Violet’s ® Instant Coffee Cube

Imagine this: you’re on the run, trying to get out the door for the day. You’re trying to make your lunch, wake up your significant other, feed the dog, get the kids dressed, put on your makeup – or maybe all of those things at once!

With a morning like that, you could do the unthinkable: Leave for work without your morning coffee.

I can’t even think about it.

But who could blame you? Whether you have a Keurig or traditional coffee maker, making your morning cup of coffee can be a time consuming process.

But does it have to be?

Nancy Zapata-Faella, the President and CEO of Violet’s ® Coffee, says no.

Born and raised in Colombia, Nancy came to America 26 years ago searching for a brighter future. Nancy works full-time as a clerk and interpreter for the district court in the Rhode Island judiciary system.

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In her spare time? Nancy is a brilliant, blossoming entrepreneur.

Her current project is every coffee lover’s dream and the much sought-after solution to that hectic morning scenario we all know too well.

Introducing the Instant Coffee Cube, by Violet’s ® Coffee.

The Instant Coffee Cube is as easy to use as it sounds. You heat up water or milk in any container for as long as desired (obviously the hotter you want the coffee, the longer it will have to microwave) and pop in the cube.

Done.

Just like that, the cube will dissolve in the steaming water or milk, creating instantaneous coffee.

The Instant Coffee Cube is comprised entirely of all-natural, biodegradable materials (even the box!) and easily breaks down. The cube is comprised of coffee grounds and Muscovado sugar (a non-refined brown sugar) which turns into a perfectly balanced cup of coffee before your very eyes. Cream is not included in the cube for obvious reasons – I’ve never met someone who likes sour cream in their coffee.

The recommended amount is 2 cubes per 8 ounces of liquid and Nancy herself suggests putting the cubes in the microwave with your water or milk for the smoothest coffee.

Nancy had the idea for the Instant Coffee Cube back in 2004, which she then shared with her brother, Walter.

“My brother Walter is still living in Colombia,” Nancy said. “But we have always wanted to have a business together. So, one day after work, I asked him, ‘Walter, do they have instant coffee cubes down in Colombia yet?’ and he said he had never seen any. So I said, ‘We need to make that happen, then.’”

With Walter on board, Violet’s ® Coffee was ready to take off.

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Walter now oversees the manufacturing of the cubes, which happens entirely in Colombia. Five different machines, all engineered by Walter, do the entire production process from mixing to packaging.

Nancy has sold her first coffee cubes online through an international trading website – more or less a big Ebay of international connections. Over 23 countries have contacted Nancy so far to try the coffee cube, including buyers from Israel and Chile.

Investors have been just as curious.

“There have been people who want to invest,” Nancy said. “But they also want 60% of the company. And I think to myself, I have worked too hard to give up so much of this business.”

So, Nancy is turning to the ever-popular crowd funding website, RocketHub – which has partner with TV channel A&E – to gain capitol for her project. (SIDENOTE: CHECK OUT VIOLET’S ® ROCKETHUB CAMPAIGN HERE https://www.rockethub.com/projects/61465-my-coffee-cubes — DONATE, BLOG READERS!)

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For her rewards (for those of you who don’t know, individuals who give money to crowd funding campaigns get rewards for the amount of money donated) Nancy is thinking philanthropically.

Ideally, Nancy would like to support American troops who are deployed overseas. Her idea is, for the smaller backing amounts, that donors would be able to send a solider some Instant Coffee Cubes with their donation.

But her sense of giving doesn’t start and end with crowd funding. Nancy’s entire business plan revolves around helping others.

“My family members in Colombia are coffee growers – and it is not an easy life,” Nancy said. “That is why my father left the farm and moved to the city, keeping our future in mind. I want to help the farmers and coffee growers still in Colombia. Look – everyone is drinking coffee. We don’t want them to go away. We need them.”

To support Colombian coffee growers, Nancy only purchases beans for the Instant Coffee Cube from Colombia in an attempt to keep their industry thriving and enhance their quality of life.

