A Gulp of Gold: Guayusa Tea

Guayusa tea, a full-bodied, mellow, yet rounded tea from the Amazon rain forest is a great coffee alternative. Cousin to the popular tea, Yerba Mate, guayusa contains a host of health benefits that can boost your mood, or strengthen your stamina. So, what’s the big deal? An 8 ounce cup of tea contains about the same caffeine content of a cup of coffee. Compared to some teas, guayusa is not bitter as it steeps in a cup of boiling water. Its smooth flavor can make for many cups from on tea bag, and also goes great with lemon.

I sampled guayusa tea from Sacred Tea entrepreneur Luis Olguin (interview coming soon), whose company is devoted to allowing the world experience the healing benefits of guayusa. I tried guayusa  to kick the post-two-thirty-slump to the curb; I drank a cup sweetened with honey. What I discovered–aside from the woody scented steam from the tea–was a drink that gave me sharper mental focus to carry out my work until the end of the day without crashing. I had a slow surge of energy without the crash from coffee, I had the same attributes of caffeine without the irritability hyperness and the jitters. Olguin states that this tea, shared as a communal tea among an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rain forest, is known to have many health benefits: three times the antioxidants in green tea, balances the blood sugar, increases stamina and blood flow, and enhances relaxation. Olguin also practices fair trade by giving the people of the indigenous tribe fair wages, and packages guayusa in sustainable, recycled material. Try it cold for an icy refresher, or brew guayusa in an espresso maker for a stronger flair.

 

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Almond Joy Flavored COFFEE (not just creamer) vs Almond Joy CREAMER

I was at Home Goods (I love that place) and was shopping when I scoped out a bag of Almond Joy Flavored Coffee (the brand is Grande Kaffe Collection). The coffee smells rich of coconut and chocolate, and upon sipping its smooth flavor, I tasted  well balanced undertones of chocolate, coconut AND almond (which was a complaint of mine in tasting the Almond Joy Creamer) Not only do you get stronger flavors in the coffee, you also save time in not having to add creamer to your coffee, let alone having to find the creamer in the first place.  (NOTE: It may help if you read my blog reviewing the Almond Joy Creamer https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/)

Pretty blue packaging!

If I had to compare it to the creamer, I’d say this is a better deal.  The only challenge may be not being able to locate this at Home Gods, T.J. Maxx, or Marshalls stores as it may be a seasonal flavor, however, I cannot say for sure, so be on the look out! I paid $6.99 for a 160z bag of coffee.  The fragrance has velvety top notes of chocolate, and the rich, tropical intensity of flaky coconut, and the warmth of almonds. Again, well balanced in all three flavors. Perfect with vanilla creamer, which in its subtlety brings out the flavors.  The coffee itself is an Arabica blend, which tends to be your standard coffee used in these types of flavored varieties. This blend may or may not be strong enough for some, but you can always amp up the coffee in your coffee maker.

Almond Joy Coffee Yumfacotor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) I love the even textures of all three flavors that I felt lacked in the creamer. This flavor is exotic, fun and makes for an alive cup of coffee. Vanilla accentuates the almond flavor, as well as defines the coconut and the chocolate characteristics. A must try. Gourmet indeed. May even make a great gift for foodies!

Have you tried this before? What are your thoughts? Think I’m bashing the creamer a little too much? Rate. Comment. Subscribe.

Sonic’s Pumpkin Pie Milkshake Review. (And Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Overview)

Too artificial and "spicy" to be well rounded. Just so you know.

I went to Sonic’s to try the pumpkin pie milkshake which of course is available for a limited time, along with their new Kickin’ Coney and Bacon and Bleu hotdog. I had a previous run in with a pumpkin flavored dessert that left me dazed, hurt and disappointed. Actually, I’ll name names 🙂 Edy’s pumpkin pie ice cream is overly artificial in flavor, with too much focus on the sweet with poor traces of spice.  And the spice that IS there tastes off balanced. Too cinnamoney to me. I was not a fan at all…Now, I know some of you are going to say “Duh, it’s ice cream. What did you expect?” Certainly not that frozen weirdness I tasted.  Apparently, Sonic understands what I mean. Why? because their pumpkin pie flavored milkshake is amazing; it has lovely layers of rich pumpkin flavor that delicately infuses traces of cinnamon nutmeg that do not over power the pumpkin flavoring.

I took a pic, but it got deleted, so I borrowed this one.

