Here is a quote from the co-founder of Thrive Market:
“Growing up in the Midwest in the ‘90s, I saw how hard my mom worked to put healthy food on our table despite limited knowledge, a limited budget, and limited healthy options in our hometown. She did an amazing job, but it was hard—and she was mostly on her own…Thirty years later, so much has changed. Today, millions of moms, dads, grandparents, and young people are all aspiring to live healthier and more sustainable lives. My mom is no longer on her own!And yet one thing hasn’t changed: finding convenient, trusted, and affordable ways to shop healthier is still hard.At Thrive Market, we’re on a mission to change that.”—Nick Green, Father of Two + Thrive Market Co-Founder & CEO
Thrive Market is benefiting from four converging trends that shifted into overdrive by the pandemic: healthy eating, online grocery, subscriptions, and personalized shopping.
It’s propelled an already rapidly-growing company, tracking at 40% year-over-year growth before the pandemic, to nearly double its business since, with sales up 90% year-over-year.
With its membership rapidly approaching one million, Thrive Market solves many of the problems inherent in traditional grocery shopping and online as well. Because the typical grocery store carries between 30,000 to 50,000 products, grocery shoppers suffer from a confusing abundance of choices.
Thrive Market makes selection simple, offering about 6,000 carefully curated items that represent the best brands that are better for people and better for the planet.
Initially focused on non-perishable products in the center aisles of a grocery store, it now offers wine, meat, seafood, and ready-made meals, along with a growing list of pet, beauty, and home products. The only thing missing is dairy and fresh fruits and vegetables, which present logistical challenges the company is working to overcome.
“We are about six years old now, and we have always been a fast-growing business,” says Sasha Siddhartha, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “Since we launched, keeping up the growth and scale has been a consistent focus for us. But then starting in late February/early March, that growth accelerated dramatically, and we continue to hold that accelerated pace. It turns out Thrive Market is a sticky concept.”
“Our approach has always been curated, so you don’t have to worry about which brand is better for you or spend time studying the labels. Our merchandising team has already done the work for you to pre-select and curate based on the highest standards in the industry,” Siddhartha says. “Instead of finding 40 products to choose from, we offer the best two or three, taking the guesswork out.”
Since Covid hit, people have prioritized health and wellness in grocery shopping. Thrive Market sits in that sweet spot. Even before the pandemic, natural and organic had been the fastest-growing sector in the grocery industry, he shares. It is a trend that is sure to continue as the immediate health threat abates.
Online grocery shopping is a great convenience, saving time, which is the ultimate luxury. But consumer habits are hard to break and going to the grocery store has long been a staple of the American’s lifestyle. That changed overnight due to the pandemic.
Why give your money to a company that is not only infringing on your Constitutional rights, but those of their employees?
Thrive Market is the way of the future.
They provide high-quality products at very reasonable prices.
Expect to see other online grocery stores adopt a similar model of Thrive Market.
When Amy Buttell separated from her husband in 2005, her anxiety spiked off the charts. A suddenly single mother, Buttell didn’t have a lot of money to throw around. Still, in the wake of her marital upheaval, she made massage a priority. It helped her weather the storm, she says, and today, she still finds that getting one or two massages a month helps keep stress at bay. And that helps her defend against physiological tension, too.
“When I’m anxious, I feel all clenched up,” says the 49-year-old marketing communications director from Erie, Pa. “My massage therapist untangles my knots.” Like many people, Buttell values not only the hands-on healing but also the opportunity to power down her brain and nervous system for an hour or so. “Even if I’m short on money,” she says, “I find a way to make it happen.”
Buttell is not alone. Despite massage’s reputation as a self-indulgent luxury, an increasing number of people are embracing it — not just as a “spa treatment,” but as a powerful therapeutic tool.
Americans currently log more than 114 million trips to massage therapists every year. Massage therapists are the second most visited complementary and alternative medicine providers behind chiropractors. All told, Americans spend up to $11 billion a year on massage. And statistics from the American Massage Therapy Association project that over the next five years, that number is likely to grow considerably.
What we’re getting for our money, whether we realize it or not, is an access code of sorts — a healing key capable of opening the body’s stickiest locks.