Over all, Violet’s ® offers a win/win situation for everyone. We, as caffeine addicted consumers, benefit from delicious, efficient coffee – does it get better than that? Nancy’s family run business (besides her brother, Nancy’s two daughters also help keep the company running) thrives, helping the small business economy. And great causes everywhere are affected – whether it’s soldiers in Iraq or farmers in Colombia.

Go to http://www.mycoffeecubes.com/contact-us/ to order your coffee cubes today…did I mention they’re extremely reasonably priced?!

What are you waiting for? Get off this blog (what kind of name is The Bean Stream, anyways?) and go buy yourself a cheap, delicious and quick way to make your love of coffee a little easier.

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Due Cappuccini, Per Favore : A Coffee Lover Goes Italian

It’s been too long, coffee lovers! It’s been a crazy summer, I’ve been doing some weird excursions like graduating from college and getting a job…insanity.

But the best adventures have been the ones involving – you guessed it – coffee.

My favorite liquid substance.

Most of the time.

Anyways.

The biggest and best adventure of the summer was, without a doubt, my trip to Italy. My fiance and I went to stay with my uncle in the ancient monastery that he’s remodeled into a bed and breakfast in the mountains of Tuscany.

I know, right? You can’t write this stuff.

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This is the unbelievably beautiful monastery we stayed in for FREE while celebrating my great-aunt’s 75th birthday. There was so much wine and so many amazing stories, plus a crazy old French woman who smokes illegal substances with grill lighters, but those are stories for another blog.

What REALLY blew my mind, and I’m sure you can all believe it, were the Italian cappuccinos. Obviously, cappuccinos were invented in Italy and are defined as “an Italian coffee drink”. So, naturally, their cappuccino game was on point.

Cappuccinos in Italy are like their own food group, their own meal, their own snack. The cappuccino is respected and adored. As it should be.

Me and Coffee

This is me (hi!) sitting on my uncle’s patio (I guess that’s the American version of what this was) and drinking my morning cappuccino, made by his own personal cappuccino maker. There was no coffee makers in Italian homes and hotels. No Mr. Coffee. No Keurig. Cappuccino makers only, sorry.

For anyone who may not know, cappuccinos are prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam. The name derives from the Capuchin friars who originally drank cappuccinos in the 17th century, referring to the brown color of their habits that mimic the coffee’s color.

Cappuccinos are served in Italian restaurants in 5-6 oz. cups, HALF the size of a traditional American 12 oz. cup of coffee (and that’s our small…) The little cups take you by surprise! They’re so tiny and cute and you can’t help but think, “Is this going to be enough?”

Well, if the fact that you drink at least 4 or 5 of them a day doesn’t do it, the fact that cappuccinos are practically PURE espresso will reassure you that yes, it will be enough.

The hot milk (and when Italian’s mean hot, they MEAN hot – caution drinking right away!) and steamed milk foam give a creaminess to the drink that helps to offset the extremely harsh, strong taste of the espresso.

While sugar in American coffee is often frowned upon (flavored creamers, ya’ll), sugar packets are ALWAYS given with espressos; those little guys have some serious punch to them and sugar is needed. At least for a wimp like me.

But my favorite thing about the cappuccinos in Italy were how ingrained they are into Italian culture. There were coffee shops on every corner of even the smallest town my fiance and I visited, and it was perfectly acceptable to stop and just take a cappuccino break. It so perfectly reflects the relaxed European attitude; sitting at a table in the middle of the work day just to drink a cappuccino, smoke a cigarette and look around nonchalantly.

In fact, when Dan (my fiance) and I arrived in Venice for our first day, we were determined not to look touristy…but we were incredibly lost and overwhelmed. What did we do? Casually went into a coffee shop, ordered two cappuccinos, relaxed and made a game plan so when we emerged we 100% knew what we were doing.

It worked. We were mistaken for Venetians more than once. Coffee saves the day!

Honestly, we passed as Italians because one of the only phrases we knew was the one we used the most frequently: “due cappuccini, per favore”, or “two cappuccinos, please”. We knew this little phrase by heart and it immediately broke down language barriers for us left and right.

Coffee is truly like a universal language, and Italians speak it fluently.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…Coffee?

There is a, ah, superhuman new coffee trend on the rise.

