Happy National Coffee Day and my Cupping Experience at Cameron’s Coffee

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron’s Coffee. All opinions are my own.
happy-national-coffee-dayhappy-national-coffee-day

National Coffee Day is one of my favorite days of all! This year I am especially excited to be celebrating it in partnership with Cameron’s Coffee. Cameron’s Coffee is a Wisconsin founded and now Twin Cities based company that focuses on delivering the best coffee to those of us who enjoy making coffee at home and getting it tasting just right.

When I was in Minneapolis earlier this month, I got a chance to visit Cameron’s Coffee offices and be a part of the cupping experience they arrange for all of their new employees to learn more about coffee. I can only compare this experience to wine tasting, but better. The real purpose of cupping is to taste the different coffees and make sure they are up to our standards, as well as look for any imperfections or irregularities in the batch.

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Below is a detailed description of my experience, and while it can get pretty technical, I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves coffee. I also learned that I have absolutely no talent when it comes to defining coffee flavors.

The best part of the experience was meeting Patrick, Cameron’s Roastmaster, who walked me through the cupping experience. We cupped 4 flavors total:

  • Mexico – light
  • Brazil – sugary
  • Colombian – solid, balanced, sweet
  • Sumatra – earthy, big bodied

And while I am letting you know what each blend is supposed to taste like, I went into this completely unknowing what was going to happen.

Cupping happens around a table which resembles a huge lazy susan, that way you can spin the table and don’t have to walk around. There were 12 ceramic cups (you can also use tempered glass), 3 for each coffee flavor. All cups must be identical in measurements and come from the same manufacturer. You will also need a cupping spoon, which is a special kind of spoon with a large bowl. It works best if the spoon is silver or silver plated.

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To get a little bit more into details all beans are roasted within 24hours of the cupping, and can rest for 6-8 hours. Samples are ground immediately before cupping and grinds are coarser than what is normally used for paper drip. And finally, a few important numbers you should know: the coffee to water ratio for a cupping is 8.25 gm to 150 ml.

The cupping process step by step:

  • First, you smell the ground sample
  • Then you add water to the coffee sample, the water should be freshly drawn and approximate 200 degrees F
  • Make sure to let the coffee steep for 4 min
  • Ensure the coffee is plenty cooled off before drinking, you don’t want to burn your tongue or mouth and ruin your palate for the day
  • Once the coffee is cooled off break the crust that forms on the surface by lightly pressing with the spoon (no more than 3 times), get your nose up to the cup so you can smell the aroma after the coffee is broken
  • Remove the rest of the stuff that doesn’t go to the bottom after breaking
  • Let cool for a few more minutes, usually 8 to 12.
  • Tasting the coffee, using a spoon with a large bowl. Fill the bowl of the spoon, slurp the coffee while aspirating the coffee to cover your entire palate.  Then either drink the coffee or spit it out. Rinse your spoon and repeat at next cup. This was my favorite part, because I got to slurp in an office environment J

Should you ever get an opportunity to participate in cupping, here are a few tips for you:

  • Before you cup, try your best not to eat anything or drink anything potent. You don’t want to already affect your senses before trying coffee.
  • It’s also best if you don’t wear any perfume!
  • Cameron’s Coffee CEO even suggested smelling your own skin in between smelling in each coffee so your “palate gets cleansed”

Make sure to follow Cameron’s Coffee on social media Instagram, FacebookTwitter and stay tuned for some upcoming holiday giveaways! Love my Cameron’s Coffee mug and Tee? These are going to be available on the website soon!happy-national-coffee-day

This post includes photos by Say Hello, Story

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Cameron’s Coffee Perfect Summer Cold Brew Recipe

Dsiclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron’s Coffee. All opinions are my own.
Cold Brew Recipe Camerons CoffeeCold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

Cold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

Cold Brew Recipe Camerons Coffee

I love coffee in all shapes and forms, but in the summertime cold brew is my favorite. I remember first learning about it through a Facebook post that one of my artsy friends did. He made it sound like an incredibly complicated process like at home beer brewing. So, for a couple of years I simply ordered my cold brew at local coffee shops and carried on. Thanks to my collaboration with Cameron’s Coffee I learned that I can make my very own delicious cold brew at home. There is a very handy blog post on their website with detailed instructions that are simple and easy to follow.