Scrunching our shoulders, craning our necks, sitting for hours, driving in rush-hour traffic — such mundane activities can create patterns of muscle tension (referred to as “holding”) in the body. And when muscles are chronically tense or tweaked, it can have a nasty effect on both our bodies and our minds.
Persistent musculoskeletal tension can restrict blood circulation and nutrient supplies to the body’s organs and tissues. As the weblike connective tissue (fascia) that envelops the muscles gets increasingly dense and less mobile, it can negatively affect posture and breathing. The experience of low-grade, habitual tension can contribute to chronic hormonal, biochemical, and neurological problems of all kinds.
In conventional medicine, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are the gold standard. But massage and most other forms of bodywork don’t lend themselves well to such studies. Therefore, scientific “proof,” both for massage’s efficacy and its means of function, runs a little thin. But convincing clinical evidence is accumulating.
For example, in 2004, Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, published a meta-analysis on massage therapy research and found that, on average, research subjects who received massage had a lower level of anxiety than those who did not.
“My research consistently finds that massage does have an impact on anxiety,” says Moyer. “We don’t know exactly why, but people who get massage have less anxiety afterward.”
One popular explanation is that massage lowers the body’s levels of cortisol, the hormone notorious for triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response. “No matter how we measure cortisol — in saliva or urine — or how often, we always find that massage has a beneficial effect,” says Tiffany Field, PhD, a researcher at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.
Although Moyer is yet to be convinced of the cortisol connection, both he and Field agree that massage is potentially very therapeutic for what’s known as “state” anxiety. Unlike generalized anxiety disorders, state anxiety is a reaction to something you can pinpoint, such as a troubling or traumatic event, circumstance, or setting.
Although more research is needed, says Moyer, “some experts posit that the reported alleviation of state anxiety could be a result of something as simple as the social and psychological environment where the massage takes place.”
Relieve Lower-Back Pain
Aside from stress, if there’s one thing that drives people to the massage table in droves, it’s pain. Especially lower-back pain, which up to 85 percent of Americans experience at some point during their lives.
In 2008, the Cochrane Collaboration (a global, independent, nonprofit organization that reviews the usefulness of healthcare interventions) published an examination of the evidence linking massage to relieving lower back pain. Reviewing 13 clinical trials, they found massage to be a promising treatment.
“Physical pain is like the alarm system of a house,” says Andrea Furlan, Ph.D., a clinical epidemiologist who specializes in massage at the Institute for Work & Health in Toronto. “With acute pain, like a burn or a broken bone, the pain signal indicates something is wrong. But, if you have pain every day, like chronic back pain, the alarm is malfunctioning. Massage may not be able to turn off the alarm, but it can lower the volume.”
Theories abound on how massage interrupts the body’s pain loop. One of the oldest and most well-regarded explanations is called the gate-control theory. Proponents surmise that pain signals to the brain are muffled by competing stimuli. More specifically, the pain travels on small-diameter nerve fibers, while massage stimulates large-diameter ones. Larger nerve fibers relay messages to the brain faster than smaller ones. In essence, says Furlan, the sensation of the massage “wins” over the sensation of pain.
One word of advice from fitness experts, though: You’ll get more lasting, long-term relief of lower back pain by supplementing massage with isometric core exercises, such as planks, that focus on strengthening the muscles that support and guide the spine’s movements.
Soothe Tension Headaches
Tension leads to headaches, so it follows that massage would help ease them. And for many, trigger-point therapy can prove particularly effective.
“A trigger point is an area of tightly contracted muscle tissue,” says Albert Moraska, Ph.D., a researcher focused on complementary medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. “Trigger points in the shoulder and neck refer [relay] pain to the head. By reducing the activity of trigger points, we can reduce headaches.”
Moraska’s work, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, explores how massaging the neck and shoulders can ease tension-type headaches. “We think massage can disrupt trigger points by forcing apart the tightly contracted sarcomeres (proteins responsible for contraction) within the muscle cells; as a result, the cells relax and subsequently muscle tension dissipates.”
Restore Deep Sleep
Roughly one in five Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. That’s a problem because lack of sleep alters the body’s biochemistry, making it more vulnerable to inflammation and lowered immunity, and more sensitive to pain.
“The relationship between pain and sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle,” says Tiffany Field. “Your body doesn’t get the rest it needs to heal.”
