea, coffee, and various sweets. Many items are available at stores, like peppermint bark and snowflake-decorated mugs. Below are details on two packages available online; one is quite affordable and one is a splurge for that special someone!

$25 Peet’s Holiday Blend Gift Package—see photo above—includes a one-pound bag of Holiday Blend and a festive limited edition holiday mug.

$250 Peet’s Ultimate Holiday Convenience Package—includes the one-touch Cuisinart single serve brewer and an array of Peet’s Single Cups including the 2013 Holiday Blend, Café Domingo®  and Major Dickason’s Blend®, as well as two limited edition holiday mugs.

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Peet’s Coffee and Tea offers two limited edition peaberry coffees during August 2013

 

Peet's Coffee and Tea limited edition India Peaberry coffee

Peet’s Coffee and Tea limited edition India Peaberry coffee

Peet’s Coffee and Tea recently released two very-limited-edition coffees, Kenya Peaberry and India Peaberry beans. I had the opportunity to sample both, and can recommend them.

Both are $18.95/lb. and available by ordering online through August 20, and you can buy the India Peaberry beans at at your local Peet’s (including the San Francisco Bay Area). The end date for purchasing at local stores varies depending on location.

The Kenya peaberry grows at an elevation of 5,000 feet. The coffee bean results in a cup of coffee that is full-bodied and features subtle hints of caramel and vanilla. The India peaberry, from Elkhill Estate in India, brings bold, sweet flavors to coffee brewed from these beans.  Elkhill Estate is UTZ certified, meaning coffee produced from there meets strict environmental, social, and economic criteria. This gives Elkhill Estate employees access to housing, healthcare, a living wage and a crèche (day nursery) for working mothers.

After the peaberry beans come from India and Kenya, they are roasted at Peet’s LEED Gold Certified Plant in Alameda, California. There are only three roasting dates for these very limited editions: August 7, August 14, and August 21. After roasting, the coffee is packed and shipped on the same day.

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea offers two new specialty coffees through late May 2013

 

Mayan Chocolate Mocha at Peet's through late May 2013

Mayan Chocolate Mocha at Peet’s through late May 2013

Peet’s Coffee and Tea has two delightful specialty coffees available through May 2013: a ready-to-drink Mayan Chocolate Mocha and a special anniversary blend coffee that you can make at home or buy in-store. These new offerings are available at your local Peet’s (including the San Francisco Bay Area) and across the country.

First, details on the delicious Mayan Chocolate Mocha, which you can see in the image at the top of this article. It’s been available at Peet’s since the beginning of April, and contains ingredients such as Peet’s espresso and unsweetened Dutch Cocoa powder. As Peet’s describes it, the drink has a “…rich cocoa flavor…and spices inspired by the cacao and chili beverages enjoyed millennia ago by the ancient Maya, in what is now Mexico and Central America.” I recently tried a Mayan Chocolate Mocha and I greatly enjoyed it. The mocha had a nice depth and flavor, with a subtle spiciness that added just the right kick without being overpowering. One way Peet’s achieves this combination is through a spicy chocolate syrup which includes sweet cinnamon and a blend of aged chili peppers. Another note: it’s sweet, like a mocha should be, but not cloyingly so. I am definitely returning to Peet’s to have a couple more of these before they leave in late May.

Next, a few facts on Peet’s Anniversary Blend coffee, which was first released on March 18. Each year, Peet’s celebrates its anniversary by creating a special, “never before tasted and never to be sold again” blend. The 2013 blend, for its 47th anniversary, combines citrus-infused beans from Ethiopia with beans from Colombia and Java. The result is a full-bodied and smooth coffee. As always, it’s a limited edition and will be available until sometime in May. Peet’s is donating 5% of proceeds from Anniversary Blend 2013 to Ethiopia’s Kidane Mehret Students Self-Help Association (KIMSSA), which empowers underprivileged kids aged 6-18 with food and education. It’s also donating the same 5% from any purchases of Anniversary Breakfast Blend tea and Steamers beverage purchases, for a total of up to $25,000.

To find the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near you, use the Peet’s online store locator.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Organic Santa Cruz AgroEco coffee events at New Leaf Market & Swanton Berry Farm

Participants at the 2012 AgroEco / Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company cupping event at New Leaf Community Market

Participants at the 2012 AgroEco / Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company cupping event at New Leaf Community Market

Santa Cruz’s CAN (Community Agroecology Network) supports small-scale coffee farmers in Nicaragua and Mexico; when you buy products like AgroEco coffee (roasted by Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company) you are helping CAN fulfill its mission.

CAN has brought 14 youth from Nicaragua, Mexico, and Costa Rica to Santa Cruz to take part in the 3rd International Youth Exchange for Food Security and Sovereignty (April 8-16, 2013). There are several free public events (read more) that both educate and enable people to meet youth from the communities that grow the coffee that CAN sells as Agro®Eco Coffee.

Two of the events are at New Leaf Market (Westside Location) and Swanton Berry Farm.

 

  • Sat, April 13 at Swanton Berry Farm, Highway One in Davenport: From 1 – 4 p.m. there will be a “Fun Farm Fundraiser” for CAN’s International Youth Network. Activities include coffee sack races, art, music, coffee tasting, and farm tours. It’s billed as a good activity for kids, and of course there will be plenty of strawberries.
  • Sun, April 14 at New Leaf Market, 1101 Fair Ave: From 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. you can learn about AgroEco® Coffee from cooperative representatives, who will share insights into the impact of AgroEco® Coffee on their communities. Also, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company’s Sarah de Sousa will lead a “cupping,” which means you can learn to taste coffee ‘like the professionals.’