You can make cold brew using a French press, any glass container, or a mason jar. I chose to go with a mason jar just because I have a lot of those in my kitchen and they do look cool in the photos. There is also a cold brew system that you can purchase like this one.

For my coldbrew I used 8 oz of Roastmaster’s Blend, 8 oz of water and 1 tsp of spices. Now spices are optional, but I wanted to play around with some flavors. This specific spice mix includes ginger, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg. I combined all the above in a mason jar and left in my fridge overnight. It’s best to let your coffee to sit for at least 12 hours. Then I ran it through a coffee filter, added some ice and milk and stayed caffeinated for the rest of the day.

If you like your coffee strong, then you can go ahead and drink the cold brew as is, or mix it with water, 50/50 is usually a pretty good ration. Since I add ice and milk, I tend not to, but that’s again up to you.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it encourages you to try making your own cold brew at home! Please make sure to share with me if you do.

I highly recommend following Cameron’s Coffee on social media as well! They are always posting helpful tips and share their coffee knowledge.

Cameron’s coffe Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Check them out and give them a like or a follow 🙂

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3 DAY SOUP + JUICE JUS by JULIE CLEANSE: Day 1 Diary

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Today I started my second cleanse. Why do you ask? Wasn’t the first time enough? Well, let me tell you, this time it’s different. This time I am on a soup and juice cleanse. I am a huge soup fan, I grew up in Russia eating soup for lunch almost every day. I remember my grandma making a big pot of soup over the weekend and it would last us all week. That’s why when I got an opportunity to try this soup and juice cleanse I couldn’t say no.

Before I go into the details of my 1st day of cleansing (please make sure you follow my Insta story for updates throughout the day) I want to let you know that there is a cool and healthy 2017 Plan For a Happy & Healthy Body on JusByJulie.com. You can sign up for email updates, browse other people’s resolutions, and even get a checklist (you know you want to) to help you stay on the healthy track! I got mine already 🙂

This day started early, my husband works out of Chicago one day a week, and today was the day. He takes an early morning train out of Milwaukee, which means our alarm clock starts going off around 4.30 am. I drive Sam to the train around 5.30, and stop at my neighborhood Starbucks on the way home to get a venti coffee. Coffee is normally allowed on the cleanse, just black, no cream or sugar. I don’t have a problem with that, I just need to stay awake.

I leave for work at 7 am. Around 8.30 I drink my first juice – Sweet Spin (140 calories). Work was busy today, and I didn’t get to eat my first soup till noon. However I manage to finish my coffee and drink about 3 bottles of water. My rule of thumb after finishing a juice is refilling the bottle with water, and drinking that. Needless to say I peed on the hour every hour.

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I finally have my Split Pea Soup, and it turns out to be way more filling than expected, while containing only 140 calories.

I save my Pomegranate Juice for 3 pm, it is hands down my favorite juice of all. The spicy kick and whopping 90 calories make it a perfect afternoon pick me upper.

After that the rest of my day is full of more meetings and emails. I don’t leave the office till 6.30 pm, heading to the train station to pick up Sam.

We get home around 7.15 pm, and while my husband enjoys a couple slices of homemade pizza, I heat up my Carrot Ginger Soup (120 calories).

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And here I am not writing this post, working through yet another bottle of water. I am feeling great. I wish I would’ve made it to Zumba, but oh well. My fitbit reads 8100 steps, and I am going to try my hardest to make it to 10k before I go to sleep!

I saved Butternut Squash Soup and Chia Berry Juice in my freezer for a rainy day.

So, how was your day?

TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods #SweetMeetsSpicy

Disclosure: “This post was sponsored by Starbucks as part of an Influencer Activation. I received compensation and complimentary products to facilitate my review.”

TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy

TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy

Being done with one of the most difficult semesters of my college life feels incredible. I am definitely enjoying this time I get to spend at home, reflecting and preparing myself for the next stage of my life. The ability to spend a lot of time at home is also something I am going to cherish, since Sam and I are getting ready to sell our house. We’ve learned a lot being home owners, living here, and now leaving here.

Another perk of being on a short spring/summer vacation is reading. I went to the library and checked out some books that I could read for fun, that weren’t textbooks, that weren’t mandatory, these are the books I can truly enjoy.

