COCOA CAFÉ BLOG & REVIEW

VALENTINE GIFT IDEAS FOR COFFEE LOVERS

VALENTINE GIFT IDEAS FOR COFFEE LOVERS

Looking for a great gift idea for your coffee or tea loving valentine to go along with that Valentine card? Well, you're in luck, because we happen to have some great gift ideas that we're sure your love will thank you for.

 

Love Mug - $7.99 (price at the time of this post)

This one is kind of a no brainer. People who drink coffee or tea, love mugs! In fact, they are somewhat of mug connoisseurs. Instead of shamelessly plugging our amazing mugs, we are sharing this cute little mug from World Market. It's sweet and to the point. It's so cute, it's like you have to buy it! Definitely a must have for the collection.

Krispy's Café Latté - $10.50 (price at the time of this post)

Even non coffee lovers can appreciate this one. Krispys Café Latté by See's Candies is an all time favorite! Krispys are a delicious coffee flavored, wafer styled candy. They're crunchy and covered in milk chocolate. If you get this one, you may just want to buy a couple of boxes, because we don't think your valentine will want to share.

 

Live Love Laugh Coffee Tote - $12.95- $21 (price at the time of this post)

Lucky for you, our Live Love Laugh Coffee tees and totes just arrived! Your little coffee fiend can proudly wear their love for coffee in style.

  

 

Bath & Body Candle - $24.50 (price at the time of this post)

Sometimes just the smell of coffee is enough to make a coffee lovers day. Bath & Body Works carries the White Caramel Cold Brew candle.  This is the next best thing to having an actual cup of joe. It smells so much like the real thing, you'll swear you're sitting in a coffee shop in Vienna somewhere.

 

Coffee Beanery Gift basket$24.95 (price at the time of this post)

This Breakfast in Bed coffee basket from the Coffee Beanery is like getting the best of both worlds.  Your valentine not only gets some delicious coffee, they might just get some breakfast in bed. On this side of town, we call that, winning! The Breakfast in Bed basket is a small sized basket, but if you look at the Coffee Beanery's collection of baskets, there are plenty to choose from.

 

DeLonghi Espresso machine$121.99 (price at the time of this post)

If you want all the points, go for the DeLonghi Espresso machine. You can find it cheaper at Best Buy, than anywhere else. Your valentine will forever be in your good graces for this one. Now they can experience café quality coffee right at home! It's important to note; If they've never owned an espresso machine, make sure they read the directions on this baby before operating. That way, they get that perfect cup of goodness each and every time.

 

 

 

 

ALL ABOUT KOMBUCHA FROM OUR FRIENDS AT HEALTH ADE

ALL ABOUT KOMBUCHA FROM OUR FRIENDS AT HEALTH ADE

Us ladies, here at Cocoa Made, have been drinking kombucha for years now!  A couple of years ago, we stumbled upon the Health Ade brand and fell in love at first sip. Their wonderfully paired flavors made us swoon over our beloved kombucha all over again! We quickly learned that all kombucha is NOT created equally. Our tastebuds could tell right away that this was much more superior than what we had in the past. Just like that, it became the only brand of the bubbly beverage we drink in our household.

When we asked our Instagram family (the cocoa beans) about kombuca, we were shocked to learn that most of our followers didn't know what kombucha was, and they had questions about it. We thought, who better to answer their questions than the folks at Health Ade? We reached out to them and here's what they had to say:

 

Question #1: What is kombucha?

 

Question #2: Is it safe for pregnant moms?

 

Question #3: Doesn't it contain alcohol?

 

Question #4: Does it help with weight loss?

 

So there you have it! You heard it directly from the horse's mouth. If you have any other questions, we're sure the folks at Health Ade would be happy to assist, or you can always stop by their site, where they have tons of info about kombucha and about the brand itself.


 

3 REASONS YOUR SKIN WANTS YOU TO DRINK MORE GREEN TEA

3 REASONS YOUR SKIN WANTS YOU TO DRINK MORE GREEN TEA

Did you know the secret to glowing skin may be in your cup of tea? Green tea, to be exact! Its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation, stave off aging and help you to get the glowing skin you've always wanted. 

We have seen lots of cosmetic products containing green tea, like moisturizers, skin brightening creams, toners and more – that just goes to show the benefits of incorporating this superfood into your routine.

If green tea isn't already part of your regimen, here are three reasons why it should be:

1. It helps to reduce oil

If you struggle with acne or an oily t-zone, then girl, you may want to get in on this!
The tannins in green tea, which also give it its bitter taste, act as an astringent. This can help to reduce the visibility of pores and slow the production of sebum, thus giving your skin a healthy looking glow. We all love that!


