Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Uses for Used Tea Bags & Leaves

We've talked about uses for used coffee grounds in the past, and we thought it was time that we wrote an article for those who prefer tea over coffee. So whether you prefer your tea in a pre-measured bag or whether you use loose leaf tea and a tea ball we have found some ideas for you to use those spent tea grounds.

Ideas for used tea bags:

Clean windows and mirrors. Tea is a great way to make glass sparkle, it can remove stubborn, greasy fingerprints. Just rub a damp teabag on the glass or fill a spray bottle with brewed tea.

Reduce eye puffiness by soaking a teabag in warm (not hot) water and applying to eyes for twenty minutes.

Soak up odors in the fridge. A used tea bag placed into the refrigerator will help to take away offensive odors.

Make your potted plants healthier. 

Ideas for used tea leaves:

Freshen the carpet with dry tea leaves. Sprinkle on carpet, crush lightly, allow to set for about ten minutes then vacuum up. The tea leaves work as a deodorizer. 

Reduce cat litter smell by sprinkling used dry tea leaves into the litter box. (Check to be sure it is a type of tea that will be okay to use on a cat).

Add to your compost pile.

Monday, November 26, 2012

How Does Coffee Work?

Each and every morning many people's first task of the day is to turn on their coffee makers and to make a good ol' cup of joe for their caffiene needs. Many claim that it helps them to face the day. But why is this so and how does coffee work to give this desired effect?

Coffee is a stimulant drink. The first to experience the "buzz" that you receive from coffee was a flock of goats. This incident occurred in Ethiopia. Coffee was consumed as a food until around A.D. 1000 when a hot drink was created from the beans of the coffee plant.

As you go throughout your day, you use energy, some scientists have found that there is a byproduct of the energy that we use, this byproduct builds up and causes us to become sleepy. It is thought that adenosine is this byproduct. Coffee makes us feel alert by its caffeine blocking the effects of adenosine on the brain.

So what exactly is this caffeine component in coffee? Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical stimulant called trimethylxanthine. It has an effect on the brain that causes increased neuron firing. This activity causes the pituitary gland to tell the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline. Some of adrenaline's effects on the body are as follows:
  • Dilated puplis
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Blood pressure increases
  • Liver releases sugar into the bloodstream for extra energy
Many people notice that after drinking coffee their hands are a bit colder, their muscles are tense, they feel excited and their heart is beating harder. These are the effects of caffeine causing the release of adrenaline into your system. This is also how coffee helps to make you feel more awake and alert. 

But like any chemical coffee and other caffeinated drinks should be used sparingly. It is possible to have withdrawal symptoms if you quit drinking coffee suddenly. These symptoms are headache, fatigue, and reduced concentration, mood effects such as depression, anxiety or irritability, and less commonly tremor, nausea or sleep disturbances. Not everyone will experience these symptoms as people metabolize caffeine differently. Most who experience withdrawal symptoms have them disappear after three days.

Coffee is both good and bad for you, there are some health benefits to coffee, but too much can cause an addiction resulting in highs and lows when coffee is not available.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How to Use a Coffee Urn

Last week Pressure Cooker Outlet posted a blog on Getting Ready for Big Holiday Gatherings.

In this blog they mention using a coffee urn. Coffee urns allow you to brew larger quantities of coffee and keep the coffee warm longer.

If you decide to go the route of using a coffee urn at your holiday gatherings you will need to know how to use one. As always, be sure to read your coffee urn's instructions and follow those if they vary from our instructions in any way.

First what you will need:
A Coffee Urn
Ground Coffee

Now the Steps:

Step 1: Remove the cover and brew basket. Also be sure that the spigot on the coffee urn is closed.

Step 2: Add your cold water to the desired fill line. There should be markings on the fill lines letting you know how many cups of coffee that much water will make after brewing.

Step 3: Measure your ground coffee out following the directions on your coffee or on your urn (some urns will recommend the amount of coffee grounds needed) for the amount of cups you will be creating in your coffee urn. Place the ground coffee into the coffee basket.

Step 4: Put your coffee basket and cover back into place on your coffee urn. Obviously, you will put the coffee basket in first and then secure the cover onto the urn.

