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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Coffee & Tea

TIP OF THE DAY: Decaf Coffee Facts

According to the National Coffee Association, 10% of coffee drinkers in the U.S. opt for decaf. Counter Culture Coffee, a coffee house in New York City, reports that 18% of its coffee sales come from decaffeinated coffee.

There are good things about decaf, and less good. First, the good: In addition to avoiding jitters and helping you get to sleep, decaf in general is better for your health*. Here’s some reporting from Diana Villa at Care2.com. It’s not a comprehensive discussion, but we offer it as a starting point to those who wonder if decaf might be better for them.

Decaf coffee is good for your liver.

In a study of more than 28,000 participants over 10 years, one study found that people who drink at least three cups of coffee a day had lower levels of four liver enzymes often linked to damage and inflammation.
 
Decaf coffee reduces diabetes risk.

   

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At least one in 10 Americans opt for decaf. Photo courtesy Filicori Zecchini.

 
In another study, compared with people who drink no coffee, those who drank six cups of regular coffee a day had a 33% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. But those who drank one cup of decaf per day had a 6% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk.
 
Decaf coffee cuts prostate cancer risk.

In a study of 47,911 men by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers found that those who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day—regular or decaf—had an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer, and were 60% less likely to die of it. The results suggest that it’s the coffee antioxidants, not the caffeine, that offer the protection.
 
*This article is not a medical advisory; people with certain conditions or the potential to develop them should restrict caffeine. Discuss your caffeine intake with your healthcare provider.

 

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Decaffeinated coffee has more benefits than simply avoiding the jitters. Photo courtesy Filicori Zecchini.

 

Now for the caveats:

Decaf doesn’t mean caffeine-free.

According to FDA regulations, coffee must have 97% of the original caffeine removed in order to be labeled as decaffeinated. If you drink five to ten cups of decaf a day, you can still be consuming the caffeine equivalent of a cup or two of regular coffee.
 
The amount of caffeine in decaf coffee varies significantly.

While a cup of regular coffee usually contains about 100 mg of caffeine, a 2007 Consumer Reports test of 36 popular brands found some cups of decaf that had more than 20 mg of caffeine. In this study, a cup of decaf from Dunkin’ Donuts had 32 mg of caffeine!
 
Decaf might raise your cholesterol.

According to the American Heart Association, decaffeinated coffee may raise your LDL [bad] cholesterol. Researchers tracked three groups of participants: those who drank three cups of regular coffee a day, those who drank three cups of decaf, and those who drank no coffee. Three months later, the decaf group alone experienced an 8% spike in apolipoprotein B, a component of LDL cholesterol.

 

Not all decaf is created equal.

There are different ways to decaffeinate coffee; some use chemical agents. Look for a Swiss Water Process or a brand that uses the CO2 method to decaffeinate. These two are also the only certified-organic methods to decaffeinate.

And now, it’s time for our first cup of coffee of the day. We’re going for an espresso, caffeinated.
  

Comments

PRODUCT: Keurig 2.0 Coffee System

The Keurig 2.0 was launched this past fall, and was on Christmas wish lists for more than a few Keurig fans. If Santa didn’t bring you one, it may be the time to pick one up.

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Make single cups with smaller capsules, or a
small carafe with a larger capsule. Photo
courtesy Keurig Green Mountain.

 

The 2.0 is a game changer in the single-serve coffee category. It makes both single cups, and 28-ounce carafes; the latter provides a bit more than four six-ounce pours into eight-ounce cups. (Alternatively, it will fill almost three mugs, if you pour ten ounces of coffee into a 12-ounce mug.)

Here are the changes that may or may not affect you:

  • It requires a new size of K-Cup. The original Keurig K-Cups won’t work in the 2.0. The K-cups for the 2.0 are larger, similar to the Keurig VUE cups, which will work in the 2.0 for as long as the company keeps producing this green packaging (which for whatever reason was made in a different size and required a different Keurig machine entirely, which has been discontinued).
  • You can’t use cups not manufactured by Green Mountain, owners of Keurig. The 2.0 has an RFID reader that reads an RFID chip in the new cups. Nothing else will work. Keurig’s K-Cup patent expired in 2012, which made way for lower cost, third-party cups (also called “aftermarket” cups). Keurig could decide to sell aftermarket manufacturers a license, but don’t expect the lower prices if they’re paying a licensing fee.
  • The K-Cups seem to cost the same. Individual K-Cups run $17.99/$16.19 for 24 cups, or 75¢/67¢ per cup.
  •  

