Food & Cooking · Tried

Infographic Love, Coffee Love, and Epicurean Baristas (Love!)

Christmas BlendClick image to enlarge

Hi everyone! I’ve been going crazy over infographics as of late, and I even made one to describe Starbucks Christmas Blend (pictured above). After I finished my Christmas Blend infographic, I got to wondering if there were a lot of other Starbucks coffee-related infographics out there. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find many that talked about coffee, though I could find quite a few that described Starbucks as a company and its history. Here are a couple of the ones I liked (though they’re not in English):

Starbucks 1Click to enlarge (Source)

PrintClick to enlarge (Source)

I also found these super helpful (free!) websites that I will be using to create future infographics:

Easel.ly
Infogr.am

After thinking about all that coffee, I knew today I would have to make a French Press at home. I decided to pair Christmas Blend with a Cranberry Loaf, and OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS THE LOAF WAS AMAZING. I will share the recipe eventually, but I am planning on making it for every single Thanksgiving get together this year so you’re just going to have to wait and drool.

Christmas Blend Pairing(You can find this image on my instagram, too! 😉 )

While we’re still talking (and dreaming about) my pairing from this afternoon, I think it’s a good time to mention that I tried taking my first ever video while preparing the tasting. I’ve got a lot to learn, and my friend Amanda is going to help teach me the ropes of editing, but I think the video I took today will be a good start.

A good start to what, you ask? A good start to a new YouTube channel that my friend Tia and I are starting called Epicurean Baristas. Since Chad and I are going back to Japan, Tia and I thought it would be fun to stay in touch via video “letters” talking about things we’re very passionate about: eating and drinking! We’re still working out the kinks of our YouTube page and blog, but I’ll keep you posted as things progress!

xx Caitlyn

Bookspiration · Food & Cooking

Bookspiration: Uncommon Grounds

I’ve finally finished the behemoth book Uncommon Grounds, and am happy to say that I learned a lot. It’s quite possible my coworkers don’t feel the same joy I do, since upon starting the book I’ve been spouting out all kinds of random facts to them.  In my defense, we are in the coffee business, so telling them interesting things I learned should be perfectly acceptable. I also should get an award for finishing the giant coffee history book, but perhaps that’s just my opinion.

Anyway, in honor of Uncommon Grounds I wanted to do a coffee tasting (I may or may not do coffee tastings all the time, but that’s beside the point 😉 ). I chose to give the medium roast coffee, Guatamala Antigua, a try. I tried this Starbucks coffee in a French press when I first started working as a barista, and after it was mentioned briefly in Uncommon Grounds, I thought I should give it another go. My palette for coffee tasting has improved a bit, so I was hoping to be able to recognize the notes of cocoa and soft spice this time around. Because the Guatamala Antigua pairs well with caramel, I decided to try it with one of my favorite treats: Stroopwafles!

20140428-190055.jpgI found some stroopwafles at my local grocery store, and though they weren’t the brand I normally get, I purchased them. The last time I went to the fabulous DeBoer Bakery in Holland, MI, a cashier recommended putting a stroopwafle on top of a cup of coffee or tea so that the caramel in the center would warm up, so that was a must for this tasting.

20140428-190107.jpgAfter waiting for the press to finish, it was finally time to try my pairing. I poured some coffee into my cup and set a stroopwafle on top. In that moment, it was like dreams were coming true. *sighs happily* I smelled the coffee and slurped it, noticing the medium body and acidity of the roast. Then, I tried a bite of my stroopwafle and…MY DREAMS WERE DASHED! The stroopwafle tasted quite stale, and it paled in comparison to stroopwafles of my past. (Chad and I were fortunate enough to try stroopwafles in Amsterdam a couple years ago, and since then the best brand I’ve tried is Daelmans. I’ve decided to make amends for the serious sadness of this tasting by getting proper stroopwafles and trying them with another press of the Guatamala!)

Despite the heart-breaking taste of the stroopwafles, the Guatamala Antigua paired so well with caramel that it actually improved the flavor of the stroopwafle. Good coffee and food pairings are supposed to compliment each other that way: the food should bring out the best of the coffee, and the coffee should bring out the best of the food, so that you’re sitting there wanting to take bite after sip after bite after sip.

20140428-190116.jpgI didn’t finish my stroopwafle, but I finished the delicious Guatamala. I’ll keep you posted on how the next tasting goes, and I’ll share some of my favorite facts from Uncommon Grounds, too! What’s your favorite coffee pairing?

xx