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.

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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.

jello

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.

 

You Never Forget Your First…Cup of Coffee

I am getting all nostalgic today. Nothing like a good flashback to get you blogging.

Today I want to revisit the moment I fell in love with coffee. I’m doing this because, after having been blogging about this for many weeks now, trying new kinds of coffee, learning a ton about coffee, and viewing coffee from a variety of new different angles, I want to remind myself how and why I started this blog.

The day I fell in love with coffee was the day I brewed my first cup of coffee. It was my freshman year of college (late bloomer, I know, I was a spoiler Keurig brat) and it was in a Mr. Coffee (I know, I know, there was no grinder, no dripper, no fancy coffee brewer — just a plain, old Mr. Coffee. Give me a break, it was my first time).

I remember I tried to make my first batch and completely ruined it by forgetting to put in the filter. Yep. Embarrassing.

It smelled, literally, like burnt eggs and crushed dreams.

So my mom had a little intervention with me. She told me that this was how to make coffee, how to really make coffee, and I needed to learn. We had a little work shop and then she pushed me from the nest and I tried again to brew my own pot.

I remember it all very vividly. I can still remember the hissing, bubbling noise of the water boiling in the machine. I can still see the perfectly dark brown stream of caffeinated gold dripping steadily into the pot, my own face reflected greedily in the glass as I watched in anticipation.

Just the right ratio of water to beans (thanks, Mom) created the perfectly alluring aroma of thick, rich beans, with the sweet, soft hint of vanilla (it was Gevalia Vanilla coffee, highly suggested) in the beans. It filled up the whole kitchen and it was unbelievably intoxicating.

When it had finally brewed I poured a mug and let the warm clay sit in my hands, watching the steam rise up from my perfectly crafted creation in transparent ribbons before taking the first sip. The bold taste was perfectly balanced with sweet vanilla of the beans — the first and last time I had coffee without cream, the taste was too perfectly balanced and rich to hide with flavored creamer.

I swear I’ve never made coffee as perfectly as that first time.

Since then, I’ve come into my own routine of how to make coffee the right way for me, the right amount of water to grinds, cream to use, sugar is it’s a strong blend, but nothing will ever compare to that first time.

Cliche but true: you never forget your first.

Can I Get an Easter Blend, One Jesus and Extra Holy Spirit?

I am about to make everybody’s day better. It certainly was the highlight of my day when I found Abbey Roast, a coffee brewing business run by…wait for it…monks.

Is that, or is that not, the coolest thing you HAVE EVER HEARD?

No, just me?

Whether you agree or not, you have to give these monks a little credit. They offer nearly a dozen different types of roasts, with all their beans imported straight from Brazil, their holy blends only cost $12.50 AND all proceeds go toward expanding their monastery so they can give more money to charities knocking on their doors.                                                                                                                                    monk

Well, then.

Can you think of a better reason for buying coffee? Because I literally cannot.

What I really wanted to highlight is their seasonal blend that is now available for purchasing: The Easter Blend. This blend is described as,

“A mysteriously excellent tasting coffee, very smooth, with a slight bouquet of berries. We have handcrafted this interesting blend using four custom roasts with three Gourmet Arabicas, including one from an ancient Biblical country.”

 

Delicious and soul-cleansing. Even if you’re not Christian, or religious at all, the cause for this coffee is as good as they come and it sounds absolutely wonderful taste-wise. Either way, this could be a perfect Easter present or just a generous (and delicious, for you) contribution to charity. And if you are religious or Christian, imagine them serving this at mass instead of wine.

Seriously, people should petition for that.

 

Caribbean and Central America

I feel like I had JUST been talking about the Coffea plant and it’s unassuming fruit when I stumbled across this blog post about Coffea Diversa Plantation, a coffee plantation that produces multiple types of exotic coffee in Caribbean and Central America.

The specific kind of coffee being reviewed in this very articulate and detailed coffee review is called Geisha Coffee, one of the ancient Ethiopian coffee varieties (its name is derived from the city of Gesha in Ethiopia) that won a Gold Star at the 2011 Great Taste Awards.

I aspire to not only try such interesting kinds of coffee as this writer, but to also be able to describe the cupping so well…very impressive.

geisha-varietal

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

 

English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy

English: Coffee berries Polski: Owoce kawy (Photo credit: Wikiped

Cranberries, you say? Boysenberries, maybe? Try coffee berries. These bad boys, often deceivingly called “cherries”, are actually hiding two small coffee beans beneath a fruity shell.
The plant is called a coffea plant, and is native to southern Africa and tropical parts of Asia. Had you fooled, huh?

Weekly Brew Review: The Dirty Chai

Let’s get dirty.

With our coffee, you animals, get your mind’s out of the gutter!

When I visited Tony’s Coffee in Thomaston, CT, last week I tried their drink called Winter Spice. I didn’t do it because it was seasonal (it’s spring now), I was just fascinated by how the woman behind the counter described it: “a Dirty Chai”, she said. Count me in.

Often Dirty Chai’s are made with spiced black tea and contain spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Then a single shot of espresso and steamed milk is added.

I will start off with a large: DELICIOUS. The mild, spicy taste was tantalizing and unlike any kind of coffee I have experienced before. Although it is out of season, I could imagine this being the perfect winter time drink; especially with the cinnamon, it tasted like a big liquefied ginger bread man and had that warm, spicy kick of holiday foods and drinks.

That being said, the coffee was rather watery. I attributed it to the possible combination of tea and espresso. With their being only one shot of espresso, the thicker, coffee-consistency was overrun by the watery tea.

The best way to describe it was rich flavor with not-very-rich consistency.

Despite the drink being so thin, it was a new, flavorful experience that I would definitely suggest. I don’t even think it would hurt to ask for maybe one more shot of espresso or add some milk or coffee yourself just to fill out the drink a bit more. Keep this one in mind for the winter, or even for a rainy spring day or cold summer night, it’s the perfect drink to warm you right up!