  • Similarly, there are no coffee filter baskets for outside coffee. If you have been using a refillable cup with your favorite, non-Green Mountain coffee, it won’t work with the 2.0. Hopefully, Keurig will manufacture a compatible basket down the road.
  • You need still other cups to make a carafe. These are called carafe packs, and they’re larger than K-Cups. The new opportunity: You can brew a carafe and stick it in the fridge for iced coffee. The carafe packs are selling on the Keurig website for $14.99/$13.49 for members, for eight units. That’s $1.87/$1.68 per carafe, or 47¢/42¢- per cup.
  •  

    THE THREE KEURIG MODELS

    The Keurig 2.0 Brewing System comes in three sizes, with an option that includes a variety of K-Cups and K-Carafe packs for an additional $10.

  • All three models brew single cups with K-cups and carafes with the K-Carafe Pack.
  • All three have “strength control,” allowing you to brew a stronger or weaker cup.
  • You get another 10 ounces of water in the reservoir, or another mug of coffee, with each size increase.
  •  
    The differences:

  • K300/350, $149.99, 60-ounce water reservoir. The clock is not programmable and the touch display is monochrome.
  • K400/450, $169.99, 70-ounce water reservoir. The touch display is in color, the clock is customizable and you can save favorite settings.
  •  

    keurig-2.0-components-230

    The coffee cup isn’t included, but the basic package includes the carafe. Our suggestion: Upgrade to the sampler kit. Photo courtesy Keurig Green Mountain.

  • K500/550, $199.99, 80-ounce water reservoir. The touch display is in color and large, the clock is customizable and you can save favorite settings. There’s a customizable night light and wallpaper, and a feature called hot water on-demand, if, for example, you need hot water to use with your own teabag or hot chocolate mix.
  •  
    Our philosophy is, when offered decisions like these, spend the extra few bucks and go deluxe. If you’re counting your dollars, you shouldn’t be paying more for coffee via a single cup system.

    For more information, visit Keurig.com.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Nutella Latte

    nutella-latte-cherrystreetcoffeehouse-delonghi-230

    The latte for Nutella fans. Photo courtesy
    Cherry Street Coffeehouse | DeLonghi.

     

    To all those who enjoyed our recipe for Nutella French Toast, here’s the drink to go with it:

    It was created by Laila Ghambari, U.S. 2014 Barista Champion, director of coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House, a Seattle mini-chain, and a spokesperson for De’Longhi premium coffee machines.

    She recently developed this easy-to-make Nutella Latte recipe, and De’Longhi shared it with us.

    RECIPE: NUTELLA LATTE

    Ingredients For One 8-10-Ounce Drink

  • 1 teaspoon Nutella
  • Prepared espresso
  • 2% or whole milk, foamed
  • Garnish: whipped cream, chocolate powder (sweetened hot chocolate mix), chopped toasted hazelnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD 1 tablespoon of Nutella to the bottom of the cup. Combine with prepared espresso and stir, then top with foamed milk.

    2. TOP with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate powder or chopped toasted nuts.

     

    If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like Nutella, here’s another recipe Laila created. There are no chestnuts or pecans (the typical nut for praline) in this drink, but she created it to evoke those flavors.

    RECIPE: MOCK CHESTNUT PRALINE LATTE

    Ingredients For One 8-10-Ounce Drink

  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey or caramel syrup or hazelnut syrup
  • Prepared espresso
  • 2% or whole milk, foamed
  • Garnish: whipped cream, shaved chocolate or mini chips, chopped toasted hazelnuts
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WARM up the peanut butter and sweetener. Combine with the prepared espresso then top with foamed milk.

    2. TOP with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate or chopped toasted nuts.

     

    chestnut-praline-latte-cherrystreetcoffeehouse-delonghi-230

    Mock Chestnut Praline Latte. Photo courtesy Cherry Street Coffeehouse | DeLonghi.

     

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Nespresso Inissia

    inissia-blueberry-blue-230

    The Inissia: just 4.7 inches wide by x 12.6
    inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

     

    So many of us these days can’t live without a great cup of coffee, often leaving our posts one or more times a day to obtain one.

