Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Favorite Things: The Keurig Edition

Anyone who knows me knows I lovelovelove coffee. Seriously - is there anything better than a well-brewed cup? I used to really shy away from making coffee myself; it seemed like I could never get it just right! It was always too dark or too light or too bitter and there were so many variables with temperature, and I couldn't find a good ratio of grounds and water, and usually it was just worth it to buy a good cup.

Then Chris and Natalie got a Keurig one day, and I fell totally in love! I could get the same results each and every time, and I very quickly became an addict. And when I saw that the mini was offered in orange, I started saving up to buy myself one.

Except that before I did, Reb and Joe got it for me for Christmas last year!!! :) They're totally awesome. ;)

It's been a year since I began trying different brands and roasts, and I thought I'd fill you in on my favs!

First off, if I want to use my own ground coffee, I use the "As Seen On TV" CafĂ© Cup coffee pods and I love them; just fill up the pod, snap the lid down (it's attached, so you can't lose it - bonus!) and drop into the Keurig as you would a regular K-cup - you don't have to pull out parts like you would with the "My K-Cup". They're dishwasher safe, BPA free, and work like a charm (I love filling them with grounds from the Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company!).

All-time Favorite: Starbucks Veranda Blend. It's the perfect roast, not too bold and not too weak and strong without being bitter or overwhelming. I stock up when Starbucks has their "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" sale, or when Target marks all their K-cup boxes down to around $6.

Best Decaf: Maxwell House Decaf House Blend - If I'm looking for a cheap brand of coffee, I'm frequently tempted to buy Folgers because it's usually on some ridiculously cheap sale, but whenever I do, I regret it. Instead, I've started reaching for Maxwell House because it's not usually that much more expensive and the quality is so much better. This is my (and Maggie's!) favorite plain decaf - nothing fancy, just perfect for when you want the taste and comfort of coffee without the caffeine.

Green Mountain Wild Mountain Blueberry Coffee - Ahh, the joys of blueberry coffee! (If you think I'm nuts, you clearly haven't had a good cup yet lol.) I don't tend to like Green Mountain coffee all that much, but I tried it when I was on the hunt for a blueberry coffee similar to Dunkin Donuts blueberry coffee, and I liked it. Not at all like Dunkin - a hint of blueberry with a twist of cinnamon, and a slightly weaker brew - but good enough to pass muster.

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea - I'll confess, although I love a good cup of tea, I don't usually make tea in the Keurig unless I'm sick. Otherwise, I enjoy the ritual of heating water, steeping a tea bag, and adding lemon and sugar to taste. And I'm a total black tea lover. However, on the (rareish) occasions that I want a cup of herbal, this is my go-to. It's soothing and not chamomile-y as other "relaxing" blends - more earthy, I guess?

Twinings Of London Earl Grey Tea - When I do want a cup of tea fast, no muss no fuss, I adore Twinings of London Early Grey, whether in K-cup form or in a tea bag. This brews pretty dark (which is how I like it - most K-cups brew weak tea, in my humble opinion) and I love the amazingly notes of bergamot.

IKEA Milk Frother - This isn't coffee, per se, but if you invest in only one tool other than a Keurig, make it this one! For super-foamy frothed milk, pour the milk into a mug, microwave until warm, and froth, then brew the coffee right into the mug. For less froth, you can just add the cold milk to the hot beverage and froth it all together. Either way, this totally elevates the at-home coffee experience to the level of your favorite coffeehouse! :)

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