Step 5: Plug in your coffee maker and turn it on. Your coffee will now start to brew. Be sure to read your urn's instructions to know how your urn will alert you as to when your coffee is finished brewing. Most coffee urns either have a beep or a green light.

Step 6: Once your coffee is done you will want to change your coffee urn's setting to warm or keep warm.

Step 7: Serve the coffee by opening the spigot and pour a cup of fresh coffee. When your urn gets low, unplug it so that it does not overheat.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

History of Bunn Coffee Makers

For over 55 years the Bunn company has been making coffee makers. Bunn's headquarters have been in Springfield, Illinois since the birth of the company. In 1957, George Bunn created the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. The first commercial fluted coffee filter was invented by Mr. Bunn this filter was created in a way that the filter was able to hold its shape more easily which resulted in fewer grounds being spilled into the coffee pot.

In addition to the commercial fluted coffee filter, Bunn also created the pourover coffee brewing machine. This  machine is used in commercial settings. It works by keeping the water hot then pouring the reservoir of hot water over the coffee grounds all at once. This method was preferred by restaurants and other commercial settings that served coffee as it allowed the coffee to be made more quickly than drip coffee methods. This coffee brewer helped to place Bunn at the front of the commercial coffee industry, and they still hold that spot today.

Although Bunn is more known for their commercial coffee brewers they do carry a line of at home coffee makers. Bunn Coffee Makers are of very high commercial quality.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recycling Used K-cups

We've been gathering ideas for you to recycle those used k-cups. Here are our favorite ideas:
  • Use them to hold finger paints, if the pod has a hole punched in the bottom, dry it off very well and place some good tape over it to keep the paint from leaking out.
  • Make your own place-card holders for dinner parties by wrapping cute paper around the K-Cups. Cut slits on the bottom to hold the cards.
  • Use to start vegetable seedlings.
  • Use them to create stampers.
Or you can purchase a reusable coffee filter system to use in your Keurig.

What ways have you reused your k-cups?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Coffee During Old Timey Days

In older times, before the coffee maker was invented, but after coffee was discovered, people had methods of creating a coffee beverage so that they could enjoy the benefits that coffee can provide.

Brewing coffee has typically been the most utilized method of creating a coffee drink. Some pioneers would boil the coffee grounds then allow them to settle in the bottom of their cup before drinking in order to make their coffee.

Those that were lucky had a coffee percolator pot. Many pioneers would use the percolator as it was easier to use during long trips. They would hang the pot above their fire to allow their coffee to brew.

Photo Taken at Smokey Mountain Heritage Center
You may have also heard of cowboy coffee, which is a method that cowboys would use where they boiled the ground coffee beans, then the drink was strained through cloth, usually an old sock.

Photo Taken at Shockley's Old Timey Days
The modern coffee maker has changed how coffee is made, it has made coffee much easier, especially the one cup coffee brewers that are now on the market. Have you ever tried the more primitive ways of making coffee from the days of old?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brewing Coffee Measurements

There are many things that determine a good cup of coffee, some of these things are the freshness, type of bean, when the coffee was ground, how it's been stored, well the list goes on, but did you know that having the proper ratio of coffee to water when brewing is just as important as all of the other factors that go into making a good cup of coffee?

Many coffee houses use more coffee grounds than most people use at home in their own coffee maker. Coffee houses usually use 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds per 6 ounces of water. In order to get this ratio right you will need to determine what size your coffee maker's pot considers to be a cup. In typical kitchen measurements a standard cup is 8 ounces, but many 8 and 10 cup coffee makers use a varied measure on this standard. Some use a 6 ounce standard; some though consider a cup to be even less. Check your coffee maker's manual or test your pot using a proper measuring cup because you want to use the right coffee to water ratio for the best tasting coffee.

So keep in mind:

2 Tablespoons Coffee Grounds to 6 Ounces Water

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Create Your Own Coffee Bar

Ever wish you had a dedicated area to make your own coffee? Or just a place that you can keep your coffee things within easy reach, but still have it look neat and organized? A coffee bar may be just the solution that you need.

A coffee bar can vary from extremely simple to a bar that is decked out with coffee, tea, and other hot beverage items.