More information: The mission of international organization CAN is to sustain rural livelihoods and environments by integrating research, education, and trade innovations. CAN’s vision is for a global economy where people, healthy food systems, and the environment come first. CAN International Youth Network for Food Security is a two-year initiative that targets the youth population of rural communities in Mexico and Central America, giving them skills, techniques, and knowledge to create locally-owned businesses that will provide support to CAN’s ongoing agroecology-based food security projects. AgroEco®Coffee is the product of a collaboration among small-scale coffee farmer cooperatives, coffee roasters, university scientists, and CAN. Through this collaboration, farmers receive technical support, ongoing ecological monitoring, and evaluation of sustainable farming practices.

On Twitter? Please follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Christmas gift ideas for Santa Cruz foodies during holiday season 2012

South Indian Lemon Rice prepared at Indian Cuisine 101 at Let’s Cook! cooking school

It’s four days ‘til Christmas, time to keep shopping…below are a couple gift possibilities. And if you’ve missed some of my other ideas in the last several days, here are a few links:

Know someone who likes to cook? Try a Let’s Cook! gift certificate for a fun gift. The cooking school has lots of great classes, and they’re for cooks of all levels. Most classes cost $65, so that’s what the standard gift certificate costs – if your gift recipient chooses a higher or lower-priced class, details can be worked out when they call the school to register. Order online.

A pound of coffee or a tin of tea, or a coffee/tea-related gift, is often a good bet for friends or family. I recently tried a few holiday offerings from Peet’s and enjoyed them greatly. The 2012 Holiday blend coffee ($16.95/lb.) is robust and flavorful. Each year, Peet’s uses “the best of the best” crops from that particular year. This year’s blend highlights coffee from Kenya. Special holiday teas include Holiday Breakfast Blend ($11.95/tea tin, $9.95 tea bags), a strong black tea that features Darjeeling and other varieties, and Good Hope Spice Blend ($6.95/tea bags) Peet’s first new herbal blend in more than 12 years (and only available during the holidays). I find Good Hope to be sweet in a balanced way; it includes South African honeybush, orange peel, and allspice. Other choices in Santa Cruz and nearby include Verve, Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Co., and Starbucks.

Kelly’s French Bakery in Westside Santa Cruz has a few selections that are good for either gifts or for adding to your holiday meal. These include Buche de Noel ($22), strawberry rhubarb pie ($21), Stollen ($16), gingerbread or chocolate loaves ($8), and cookies (sable, gingerbread, prices vary). To guarantee availability, call (831) 423-9059 by Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. to place an order. Or you can walk in and hope for the best – just be sure to visit before 2 p.m. on Dec. 24, that’s when Kelly’s closes on Christmas Eve (and it’s closed Christmas Day).

Lastly, Fresh Prep Kitchens is having a holiday gift certificate sale: Buy two, get one free. They are available in $35, $50 or $100 denominations through the web site, or call (831) 435-9260. The venue provides fresh, easy-to-prepare meals and you can pick them up in Capitola, or have them delivered (for no additional fee) to your door.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway Day Two: Win Direct Trade coffee or buy as a gift

Santa Cruz’s Community Agroecology Network is offering a great coffee and chocolate gift package for the holidays

It’s Day Two of Santa Cruz Restaurant Examiner/Santa Cruz Foodie’s “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!” See end of article for how to win a great coffee and chocolate prize. And if you haven’t finished (or started…) your holiday shopping, here’s a special item to consider for coffee or chocolate lovers and/or direct trade fans on your gift list.

 

It’s a holiday package from Santa Cruz’s CAN (Community Agroecology Network) that supports small-scale coffee farmers in Nicaragua and Mexico. This season, the gift package costs $22 and shipping is free. It includes one pound of AgroEco coffee roasted by Santa Cruz Coffee Roasting Company (your choice of Nicaraguan light or dark roast, or Veracruz dark roast) plus 5.5 ounces of chocolate-covered espresso beans and a holiday card.

Order the package here. For delivery by Christmas, you need to order by Dec. 14. If you order by Dec. 21, you are guaranteed delivery by New Year’s. When you buy this package, you can add an (optional) donation to the Youth Leadership Project Fund in the amount of $5, $10, or $20. This supports CAN International Youth Network for Food Security, a two-year initiative that targets the youth population of rural communities in Mexico and Central America, giving them skills, techniques, and knowledge to create locally-owned businesses that will provide support to CAN’s ongoing agroecology-based food security projects. AgroEco®Coffee is the product of a collaboration among small-scale coffee farmer cooperatives, coffee roasters, university scientists, and CAN. Through this collaboration, farmers receive technical support, ongoing ecological monitoring, and evaluation of sustainable farming practices.

 

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THE CONTEST:

Reminder: as I mentioned yesterday, during the entire “12 Days of Christmas” promotion, each person can only win one prize.

CAN is giving away one holiday coffee/chocolate package worth $22.

To enter, email your name to tfatemiwalker@yahoo.com and include the words “Holiday Direct Trade Coffee.”

Or post a comment to this article on my Facebook page “www.facebook.com/SantaCruzFoodieExaminer.”

Either way, the entry deadline is Fri. Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.

The drawing will take place that evening; the winner will be notified via email and CAN will mail them the prize.