Category Archives: Food and Drink

Brewin’ With Brandi : Irish Whiskey Float

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody!Irish Whiskey Float

We here at Seattle Coffee Gear are all wearing our obligatory green and drinking our whiskey laced espresso beverages. Are you green with envy yet? Ok, maybe we aren’t drinking just yet but Brandi has a recipe for you if you feel so inclined. It’s sweet, creamy, and infused with the happy juice.

The Irish Whiskey Float is a great way to end a meal this St. Patricks Day. What is not to love in a drink that combines vanilla ice cream, espresso and whiskey? Watch the video below as Brandi and Leslie whip up a couple adult beverages. The recipe is listed below as well. It makes 1 drink so duplicate as many times as need :) Oh, and if you liked this recipe check out some of Brandi’s past videos here.

 

Irish Whiskey Float

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Double shot of Espresso
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey

Instructions:

Start by brewing your favorite espresso. Set shots aside to cool slightly.

Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream to your glass.

Add the espresso and Irish Whiskey to the glass. And enjoy (responsibly)!

Crew Review: Rip van Wafels

Rip van WafelsIt’s coffee break time and I’m feeling a bit hungry. I could either eat yet another donut or I could open up a Rip van Wafel. What’s a Rip van Wafel you ask? Well it’s only the tastiest thing you can eat during your coffee break that will also start some chatter around the proverbial water cooler. This tasty item is both an experience and a snack.

It all starts with a piping hot cup of coffee. Before you even attempt a sip you place one of these Rip van Wafels on top of your cup, which is conveniently the perfect size and shape for your standard coffee cup. As your coffee cools down to a temperature that won’t burn your tongue the Rip van Wafel is getting all soft and gooey. Slowly you will see the middle of the Wafel sag, and that is when you know it’s ready to enjoy.

The texture is one of the better things in life. Soft and chewy. The flavor has notes of cinnamon and caramel, the perfect accompaniment for a cup of joe (as I am sure you know). Check out the video below and be sure to head over to our YouTube channel for more product reviews and general coffee goodness!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Twilight Dark Chocolate Truffles

Around these parts, we can’t just settle for truffles. They need to be dark Velton Twilight Coffeechocolate truffles. But are those good enough? Nope. They also need coffee. Not any kind of coffee, though. It needs to be Velton’s Twilight coffee. Wow, we’re picky!

The result of all this pickiness, however, are some amazingly delicious food items. So, without further ado, we present to you Twilight Dark Chocolate Truffles!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp ground Velton’s Twilight coffee
  • 4 oz baker’s chocolate
  • 2 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and heat over medium until all ingredients are melted (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly.
  • When all ingredients are melted and the mixture is smooth, pour into a glass bowl and refrigerate for one hour or until it is a firm consistency.
  • Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and scoop the mixture onto wax paper or into treat cups by the tablespoon. Hint: A cookie scoop is great for this!
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Not So Scientific) Experiment: Brewing Tea in a Pressurized Portafilter

You may remember that not so long ago we posted a blog about brewing tea on your espresso machine. Wha?! Yep, true story. At the time, we had a lot of fun with it and found that we could pressurized_teasuccessfully pull a whole cup of tea through a pressurized portafilter. There was even a layer of tea crema. So crazy and so cool.

Around SCG, we’re always looking for different ways to use the equipment we already have. So this was pretty exciting to us, especially given that there are cafes specifically dedicated to this type of tea experience…and now we could do it ourselves!

If you’re more into videos than text-based articles, we’ve created one specifically to walk you through the process of “dialing in” your cup of espresso machine-prepped tea. Now we’re off to daydream about the possibilities of tea lattes. Let’s say it together now: Yummmm!

Brew Tips: How to Make a Macchiato

Sarah and Dori are back (at the same bat time on the same bat channel) and ready to share their cafe macchiatobrew tips with you! Up this time is the macchiato, but not the one drenched in caramel that you are accustomed to seeing in a big chain coffee shop. While, admittedly, those are delicious, this is an old fashioned foamed milk and espresso type o’ macchiato.

Composed of two parts espresso to one part foamed milk. And by “foamed milk” we really mean either the foam off the top of the milk or really, really well frothed milk. So milky coffee lovers may want to look at a cappuccino to get their espresso beverage fix!

How to Make a Macchiato

1)   Clear the extra water out of the steam wand.