A small buffet or dresser can work as the base for your coffee bar. Then of course you will need your coffee maker  and some shelves above the bar for extra storage,. You will want to have space to store all your coffee related items from your coffee mugs, to your coffee grounds/beans, coffee grinder, etc.

If you need to hide some of your coffee items, then baskets on the shelves will help to keep smaller easily cluttered items organized for you. Mason jars also work well for helping add storage to your coffee bar.

Original image by insidious_plots.

Are you working on your own coffee bar? Already have one? What tips for storage, etc do you have for someone who is starting their own?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Coffee At College

With the students back in college, some are probably beginning to realize that it can get a bit pricey to purchase coffee from a coffee house each day. So what are some options for the thrifty student who loves their coffee?

If you consider that purchasing just 1 coffee a day 5 days a week can run from a little over $20 a month to as much as or more than $100 a month (depending on where and what type of coffee is purchased) You can easily justify purchasing a coffee maker, so long as it is taken care of it will surpass the time limit it needs to pay for itself.

Most people will go the route of purchasing a small drip coffee maker, just big enough for one, or a single serve coffee maker. But what about those who are used to a different tasting coffee? There is always the coffee press, but in a dorm room, you need a way to heat up water. In this case, you will want to look into an electric kettle, so that the option of having heated water to use with your french press is available.

Be sure to take care of your coffee appliances, and feel free to create your own unique coffee recipes to find the perfect coffee for you.

Need ideas for coffee recipes, want more info on coffee makers? Visit some of our previous blogs:

Coffee Recipes

How to use a Melitta One Cup Coffee Maker
How to Use a Reusable Coffee Filter with Keurig
How to Brew Great Coffee In a Drip Coffee Maker

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to Use a Coffee Percolator

For an old fashioned coffee taste you will want to learn how to use a coffee percolator. Many people will argue that coffee is not as good of quality when used in a percolator, but it just depends on what your own particular preference of taste is. Also a percolator is an ideal way to fix coffee for a large group of people.

First you will need a coffee percolator, coarse ground coffee, a measuring spoon, if your percolator is a stovetop then you will need a stove, if it is electric, an outlet, and you will also need water. Water definitely tends to help in the coffee making process.

Use the markings that are inside of your percolator pot to know how much water you want to add. Place the coffee pot basket in (use your percolator instructions for this as some are a little different). If you want to use a paper coffee filter in the basket, now would be the time to put it in.

For each cup of water that you have put into your coffee percolator you will want to add one tablespoon of your coarsely ground coffee grounds to the coffee pot basket. You can adjust this amount if you prefer stronger or weaker coffee, just tweak to your preferred taste.

Put your basket cover on top of the basket. Then put on the percolator top, being sure that it closes securely.

Here is where the instructions will vary depending on what type of percolator you have:

For a stove top percolator: Place the percolator on the stove and cook over medium heat. You will know that your coffee is done brewing when the coffee is the desired color in the clear glass knob on top of the percolator.

For an electric percolator: Plug it in and allow to percolate until it is done.

Once your coffee is done, remove from heat or unplug and serve. Be careful as percolated coffee can sometimes be a bit hotter than drip coffee.

Monday, July 23, 2012

10 Alternatives to Coffee

Maybe you are trying to cut back on your coffee intake, or just want something a little bit different. We have composed a list of 10 alternatives to coffee. So let your coffee maker take a break and try out these beverages:
  1. Smoothies with nut butter, the protein from the nut butter gives you a bit of an energy boost. Get out your blender and try creating some unique smoothies.
  2. Wheatgrass juice is bragged about for it's healthy benefits, want to try it? You may need a wheatgrass juicer if it becomes a daily habit.
  3. Chai Lattes are similar enough to coffee that if you are cutting coffee to cut back on caffeine then you can trick your brain into thinking it is getting coffee. Chai does have some caffeine in it, but not as much as coffee does.
  4. Lemon water. The citrus taste will help give you a bit of a jolt. 
  5. Pomegranate juice. Drink alone or mix with a smoothie.
  6. Prune juice, drink alone or dilute with water or apple juice.
  7. Peppermint tea. The minty flavor will tingle your tastebuds helping you to perk up.
  8. Green tea. Many people like green tea since it helps some to feel more energized.
  9. Hot chocolate. 
  10. Warm fruit ciders.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What to do When the Pot to Your Coffee Maker Breaks

Sometimes there is an accident that results in the pot or carafe to your coffee maker breaking. Some people will just go out and purchase a new coffee maker, however, there is a more affordable solution, especially if your coffee maker is still working great.

