Giveaway this week!
Giveaway update: this giveaway is closed.
I never used to think of coffee as something that came in varieties—not until a national coffee-your-way chain started offering Peppermint Mochas—the holy grail of coffee as far as I’m concerned. Until then, coffee was coffee and you drank it black—unless you’d had too much and then you added some cream so you could drink more.
But then, way before the Peppermint Mocha, Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio started selling Mr. Coffee coffeemakers in 1972. I contend that’s when the evolution of coffee began.
Interestingly, Seattle-based Starbucks, home of the above mentioned Peppermint Mocha, was founded about the same time (in 1971) as a coffee bean roaster and retailer but it didn’t really start to take off as the world’s caffeine supplier until the late 1980s early 1990s.
Regardless, our morning “cup of Joe” (not named after Dimaggio) has become yet another way we can assert our independence and “have it our way” (as a popular fast food restaurant used to encourage). And why not?
All this week we’ll look at various aspects of coffeemaking–and coffee enjoying. Stick with us and learn more about this beverage that more than half of us (over age 18) drink every day.
Single serve coffeemakers
Now there’s no reason you have to drink Black Silk coffee just because that’s what your spouse prefers—or that he has to drink French Vanilla because that’s what you prefer. With the advent of single-serve (and personal coffeemakers) everyone can have the flavor and roast he or she prefers.
And when a small group of friends gathers, some can have decaf coffee, while others can have regular strength or even chai, tea, or hot chocolate. One pot of coffee does not have to serve everyone—all hail the single-serve coffeemaker!
If, like me, you have concerns about all of those single-serve coffee pods and the effect on our landfills, there are reusable, single-serve coffee filters that can be filled with your preferred coffee or other hot beverage.
I use a Cuisinart SS-700 Single Serve brewer frequently at work and a different brand of single-serve at home. The Cuisinart, despite heavy use from a passel of foodies here at CHEFS, is decidedly quieter than the brewer I own.
With this brewer, not only can you have the blend of coffee you prefer, but with five different cup sizes (4 to 12 ounces) you can brew it to your preferred strength as well. And the charcoal water filter (included) further purifies the water to let the taste of your coffee shine through.
Also in the category of a personal brewer, but with the capacity to brew up to four (4.5 ounce) cups at a time (that’s 18 ounces of coffee, about the size of a large thermal travel mug—which it conveniently comes with) is KitchenAid’s Personal Coffee Maker, which I have in my cubicle. (Don’t look at me like that … sometimes you want coffee in the break room, sometimes hidden away in your cubicle so no one knows how much you really have to drink to wake up.)
Since I am the only one in my family who drinks coffee, I’ve owned various smaller sized coffeemakers over the years (as well as several full-sized models). What makes this one so convenient for me is that it does not have a carafe and instead brews directly into a travel mug. I just reach back onto my lateral file cabinet and grab the mug when it’s finished—and that means less to clean. If you saw my cube, you’d know that’s an important point.
But the coffee it makes tastes good, too, largely because of the technology involved. The showerhead (which rains the water down on the grounds) and the flat-bottomed, gold-tone coffee filter combine to create a smooth cup of coffee—and it’s hot, thanks to the 700-watt heating element.
Cuisinart also has a personal, 4-cup coffeemaker. This one does have a stainless steel carafe and an auto-shutoff feature that turns the unit off after 30 minutes. It uses #2 paper filters.
Like the KitchenAid, these smaller coffeemakers are great for a single drinker or for use in the office or dorm room. The compact size means less hogging of your precious counter space.
The Zojirushi Zutto 5-cup Coffee Maker is perfect for brewing a smaller pot. This coffee maker has the basket for grounds inside the lid of the carafe for easy removal and dripless pouring.
Why stop at drinking coffee? Make your favorite coffee—and then turn it into a favorite treat with these recipes.
- 3/4 cup double strength of your favorite coffee blend
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to your taste)
- 1 cup milk of your choice (low-fat, almond, soy, etc.)
- 2 cups ice
- 3 tablespoons chocolate or caramel syrup
- whipped cream (optional)
To make this coffee shop favorite, start by brewing double-strength coffee in your coffee maker. (If you use 1 tablespoon coffee per cup when you brew, use 2 tablespoons for this recipe.)
After the coffee has brewed, chill before using. Then, pour the double-strength coffee into a blender with the sugar, milk, and ice, and pulse until the ice is crushed. Pour into your favorite mug or to-go cup and top with whipped cream and syrup.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup blueberry-cucumber pulp – see Blueberry Papaya Cucumber Juice
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups brewed black tea or coffee, chilled
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate, or chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup soy milk
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut (for topping)
Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and grease the parchment as well.
Preheat oven to 375F with a rack in the middle.
Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl
In a separate bowl, combine the blueberry-cucumber pulp, vegetable oil, chilled tea, and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine with a rubber spatula. Add the vinegar and mix in with as few strokes as possible (it’s okay if there are streaks in the batter).
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, testing doneness with a wooden toothpick.
Let cakes cool in their pans for 5 to 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of each pan and unmolding to cool completely.
While cakes are cooling, put the papaya pulp and a tablespoon or two of orange juice into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add a tablespoon of sugar and stir as the mixture simmers gently for about 5 minutes. Cook until you have a thick, spreadable paste. Cool.
When the cake has cooled you may want to even out the surface of your first layer by slicing off the dome to create a flat, even round. Spread the papaya filling over the bottom cake layer and top with second cake.
Heat the soy milk in a small saucepan until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate.
Stir until all the chocolate has melted, then stir in maple syrup until the mixture is completely smooth.
Let cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Top your cake with the toasted coconut, and chill in fridge to set the ganache.
Recipe Courtesy of Food Thinkers by Breville
- 1 pound smoked bacon, pre-sliced
- 1 large onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper or to taste (optional)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3/4 cup brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 cup water
- Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or to taste (optional)
Preheat heavyweight saucepan or Dutch oven on medium heat. The pot’s capacity should be around 3-quarts.
Prep work: Cut bacon into 1-inch strips. Cut onion in half, and then cut each half into 1/4-inch slices. Dice jalapeno pepper (for less heat, remove ribs and seeds). Chop garlic cloves.
Add bacon to pot. Fry until fat renders and bacon is lightly browned and beginning to crisp. Transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels and let drain. Pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon fat.
Add sliced onions and jalapeno peppers to pot. Sauté on medium heat until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in chopped garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
To onion, jalapeno, and garlic mixture, add dark brown sugar, brewed coffee, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, bourbon, water, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine and deglaze pot. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add bacon and stir to combine. Mixture will be soupy. Reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until liquid becomes thick and syrupy.
Remove pan from stove. Cool for about 30 minutes.
Spoon mixture into food processor bowl. Pulse 3 times in 1-second pulses. Taste the jam. If it’s too chunky, pulse 1 to 2 more times. Do not over-process. The jam should have chewy bits of bacon throughout.
Spoon bacon jam into glass jars with tight lids. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Coffee your way! See more blogs on coffee tips, techniques and tools, right here at CHEFS Mix.
- Coffee: Make It At Home
- Coffee: Techniques and Tools to Go Pro at Home
- Coffee: Alternative Brewing Methods
- Personalized Coffee?
- Product Reviews: Remington’s iCoffee and the Bonavita Coffee Maker