2)   Follow our steps for frothing milk for a cappuccino (yes, even though you are making a macchiato) when preparing your milk.

3)   As you froth your milk, keep in mind that you should be expanding it quite a bit and incorporating in as much air as you can. Remember: We’re looking for that milk foam!

4)   Clean up that steam wand while you pull your espresso shot.

5)   Give your frothing pitcher a firm tap against the counter and swirl to incorporate the foam into the milk.

6)   For a macchiato with very foamed milk, pour the milk directly on top of the espresso shot. For a macchiato with a dollop of foam, let the milk sit for a minute to let it separate from the foam (or don’t tap and swirl initially) and then spoon a few tablespoons onto the espresso shot.

You can be as pro as Sarah and Dori, too. Just watch the video below and then follow the foolproof steps to macchiato mania!

Brew Tips: How to Make a Latte and a Mocha

how to make a latte2Last week we gave you some tips on how to perfectly froth your milk for creating a latte or a cappuccino. Now we are going to expand on those skills a bit and show you how to make a latte and a mocha. Once again we used our trusty Nuova Simonelli Musica Espresso Machine with its super-charged frothing power to create these drinks.

How to Make a Latte

1) When making a latte you can use as much milk as you want. Generally you want to use more milk for a latte than you would use for making a cappuccino, about 8 oz. is a good amount.

2) Once you have your milk, follow the same tips we used for frothing milk for a latte in our video last week.

3) Since you are only making a little bit foam for your latte, make sure you submerge your steam arm fairly quickly to ensure you are just heating the milk and not creating bubbles.

4) When your milk is hot, tap the pitcher and swirl the milk around the pitcher to get it mixed in. This time around you will be able to see the milk texture underneath, as the milk is not nearly as thick as when we were frothing it for a cappuccino. However, you can still create a rich milk by making sure any foam you have created is well-incorporated in to the milk. If you let it separate out too much, you’ll get that lighter milk texture and have thick foam on the top.

5) Pour your frothed milk into a cup containing a shot (or two or three!) of espresso and you have created a latte.

How to Make a Mocha

1) Creating a mocha is very similar to creating a latte, as it is basically a latte with chocolate. As such, follow steps 1-4 in the latte recipe above to prepare the milk for your mocha.

2) Before you add milk to your cup, mix your espresso shot with chocolate syrup (you can use any type of chocolate to create a mocha – white, dark, sugar-free, whatever you prefer). Stir the espresso and shot together with a spoon to make sure they are well combined. This makes creating the drink easier, especially if you want to attempt latte art, which we’ll save for another post.

3) Pour in the milk with the espresso chocolate mixture, and enjoy.

Follow along with Dori and Sarah as they make a latte and a mocha. Make sure to check back in next week to discover what other coffee concoctions you can make with your newfound skills.

Brew Tips: How to Make a Latte or a Mocha

Mystery Taste Test: Cappuccino Chips

CappuccinoBy now you’ve probably heard of the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest. If you haven’t, this annual contest hosted by Lay’s allows people to submit their ideas for new potato chip flavors in to the company. The brand then selects three to four “flavor finalists” to actually produce so that the public can sample them and vote on an ultimate winner. Last year’s contest conjured up inventive flavors like Chicken & Waffles, Sriracha and Cheesy Garlic Bread (which ended up being declared the winner). This year, contestants have gotten even more creative in developing flavor finalists, which are Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Mango Salsa, Wasabi Ginger and Cappuccino chips.

Being the coffee lovers that we are, we were both surprised and interested to hear that a cappuccino chip was being created. After all it combined two of our favorite things, a cappuccino and potato chips. However, we were a little uncertain how these two flavors would mix, as they are both pretty distinctive. As such, we decided we no choice but to put these cappuccino chips to the test and taste them ourselves. However, we wanted this test to be as scientific as possible and wanted people to taste these chips without developing any preconceived notions about their flavor. Therefore, we decided to invite several of our crew members to blind tasting, so we could find out what they truly thought of the chips.

“What were the results of the experiment?” you may ask.  What did the chips taste like? Are they sweet, salty or somewhere in between? More importantly, do they actually taste like a cappuccino or even coffee? You’ll just have to watch the video of our crew chowing down on these cappuccino chips to find out. Likewise, if you have gotten to try the chips out yourself, we would love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment and share your review.