2. It reduce inflammation

Catechins, pronounced kat-i-chins, are compounds that give green tea its antibacterial properties and ability to calm inflamed skin. Just one cup of it contains up to 200 mg of catechins, making it a powerful hitter to add to your skincare arsenal.

3. Gently exfoliates

Dried green tea leaves have a slightly abrasive texture. This means that you can use them as a homemade facial scrub to eliminate the dead, rough skin cells on your face, as well as any excess oil and pollutants.

Below is a homemade exfoliating recipe you may want to try:

What you'll need

  • 1 TB dried green tea leaves 2-4 tea bags depending on size of tea bag
  • 1 cup organic white sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB honey

Instructions

  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients. Store the exfoliator in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

 

So, as you can see, there are several reasons to start drinking a cup or two of green tea and making it part of your regular daily routine. It can be a little bitter, but you can always add a little lemon and honey.

Cheers!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dalene Ekirapa is a fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger behind the blog Dalene Ekirapa - The
Quintessence of Life and Style. She is also a beauty and skincare consultant who loves all things that guarantee healthy skin. If she is not reading, find her writing; and if she is not singing, find her playing the guitar.

Edited by Cocoa Made

 

 

LIFESTYLE: COFFEE TERMINOLOGY 101

LIFESTYLE: COFFEE TERMINOLOGY 101

To order your coffee like a pro, you have to know the lingo! To make sure that you impress the pants off your next barista, we found this list of coffee terms (written by Oliver Stand for the New York Times) that would impress even the shrewdest of coffee connoisseurs.

AFFOGATO

Ice cream (traditionally vanilla) “drowned” with a shot of espresso.

AMERICANO

A shot of espresso diluted with hot water.

BARISTA

A person who prepares coffee at a coffee bar.

CAPPUCCINO

An espresso shot combined with foamed steamed milk. Five to seven ounces total.

CHEMEX

The classic hourglass-shaped filter coffee brewer. Chemex filters are denser than other paper filters, and many believe that this creates a sweeter, well-balanced cup of coffee.

CLEVER COFFEE DRIPPER

Recently introduced, a filter cone with a stopper that lets coffee steep before dripping, extracting more flavor.

CLOVER

High-tech single-cup brewing machine. Company was bought by Starbucks in 2007.

COLD DRIP COFFEE

Coffee grounds are steeped in cold water for about 12 hours, then strained to make a concentrate that’s used for iced coffee and cut with milk or water. It’s associated with New Orleans.

CORTADO

Espresso topped with flat steamed milk, 4 to 4 1/2 ounces total.

CREMA

Thick, caramel-colored emulsified oils that sit on top of an espresso.

CUP OF EXCELLENCE

A competition to determine the best coffee bean grown in a particular nation. The top Cup of Excellence (C.O.E.) lots fetch significantly higher prices at auction.

CUPPING

Tasting method used by coffee professionals. Coarsely ground coffee is steeped with hot water in shallow bowls, then slurped from flat spoons.

DARK ROAST

Coffee beans roasted until they exude oils. The style has fallen out of favor among many artisanal roasters who think it overwhelms certain flavors.

DIRECT TRADE

When coffee roasters buy directly from farms rather than from brokers. Proponents say it increases coffee quality and gives farmers more power.

DRIP COFFEE

Coffee made with a filter, a press pot, a percolator or a countertop coffee maker. Flavor is extracted by contact with water not under pressure.

ESPRESSO

Concentrated coffee made when hot water is forced at pressure through fine coffee grounds. Usually slightly less than 2 ounces total. Baristas prefer 8 to 10 bars of pressure and 15 to 25 grams of coffee.

EXTRACTION

Drawing flavor from coffee grounds. Coffee can be underextracted and taste sour or overextracted and taste bitter.

FAIR TRADE

A private program that certifies that farmers or coffee growers are paid a minimum price for coffee.

FILTER COFFEE

Drip coffee made with a ceramic, glass or plastic cone lined with a paper filter. Favored by professionals because it gives them control over water temperature — ideally 200 to 210 degrees. This coffee is sediment free, though some believe the filters add unwanted flavor.

FLAT WHITE

Espresso with flat, steamed milk, about 5 to 7 ounces.

FRENCH PRESS

Coffee made by steeping grounds with hot water in a vessel with a plunger and metal filter that pushes the grounds to the bottom. Often used in coffee bars for limited-edition coffees. Also called a press pot.

GREEN BEANS

Unroasted coffee beans.

LATTE

Espresso with steamed milk, 8 ounces or more total.