    The folks at Nespresso want you to have a great cup at your fingertips. They’ve created a new petite model, the Inissia: a single-serve coffee maker with a teeny footprint that fits in small spaces, from office desktops to dormitory rooms.

    And it’s only $99!

    Streamlined for maximum efficiency and simple to use, the small footprint (4.7 x 12.6 x 9 inches) weights a bit more than five pounds. The Inissia uses the same premium coffee capsules as the larger models. The water will be read in 25 seconds: an espresso (including the shorter ristretto and the taller lungo) or a full cup at the touch of a button.

    You can make up to 9 espressos without having to refill the water tank.

     
    A great gift for a college student or new member of the workforce, the Inissia is available in:
  • Blueberry Blue
  • Intense Black
  • Lime Yellow
  • Pure White
  • Ruby Red
  • Vanilla Cream
  •  
    It can be bundled with Nespresso’s wonderful Aeroccino Plus milk frother for $149.

     

    LARGER, WITH CREMA

    Another Nespresso innovation this year is the Vertuoline. It handles the larger American-style mugs as well as espresso cups, and tops both with rich, luxurious crema.

    Available in Black, Chrome and Red, the VertuoLine is priced at $299 and takes a new, flatter, rounder capsule than the original Nespresso machines.

    Check out the entire line at Nespresso.com.

     

    inissia-ruby-red-sideways-230

    A side view of the petite Inissia. It’s just 4.7 inches wide x 12.6 inches deep. Photo courtesy Nespresso.

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Holiday Coffee Creamers From Baileys

    You can make your home-brewed coffee as special as going out for holiday coffee flavors. Just stir in some Baileys coffee creamers in holiday flavors.

    This year’s seasonal flavors are:

  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Red Velvet Cupcake
  • White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
  •  
    They join the other flavors, including year-round classics and seasonal specialties: Brown Butter Pecan, Caramel, Chocolatini, Cinnamon Dolce, Crème Brûlée, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Mudslide, The Original Irish Cream, Toffee Almond Cream, Triple Sweet Cream, Sweet Italian Biscotti and Vanilla Brown Sugar.

    Bet you didn’t know there were that many different Baileys creamers! The next time you have people over for coffee, you can set out an entire flavored creamer tasting bar.

     

    baileys-white-chocolate-peppermint-230

    White Chocolate Peppermint Bark creamer. Photo courtesy Baileys.

     
    The creamers are available nationwide. For more information head to BaileysCreamers.com.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Snowman Latte

    snowman-latte-caffebene-230

    Frosty the Snowman in his latte debut. Photo
    courtesy Caffebene USA.

     

    Turn your latte into a Snowman Latte with this instructions from Caffebene, the world’s second largest coffeehouse franchise.

    Laila Ghambari, Director of Coffee at Cherry Street Coffee House in Seattle—the home of American latte art. Here are her tips:

  • The micro-foam is a crucial element in creating the perfect latte art. Use a milk foaming machine that is able to produce rich, thick, long-lasting foam.
  • Use whole or 2% milk. More milk fat equals more creaminess.
  • Add air to the milk by bringing the steam wand tip to the surface of the milk (not beneath). Remember that NO air will just create hot milk and TOO MUCH air will make your milk bubbly.
  • Make sure that when you are steaming your milk that the milk is spinning. You can achieve this by tilting the pitcher, which allows for the air and milk to blend together.
  • You need to steam the milk to a smooth, creamy texture. It should look cold cream or wet paint.
  • Once the milk is steamed, swirl it around to make sure the milk and foam are incorporated, not separated.
  •  
    THE HISTORY OF LATTE ART

    Latte art was developed in Italy, enabled by the development of microfoam, created by the steam wand of a cappuccino machine, used to foam a pitcher of milk. The combination of the crema atop the cup of espresso and velvety microfoam allows patterns to be made. (Note that other types of milk steamers/foamers do not create microfoam.)

    Latte art in the United States developed in the Seattle coffee culture of the 1980s and 1990s. By 1989 the heart pattern was a signature at David Schomer’s Espresso Vivace and the rosette pattern followed, based on a photograph Schomer saw of latte art in an Italian café.