It’s not an overly spicy shake it’s just a nicely balanced cup of bliss.  And I think Sonic’s whipped cream is indulgent and creamy and the fact that it’s topped with pie crumbles makes it even more so epic. So take that all of you who think I should expect pumpkin pie flavored ice creams/shakes to be disgusting. 😛

The texture is rich, creamy, and thick, like regular Sonic shakes are.  There is an earthy depth to the shake, as the first sip is laden with ripe, sweet pumpkin that doesn’t scare the taste buds.  Then, there is a warm undertone of cinnamon and nutmeg that add a well rounded feature to it. I felt this milkshake aptly used fall flavors of pumpkin and spice to make for a fun and sweet shake- and I feel it’s very easy to mess up frozen pumpkin type desserts by over using spiciness. I got a medium for $2.29. I wouldn’t recommend it for diabetics. Again this is fast food, so it’s not for the health conscious who are concerned with calories, fat or sugar. According to their site,the calorie content is 710. Wow. 78 g sugar, 9 g protein, and 1 g of fiber. But hey, there’s 0 g trans fat! 😀 And that’s the best of it with nutrition, folks, bt what do you expect? it’s a milkshake from Sonics!

Pumpkin Pie Shake Yumfactor: 5  tongues!! (5 out of 5 stars) I think this is flawless, and I have a friend who is scared of pumpkin flavored drinks and she agreed that is was rich, true to pumpkin pie goodness and yummy.

Edy’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Yumfactor: 2 tongues and a tastebud. (2.5 out of 5 stars) I wanted to like it, but it was not well balanced in flavor. I like the color though, so I added an extra “.5” 😀 It is “light” so perhaps the lack of extra fat manifests itself in the way it tastes.

What are your thoughts? Rate. Comment. Subscribe.

International Delights Cinnabon Coffee Creamer Review

{UPDATE/ Possiblly TMI}-Hi everyone! I apologize for a slight delay in my postings! Here I return with *another* coffee creamer review! I promise I’ll switch it up nest time. I’m actually contemplating including another copycat recipe, and then a produce review (of a non coffee product) and a health tip.

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Int’l Delights Cinnabon Creamer Yumfactor- 2.5 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) (Coupon link below.)

In their inclusion of new  flavors such as Chai Latte, and their Coffee House varieties, International Delights decided to ante up the fun by including 2 new limited edition creamers:Almond Joy (in which I have reviewed ina previous post: please click link below to read) and Cinnabon Creamer. As a fan of variety and all things new, I decided to give both a shot. I’ll have to start by saying that I’d prefer the Almond Joy to the Cinnabon, but there’s more.

Yummy Cinnabonness, slathered in oooey-gooey nomnom.

The flavor description promises to include spicy cinnamon and tangy-sweet cream cheese, which are both highly detected in the tastebuds upon sipping.  Int’l Delights does a good job to replicating the cinnamon bun taste, as I have previously tasted Coffee Mate’s Cinnamon Bun creamer(which only tasted like cinnamon. No icing was detected.) Inl’t delights has done a great job in being detail oriented in terms of taste, considering that their audience would actually want a creamer that tasted authentically cinnaboney.

Although I liked their replication of the bun, I wouldn’t buy it again, because the inclusion of a cream cheese undertone in my coffee is just plain weird. I even considered that it would be when I was considering purchasing it, but I figured the cream cheese icing flavor would be obsolete. It’s not extremely strong, but the flavor does make its presence known. Probably a better Fall/Winter Creamer versus a summer flavor the warm cinnamon tastes like Autumn on my tongue, but it’s summer,so my mouth gets a little confused.You may, however,enjoy this flavor yourself, but my tastebuds, have moved on. One thing that I think makes it taste better is adding a teaspoon on French Vanilla/Sweet Italian Cream Coffee Creamer to tone down the cheesiness. You may like this if you have more than 1 creamer in your fridge at a time. 🙂 I have included a link for a printable coupon below. Hope it works!

Pros- Authentic Cinnabon taste, cream cheese and all. Spicy cinnamon goodness as opposed to your traditional sweet creamers. New!

Cons- Cream Cheese in my coffee is kind of awkward. *Better with the addition of a teaspoon of any Vanilla based creamer.

Where’d I buy this? Wal-Mart. I believe it was about $1.58-ish? There is a coupon on their website on the left bottom part of the screen. They will ask you to log in/register (lame) but if you have a facebook profile, you can use that.

Coupon Link: https://idregistration.icmodus.com/default.aspx?bhcp=1

Almond Joy Creamer Review: https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/…)

POLL/Question Time!! What Would You like me to blog about next?

So it’s clear this food blog has featured many coffee creamer reviews, a copycat recipe and money saving tips, but is there anything you’d like to see from me in the future? (More recipes I have tried/reviews-not that I want this to become a recipe blog, less junk food reviews or more even, money saving tips, or health related content, or a little of everything?) Let me know, and if I approve, I’ll be glad to take your opinions seriously. Thanks!