Replacement Coffee Carafes

There are several different sizes and brands of replacement coffee pots:

One All Replacement Coffee Carafes fit nearly any coffeemaker, they come in many different shapes and sizes:

There is also a Bunn 12 Cup Carafe, Bunn 10 Cup Carafe, several Mr. Coffee Replacement Coffee Pots, a Cuisinart 12 Cup Carafe, and the Melitta Carafe.

With so many various replacement coffee pots on the market, you are sure to find one to fit your coffee maker, so don't replace it just yet, it may have a few more lovely years with you each morning. Just revive it with a new coffee pot.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What do you Know about Coffee Filters?

Anyone who drinks coffee has at one point or time either owned or used a coffee maker that used coffee filters. So how did coffee filters come about?

Coffee filters were invented to filter out the oily part of coffee, also known as diterpenes. Melitta Benz created the first coffee filter in July of 1908 (Happy 104th birthday to the coffee filter!)

Does the name Melitta sound familiar? If so it is because Melitta Benz created the company that makes the Melitta coffee makers.

The original coffee filter was created from blotting papers, now, most standard coffee filters are made from crepe paper. This type of paper is strong enough to not tear when the hot water passes through, but weak enough to allow the water, now coffee, to pass through.

Many coffee maker companies created their own filters to go with their coffee makers. Such as, Bunn Coffee Filters, there are also off brand coffee filters made in specific sizes, as well as permanent coffee filters, for those who do not want to continually purchase and throw away coffee filters.

What other neat facts do you know about coffee filters?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Looking for a Personal Coffee Pot that is Affordable?

There are some amazing one cup coffee brewing systems on the market, however for a one person household, apartment, or dorm room, they may be considered a bit pricey. Luckily, there are some coffee makers on the market that are quick and ready to go, the ones that we are sharing are less than $50 each.

The Black and Decker Brew 'N Go brews straight into a travel mug so it is ready to travel out with you to face the day. This personal coffee maker comes with:
  • Permanent filter, no need to worry about running out of filters or finding the right size.
  • 15 oz. Travel Mug, with lid
The Hamilton Beach One Cup Pod Brewer brews straight into the mug of your choice. This personal coffee maker uses pods, so there are no coffee grains to spill. It comes with:
  • 18 Senseo coffee pods
  • Dishwasher Safe Brew Basket
Melitta Coffee Makers offer a unique way to brew a single cup of coffee. Their personal coffee makers come with a sample pack of filters. (How to Use a Melitta One Cup Coffee Maker)

Friday, July 6, 2012

History of Mr. Coffee Coffee Makers

Sometimes it is fun to revisit the past, to get an idea of where the companies that we love came from. Mr. Coffee has been around for 40 years now. That's a lot of history behind the Mr. Coffee Coffee Makers.

In 1972 Mr. Coffee introduced their first coffee maker, which was the first automatic drip coffeemaker designed for household use. Quickly after, in 1975, Mr. Coffee invented their own coffee filter, this was the first of many of their product inventions.

In 1977 a frost that killed nearly all the coffee plants drove coffee prices to $4 a pound. (Which translates to $14.80 today) Some states decided to allow people to only purchase 1 pound of coffee per household. To help people stretch their coffee, Mr. Coffee created a brewer that would make the same amount of coffee, while using less coffee grounds.

For those that have trouble getting up in the morning, Mr. Coffee introduced their first line of programmable coffee brewers in 1980. Hello effortless morning coffee! Shortly after this introduction, Mr. Coffee created the first Pause N' Serve coffee maker, allowing you to have a cup of coffee before the entire pot has finished brewing.

Mr. Coffee decided that they should look into helping people who like tea, but maybe not coffee, in 1989 they introduced the automatic Iced TeaPot to their product line. They continued upon this line in 1995 when they introduced the Mrs. Tea hot tea maker.

After 30 years, Mr. Coffee celebrated in 2002 with an ad that featured Carson Daly and Chris Klug.