Bulletproof Coffee shop and café is the newest café to grace the sunny streets of Santa Monica, California. Bulletproof’s coffee is also the newest health trend to hit the West Coast.

What’s the health secret, you ask? Naturally, it’s the last thing on earth you’d expect.

The coffee is made with a single-origin French press blend which is then whipped with — wait for it — butter.

Voila! Butter coffee is born. With a blast of MCT oil, this coffee becomes a rich, dark, frothy, and flavorful cup of coffee.

So that’s all well and good. A delicious new type of coffee with a classic American twist to clog our arteries with more efficiency! But wait — this buttery coffee is not what you’d expect.

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Besides being tantalizingly yummy, Bulletproof’s butter coffee is also designed to speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat all day long. Owner and creator David Asprey used himself as a test subject when creating the super-brew, losing 60 pounds of fat in the process.

Asprey credits the coffee’s awesome abilities to its increase in fat through the addition of the butter. Asprey swears by his high-fat diet, eating mainly fatty foods like avocados to boost his fat-burning abilities;

“It turns off your sugar cravings,” Aspray said, “[butter coffee] helps put your body in fat-burning mode to start the day.”

In addition to this new butt-kicking-coffee, Bulletproof’s café is stocked with only healthy, organic options — and that’s not all. Asprey has invested in making the entire interior of the café a health-nut’s dream.

The café chairs will be programmed to emit pulses designed to stimulate blood flow and stem cells. There will be a whole body vibration plate that will gives your muscles, tendons and ligaments a workout while you wait for your coffee. Even the lighting is meant to help regulate circadian rhythms of patrons!

All of these additions along with Bulletproof’s signature butter coffee are meant to make customers — you guessed it — bulletproof.

While Aspray may be living proof that a diet high in fat can yield incredible results, not all dietitians are going to love the idea of dropping a pad of butter into their coffee. There has certainly been a little backlash from some dietary experts, saying that the caloric drink is “devoid of nutrition”.

But with Asprey’s incredible health results and the amazing technological health aspects of Bulletproof Coffee and café, it seems that the proof is in the…well, in the butter.

Coffee Review Twisted Pepper Dublin

Surprise post! Although the blog has been retired for a few months, I came across this post and loved it! Couldn’t resist the reblog.

Organic Coffee

As I am living in Dublin at the moment I asked several people who are passionate about coffee where the best coffee in town is served. I heard a lot of different places such as the Sacha Café on Drury Street or the Twisted Pepper. As I was curious so I tried both. First we went to the Twisted Pepper and ordered a coffee set, which is the combination of a cappuccino and an espresso shot. I chose a cappuccino with a sweet and earthy flavour, from Nicaragua. This cappuccino was nicely served and tasted even better. The taste was smooth, even thought I chose an earthy flavour.

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The foam was very creamy and I enjoyed drinking the cappuccino a lot. After the first half of my cappuccino I had the espresso shot, which was very strong and good as well. I…

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It’s Been Swell

I am so glad coffee and I decided to work on our relationship. I’ll admit, we were a little distant before, but I feel like now we understand each other and are closer than ever.

It has been so much chronically this journey, and I really don’t think this is the end. I will be taking a brief hiatus in writing on The Bean Stream, but while that hiatus happens, my love for coffee will only grow.Which MEANS…there’s always room for more posts!

Thank you to all the readers (whether dedicated or sporadic, I think you’re all fabulous) who took the time to read all the dumb things I had to say. I hope maybe you learned a thing or two, tried a new kind of coffee, or just felt more compelled to love coffee more than you already did.

Even if none of those things happened, still thank you for reading!

Don’t be surprised if you don’t see any posts for a while or if in a few weeks I come back to keep writing. Who knows? All I know is that this is exactly what coffee and I needed to get back on the same page.

If you don’t hear from me again, keep brewing and love every cup of coffee you drink more than the last!

Peace out, coffee lovers.

I’m going to go brew myself a pot.

Coffee on Campus: A Student Opinion

When the average person thinks college student, I think two stereotyped images come to mind: crazy, drunk partying college students, and crazed college students at 4 a.m. trying to a write a paper and chugging cup after cup of coffee.

That second one is what I take issue with. While the first one I can’t speak to (pleading the fifth), the second image is one I know well. However, not every college student is that coffee addict one might imagine.