Although studies of massage therapy and sleep quality are few, the findings suggest that massage can promote deeper, less disturbed sleep, especially in people with painful chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia. Massage therapy indirectly promotes good sleep by relieving pain and encouraging relaxation.
Because massage therapy stimulates the body’s parasympathetic “rest-and-relax” nervous system (the opposite of its sympathetic “fight-or-flight” response), it counters both physical and mental stresses — giving you a better shot at enjoying the sleep you need to repair tissue during the night and to cope better during the day.
It may seem surprising that physically manipulating the body can help counter a malady we associate with the brain. But, in his oft-cited 2004 review, Christopher Moyer found that depression is particularly responsive to massage.
The average research subject who received massage had a level of depression that was lower than 73 percent of those who did not. These findings are on par with more conventional approaches to treating depression, including psychotherapy.
Field’s research on depression shows that massage boosts the body’s natural levels of serotonin, a substance that works “much like Prozac” in the brain. Her studies show that massage also encourages the brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, a mood enhancer, as well as oxytocin, a hormone that generates feelings of contentment.
While the exact mechanisms are unclear, it seems evident that a good massage has a variety of positive psychological implications as well, from receiving nurturing touch from another person, anticipating that the experience will be beneficial, or feeling empathy from the therapist.
Lower Blood Pressure
Given how positively it affects the rest of the body and mind, and how well it moderates stress, it probably comes as no surprise that massage therapy can also benefit the heart — in part by reducing blood pressure. In his meta-analysis, Moyer found that massage significantly lowers blood pressure, at least temporarily.
He notes that the findings are consistent with the theory that massage can trigger the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which helps prompt the body to return to biochemical balance and emotional ease after enduring a stressful event.
But perhaps the bigger takeaway here is that massage can help unlock the body’s healing potential not by anyone means, but rather by many. As epidemiologist Andrea Furlan points out, “Well before drugs or surgical procedures were developed, people used massage to treat almost everything.” Still, today, she notes, “when we get hurt, our first instinct is to rub.”
Amy Buttell, for one, doesn’t need any more evidence than her own transformation. “I don’t know if it’s the touch, the warm table, or the fact that I get to turn my phone off for an hour, but I do know that massage is worth every penny.”
Multiple Modalities: What Kind of Massage Is Right for You?
Not so long ago, available massage styles in most U.S. cities were fairly limited. Today, bodywork modalities abound, from familiar basics like Swedish to more exotic options like Hawaiian Lomi Lomi and Chinese Tui Na. Wondering which style of massage is right for you? Read on for a rundown of some of the most popular options. Some massage styles are more physically intense than others but keep in mind, you always have a role in guiding your therapist about how much pressure feels good to you and where it’s applied.
Abhyanga: Based on the principles of Ayurveda, one or more therapists apply herb-infused oils to usher the body into a state of relaxation and balance.
Acupressure: Working with the same theory of acupuncture (but without the needles), acupressure stimulates points on the body to release energetic congestion and open the body’s energy pathways.
Craniosacral therapy: A gentle, non-invasive form of massage in which a therapist uses a light touch to work the cranial bones, the spinal column, and the sacrum (a triangular bone at the base of the spine) to balance energy, treat headaches, and reduce mental stress. Mild enough for infants, as well as the elderly.
Deep tissue: Targeting chronic patterns of holding, deep tissue relies on slow strokes and targeted pressure, often with a finger, thumb, or elbow.
Hot stone: Smooth, warm stones are placed on the body and become focal points of relaxation as the heat penetrates and soothes tense muscles.
Lomi Lomi: An ancient Polynesian practice, this style is characterized by the practitioner’s rhythmic use of the hands, forearms, and elbows. Long, broad strokes invite relaxation.
Myofascial release: A light, sustained pressure is applied to constrictions in the body’s fascia, or connective tissue, to elicit elongation and release.
Reflexology: Stimulates pressure points on the hands, feet, and ears. Each point is believed to correspond to other, less-accessible parts of the body, such as the organs.
Shiatsu: A Japanese style, shiatsu directs pressure to lines of energy (meridians) considered important for health and well-being.
Sports: Often used before and after athletic activity, the focus is on reducing inflammation, keeping joints flexible, and enhancing performance.
Swedish: A combination of long, gliding strokes, as well as kneading, stretching, and tapping. Swedish massage is thought to enhance health by increasing blood flow to the muscles.