     
     

    HOW TO MAKE THE LATTE SNOWMAN

    snowman-latte-instructions-caffebenesnowman-latte-caffebene-230

    Comments

    GIFT: Harney Tea In Holiday Flavors

    For Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts, there are seasonal flavors and boxed gift sets for the tea lover. Among the finest are these, from Harney & Sons, include:

  • Cranberry Autumn, flavored black tea is a full-bodied brew, sweet and tart with dried cranberries and orange peel.
  • Pomegranate Oolong, bright, floral. Just open the tin and the juicy aroma of pomegranate wafts up to you.
  • Pumpkin Spice, caffeine-free rooibos (red) tea, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and natural pumpkin flavor
  •  
    There’s also a Holiday Tea Blend, a black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. It’s available on tea bags and loose teas. A reusable gift tin of 20 silky tea sachets is $8.67 on Amazon.

    White Christmas Tea
    is a white tea with holiday aromas and flavors: nut aromas from almonds, spice from cardamom and sweet creaminess from vanilla.

    For Hanukkah, there’s a Celebration Tea gift set. The tea has traditional English flavors of fruits and nuts, and is packaged with caramels from Torn Ranch, mini Star Shortbreads from Walker’s, Chocolate Coins from Lake Champlain Chocolates and a Delphine Jacquard tea towel. All food products are certified kosher.

     

    harney-holiday-tea-kaminsky-230

    Holiday tea gift box from Harney & Sons. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

     
    Teas can be purchased in individual tins or in gift sets, with lovely packaging. Discover more holiday selections at Harney.com.
     
    BECOME A TEA GEEK

    For anyone who loves tea and wants to learn more about it, we recommend The Harney & Sons Guide To Tea. It’s informative, meant for consumers (as opposed to tea industry professionals), and is full of “Wow, I’m glad to know that” information.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Coffee

    Green-Mountain-Coffee-Pumpkin-Spice-Bags-Kcups-230

    Pick up some seasonal coffee in bags or K-Cups. Photo courtesy Green Mountain Coffee.

     

    We typically take advantage of the holiday blend coffees to switch up our caffeine consumption. In past years, it was always a bag of ground coffee, and we’d make a whole pot, whether or not others wanted to participate.

    But now, with the proliferation of Keurig single-cup brewers and other brands that use K-Cups, it’s easier to enjoy a quick cup.

    It’s time to bring on the holiday K-cups. You can find these limited edition coffees at retailers and online. Here’s a selection of coffees for the holiday season:
     
    Barrie House Pumpkin Spice K Cups

    Arabica beans are blended with the spicy flavor of holiday pumpkin pie. More information.
     
    Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Favor K Cups

    Grab a seasonal donut when you pick up a box of these! More information.

     
    Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice

    Green Mountain’s medium roast coffee is infused with flavors of cinnamon, pumpkin and nutmeg. More information.

    Get the ground coffee in bags.
     
    Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend K Cups

    Starbucks doesn’t have a pumpkin-flavored coffee, but produces a Thanksgiving Blend they describe as a “rich fall brew [that] features herbal notes with Sumatran beans and elegant soft spice from the coffee of Guatemala’s Antigua region. You’ll find it pairs well with the entire Thanksgiving meal, from savory turkey to sweet pumpkin pie.” It’s certified OU kosher. More information.
     
    Seasonal Sampler

    You can get a 30-count K-Cup assortment of holiday and winter cappuccino, chai, cider, coffee and tea from different brewers. Check out the Brewers Variety Pack Sampler with K-Cups from Brooklyn Beans, Crazy Cups, Green Mountain, Grove Square, Twinings and others.
     
    Consider holiday K-Cups as a gift for your favorite Keurig owner.
     
    FOR TEA DRINKERS

    Take a look at Harney & Sons for delicious holiday teas and gift sets.

    There are also two good candidates that are enjoyed year-round, but have notes of holiday spices:

  • Constant Comment, a very popular brand that is blended with sweet spices and orange peel
  • Masala chai, the generic term for Indian spiced tea, which is usually shortened to “chai” in the U.S.
  •  
    We think we’ll make a cup right now.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Genmaicha Tea

    Loose_leaf_genmaicha_wiki-cha.co.uk-230

    Genmaicha, green tea mixed with toasted
    rice. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

     

    Genmaicha, pronounced gen-my-cha with a hard “g,” is one of our favorite green teas.