In fact, I have wrangled a few college students (unwilling roommates and friends who can’t run from me) to give me their take on coffee as a college student. That’s right. We’re breaking down stereotyping on the Bean Stream tonight.

Image Everyone say hi to Ally, my roommate. Hi, Ally! Ally is a confessed coffee addict and college student.

Tessa: So, Ally, you drink coffee, correct?

Ally: Religiously.

T: Why?

A: Well, it tastes delicious and it keeps me going all day!

T: What’s your go-to coffee that tastes so delicious?

A: I mean a medium caramel Dunkin Donuts coffee on the go is my favorite, but I brew my own coffee, too, when I have the time. They’re equally delicious. I find brewing my own coffee gives me richer, stronger coffee, but as a college student, I don’t always have the time.

T: Is the reason you started drinking coffee because of your being a college student?

A: 100%. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I came to college! But then I got so into the taste — and, admittedly, addicted to the caffeine — that now it’s just a routine for me. I routine I love.

T: How many coffees do you have a day as a college student?

A: On days with my earlier classes and more classes I tend to have two, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but on slower days I can get by with just one in the morning!

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Meet Beth! She’s my apartment-mate and extraordinarily busy college student who sometimes relies on coffee occasionally but is not quite as addicted as Ally and myself.

Tessa: So Beth, how do you feel about coffee?

Beth: Coffee and I have a love/hate relationship.

T: How so?

B: Well, when I need something quick to pick me up, especially when I have a long day or a lot of work to do, coffee is perfect. But I don’t drink it on a daily basis?

T: Is it mostly the nighttime push of homework? Sunday night best friend?

B: Actually, not at all! I’ll have coffee in the morning if I know I’ll need it, but I can’t drink coffee in the middle of the day or at night. Ick.

T: Ick? Why ‘Ick’?

B: I just do not take later-in-the-day-coffee well. It makes me nauseous! Even sometimes in the morning.

T: Ouch, sounds love/hate.

B: It is. But I figure, it does what I need it to do when I need it, and it’s got to be better for me than one of those gross energy drinks!

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And finally, Johnny (and a coat hanger…I couldn’t talk him off the ledge on that picture). Johnny is anti-coffee. Let’s all boo and hiss at him. Just kidding, let’s hear why!

Tessa: You HATE coffee?

Johnny: Yes…don’t hate me.

T: I don’t, I’m just confused! You’re a college student…how do you function?

J: I function fine! It’s just not something I need to get through my day. But I do love the smell.

T: Really? But not the taste?

J: Isn’t it weird? I love coffee shops because I love the way they smell, but to me coffee does not smell the way it tastes.

T: And how does coffee taste to you? You strange, strange person. (Just kidding. We’re friends. Remember that.)

J: It’s too strong ALL THE TIME for me. I need to put like ten million packets of sugar to make any cup I’ve ever had taste good!

T: What about flavored coffee?

J: Even those, I just hate the taste. Not something I ever acquired.

T: Is there any other way you power through your days or are you just superhuman?

J: I do love tea. I drink tea all the time, especially black because it’s got a little caffeine to it to get me going. Unlike coffee, tea is delicious and keeps my energy up! So much better.

T: Well, we’ll agree to disagree on that one.

 

Well, there you have it, folks! A college take on coffee. Remember, we’re not ALL hyped up on coffee all the time…So don’t discriminate, alright?

Coffee profiling — not cool.

Weekly Brew Review: French Toast Coffee

I really enjoy efficiency. For instance, why not instead of having french toast for breakfast and coffee with it, just combine them?

Be hopeful! What I have just described is a real thing. That’s right! French toast coffee.

For this week’s brew review I tried some of this glorious sounding breakfast-food-flavored coffee. I gave Green Mountain Coffee’s blend of “GoldenFrench Toast” a try, and was pleasantly surprise! I was expecting a coffee flavor similar to the “Dirty Chai” that I tasted a few weeks back; cinnamon-y, spicy, but maybe a bit too watery.french toast

However, this was not the case. The French Toast coffee had the bite of cinnamon, but was much sweeter than the Dirty Chai and had a much fuller flavor. I was really pleased by the nice balance of sweetness and bitterness in the coffee; the bitterness was nicely accented in the cinnamon, but the cinnamon also brought out the sweetness as well, and the beans themselves had a nice balance between bitterness and a really smooth roasted taste.

