Tag Archives: K-cup

Valentine’s Day gifts for the coffee & breakfast lover

Double Breakfast Sandwich Maker — one of many gift possibilities from Hamilton Beach for Valentine’s Day or any occasion
Photo courtesy of Hamilton Beach

If you’re looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift for someone who takes their home coffee and breakfast making seriously, I got to sample some Hamilton Beach products recently and can tell you about a few. Hamilton Beach products are generally available online at hamiltonbeach.com, Amazon.com and at select retailers.

First, the FlexBrew Coffee Maker, which is a combination of Single Serve and Full Coffee Pot. If you want a full or half pot of coffee, use the traditional glass carafe. If you want a single cup, use the other side of the machine with either K-cups/pods or ground coffee, depending what size cup you’re looking for. It’s very convenient to have all these options; my family has used all three in the few days since we first got the machine. It retails at $89.99 and can be found at the aforementioned places plus Walmart.

Next, the Double Breakfast Sandwich Maker, which allows you to make quick-yet-delicious customizable breakfast to enjoy at home or on the go. You choose your bread and add ingredients like eggs, cheese, precooked meat, avocado, vegetables, etc. If you need sandwich inspiration, there are enticing recipes on the company’s site like Avocado, Egg White & Swiss Cheese Breakfast Sandwich (see below for one more). You can cook two breakfast sandwiches in five minutes or less, and then cleanup is easy because the removable parts are dishwasher-safe. In addition to Hamilton Beach’s site and Amazon, this one’s available at Target. Cost is $39.99.

Last but not least, the Belgian Style Flip Waffle Maker — which as of early February was out of stock on the HB site, but is often available at Walmart or Amazon ($39.99). You can change the browning setting depending how light or dark you like your waffles, and because of the “Flip” style, it’s easier to make thick, fluffy waffles like you find at restaurants. There are easily accessible recipes for traditional buttermilk waffles and unusual spin-offs like Tater Tot waffles (yes, ingredients like 40 thawed tater tots play a part in this concoction!).

No matter what you choose to buy your Valentine—or yourself—for the occasion, I hope it’s a happy one for all you foodies and home chefs out there.

Recipe: Cheddar, Apple, Bacon and Egg Croissant Sandwich

Courtesy of Hamilton Beach / From The Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 1 mini croissant, halved
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 to 2 thin slices Granny Smith apple
  • 1 slice precooked bacon, cut in half
  • 1 large egg, lightly scrambled


  1. Preheat Breakfast Sandwich Maker until green PREHEAT light comes on. Lift cover, top ring and cooking plate.
  2. Place bottom half of croissant, cut-side up in bottom ring of Breakfast Sandwich Maker. Top with cheese, apple slices and bacon.
  3. Lower cooking plate and top ring. Add egg to cooking plate.
  4. Top with remaining croissant half, cut-side down.
  5. Close cover. Cook 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Slide out cooking plate by rotating handle clockwise. Lift cover and rings; carefully remove sandwich with plastic spatula.

Serves: 1

Test Kitchen Tip: For a lightly browned croissant top, cook the egg in the top ring without the croissant for 3 to 4 minutes or until egg is just about done. Lift the cover, add the croissant and continue cooking until top is lightly toasted and egg is cooked.

Follow me on:

Twitter @santacruzfoodie

Instagram @tarafatemiwalker

Facebook @santacruzfoodieexaminer




The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offers discounts for creating their coffee at home

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offers discounts for creating coffee at home

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf offers discounts for creating coffee at home

Now until October 12, 2014, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s single serve coffee boxes are “Buy 2, Get 1 Free.” Also, there are several products in their retail coffee and tea line that are on sale for “2 for $20.” Specifics for each promotion are below.

Here are the details for the Buy 2 promotion: The Coffee Bean’s single serve coffee boxes include K-Cup and CBTL Capsules. If you buy two 16-count K-Cup® boxes (starting at $11.95 each), you receive a complimentary 16-count box of K-Cup® packs. The same offer applies to CBTL® Capsule Boxes (of equal or lesser value), which start at $6 each. If you’re unfamiliar with capsules, these are single servings of espresso, coffee, and tea that are brewed using The Coffee Bean’s at-home CBTL® system that’s for sale at retail locations and at coffeebean.com.

Selections valid for this offer include:

  • Costa Rica Coffee K-Cup® Pack ($11.95)
  • NEW Jasmine Green Tea K-Cup® Pack ($11.95)
  • NEW Darjeeling Tea K-Cup® Pack ($11.95)
  • CBTL® Italian Espresso Capsules ($6)
  • CBTL® Chai Tea Capsules ($6)

Next, you can save money on the company’s signature retail coffees and teas—such as whole leaf teas, whole bean and ground coffees. If you buy one bag of whole bean or ground coffee, and one tin of tea, you get both for $20 (exclusions apply).

Selections valid for this offer include:

  • Espresso Roast Coffee ($14.95)
  • French Roast Coffee ($14.95)
  • Lemon Chamomile Herbal Infusion ($8.75)
  • Tropical Passion Black Tea ($8.75)

These promotions are currently being offered at participating The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf retail locations. To find your nearest location, visit the Coffee Bean’s store locator. Launched in 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the oldest and largest privately held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the US. There are stores in more than 20 other countries, as well. Read more at coffeebean.com.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Starbucks Coffee’s newest blends including K-cups

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

Seasonal Tribute Blend from Starbucks Coffee

I recently got my first K-Cup brewer, so I’ve started trying out many different coffee varieties including a few from Starbucks.

So far, my favorite K-Cup from Starbucks is its Tribute Blend. I need to stock up on some because it’s only available for a limited time! I noticed when browsing the Starbucks web site there are others who feel the same way and wish it was available more often. It’s a rich, full-bodied blend with hints of cherry. I like it first thing in the morning, and as an afternoon pick-me-up. Originally crafted for Starbucks’ 40th anniversary, it was so popular that the coffee company now releases it once a year during the spring. When it sells out, that’s it until next year. You can find the Tribute blend online at starbucks.com or at Starbucks retail shops, and in addition to K-cups it comes in whole bean packages, Verismo pods, and VIA instant packs.

I had the opportunity to sample a couple coffees from the Starbucks Blonde Roast line. In case you’re wondering, the Blonde Roast was developed due to a customer demand for something milder than Starbucks’ standard offerings. So now, there is a “Starbucks Roast Spectrum” which divides the coffee into three profiles: Blonde Roast, Medium Roast and Dark Roast.

The Blonde Roast coffees I tried were the new Bright Sky and Aria Blends. Aria is formerly known as Willow Blend (it was re-branded this spring), and it’s available in both regular and decaf. It’s a blend of Latin American and East African beans that includes lemony notes. Bright Sky contains Latin American beans, and it has a subtle nutty flavor.

Since I tend to prefer darker roasts in general, these were enjoyable but I like the Tribute better. I ended up liking both blonde ones more when I chose to brew an 8 oz. cup as opposed to the traditional 10 oz. cup I brew. That made the coffee bolder (I have to thank my husband for this suggestion). People that like lighter roasts should definitely try both Bright Sky and Aria; they do have nice flavors. If you prefer darker but happen to live with someone who prefers a lighter roast, you could buy one of the blonde varieties and try the adjustment I made—see if it works you! They are available at Starbucks retail stores and grocery stores, but not online. Bright Sky was made available in grocery stores beginning in January 2014. In addition to K-cups, Aria and Bright Sky come in ground coffee form.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

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.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.