 

 

Coffee Creamer Review: New International Delights Almond Joy

Almond Joy Coffee Creamer: Because Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut Before Noon.

Yay! Another Limited Edition Coffee Creamer,brought to you by International Delights!  So if you have not yet been informed, Int’l Delights released a Spring/Summer Creamer chock full of summery flavors like coconut, chocolate (Chocolate= Summery? Hardly, but hey, it makes me think of Starbuck’s Coconut Mocha latte that’s around in the summer) and almond! This exotic combo immediately made me assume I’d taste all three flavors equally. Not quite. While this creamer is tasty in all it’s existence, I wished I tasted more of all almond undertone. Sure, almond is strong, but I was left feeling as if one of the 3 flavors ran away when I wasn’t looking, and never returned *sniffs*. I later realized it was poor ole’ almond. Come back, almond flavor! I miss you!!

Fun, coconuty and chocolatey it’s kinda like almond didn’t exist very much. Even in sniffing the creamer (which I occasionally do to, you know, get into my food zone) I don’t really even smell the almond. All in all, though it is worth a try, however,the almond is there, but in very little appearance though the coconut and chocolate do overcompensate. (By the way, I purchased this at a Wal-Mart near me)

Pros- Fun, vibrant coconut + smooth, velvety chocolate= Party time!! 8) Pretty good all around,except…

Cons-Almond decided to go to the party, but left 2 minutes late after saying hi to all of his friends. :/ Perhaps Int’l Delights went extra easy on the almond flavoring because it’s pretty strong of a flavor in general?

Yumfactor: 3  out of 5 tongues and a taste bud. (3 1/2 out of 5)

Coffee Creamer Review: Chocolate Chip Creme Brulée

Again, with the coffee creamers.

I like anything new when it comes to foods and their flavors, so I decided on trying both of the limited edition International Delight’s coffee creamers, Chocolate Chip Creme Brulée and Sweet Buttercream. The containers are both elaborately decorated with cool swirly designs and attractive colors, not to mention the drool-inducing food graphics.

I purchased the chocolate chip creme brulée first, because it sounded rather adventurous; deep, rich chocolate with a creme brulée undertone. Because I really didn’t understand what that was specifically or how it tasted, so I had to find out.  I wondered if the chocolate would over power the creme brulée or if the creme brulée would delicately compliment the chocolate.

Well, upon my first sip of coffee, here’s what happened.  I noticed the smell first.  The scent was wonderfully rich in all its chocolatiness and had a strong punch of the vanilla custard of the creme  brulée.  It’s almost like a souped up French Vanilla, but with carmelized sugar sprinkled inside each of  its buttery layers.  If you sniffed it as long as I did, you can even make out the sugary topping of the creme brulée.  Quite naturally,  I was expecting to taste a strong creme  brulée note. Hmm. I’m actually still waiting for it to emerge somewhere when I taste it, but it doesn’t seem to happen.  The flavoring was  mostly chocolate with a soft yet sweet vanilla cream undertone.  It was most certainly there but passively, as if it its job was to calm down the dramatically noticable chocolate from time to time; think a side kick whose jokes aren’t funny and does not do anything for the story-on top of that, you constantly forget their name and function.  (Perhaps this is intended, because the words “chocolate chip” are placed before the creme brulée.)

I tried the creamer in coffee rather than in tea, and its strong chocolate  taste is a perfect match for the strong cocoa aroma.  It was more so exquisite when paired with coffee and cupcake coffee syrup, yielding a sinfully indulgent chocolate cupcake party in my mug. *Note that this flavor is sweet and because of its sweet flavor may cause you to not take your coffee seriously sometimes, kind of like someone telling a 40 year old to eat cocoa puffs for breakfast. It’s good yes, but it’s like candy!!

If you are a chocolate fan, this will surely delight your senses, but if you rooting for its sidekick, *forgets their name* this may not be for you.

Pros: Wonderfully scented, a good and interesting flavor, yummy chocolate accent. Slight yet weak vanilla and sugar taste, which is supposedly the creme brulée.  <–wait, or is that a con? *shrugs*

Cons: You can smell more of the creme brulée than you can taste as the flavors are not experienced in levels, but more so the chocolate overshadowing it.  I suppose this is to be expected for some, but the label does say creme brulée.

Chocolate Chip Creme Brulée Yumfactor: 3  out of 5 tongues and a taste bud. It was the creme brulée ont the package that made me buy it, but I was not really tasting much of it.