And finally, I’ve been able to enjoy cooking, baking, and making all sorts of treats for myself and my loved ones. My latest obsession is the new TAZO® Chai Latte. There’s something about that rich and creamy taste with every sip providing a spicy and sweet escape. And the best part about the new TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods is that you can explore a world of flavor from the comfort of your home. Growing up in Russia, tea has always been a big part of my life, especially black Indian tea, which probably partially explains my obsession with this product.

TAZO® Chai Latte combines the flavors of sweet cinnamon, fragrant cardamom, and spicy ginger. There is a perfect amount of sweetness and spice, with spice coming in at the end for a much needed kick. Needless to say this drink contains a perfect amount of caffeine, which makes this drink my new morning favorite.

NEW TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods are made from milk, tea leaves and spices. Brewing the drink is a two step process, you start by adding a powdered mix, which is basically a sweetened dairy blend, to the cup before you brew. Then brew the K-Cup® pod as usual, stir and enjoy!

TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy

TAZO Chai Latte K-Cup Pods #sweetmeetsspicy

And finally, I wanted to make sure to share that TAZO® has partnered with New York Times Bestselling author and host Padma Lakshmi to celebrate the release of the new K-Cup® pods. Tea and chai have always been a part of Padma Lakshmi’s life and family heritage and she is excited to celebrate the flavors of chai with TAZO®. In addition, she has also developed recipes that pair perfectly with a cup of chai and you can find them by visiting TAZO.com/chai/pairings. To learn more about this collaboration visit TAZO.com/chai!

Follow TAZO® on social media:
TAZO® Facebook
TAZO® Twitter
TAZO® Pinterest
TAZO® Instagram

Find where to buy TAZO® Chai Latte K-Cup® pods here.

Beauty Brunch: Nails and Lips and Detox Drinks

beauty-brunch

Welcome to beauty brunch! Today’s post is all about nails and lips. Remember the teaser I posted last week featuring Sinful Colors Nail Polish? Today we are going to talk about those, as well as some of the other products that I have been using to keep the polish on my nails for more than a day.

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Left to right: Solar Flux, Matte About Blue, Red Tired, Rubber Ball, Rain Rubber, Pipaya

These nail polishes have a very interesting grainy texture and remind me of a color my friend Luchessa sent me from Germany, but that one was specifically advertised as Sand Finish, while these say absolutely nothing on the bottle.

Of course the colors are brilliant and vibrant. I love the look and feel on my nails. As you may have guessed I wore blue and red ones for July 4th, and the color is still lasting. I am glad it didn’t chip on the first day. I have been making sure to use a top coat every time though. My new favorite is Sally Hansen base and top coat, as well as the Big Matte Top coat.

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Another summer beauty must-have I want to talk about today is lipsticks, glosses and tinted balms. I have been using a lot of different products lately, and wanted to share my thoughts, looks and opinions on.

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These two babies by NYX (Strawberry Milk and Narcissus) have been my go-to this season. I love the pale lip look, it compliments the tan.

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A couple other lip favorites have been Maybelline Baby Lips in Oh Orange ($3.99 on Maybelline.com)

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And Sigma Lip Gless in Get Ready ($10 on SigmaBeauty.com)

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And finally I want to share a couple detox drink recipes with you. If you are like me, plain water doesn’t taste good, so  that will help you stay hydrated and feel good.

rhubarb-compote-recipe

Bring 72 oz of water and 4 tablespoons of stevia to a boil, add 4-5 stalks of rhubarb cut up into 1 inch slices, and let boil for 5 minutes. Let cool, add ice and enjoy!

detox-water-recipe

 

1 thick slice of lemon, 5-6 freshly picked mint leaves, 5-6 freshly picked lemon balm leaves. Pour boiling water over everything, steep. Drink cold.

I hope you all had a great weekend! Thanks for reading!

My Kombucha is Square

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As some of you, Instagrammers, have noticed, I started brewing my own kombucha! Wait what? We all thought I hated that stuff!