Mystery Taste Test: Cappuccino Chips

A Tea Lover in a Coffee World: Savrika Tea Review

IMG_1795After a year of writing tea reviews, I have visited quite a few different tea shops and houses in the greater Seattle area. While none of the other tea shops I visited were bad, in fact all of them served great tea and food, it was apparent that the owners of some tea shops hadn’t invested the same amount of knowledge or time into learning about the products they sell. Or if they have, they haven’t quite figured out how to share that information with their customers. However, when I recently stumbled upon Savrika Tea in downtown Kirkland, I realized I had discovered something really special.

You can tell that the owner, Rupa D. Gadre, is passionate about tea. This love for tea is evident from the second you step into Savrika Tea. This is not only because the numerous tea certifications she has earned, Rupa has been taking specialized courses since 2011 and officially became a Certified Tea Specialist in the Fall of 2013, but also due to the tea wall focal point and huge variety of tea with something to suit every taste.

IMG_1821Rupa’s entry to the tea world and entrepreneurship was somewhat unexpected. She originally worked as a Web Analyst for Cisco Systems, but took a hiatus from work to have children. As a mom, Rupa often visited the mall for her kid’s play dates and stopped at Teavana while there. Yet, while the store introduced her to a variety of wonderful loose leaf teas, she soon realized there were major drawbacks with the experience. One, there was no place to actually sit and enjoy the tea she purchased, so Rupa was forced to take the tea home and drink it by herself. Two, Rupa explains that she had a lot of questions about tea that the store staff couldn’t answer. Thus, disappointed in the lack of the social aspect and wanting people to be able to learn more about the tea they were drinking, Savrika Tea was born.

When it was clear that the store was going to be a reality, Rupa told me that she lucked into meeting an architect, who also happened to be an ex-Starbucks employee, through a fellow parent. Rupa explained that, while not a designer, she knew she wanted “a modern and clean look and feel.  That is evident also in the tea wall focal point, the furnishings I chose, the concrete design on the floor, and the bathrooms.” Rupa adds that “because I’m the one making the final decisions, there was no committee to restrict my colors or themes,” which was nice since it allowed her to make the space truly her own.

IMG_1818The appearance of the store definitely accomplishes Rupa’s goal. The shop is a modern oasis, with shiny granite tables and a cozy nook to one side of the space that is excellent for curling up with a good book. The clean lines of the shelving put the tea ware and tea that is sold on display. Aside from the giant wall of tea, my favorite part of the store was the tea sampling station that is set up in the center of the room.  Here, all 200 varieties of tea the shop sells are stored in small, color-coded tins (black tins for black teas, green tins for green teas and so on). Customers are able to open these tins in order to smell and examine the teas inside to find one or more that they would like to drink. There is a directory of all the teas that the store offers, which lists the ingredients and a description of each tea to help you get a better idea of what each one contains. If you still aren’t sure what tea you would like to try, Savrika’s knowledgeable staff can help you find a tea that is a good fit for you based on what flavors you enjoy. To ensure her staff remains knowledgeable about tea, Rupa says that, “after every training [I go to], I bring back my coursework and notes and educate my staff. That way they have more information at hand when speaking with customers.” In addition, Rupa states, “ I encourage my staff to try a new tea on each shift; that way they can give personal recommendations as well make their way through all 200 varieties.”

After exploring a number of the different teas on offer, I ended up deciding upon a black-green tea blend called “Roxie’s Passion” at the recommendation of a staff member. This blend includes black tea, green tea, papaya cubes, rosehip peel, flavoring and sunflower blossoms. Since it is summer, and has been hot out, I opted to have Roxie’s Passion brewed iced.  The tea arrived at my table in a to-go cup and was a pretty golden peach color. The flavor was even better. The tea tastes of a nice, smooth traditional black tea, except slightly lighter, perhaps because of the green tea that was also in the brew. There were fruity notes, such as peach and passion fruit, in the tea that made it even more delicious. In addition, the tea shop sells quite a few desserts and tea sandwiches, which can be hard to find nowadays. I didn’t sample any of these goodies myself, but they looked pretty tasty.

IMG_1812While Savrika Tea is Rupa’s first foray into selling tea on her own, it is not her first experience with tea. According to Rupa:

As far back as I can remember, tea was always around and part of my life.  When we had guests, my Mom would bring out the nicer teapots.  At parties, chai was always the last item served.  When we’d go on vacations, my parents would stop the car for afternoon tea time. It didn’t matter where we were, but the tea break came to be expected. It was the tradition that followed from India to their new country, from their parents’ houses to our home, and now to my home and business.