After many years of coffee pots, that when making coffee for one were wasteful, Mr. Coffee designed their first one cup brewer, or single serve brewer in 2004.

For more Mr. Coffee info visit: http://www.mrcoffee.com/AboutUs.aspx

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coffee Rubs for Steak?

For many summer is just too hot for firing up the coffee maker to enjoy a hot cup of coffee. Summer is the time for grilling out. And steak is always amazing on the grill. Did you know that there are many coffee rub recipes floating around? You can still enjoy your coffee without drinking it.

The easiest way to make a coffee rub is to add 1 tsp of dry coffee for every 1 cup of your typical rub recipe. However, this works only if your regular rub flavor is one that could be accented with the coffee flavor.

A quick online search for coffee rub recipes will lead you to a plethora of various rub recipes that feature coffee grounds. Your best bet for deciding is to go with a recipe that is similar to one that you know you already enjoy, then branch out and experiment from there if you decide you enjoy the coffee rubs.

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Cold Brew Tea

We recently went over how to cold brew coffee, and we decided to find out how to cold brew tea for these warm summer months, because not everyone enjoys coffee. And some days even coffee drinkers want a little something different. Hence tea.

So what do you need to get started?
A clean jar or pitcher with a lid (you could even use a tea pot, this may help you with the measurements for the tea since you know how much you usually use in your own tea pot)
Your tea of choice
Cold water

How do you make it? 
Get your container of choice, put 1.5 times as much tea as you use for a hot brew into your container. Fill the container with cold water and place the lid on top. Now place in the refrigerator. Now you wait, for about 10 hours. (Feel free to go do other things while you wait) You will need to wait less than 10 hours for some white teas and more delicate teas, and black teas will take a bit longer. You will just have to experiment with how long is good for your tea and your preferred tastes.

Strain your tea.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keep Iced Coffee from Diluting

In the past we have shared a blog on making your own iced coffee. Iced coffee is a great way to enjoy this type of beverage during the warm summer months. But since it is warm, those ice cubes can start to melt down rather quickly and then you will be left with a diluted coffee that, well, if we are being honest, doesn't really taste all that great.

So what can you do to prevent this?

Make coffee ice cubes. Making your own coffee ice cubes is a fairly simple process:
  1. Brew your coffee.
  2. Wait for coffee to cool some.
  3. Carefully pour coffee into an ice cube tray.
  4. Place tray into freezer.
  5. If you will not be using the ice cubes right away, you may want to put them into a zip-lock bag so that you can use them later and free up your ice cube tray.
  6. Use in your iced coffee.
Fairly simple process right? And this will keep your iced coffee from becoming too watery as the ice cubes melt.

So fire up your Black and Decker coffee maker (or your coffee maker of choice) and create some coffee ice cubes and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Cold Brew Coffee

If you are like many people, you still want to enjoy your coffee in the summer, but some days it is just too hot to think about consuming a heated beverage. This is where cold brew coffee comes into play.

Cold Brew Coffee Instructions:

1 1/3 c. of fresh finely ground coffee
4 c. of filtered water
1. Mix your ground coffee and water in a mason jar or French press. Be sure it is well stirred. Cover and let sit for at least 8 hours (up to 24 hours) at room temperature.
2. Put a coffee filter in a fine sieve over a bowl or 4 cup measuring cup (I prefer the measuring cup since it has a spout to make pouring easier later. Slowly pour coffee through the filter. This is your coffee concentrate.
3. Keep your coffee concentrate refrigerated. To serve, dilute it to preference. A one-to-three ratio is common (one-third coffee concentrate, two-thirds water). For a stronger cup of coffee, use a one-to-one ratio.You can also add milk, creamer, and or sweetener to your coffee.
It will keep at least one week. 
Yield: 4 cups of concentrate (makes at least 8 cups of coffee)
If you have tried this recipe, let us know how it was, or if you have any tips or tricks, please share with us in the comments.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to Use a Melitta One Cup Coffee Maker

The Melitta Coffee maker is a unique little creation that allows you to create your own cup of coffee anywhere, so long as you have hot water. Many people have not heard of the Melitta coffee maker, yet it has been around since 1908 when Melitta Benz, a housewife from Dresden, had the idea to filter coffee through paper in order to remove unwanted residue. The coffee maker has not greatly changed since it's 1930s design, but Melitta has improved upon it some and has greatly improved the various coffee filters that they offer.