Back in the day, when I still lived in Russia, I had some American friends over, who had never seen kombucha before! So when they saw it their eyes grew bigger, and bigger, and I think it’s worth mentioning that I didn’t know the English for Kombucha (it was over 10 years ago! give me a break 😉 ) and in Russia we call it Tea Mushroom (чайный гриб). I also have memories of it being nick named the Happiness Mushroom! I guess it’s supposed to bring happiness and good luck to your household! Hey, okay with me 😉

A few years ago when I still nannied for a family in New York City, we were doing kombucha as well, but I hated it. I guess the childhood memories made a deep deep impact! I do remember killing one scoby, but the second one lived 🙂 And I even remember sharing it with someone on freecycle!

What is scoby? SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Other good examples are Ginger beer plant, kefir, mother of vinegar, sourdough – you can read more about it on Wikipedia!

I don’t know what made me try Kombucha a few weeks ago when I was out and about with a friend, I don’t know what made me like it, what made me ask for it on freecycle, what made me drive to Apple Valley after work to get a scoby, but I did all that, and now I have a square kombucha living in my kitchen, if you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that it’s something that should be in a science classroom!

Now everyone brews their kombucha differently, but here is what I do, and I learned that from Jade – the person who shared her scoby with me:

Bring three quarts of filtered water to a boil, and then add a cup of organic sugar and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Then take the pot off the burner and steep four bags of organic tea (2 black & 2 green) for 10 minutes. Then pour the mixture into a gallon size jar and let it cool to 98 degrees (body temp).  Once it reaches that temp add the starter (the liquid that the scoby is in), give a little stir, then add the scoby. Cover it with a white flour sacking cloth, and let it sit for 7-14 days. Metal should never touch the kombucha, so no metal utensils or anything!

I mix green and black tea when I brew my kombucha, it’s no specific brand, just something I pick up at the grocery store, or Marshall’s/TJMaxx – they have great tea variety (sometimes!), I also use regular white sugar, and then it all lives in a square glass jar I bought at Target for $5.99, that’s why it’s actually square! 

Of course we’ve all heard stories about some woman in Iowa, who supposingly died from it, but yet again some people say it helps cure cancer. I know one thing – everyone’s result is going to be different, so give it a shot, and see for yourselves!

Now let’s talk about what I like to put in my kombucha! Let me make it clear though, all the additives go in the glass, not the scoby jar!

Lemon juice has so far been my top choice!

I did try adding spinach/cucumber juice to it, and it tasted okay, but I wasn’t a fan! 

I do like to add cranberry to it though! That is super yummy!

Let me know if you like kombucha, tried it, hate it, whatever your opinion is – please DO tell! 

Happy Monday everyone! 

Xo,

Z

PS. If you are in the Twin Cities area and would like a scoby, let me know!

 

DIY Basil Limeade

My in-laws are wonderful people, they introduce me to amazing new stuff, a lot of times it’s something I would’ve never thought to try on my own, this time it was Basil Limeade, that came in a fancy bottle like this:

 

And apparently cost top dollar.

So I decided to make my own, plus my mother-in-law grows her own basil, so all I had to get were limes 🙂

Thanks to my fab new iPad and Epicurious app, I found a recipe for Basil Limeade in no time.

Here is how it goes:

 

But oh wait, we gotta make the syrup first 😉

 

So I got all the ingredients ready:

 

Then simply followed the steps mentioned above (the only difference though – I used zest of 2 limes, 2 cups of basil and lemon juice, instead of lime!):

 

I put the syrup into the fridge, so now I can have a glass of that basil goodness any time I want. Plus I am determined to get some seltzer tomorrow (or any type of unflavored carbonated water), I just love my lemonade bubbly! It also inspired me to make my own pesto!

I personally think this was a success, and probably a lot cheaper than buying a bottle of limeade in the first place.

Would you try something like this?

xo,

Z

Mimosas for International Women’s Day

Tomorrow is another day off in Russia. International Women’s Day, the history of which goes back to early 1900.

Back in USSR the traditional gift for women was an acacia flower, also known as a mimosa.

It’s also mentioned in Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. When Master first meets Margarita she is holding mimosas, an ugly, disturbing flower, as they were described by the main character.

But I want to talk about a different kind of mimosas – the ones you can drink! It’s a holiday after all!

3/4 cup champagne and 1/4 cup your favorite OJ and viola! Don’t forget to decorate! I am having these at my house tomorrow night!