Since tea has long been a part of Rupa’s life, she decided she would combine another important aspect of her background, her Indian heritage, into the store. As such, “the base of the [store’s] name is ‘Sarika,’ which is a Sanskrit woman’s name meaning beauty in nature. I added the ‘v’ to make it Savrika – wholly mine and unique, but with an Indian base. “

IMG_1823Savrika Tea is rapidly approaching its second birthday; the store opened its doors in September of 2012, and shows no signs of slowing down. Even on a Wednesday afternoon, when I visited, there were quite a few people in the shop sipping tea while reading or working on their computers. Besides selling tea, Rupa offers frequent tea tastings and classes so customers interested in learning more about tea have the opportunity to do so. It seems the abundance of knowledge Rupa provides her customers is likely what makes Savirka Tea so successful. Rupa said it best when she stated, “I have no agenda except to provide high-quality tea and perhaps educate customers along the way.”

Brewin’ with Brandi: Cappuccine Extreme Toffee Coffee

CappuccineThe heat is on, and there is no better way to cool off this summer than with a blended, frozen beverage. Many people satisfy this craving by ordering a frappe from their local café, but you can actually save yourself money (and a trip to you local coffee shop) by making this delicious treat at home with Cappuccine Gourmet Frappe Mix.

Besides being incredibly yummy, this powdered drink mix is about as easy as it gets when it comes to making it. All you have to do is blend a couple of scoops of Cappuccine with ice, milk and coffee and or espresso and you are good to go! What’s nice about Cappuccine is that there a number of flavors to try out and even more options when it comes to brewing with it, so you can get creative when concocting various recipes. After all, isn’t experimenting with different flavors supposed to be what cooking is all about?

For instance, we’ve also been know to throw in of our Monin syrups or fruit in the blender with our Cappuccine for added flavor. While Cappucinne specializes in frappes, you don’t have to reserve this drink mix just for hot months, you can also try mixing it with hot water or milk to create hot cocoa. Or even try it with hot coffee or espresso to make a mocha-like drink! The options are endless.

In our most recent foray into the kitchen, Brandi and Kaylie blended up an Extreme Toffee Coffee frappe. This may just be one of our favorite flavors, as there are actual chunks of toffee in the powder, like a Heath bar. Watch them in action as they brew up the drink to join in on the fun!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Cappuccine Extreme Toffee Coffee

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. of ice
  • Two scoops of Cappuccine – The Cappuccine powder comes with its own handy scoop, but in case you happen to misplace yours, two scoops is equal to about 7 tablespoons
  • 5 oz. of coffee

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender – we used our trusty Vitamix.
  • Blend, and enjoy!

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Sugar Cubes

Espresso Sugar CubesWant to flavor your coffee, with cream, sugar and more coffee? Well, we have just the thing, with a bit of a sweet twist. What is this magical potion? Espresso sugar cubes! These sugar cubes are similar to the popular drink “shot in the dark,” which is a shot of espresso poured into a cup of coffee. If this blend of coffee, sugar and espresso doesn’t wake you up and get you’re heart racing in the morning, we don’t know what will!

These caffeinated sugar cubes are surprisingly easy to make. All you need is white sugar, brewed espresso and a few cooking utensils. If you want to get fancy, you can try experimenting with cookie cutters or ice cube molds to create different shapes like hearts, stars or seasonal patterns. If you really want to step up your game you can also try flavoring the cubes with something besides espresso, such as Monin syrups. For instance, we think Toasted Almond Mocha sounds pretty tasty, and that Rose flavored sugar cubes would even pair well with tea. In other words, don’t be surprised if you find us back in the kitchen playing around with sugar in the not so distant future. In the meantime, watch Brandi and Kaylie get their buzz on as they mix up these espresso sugar cubes.

 

Brewin’ with Brandi: Espresso Sugar Cubes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons brewed espresso

Directions

  • Measure out the white sugar and brewed espresso into a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir the ingredients together until everything is moistened and combined. The mixture should have the texture of wet sand.
  • Pour mixture onto a large rectangle baking dish or baking sheet, and smooth out the mixture with a spatula. You’ll want the mixture to be about ½ inch high, otherwise you will have giant sugar cubes.
  • When you have achieved your desired thickness, cut the sugar mixture into small squares to form cubes.
  • Let the cubes air-dry, uncovered for 12-24 hours.