If I had to come up a critique for the coffee, it would probably be that (although the balance was a lot nicer than the Dirty Chai) it did lean a bit more to the bitter side. The brewed the coffee with a drip, which I think brought out maybe too much of the bitterness. If I maybe tried a pour over instead, I think I would have been able to more comfortably drink black than I did drinking it as a drip brew.

But even that is a stretch at a shot of criticism! This was a mellow brew with a nice combination of flavors and a very full taste. AND I got a two-for-one for breakfast.

Hops Coffee

Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. Simon and Garfunkel. Coffee and beer.

Wait…what?

You read that right: Two Delawarean companies, the Point Coffee House in Rehoboth Beach and 16 Mile Brewery in Georgetown, recently combined forces to roll out new hops-infused coffee. Yeah, I just blew your mind with that one (probably not, just humor me).

When Claus Hagelman of 16 Mile Brewery went to Sean Hixton of Point Coffee with the idea to make beer-flavored coffee, Hixton was — understandably — not thrilled with the idea. Any coffee lover (no matter how much they also may love beer) wants to taint everything that is good and right about coffee with some outside beverage!

Hagelman eventually convinced Hixton to give the crazy idea a try and they’ve been working for several years to try to concoct the perfect combination of their two passions, which has finally accumulated into the unveiling of Hops Coffee. After several years of experimenting, it turns out that yeast is what was holding the creation back. The partners took the yeast out of the mix, and the Hops Coffee was born.

After removing yeast from the situation, Hixon dissected 16 Mile’s award-winning Tiller Brown Ale. The beer contains bravo hops, which produce a bold, herbal and citrus quality with a little tropical fruit tone. Hixon combined the bravo hops with an organic coffee bean from Tanzania that has those same qualities, simultaneously maximizing both the fruity and the malty flavors in both the hops and the beans.

While some people may be a little doubtful of the flavor of this strangely-combined coffee, creator Hixton says people might be surprised by the flavor:

“Coffee is naturally malty, as is beer. Coffee is also naturally dark and chocolatey, as are a lot of beers. “These two inherent flavors are pretty comparable,” he said. “Rather than adding a new flavor, this combination is fortifying what’s already there.”

Hixton goal now is trying to infused the hops flavor into the coffee beans, a process which has “a lot of chemistry”, but otherwise he is divulging very little about.

For now though, Hops Coffee is available for $15 a bag at the Point Coffee House in Delaware, and will soon be coming out to more general coffee shops around the state.

Oh, and for those who are thinking that this is a great way to get your drink on at 9 a.m., this is a non-alcoholic beverage. Sorry to kill your buzz.

I had previously read about some hops coffee from out of the country (from China, I believe) and a fellow coffee-blogger wrote about their lackluster experience with instant hops coffee. Yuck. Fingers crossed and here’s hopin’ for Hops Coffee from the Point House and 16 Mile Brewery being more of a hit.

Another weird type of coffee I need to get my hands on. The list keeps growing.

Keurig MINI

Hi there! My name is Sean and I’m going to be a guest contributor here for a little bit.  I’ll start by saying I don’t know as much about the fancy forms of coffee as Tessa does, but when it comes to the simple stuff and certain coffee brewers I know plenty.  Anyways, let’s get to the point, okay?

Today I want to do a review of the Keurig® MINI Plus brewing system.  I personally have one in my apartment at school and figure I’ll share my knowledge on it.  If you are completely unaware of what it is, here’s a link to it.  The Keurig MINI Plus is a K-Cup style brewer that brews one cup of coffee at a time.  It’s about a foot tall and about five inches wide, so it will fit on that counter-top of yours just fine.  There’s a spot in the top of the machine to pour water in for your coffee that typically only holds one or two cups worth of water.  There’s also a catch in the bottom to catch excess liquid.

Now if you don’t mind, let’s get into the good and the bad about this thing.

The good.