So how does one use the unique looking Melitta coffee maker?

Step 1:
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

Step 2:
Place the Melitta One Cup Coffee Maker on top of your cup/mug.

Step 3: 
Use the Melitta #2 Coffee Filters, place the filter into the coffee maker.

Step 4: 
Following the instructions on your preferred coffee grounds (how many grounds for 1 cup of coffee) put coffee grounds into the filter.

Step 5:
Once your water has come to a boil, slowly pour the water over the coffee grounds.

Step 6:
Wait for the coffee to finish filtering through, then enjoy your cup of coffee, made for you with the Melitta One Cup Coffee Maker.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Enjoying Coffee Outdoors

It is easy to set back and enjoy a nice cup of coffee outside on your porch or patio during the summer months. Nature is soothing along with that warm drink, and if you make it outside early enough, it will still be a little cool from the nighttime making that cup of joe even more enjoyable.

While some are not opposed to sitting in the grass or on the porch steps to enjoy their coffee, others will want a place to sit down and read the newspaper as well, while having a sturdy surface to place their cup of coffee while they prepare to greet the day.

Red Hill General Store has recently added some great outdoor furnishings to their huge collection of items for sell. Amongst these wonderful items are outdoor coffee tables, end tables, and even a planter table. What better place to set your coffee than on a table named after this delicious beverage?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best Places to Enjoy Coffee

You've just fired up the coffee brewer and are debating where to settle in and enjoy your cup of joe. Well there are many places where you can enjoy your coffee. Some of these places depend upon the weather and season, but here are a few of our favorite spots to enjoy our coffee:
  1. In our favorite armchair, with a book, by a fireplace. (Best for cooler seasons).
  2. Outside on our patio surrounded by nature. (Best for warmer months and sunny weather).
  3. In our favorite bookstore (be sure your bookstore allows drinks to be brought in). 
  4. At the kitchen table while talking with friends.
  5. In the office while tackling a big project.
  6. After dinner with a nice desert.
  7. At a friend's home.
  8. In our favorite coffee shop (of course drink their coffee, they would probably frown upon you bringing your own.)
  9. Anywhere while catching up on local news.
  10. Surrounded by our loved ones and enjoying the time together.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

10 Ways to Use Leftover Coffee

Maybe you had guests over and fixed more coffee than you needed. At any rate, you have some coffee leftover that you don't want to throw out, so how do you use it?
  1.  Let it cool and use it on shrubs or other plants that thrive with high acid additives.
  2. Use to make mocha brownies, replace 1 cup or less of the milk or water in a brownie recipe with your leftover coffee.
  3. Use it to make iced coffee (helps to freeze it in an ice cup tray).
  4. Use it as a marinade for beef.
  5. Save for recipes that require coffee, some chili recipes do and several dessert recipes as well.
  6. Look up a recipe for Tiramisu. It uses coffee. 
  7. Make red-eye gravy.;
  8. Make a coffee glaze for desserts.
  9. Use your leftover coffee to dye fabrics.
  10. Dye scratches in brown furniture to hide them.
So don't throw out your coffee once your coffee brewer has cooled off. Save it and use it. Have ideas that we didn't mention? Please share them in the comments below!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Make Your Own Chocolate Coffee Spoons

Chocolate covered coffee spoons are great gifts, or just a great treat for yourself. Or if you are planning to use the coffee bar idea we blogged about previously, chocolate coffee spoons would be a wonderful addition.

You will need:
Spoons (most people use plastic, but if you prefer you can use metal spoons)
Chocolate (or White Chocolate) Chips or Candy Melts
Baking Paper
Cookie Sheets
Microwave Safe Measuring cup

Solid Shortening (use if chocolate needs to be thinned)
Cellophane (this is used if you are going to wrap the spoons as gifts or favors)
Ribbon (to tie cellophane if used)
Sprinkles (to sprinkle on chocolate)
Crushed Candy of choice (to sprinkle on chocolate)
Parchment Cone (for adding designs)