Thai: Performed on the floor with clothes on and no oils, a Thai massage involves being stretched into yoga-like positions.
Trigger-point therapy: Trigger points often show up as “knots” in the muscles, most often in the shoulders, upper back, and neck. Trigger points are different from acupressure points because they actually feel like lumps. Trigger-point therapy (also known as neuromuscular therapy) uses pressure to dissolve the knots.
Tui Na: A vigorous kneading and pulling of the body, Tui Na (meaning push and grab) is a component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like other Eastern approaches, such as Thai massage and acupressure, the goal is to open up the flow of Qi through the body’s energy pathways or meridians.
How to Choose a Massage Therapist
Finding a truly great massage practitioner — one whose skills, style, and personality all suit you — can make the difference between a merely nice (or worse, ho-hum) experience and the kind of transformative healing dynamic that keeps you coming back for more.
You won’t know for sure until you get on the table, but here are some key questions to help you decide whether a therapist is right for you.
1. Are you nationally certified? More than 300 schools and programs in the United States offer accreditation for massage therapists. To become nationally certified, a person must have a basic set of skills, pass an exam, adhere to certain ethical guidelines, and take part in continuing education.
2. Are you state certified? Every state is different, but most of them (42, plus the District of Columbia) offer certification for massage therapists; some are voluntary, and others are mandatory. Seek out a massage therapist who is state-certified, which typically means he or she met a minimum number of training hours and passed an exam.
3. How many hours of training have you completed? This is a helpful question, especially in states lacking strict oversight of who can call themselves a massage therapist. The answer you’re looking for is a minimum of 500 hours. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, the average practitioner has 633 hours of training. A massage therapist with less than 500 hours of training can still be good, but consider the number a benchmark.
4. Do you have any special or advanced training? The best massage therapists spend years developing specialties and honing a specific skill set. The massage therapist who is passionate about Chinese meridians and spends several weeks a year going to special training may have an edge over the generalist who hasn’t evolved beyond the basic moves she learned in massage school. The same goes if you have special needs. For instance, a massage therapist who emphasizes sports massage might be a good bet if you have a weekend-warrior injury, but not if you have fibromyalgia.
5. How much do you charge? Expect to pay roughly $1 a minute for a chair massage at the mall or airport. At an upscale spa or studio, massage rates range from about $60 to $120 an hour, plus a 15 to 20 percent tip. (Sometimes, packages of four or six massages are available at a discount.) If you have health insurance, ask your provider if you are eligible for either a discount (available with some plan-approved therapists) or if you can pay for massage with money from a flexible spending account. Unless you have the Mercedes-Benz of healthcare plans, preventive massage is probably not covered 100 percent, but if your doctor or chiropractor recommends massage therapy, your plan might cover a specific number of sessions.
One final tip: Get a referral. It’s OK to be picky about who puts their hands on your body. If you’re feeling spontaneous and want to book a one-time massage at a local spa, great. But if you’d like to explore massage as a long-term investment in your body, or if you have some tenacious kinks to work out and you think you might need a series of treatments, talk to your friends about whom they like and why. If your friends don’t get a massage, ask for a recommendation at your local yoga studio, health club, acupuncture center, or chiropractor’s office. More often than not, these folks are plugged into the local “who’s who” of bodyworkers and can steer you in the right direction.
Mark Morphew Originally Published March 23, 2021, 8 min read bean Ground is completely reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more
As great as plain black coffee is sometimes our taste buds need a break from the norm, admit it having the same thing day in day out tends to get boring. An excellent way to spice up your favorite coffee beverage is by adding some extra flavor. Forget about those store brought sweeteners and creamers that are often packed full of garbage, what I’m talking about are natural flavorings.
Some of these flavored coffee combinations are strange, and others not so obvious, but trust me they will bring life back into your boring cup of Joe and you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of them before.
Below I have experimented with various ways to add extra flavor to your coffee, and I think these 12 are the best so far that will tickle ya taste buds and leave you coming back for more!
I have no doubt that after going through this list, you will be heading home in a flash to give at least one or two of these coffee combinations a try.
Adding cinnamon to coffee isn’t anything new, but it’s one that’s stood the test of time and is a favorite with many coffee drinkers. But before you read on I have a twist on the already popular combination.