Something I really like about this brewer is that it doesn’t take very long to brew a nice hot, fresh cup of coffee for you.  I’ve never actually sat down with a stopwatch to time the thing, but it prepares your coffee in just about two or three minutes.  I personally think that’s great because I can walk over and start my brewing and then get ready for the day while it does its thing.

Another thing I like about it is that K-Cups aren’t terribly expensive and having the Keurig saves me the trouble of walking/driving/flying/teleporting to my nearest coffee shop for my daily brew.  Convenience is key when it comes to this thing.  It’s also incredibly simple to use as well.  All you really need to do is pour water in the top, put your K-Cup in, and press brew.  Simple.

This is completely unrelated to coffee but if you like those little cups of ramen noodles that you pour hot water into to prepare, this thing is great for that too.  Just put your ramen under it in its cup and hit brew without any K-Cup in it and you’ll have a perfect, hot cup of ramen right there in a few minutes or less.

The bad.

Something I don’t like about this brewer is that it is very inconsistent with how much water it uses to brew your cup of coffee.  Sometimes I’ll brew a cup and it will be half full and other times it will be overflowing.  This is mostly just inconvenient, but if you’re buying a coffee maker for convenience the damn thing should be consistently convenient.

The price.  This thing costs about $80.  That’s a decently high price tag if you ask me.  There are several other coffee brewers of the same nature that are just slightly more expensive and better quality than this one.

It wastes a decent amount of water.  The catch in the bottom fills up with water and a little bit of coffee after just four or five brews.  Maybe that’s not a big deal to you, but it annoys me a little.

It only brews one cup at a time, so if you have a bunch of roommates, family members, moochers, or anybody in your home who also loves their coffee it might be a better idea to just by a coffee pot brewer instead.

Overall I would give this coffee brewer a 6 out of 10.  I recommend Keurig brewers, but I do not recommend this one unless you get it for free like I did.  If you’re going to invest your hard earned cash in a Keurig I’d recommend looking at the Keurig K45 Elite for just $20 more.

Weekly Brew Review: Butterscotch Pudding Coffee

Before I get to any reviewing, even before the stupid jokes and puns come out, I want to take no credit for the creation of this coffee.

I stumbled across a blog called Putting Weird Things in Coffee, so of course I had to check it out. I was expecting like cats and staplers, but they actually have real recipes involving weird (but edible) coffee creations.

For those brave coffee drinkers, I suggest checking this blog out. For those slightly less brave, acquire some courage and then go check it out.

Some of them were a little too weird for me (can someone please tell me what Blood Pudding is, I’ve always wanted to know and I’m too lazy to Google), but I did find one that was simple and sounds as delicious as it was: Butterscotch Pudding Coffee.

I abandoned my go-to French Vanilla roast for this experiment. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of the potentially delicious or potentially vile taste. So I went for some plain Eight O’Clock coffee, medium roast, and brewed myself a cup.

My roommate just happened to have this unopened box of butterscotch Jell-O lying around. Seriously? What does she need that for? So I took it upon myself to use it for her.

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According to the Putting Weird Stuff in Coffee, after putting in the dry packet of Jell-O into the coffee, it needs to be stirred with a cinnamon stick. Again, my roommate’s freakin’ weird and she has a jar of cinnamon sticks around. So, again, I took one off her hands to stir my coffee creation.

The end result was a thick, creamy, and sweet concoction that tasted like I had just swallowed a smooth butterscotch chew with a bit of bite from the cinnamon. The taste definitely reminded me of a less-bitter cappuccino, with the same cinnamon kick neutralized by the sweetness of the butterscotch.

Absolutely delicious. Two big thumbs up.

Then, of course, I went and made my big mistake. I thought, “Hey, cinnamon, this is a good idea!” and dumped some ground cinnamon into the coffee.

Good one, Tessa.

The addition of the cinnamon really soured the drink for me; it made it far too spicy to the point where it took away from the creamy sweetness of the butterscotch, which is the whole point of the coffee! So, if you’re going to try this at home, don’t be like me, learn from my mistakes and just use the stick to give that little spice to the butterscotch so that the flavors are more balanced.

Unless you’re some kind of cinnamon fanatic, in which case, go crazy.