  1. Cover cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. Place one cup of chocolate or candy melts into your microwave safe measuring cup. (For best results use a smaller deeper cup)
  3. Microwave chocolate chips or candy melts at 50% power for 1 minute. Remove cup and stir. Continue microwaving at 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted and smooth. DO NOT over-heat chocolate or it will burn and not taste good. 
  4.  To thin chocolate, add 1 teaspoon solid shortening per cup of chocolate chips. Stir gently. 
  5.  Dip spoons in melted chocolate to cover the bowl part of the spoon.
  6.  Remove excess chocolate by tapping tip gently against the side of the measuring cup.
  7.  If chocolate thickens, return to the microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power, stir gently. 
  8.  Repeat with second cup of chocolate chips or candy melts.
  9. If you are going to add candy sprinkles, sprinkle them onto spoons before the chocolate hardens! Allow the chocolate to cool and set.
  10. Optional – If you want to add more color to the spoon, feel free to melt another color chocolate in the same way as above, fill a parchment cone with the chocolate and pipe swirls, designs or zig-zags across the head of each spoon.
  11.  Cool thoroughly before wrapping individually.
Now it's time to invite everyone over and fire up your coffee pot for some delicious and fun coffee treats.
Image: Elementary Love found on commons.wikimedia.org

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coffee Bar for your Wedding

For an affordable coffee bar wedding idea, (sans for hire barista, which can become rather hefty in the budget) you can purchase a single serve coffee maker for your event such as the Keurig Coffee Makers or the Cuisinart Single Serve Brewing System.

Be sure to have a variety of k-cups for guests to choose from. Labeled milk bottles would make a beautiful way to display the creamers. Also have toppings and other mix-ins available for guests to be creative with their coffee creations.

A coffee bar is a great addition for an early morning wedding reception, or if festivities are going to run late into the night, it is good for an afternoon reception also. Find some coffee favors and coffee friendly deserts for your guests as well.

Coffee bars are very versatile, especially if you are using a single serve coffee maker, if you have children or non-coffee drinkers coming be sure to pick up some k-cups that are not coffee that these guests may enjoy.

Is coffee going to play a part in your wedding? We would love to hear about it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Even More Coffee Grounds Uses

In the past we've discussed several ways to use coffee grounds such as: dying Easter eggs, dying fabric, cleaning with coffee grounds, and using coffee grounds in your garden. But even with all those tips and ideas, there are still a few uses for coffee grounds that we've missed. Well today we are going to share those with you:
  • Use them as a deodorizer for food prep smells on your hands. To do this dry the coffee grounds on a cookie sheet and then place them in a bowl in your fridge or freezer and the when you need to remove smells from your hands rub the grounds on them.
  • Repel bugs. Coffee grounds are great to repel ants, sprinkle old grounds around places where you do not want the ants, they are also said to help discourage snails and slugs.
  • Use to absorb odors. Take some old nylons or cheesecloth to make a sachet filled with old coffee grounds, hang them in a closet to help absorb odors. 
  • Keep your own cats or the neighbors from using your garden as a litter box, spread a pungent mixture of orange peels and used coffee grounds around your plants and the cats will avoid it.
  • If you have darker colored hair, use coffee grounds as a way to enhance color, shine, and softness. As you take a shower, rub the grounds on your hair, then shampoo thoroughly afterwards to remove the odor.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dye Easter Eggs with Coffee

We've talked about using coffee to dye fabrics, however, with easter coming up, let's talk a little about using coffee to dye eggs.

So fire up your coffee maker and have some coffee ready to dye your easter eggs.

Brown Easter Eggs by Vera Kratochvil

To dye your eggs brown with the coffee you will need to add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 strong cup of coffee. To add designs and patterns you will need to cut up some panty hose and use flowers or leaves pressed against the egg and then tightly tie the pantyhose around the egg to secure the leaf or flower so it doesn't move during the dying process.

Place eggs into the dye, and let them soak in the dye in the refrigerator overnight.

We would love to hear about your natural Easter egg dying experience!

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Clean with Coffee Grounds

Many people have their coffee everyday. It is almost a ritual of getting up, turning on the coffee maker and having a cup of coffee before beginning the tasks of the day. Most of the used coffee grounds from those cups of coffee are discarded immediately. But coffee grounds have many other uses, from making coffee body scrubs, to using coffee grounds in the garden, and yes even cleaning with them.