LATTE ART

The pattern formed by rhythmically pouring steamed milk into an espresso drink. Decorative and demonstrative; only properly steamed milk will hold a form.

MACCHIATO

Espresso topped with a dab of foamed steamed milk, about 2 to 3 ounces total.

MICRO-LOT

Coffee from a single farm, or a specific part of that farm.

MOCHA

Espresso mixed with chocolate syrup and steamed milk.

NEL DRIP

Short for “flannel drip,” it’s a form of drip coffee that uses flannel filters imported from Japan. The filters are temperamental, and must be washed by hand and kept chilled when not in use.

PORTAFILTER

The filter basket and handle on an espresso machine.

POUR-OVER COFFEE

A method of drip coffee developed in Japan in which the water is poured in a thin, steady, slow stream over a filter cone. One cup of coffee takes as long as three minutes to brew. Some coffee bars have pour-over setups with several cones and distinctive swan-neck kettles from Japan.

PUCK

Spent coffee from a portafilter or Clover.

PULL

Espresso shots are “pulled.” The term is a holdover from when machines were lever operated.

REDEYE

A cup of brewed coffee with espresso.

RISTRETTO

Espresso pulled short — with less water — for a smaller, more concentrated drink.

ROAST

Unpalatable green beans are heated to create complex flavors that are extracted during brewing.

ROAST DATE

Most small-batch roasters print the roast date on bags of coffee. The rule of thumb is that coffee should be used within two weeks, and some coffee bars won’t sell beans more than a week after they have been roasted.

SEASONAL COFFEE

Coffee beans ripen at different times of the year in different regions, and can appear in markets and coffee bars for limited times.

SINGLE ORIGIN

Coffee from a particular region, farm or area within a farm.

SIPHON

A coffeemaking device, using vacuum pressure and a series of vessels, that originated in the 19th century. It recently gained popularity in Japan and is being used more in the United States. Despite its complications, it is known for producing fruity, bright coffee.

SLOW DRIPPER

Unusual devices imported from Japan with a glass sphere and a series of tubes and valves that make coffee with cold water in about 12 hours.

TRIFECTA

A high-tech single-cup coffee brewer introduced this year.

 

 

 

DIY:  MOISTURIZE AND BRIGHTEN YOUR SKIN WITH THIS DIY TURMERIC FACE MASK

DIY: MOISTURIZE AND BRIGHTEN YOUR SKIN WITH THIS DIY TURMERIC FACE MASK

The winter weather can be harsh on the skin, especially if you already suffer from dry skin, the struggle is a little too real! During the winter is a good time to pamper your skin a little more than usual.  A moisturizing mask is a great way to combat dryness and prevent old man winter from reeking havoc on your lovely epidermis.

Masks are great, but can be expensive, so I skip those overpriced treatments and head straight for my kitchen cabinets for ingredients to whip up my own. The one I'm going to share with you guys, uses all organic ingredients, with great benefits for the skin. Remember to do a patch test first, before putting this or any products, for that matter, on your face. You never know what might irritate your skin!

INGREDIENTS:

- 1 tsp honey 

Honey is a great humectant. It helps your skin to retain moisture.

- 1 tsp turmeric

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can soothe the skin. It also helps to brighten it.

- 1 tbsp aloe vera

Aloe vera is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect your skin from free radicals.

- 1 tsp brown rice flour

Brown rice flour can help stall aging and is known to help treat acne.

HOW TO PREPARE:

Dump all the ingredients into a bowl and stir it up. Put it on your clean and damp face with your hands or a mask brush, avoiding the eye area. Allow it to sit on the skin until it completely dries. Rinse with warm water and pat your face dry. That's it!

The turmeric can stain clothing and counters, so be careful with it. I suggest you apply this mask in an old t-shirt you don't care about and use a towel that you don't mind staining when you dry your face. Other than that, it's all good!

If you try this one, stop back by and let me know in the comments how it went.  Also, if you care to share your homemade mask ingredients, I'm all eyes! Hit me in the comments!

Written by Vee Gilbert

 

 

 

LIFESTYLE: HOW TO SAVE MONEY AND SPLURGE AT THE SAME TIME

LIFESTYLE: HOW TO SAVE MONEY AND SPLURGE AT THE SAME TIME

Like most people, I enjoy high-end items, but I can’t say that my bank account shares the same enthusiasm. In fact, I know it doesn't, because each time I look at my account after a splurge, I envision my money shaking its head in disappointment of my poor life choices.

The guilt of overspending lead me to this cute little system of saving money, that I like to call "MJ Money".  Actually, it's just mason jar money, but MJ Money has a little more swag to it and sounds a lot cooler, don't you think?