Instead of sprinkling cinnamon on top of your coffee or even stirring it into your brew, you’ll want to infuse the cinnamon with your coffee beans if you want to give your coffee a real cinnamon kick.
It’s not as hard as it sounds, simply grind whole sticks of cinnamon along with your whole coffee beans. If you don’t grind your beans fresh before each brew (why not?) you can instead sprinkle some cinnamon into your pre-ground coffee before you add water.
Adding the cinnamon to the start of the coffee brewing process will allow for a fully blended coffee that actually tastes like cinnamon and not just smell like it.💡 Fun Fact: Did you know that you can easily add flavor to your coffee by using a French Press. Simply immerse your Cinnamon, Vanilla, Ginger, or anything else inside of your French Press along with your freshly brewed coffee. Allow it to sit for a while for the magic to happen, the infused flavors will transform your coffee into something else! Looking for a French Press? These are the best French Press coffee makers we could find.
Cocoa Nibs.. say what? Isn’t that just chocolate? Not really. Cocoa Nibs are what chocolate is before it’s processed into the shaped bars we all know and love. These chunks are more black in color than brown and are 100% cocoa beans. The texture is also different, and the taste is far nuttier and slightly chewier plus they deliver a dark rich taste.
It’s this flavor profile that makes Cocoa Nibs the perfect addition to your coffee. Trust me they taste great! Add about ½ a teaspoon of Cocoa Nibs to every two cups of coffee that goes into your coffee grinder, grind together, and brew your coffee as normal.
If you love dark chocolate and black coffee this flavored coffee is going to bring you to your knees! YUM!
If you love adding flavored creamers and sugar to your coffee but aren’t happy about the added calories you’re loading into your cup, try some vanilla.
The best way to take advantage of this natural coffee flavoring is to add a vanilla bean to your whole coffee beans just before you grind. If you can’t get your hands on fresh vanilla, you can use a few drops of extract directly into your cup of coffee or into your portafilter on your espresso machine before you pull a shot. Remember, though, a little goes a long way, any more than two drops and you’ll be pouring your brew down the drain.
I’m not a fan of this coffee flavor, but for those of you that enjoy ginger tea, this coffee combination might be a winner!
Ginger can be overpowering if used in large quantities, so I recommend that you only add a few small slices to your grounds before you brew. The hot water will pass over the ginger and will infuse with your coffee. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can supplement by using one or two tablespoons of ginger powder instead, but fresh is definitely better!
Cardamom is relatively unheard of in the west but is hugely popular in the Middle East. The taste of cardamom is very similar to ginger and comes packed with numerous health benefits. Fiber and other essential minerals are just some of the hidden gems of cardamom as well as aiding in circulation it goes great with coffee.
Either add whole cardamom seeds to your whole coffee beans before you grind or sprinkle a couple of pinches of pre-ground cardamom seeds to your freshly brewed cup of coffee.
6. Star Anise
This coffee flavor isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will definitely get you a few strange looks. Star Anise is known for a strong licorice taste with sweet, floral notes. For those of you that enjoy licorice, it makes a great coffee infusion when paired with dark roasted coffee.
Add your Star Anise into your whole coffee beans before grinding and brew as you normally would. However, if overused it can be very overpowering, I recommend using no more than 3/4 of a clove, or you’ll be pouring your freshly brewed coffee into the sink.
If you want to bring out the earthiness in your morning coffee brew, I recommend trying a bit of Nutmeg. The added sweetness and earthy taste are truly unique and are a sure way to tickle ya taste buds.
The amount of Nutmeg to add to your cup of coffee is down to personal taste; however, I find that one shard is perfect for a typical cup. With that said experiment until you find the best infusion for your liking.
I only thought that lavender was something found in body soaps, that was before I tried lavender ice cream as a child, yum!
Lavender is the perfect companion for many things, and coffee is no exception; I have found that it marriages best with the fruitier roasted coffees. You can either add a few sprinkles of lavender in with your ground coffee and infuse when you pour your hot water or add a few tiny drops of lavender oil to your brewed coffee. is brewed. Either way, this combination tastes great, especially on a lazy spring afternoon.
If you smoke cigarettes or have done in the past, this Clover-flavored coffee is going to be a winner! Many popular cigarette brands add clove into their tobacco mix to give an added sweetness.
