When was the last time you had a truly good cup of coffee? Not one that is laden with syrups and chemicals to fool your brain into thinking it’s good. I’m talking about a fill your mouth, smooth, acidic balanced by slightly sweet and nutty, satisfying cup of joe. They are so hard to find. I’ve had many cups on the run and those last minute keurig pods to get my caffeine fix but it’s been a while since I just had a really yummy hot cup of coffee so good I could drink it black. I encourage you to embark on a journey. Find that special cup of heaven that when you sip you feel at peace, like the world is a wonderful place. Let me know what you discover. What kind of coffee, grind, process and location. Include the #stacyscoffeeandtea or comment on this post and I’ll show them here on my blog and website and enter you into a drawing. On February 29thm one lucky winner will be chosen to receive a free mug from our stash. Happy sipping!
Good Earth Sweet and Spicy
You might think I would be more of a tea snob, but some packaged teas are really good. This one has three important features:
1. Consistent quality
2. Convenient tea bag
3. It makes me happy.
The flavor is exactly what it says: Sweet and Spicy, but it’s not too much of either. This tea pairs well with a girl scout trefoil cookie or a fresh sugar cookie. I love that it is caffeine free and needs no added sugar but is not overly sweet. As an herbal tea, it has a rooibos base with a hint of citrus and a nice bite. If you find it too strong, add hot water. If you find it too weak, use two bags and steep longer.
Sometimes it’s the little things. The tags always have a cute or interesting quote. Mine says “Every now and then, bite off more than you can chew.” That’s a nice message to start your day.
Where I live, this tea is easily found in the local grocery store. I’m including the Amazon link here because there is an organic version that has some bad reviews. Normally I would choose organic first, but the reviews say that the organic one has no flavor. Click on the picture below for the right version. *
*yes, I get affiliate credit
Nations Treasure Golden Flower Tea
I recently received a generous gift from someone who went to China. It actually came in a beautiful box that was hand carried back to the U.S. This wood case, with custom indents that fit the glass jars perfectly, survived an incredible journey of 6 countries and several modes of transportation only to be dropped by a bell boy in the last hotel. Ugh. Luckily, the tea arrived intact.
Technically it’s not really tea. It’s really a miracle golden flower that blooms in some hard to reach region of China for only a few weeks in the spring. According to the Oracle of Truth (Google) it has healing properties like curing cancer, hair loss, acne, depression, and anything else you might have. How do I know this? Because I spent several hours with Google translate, trying to draw chinese characters in that little box, with my mouse, to get one the right one recognized. You see, the information and instructions came in Chinese!
I managed to get this far: The title line says “Nations (or Chinese National) Golden (or Michael) Flower Tea.” Every time you add a character to the sentence, it can change the meaning of the previous character. Now for the directions. “Add boiling water to three or four flowers.” It took an hour to translate only a handful of words. Never mind, I know how to make tea…..
For an herbal tea, it is similar to a chamomile but not as sweet with an earthy finish that lingers a bit. It is really easy to make. I tried more but found if I put three flowers in a cup, add boiling water and steep for two minutes, it’s perfect. No caffeine means this is a really nice tea at the end of the day. So far, I don’t have cancer, or hair loss so it might be working. Then again, I didn’t have those problems before. The flowers stay in tact so I don’t even strain it. When the tea gets cold or sits too long, it gets a bit stronger, bringing out more dirt flavors. I’ll still drink it but it’s best not to wait long past that sweet spot of perfect tea (not to hot, but not too cold).
I am eternally grateful for this gift. Now if I only took advice from my favorite tea cup. Enjoy!
If anyone knows Chinese, feel free to translate any warning labels in the comments!
I don’t really like my Keruig
I’ll say it right off the top. I don’t love my Keurig. There are a couple of other machines that work the same way. Basically, they all force water through a plastic cup of coffee grounds quickly. Unfortunately, everyone seems to have bought into this method. I get it. You need coffee fast and it’s easy to push a button as you drag your bleary eyed, just woke up self to the kitchen. So you will get coffee, quickly, but not really good coffee. Yet, I still use it for a quick cup in the morning (and for guests) but then I need to add flavored creamers (pseudonym for addictive chemical swill) or milk and sugar. At this point, it’s really just a caffeine delivery system.
Tea flavors are also enhanced by allowing them to steep in a cup for a few minutes. The water temperature is not hot enough to make proper loose leaf tea. You can buy K cups for several brands of tea but basically all you are doing with any other beverage is adding hot water to powdered processed chemicals. Besides the obvious impending natural disaster of spent K cup pile up in our landfills, I wonder how many people realize they are paying more than $50 per pound for not-that-great coffee? Check out this post from The Kitchn to see what I mean.
But we still use them so here are some hints to get better results from your Keurig:
Good coffee comes from allowing the water to absorb all the flavors. The best coffee ever will be freshly ground beans in a pour over or French press. If you must use a Keurig, you will get slightly better results from using a smoother more mellow coffee with a lighter roast. The strong dark roasts come out acidic and tart because the water is forced through too fast not allowing the more subtle flavors of coffee to be absorbed. Also, make sure, as with all coffee and tea preparation, that you use purified water. I’ve tried using better coffee in the filter that fits in the k cup but I think it was worse. If you use this method, use an extremely fine ground and make half a cup, then add hot water by taking out the pod and running it again. (Americano style)
You can get away with the Lipton bag stuff if you that’s what you drink. It’s also okay for making instant oatmeal or soup packages. Just don’t add a pod, but I don’t recommend it for much else. It’s basically a low temperature hot water heater. Set your expectations accordingly.