    The flavor of the sencha green tea base is secondary to the nutty, toasty flavor of kernels of toasted and popped brown rice that scattered among the tea leaves.

    The name translates as “brown rice tea”; it is also called roasted rice tea and popcorn tea, because a few grains of the rice invariably pop during the roasting process and resemble popcorn. To further confuse matters, different American tea packagers bestow names of their own. At Mighty Leaf it’s Kyoto rice tea; at Numi it’s toasted rice tea.

    The good news is that this tea, which for a long time was only available loose, can now be found in tea bags. And people who want to drink green tea for its health benefits, but don’t like the grassy and vegetal flavors, can try it and possibly really enjoy the nutty flavor (from the roasted rice).

    As a stocking stuffer or small gift, you can buy a box for as little as $5.49, on Amazon.com.

     

    ABOUT GENMAICHA TEA

    Genmaicha was originally drunk by poor Japanese. The rice was used as a filler and reduced the price of the tea; which is why it is also known as the “people’s tea.” Today it is enjoyed by everyone.

    Genmaicha is also sold with matcha (powdered green tea) added to it, called matcha-iri genmaicha (literally, “genmaicha with added powdered tea”). The flavor is often stronger and the color more green than pale yellow green of regular genmaicha. Rishi sells an organic version.

    DISCOVER THE MANY TYPES OF TEA IN OUR TASTY TEA GLOSSARY.

     

    numi-toasted-rice-aka-genmaicha-230

    Thinking ahead to stocking stuffers? How about a box of genmaicha tea? The organic Numi line is certified kosher by Natural Food Certifiers. Photo courtesy Numi Tea.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Better Coffee…& Mocha Truffles

    One hundred million Americans drink coffee daily. Sixty-eight percent of us have a cup within the first hour of waking up. (Here are more coffee statistics.)

    So for all of us making our first cup at home—from ground beans, not K-Cups—here are some helpful tips from Melitta Coffee:

    1. Buy coffee weekly. Once coffee is ground or the vacuum can is opened, coffee begins to grow stale in about 24 hours. To slow this process, store coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. We use this Friis Coffee Vault.

    2. Don’t refrigerate or freeze the coffee. It will acquire moisture unless it’s stored in a moisture-proof and airtight container (like the Friis). While some “tips” say that you can freeze beans in airtight containers, the results won’t be glorious when you defrost them. Freezing coagulates the natural oils in the beans and crystallizes the moisture inside them, which adversely affects the flavor and aroma. In espresso, those oils need to emulsify to produce the body and mouthfeel of the coffee. So don’t be tempted buy jumbo-size bargains in coffee, unless you’re going to use it up quickly.

       

    coffee-cup-derby-pie-230

    Have an extra cup today to celebrate National Coffee Day. Photo courtesy Derby Pie.

     
    3. Buy (or grind your own) extra fine grind coffee. When using finer grinds, it’s possible to use less coffee due to higher extraction levels. You get fuller flavor. Melitta recommends two level teaspoons per six ounces of water.

    4. Use paper filters to effectively trap bitter sediments. Cone shaped paper filters allow for full saturation of the grounds, but all good, quality paper will ultimately enhance the final cup more than gold or other metal filters.

    5. Drink coffee as soon as possible after brewing. If left on a burner, the coffee will continue to cook and starts to degrade in as little as 20 minutes.

    Another way to celebrate National Coffee Day is with a coffee or mocha dessert. Consider affogato, brownies, candy (we love these hard coffee candies), coffee ice cream, milkshake, mousse, panna cotta and tiramisu. Here’s a recipe collection from Folger’s.

    From Melitta, here’s a recipe for easy mocha truffles.

     

    truffles-asstd-beauty-dearcoco-230b

    Mocha truffles: a marriage of chocolate and
    coffee.

     

    RECIPE: MOCHA TRUFFLES

    Ingredients For Approximately 50 Truffles

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 squares (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon rum or coffee liqueur
  • 1¼ cup chocolate wafer crumbs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CREAM butter and sugar thoroughly and add melted chocolate. Add coffee and rum; mix well. Chill for 3 to 4 hours, until mixture is firm enough to handle.

     

    2. DROP mixture by small teaspoonfuls and form into balls. Roll each in crumbs until well coated. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator, tightly covered.

      

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