When it comes to cloves and coffee use sparingly, because this spice can be very overpowering. Either grind with your whole coffee beans before you brew or add a couple of cloves to your pre-ground coffee and infuse when boiling water is poured over your grounds. If the taste is too strong, experiment until you find the best ratio for your taste buds.
10. Peppermint Oil
Nothing screams ‘tis the season more than a steamy cup of peppermint coffee. To successfully infuse your brewed coffee with this delicious holiday flavor it’s best to use pure peppermint oil which works really well with chocolatey dark roasted coffee beans.
To try this flavored coffee add a couple of drops to your coffee during the brewing process, however, use sparingly because peppermint oil in its concentrated form can quickly become overpowering no matter how rich your coffee beans are.
11. A Raw Egg
It might seem crazy, but adding a raw egg to your coffee tastes great! Hot coffee mixed with a raw egg delivers a one-of-a-kind flavor – trust me, you have to try it, at least once, It might not be a taste that everyone enjoys for everyone, but to be honest it’s not as disgusting as you might expect.
The addition of a raw egg gives the coffee a dense and slightly creamy body without masking the natural coffee flavors and aromas.
If you haven’t heard about Bulletproof Coffee (1), you must have been living in a cave. Many coffee lovers and health buffs have come accustomed to this coffee butter combination which has gained popularity in recent years.
This strange combination can be traced back to south-east Asia where strange coffee infusions are commonplace. Even though it’s hard to imagine butter which is normally only used in cooking, going so well with coffee, if done right it really is a marriage made in heaven (I said if done right!).
Just adding a teaspoon of organic butter to a sweet roast coffee will give your coffee a smooth, rich texture with a buttery depth that is truly unique.
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief at the popular coffee blog – Bean Ground. He’s been active in the catering and hospitality industry for over 20 years. When he’s not fiddling around with a new coffee gadget, you’ll find him busy working on his other passion, web development. You can discover more about Mark here.
This is the second bag of coffee I received from Black Diesel Coffee. Black Diesel is a craft coffee company dedicated to quality, community, and coffee education. I haven’t had a chance to visit their shop in person yet (not surprising, since I live in Texas and the global pandemic is still going on!) but I would really like to go the next time I am in Michigan if nothing else to see their cozy outdoor igloos available for rent!
Whole bean: A wonderfully decadent aroma of dark chocolate and malt wafted from this bag as soon as I opened it. Very sweet!
French press: This coffee strongly reminds me of hot cocoa. It struck me as a little under-sweet – I normally don’t add sugar or milk to my coffee but I almost feel like this particular preparation could use just a touch of sugar to round out the chocolaty flavor. I enjoyed the smooth mouthfeel.
Chemex: I miscalculated my grind size and the total brew time was a little longer than I intended (close to 5 minutes). The result wasn’t bitter but it was probably a little stronger than it would have been otherwise. Still, the coffee was heavy with dark chocolate flavor, and it got fudgier as the coffee cooled.
V60: This wasn’t my favorite preparation method for these beans. It’s possible my extraction time was too long (my total time was 3:10), but I think something about the pour-over method brings out slightly more bitter, harsher flavors from these beans than the immersion methods do. These harsher notes faded some as the coffee cooled, but it was noticeably unbalanced to my palate, especially given what I had next…
AeroPress: Wow. This cup was creamy and sweet, full-bodied and decadent. At the time of writing this review, I have been setting up and experimenting with a new microphone for music/Zoom calls, and while I thought my old mic was decent, hearing the result from my new mic is just staggering in how much more beautiful the sound is. That’s kind of how I feel drinking thus Guatemala Huehuetenango made with the other brewing methods, and then from the AeroPress! Hands down, my favorite way of preparing these beans.
I didn’t try these beans brewed as espresso, but I did pull a shot of this via my AeroPress plus the Prismo attachment, to get an idea of the flavor notes that might come out when ground and brewed closer to espresso-style. I didn’t like the result as much vs. when brewed in the “traditional” AeroPress method, so I’d recommend not using the Prismo for this.
Summary: In my opinion, it’s a little harder to get optimum results for these beans in pour-over methods. Stick with immersion methods like the French press and the AeroPress. The AeroPress in particular resulted in coffee that was an incredible treat to drink. I felt like I was getting away with something!