Coffee grounds can be used to clean dishes. The course texture makes them ideal for cleaning dishes that are typically hard to get clean. To accomplish this take some coffee grounds pack them into a square cloth and use a rubber band to tie the cloth shut around the coffee grounds.

Some tools can become sticky or gunky after use. To clean tools that have a hard to remove product on them, use the coffee grounds as an abrasive to rub off the residue. The natural oil in the grounds also help to keep the residue from re-sticking to your tools.

Coffee grounds will not clean a refrigerator, but they can deodorize a fridge that has a less than pleasant smell in it. Fill a bowl or cup with coffee grounds and set them inside your fridge.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How to Dye with Coffee

Coffee has been used for ages as a way to dye fabrics, clothing, textiles, and even hair. Coffee dying tends to work best with natural fabrics. When washing your coffee stained fabrics you will want to avoid detergents that remove natural stains or your dye job might just disappear. If the fabric is new you will also want to wash it prior to dying as the sizing that is in most fabrics may cause it to either not dye at all or to dye unevenly.

First step to dying with coffee is to crack out your coffee maker and make a pot of coffee to dye with.

Dying Clothes, Fabric, & Textiles With Coffee:
Hopefully you already have your pot of coffee brewed. The other materials you will need are:
  • A container big enough for what you are dying, your item needs to be able to float, not be crammed into a tiny bowl. (A washtub might be a good idea for this.) Fill your container with water.
  • Item you are dying.
Mix your coffee into the water. Test a small area of fabric so that you will know how quickly the coffee will dye it and if it will soak into it properly. To test the fabric follow the directions for dying the fabric.

Use clear water to wet your fabric. Then submerse it into the coffee water mixture. Be sure that you keep your fabric moving so that no folds etc, sit for too long. You will also want to keep an eye on your dying so that you can see when the color is dark enough for your liking.

Once the fabric looks like it has achieved the color that you desire, take it out of the container and rinse it with clear water until the water running out of the fabric is clear.

Wring out your excess water.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Black & Decker Coffee Maker History

Considering that coffee was being brewed as far back as 575 A.D. it is hard to believe that today's coffee maker really did not start emerging until about the 1950s.

Black and Decker has a long history starting back in 1910 (that's over 100 years of history in this company). Today, we're going to look back into their history about 30 +/- years.

The Black and Decker Coffee Maker actually began life as General Electric Company product. In 1984 Black and Decker purchased the small-appliance operations of the General Electric Company for $300 million. (Even today that is a nice little chunk of change). Black and Decker was also a little ahead of the game with the one cup at a time coffee makers. They put out their first version of this breed of coffee maker in 1986. Black and Decker still make coffee makers. Including many people's favorite the Brew n Go Personal Coffee Maker and Travel Mug. Which in all likelihood is a descendant of their original one cup at a time coffee makers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Uses for a Mug Warmer

While most people think of a mug warmer as solely to be used to keep their coffee warm for them it has a few other uses that can be utilized.

Mug warmers can be used to warm:
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Apple Cider
  • Soup
  • Stew
  • Broth
What have you used your mug warmer for?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Foods to Eat with Coffee

So you've heated up a pot of coffee, using your Black and Decker coffee maker, or other coffee maker brand of choice, and now you want a little snack to devour with that nice warm beverage. So what foods go best with coffee? Here are a few of our recommendations:

Donuts - Donuts and coffee have went together for as long as we remember, there are even doughnut shops that offer their own special brands of coffee to go with their donuts. You can go with the standard glazed donut or you can have jelly filled, cream filled, well, you get the idea.

Cake, Pie, or Cookies - There is nothing better after a great meal than a delicious desert coupled with a nice cup of joe. The coffee also seems to counteract the sweetness in deserts making them easier to enjoy.

Breakfast - Any breakfast food from muffins, bagels, or oatmeal to pancakes, sausage, eggs, bacon, biscuits seem to go well with the coffee of your choice. In fact, breakfast is when most people partake in their coffee addiction.

Ice Cream - Some people love the combination of a sinfully cold sweet treat paired with a warm beverage. It adds another level to the enjoyment of both.

What do you prefer to eat while enjoying your daily coffee?
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