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Archive for August, 2011

Morning Coffee

I love my morning coffee.  Today we are going away for a couple days for our wedding anniversary.  We always go to the same B&B every year, same cottage every year.  And, every year, I think they serve the most delicious coffee  with breakfast.

A few times, I have ended up bringing some home but I am always disappointed because it doesn’t seem to taste the same.  It is ok, but I wouldn’t seek it out.  I realize that when I am there, I am probably feeling happier and more relaxed than on a hectic work day – is that making the coffee taste better?  I wouldn’t say that coffee on a day off tastes better than coffee on a work day , so it doesn’t feel as if it is work/stress related.  Could it be the physical location?  Does that affect how the coffee tastes?  How about your enjoyment of the particular coffee?  I started out thinking about countryside vs suburbia or with a crowd vs solo, but maybe even the living room vs the kitchen…?  What do you think – Does where you enjoy a cup of coffee affect how you enjoy that coffee?

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We are so pleased to announce that we are now carrying Kusmi tea!

Kusmi started as a family business in Russia that grew into a dominant presence in the world of tea.  Kusmi, centered in Paris, creates tea blends that are as beautiful as they are aromatic as they are delicious.  We have a large selection of Kusmi teas on our tea site, but you can get a sense of their quality from a few of their most popular teas:

  • Detox (Mate, Chinese green tea and lemongrass flavored with lemon – apparently a favorite of Lady GaGa’s)
  • Anastasia (named after *that* Anastasia, this tea is a blend of China and Ceylon teas with natural bergamot, lemon and orange blossom)
  • Bouquet of Flowers (Inspired by the daughter of the original owner, the black teas from China, Ceylon and India are flavored with bergamot, citrus and flowers)
  • Tchai (chai)

The bagged tea comes in delicately-sewn muslin bags.  We have a great sampler of 5 teas, though any of the individual tins of tea would make a fabulous present for anyone – including yourself!

The company’s history is full of drama and intrigue (including the Russian Revolusion!).  Check out our blog post on that!

Enjoy Better Tea!

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Kusmi Tea has been delighting tea drinkers since 1867.  The history of this family business has all the elements of a great novel:

The 14-year old peasant Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff leaves home for St. Petersburg to find work.  He starts out as a delivery boy for a tea merchant.  Soon, he is invited to learn the art of blending tea.

Interestingly, Russian tea was renowned throughout Europe for its excellent quality.  Because it was imported by land, it was not subjected to the damage and dampness of a sea voyage.  In addition, it was a popular beverage for centuries, so merchants were expert with its cultivation, blending and flavoring.  Pavel marries and is given a small tea house of his own. And so begins the life of the P.M. Kousmichoff tea company in 1867. By the turn of the century, Pavel and his wife have 6 children and own 11 teahouses.  Pavel’s son takes over the company after his father died in 1908.  Soon, they have expanded to 51 teahouses in Russia, London and other European cities.  With the political scene about to explode in Russia, the family transfers assets to London and opens the company’s first Paris branch in 1917.

The family escapes Russia, first to Constantinople and then to Paris.  The company continues to grow throughout the 20’s and 30’s.  Pavel’s grandson eventually sells the company in 1972.  Named Kusmi tea by new owners in 2004, the company’s traditional blends remain while continuing to expand and modernize.

One of their oldest and most popular teas is a special blend made for Pavel’s daughter Elisabeth, named Bouquet of Flowers.  A favorite of the tsar, this blend of black teas from China, Ceylon and India is flavored with bergamot, citrus and flowers. It is still available today.

Kusmi tea offers a huge selection of hand-picked and carefully blended Russian, Black, green, red, decaffeinated and herbal teas with fragrant additions such as mandarin orange, grapefruit, lime as well as vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, almond and jasmine.  Kusmi tea recently opened a store in New York city.  It is also available in LA at the Farmer’s Market, in Paris and online at EnjoyBetterTea.

Kusmi tea bags come individually wrapped in  muslin bags that look to be hand-sewn.  The tags are sewn-on too, so no staples.  Plus, information on the tag lets you know about the proper water temperature and steeping time.

We also have the tea loose in beautiful, colorful tins that are worthy of gift-giving!

Consider trying one of their famously-named blends, Kusmi Anastasia tea, a blend of China and Ceylon teas with natural scents of bergamot, lemon and orange blossom.

Another favorite is Russian Morning No 24, a blend of good Ceylon, Assam and China teas.  This brews up dark and strong.

Try the Detox blend, with green tea, yerba mate and lemon grass.  This tea is designed to support both physical and emotional health, and the mate gives you a little boost.

We have several flavored green teas:  Almond, Jasmine, Rose.  If you can’t decide, try The Moments, a pack of 5 different loose teas and an infuser:  Earl Grey, Russian Morning No 24, Russian Evening, Green Jasmine and Kashmir Tchai.

We love this tea so much that we will give you a 10% discount on all Kusmi teas through the end of August.  Please use coupon code KSM10.  *

*Not valid with other coupons.  Not valid for special sale items.

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INGREDIENTS

5 Tablespoons butter

¼ cubes brown sugar

¼ cups white sugar

¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon boiling water

2 Tablespoons instant coffee

½ cups white flour

⅓ cups white whole wheat flour

½ teaspoons baking powder

⅛ teaspoons salt

½ cups chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the butter, sugars and vanilla in a bowl.  Using a stand mixer (or electric hand mixer), beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes on medium.
  3. Pour boiling water over the coffee and stir until dissolved. Add the dissolved coffee to the butter/sugar mixture and mix until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, salt and baking powder.   Turn the speed of your mixer to the lowest setting and add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Mix until the flour is incorporated.   Turn the mixer off and stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Place golf-ball-sized scoops of cookie dough on a cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 13 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

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As you may have heard, we love coffee.  Using it in cooking allows for a delicious assortment of drinks, snacks, cakes, cookies and other treats and even savory entrees to come out of your kitchen.  We also have some recipes for accompaniements to coffee or tea – something that is perfect to enjoy with your favorite beverage.

In this section, we will post some of our favorite recipes, ones you might recognize from our newsletters or our sites.  If you are looking for a recipe relating to coffee, please ask here and we will try to find it.  If you have a recipe to share, please post it here.  And, always be sure to tell us how you liked the recipe when you make something from our recipe collection.

Let us know what you think!  As always, EnjoyBetterCoffee!

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups chocolate milk

1 1/2 cups ice cubes

1/2 cup cold strong coffee

1 tbsp chocolate syrup or sugar (or to taste)

1 cup vanilla yogurt

INSTRUCTIONS

1.  In a blender, combine chocolate milk, ice cubes, instant coffee and chocolate syrup; purée until smooth.

2.  Add yogurt and blend.  Enjoy!

Makes 4 cups

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