Disclaimer: I received this product gratis in exchange for a fair and honest review. Even though I received this for free, I treat and test it the same way as if I had paid for it out of my own pocket.
COVID-19 has pretty much-ruined everything; this we already know. But some traditions remain intact, and that includes the delicious tradition of King Cake.
Traditionally served in the month of January, bakeries around Louisiana are pumping out the traditional pastry to offer a sweet bite of better times. In my own backyard of Dallas, PJ’s, a New Orleans-based coffee shop hopping across the Texas-Lousiana border, is offering an exciting new twist on the foodie favorite: King Cake Lattes. Per Eater Dallas, the limited-time drink includes “PJ’s espresso dolce roast, steamed milk with vanilla and cinnamon, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream dusted in purple sugar.”
Frankly, everyone here at Sprudge is obsessed. Much like Hamentashen, the King Cake is one of those sweet treats that comes but once a year, whose arrival is hungrily awaited. Find a way to add coffee to it—or it to coffee—and you’ve really got our attention.
But we understand not everyone can pop out to their nearest cafe for a King Cake Latte. So if you can’t get to a PJ’s, or want to make your very own version, Sprudge co-founder and noted King Cake enthusiast Jordan Michelman has whipped us up a play-at-home recipe.
Your Dream of Working From Home and Enjoying the Good Life Is Here.
Traditional Louisiana-style King Cake calls for a very simple icing, what’s sometimes called “English icing” made of powdered sugar, milk, and lemon. As with all things King Cake there is endless variation and riffing—there is even an un-iced purist version, made using puff pastry and almond filling (they make an excellent one at Poupart Bakery). The inclusion of butter or even cream cheese to the icing recipe is not uncommon, although others feel the only appropriate place for cream cheese is inside the King Cake itself.
Very fine icing will fall apart immediately atop liquid, which is why the King Cake Latte needs to be floated with stouter stuff. After much trial and error, I suggest making a simple Diplomat Cream (aka Creme Patissiere), a sort of whipped cream vanilla pudding hybrid that holds up on top of a mug, and makes a sturdy precipice for the critical addition of gold, green, and purple sprinkles.
First, make a simple custard. Heat milk in a saucepan, then cream sugar and egg yolks together in a separate bowl, adding flour as you go. Combine the two into the saucepan, remove from heat, and stir until smooth. There are a billion recipes for this—I outlined the St. John version up above but use whatever style you like.
Then make whipped cream. Whatever your preferred method is here is fine—I like cream, vanilla, and icing sugar in an electric mixer, but everyone has their own way, and also store-bought is fine.
Combine the custard and the whipped cream together once everything is room temp. Store in the fridge for half an hour to let it cool and set up.
Then make your coffee. King Cake is a sweet treat, and your coffee should be too for this drink, although of course, the level of sweetness is up to you. Dissolving a teaspoon of brown sugar and powdered cinnamon into brewed not-too-light roasted coffee is a fine move—the house or espresso blend at your favorite indie roaster should work great, but let me specifically recommend this notes of King Cake blend now offered by Mug Drugs. To this, you might also add pre-sweetened alternative milk if that’s your preference, or otherwise sweeten up some cold brew. But don’t skip the cinnamon—this is a really important part of the King Cake flavor profile.
Give your opinion on Trump as President and receive a Visa Gift Card!Click On the Image.
Pour your sweet and cinnamony coffee into a vessel of your choosing, then top with a dollop of the Diplomat Cream, enough to cover the brew. The King Cake Latte isn’t a latte, exclusively; it’s more like a King Cake Coffee, and the coffee portion itself can be a latte, or cold brew with stuff added, or brewed coffee with stuff added, and the Diplomat Cream will blend with the liquid as you’re drinking with, further latte-fying the proceedings. The name—King Cake Latte—is more about evoking a feeling than any sort of specific drink requirement. Whatever you’re into is ultimately what’s correct, in this recipe as with all things in life.
Now it’s time for sprinkles. The traditional Mardi Gras colors each have their own unique meaning: purple for justice, green for faith, gold for power. It’s common to represent all three evenly, but if you’re in need of a little more faith or justice this year, the Lord won’t mind.
Sprinkle your sprinkles atop the Diplomat Cream, and sip your way through it to the sweet cinnamony beverage below. What a wonderful treat.