Anywho, what I do is label my jars with things that I like to splurge on. Because I’m a visual person, this makes this type of saving much more easier and achievable. I don't know about you, but if something isn’t in front of my face it may as well not even exist.

Basically, I start my jars with a $5 contribution at the beginning of the month. I then contribute leftover coins from my daily purchases of all the necessities.  Also, if I decide to skip my cup of coffee (which is rare honey), I’ll put that money into one of the jars too. This really helps to keep me on budget by forcing me to choose my purchases wisely.  I sometimes even find myself cutting corners in other spending areas in order to be able to contribute to my various jars. Would ya look at that?!

By the end of the month (sometimes 2 months), I usually have enough to buy a couple of things that I’ve been salivating over and my budget remains in tact!  It’s a fun and helpful way to prevent impulse buying and over spending, while still allowing yourself to splurge  on an item or 2!

What do you think?  Will you be giving this try? Maybe you have your own method of saving. I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Written by Alaysia Ross

 

 

COFFEE REVIEW - EQUATOR COFFEE & TEAS

COFFEE REVIEW - EQUATOR COFFEE & TEAS

Recently, the folks over at Equator Coffee & Teas sent us a bag of their Equator Blend coffee to taste test, and we're so glad they did!

A little about Equator; they're local, they receive their coffee from sustainable farmers, and they support projects around the world to help improve the lives of others. All of that goodness and we haven't even told you about the coffee yet!

We opted for the French press ground, because it retains the coffee oils better and produces a richer flavor. The Equator Blend that we tried had a slightly nutty flavor, with the notes of apricot and nutmeg rounding out the bottom. If you're looking for something that will grow some hair on your chest, this isn't it! This is a smooth, mellow, every day coffee that we think you'll enjoy as much as we did.

[Oakland, CA cafe; located inside a really cool recycled shipping container]

So, if you're in the mood for some coffee or tea, stop by one of their 8 locations (we happen to love the Oakland, CA location), or simply visit them online and perhaps find your new favorite coffee, and or tea!

 

 

 

How To Sneak In A Workout At Your Desk

How To Sneak In A Workout At Your Desk

With our hectic schedules, it's sometimes difficult to squeeze in time for working out. When you're in a pinch for time, you just have to be creative!  Dolvett Quince has some awesome tips on how to sneak in a mini workout while at your desk.

 

3 Herbals Teas To Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety

3 Herbals Teas To Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Herbal teas can be a wonderful alternative to prescription medication to help your body manage stress and anxiety. 

According to Dr. Anju Sood, a Bangalore-based Nutritionist, “Herbal teas are very relaxing for the mind as they contain essential oils that are known to cool down the nerve. 

Below are three of our favorite teas by Yogi, which is our favorite herbal tea brand. If you have time, you can purchase the actual herbs and steep them, but if you're short on time like we are, these options from Yogi will be much more convenient.

1. Kava Stress Relief

According to WebMD "Kava's calming effect may relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension or spasm. Kava may also relieve pain."

Yogi's version of this tea is rich, spicy and slightly sweet. We like the flavor so much that we don't even need a sweetner with it . This is a great tea for morning or night.

2.  Honey Lavender Stress Relief

Lavender is known for it's abilities to reduce nervous exhaustion, headaches caused by stress, and anxiety. It also perfect for reducing indigestion problems.

This aroma alone of Honey Lavender is soothing. The lavender isn't overpowering, It's balanced nicely with the addition of chamomile, lemongrass and other herbs. Like Kava, it's slightly sweet, so you might want to forgo the honey so you can enjoy its full flavor.

3.  Comforting Chamomile

Chamomile has a very soothing effects with mildly sedative properties that help you switch off on a hectic day.

This tea has an herbaceous and earthy flavor that is very mild and smooth. We like to add a little honey with this one, but it's tastes nice without it also.

What are some of your favorite teas that help you relax? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

How To Meditate In 3 Easy Steps

How To Meditate In 3 Easy Steps

We always hear about the benefits of meditation, but did you know that mindfulness meditation not only can help to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and depression, it can actually increase grey matter density in the brain.  What does that mean? It means that meditation can physically change your brain with positive results.

So what is mindfulness meditation? It's a practice used to focus your attention on the present moment, learning to accept your current situation with curiosity, but without judgment. It sounds a lot more difficult than it really is. It's actually fairly simple and once you get the hang of it, it becomes a little more automatic along with the peace that comes with it.

Of course there are lots of different ways in which you can meditate and it's best to experiment with different practices until you find what suits you. The following is a mediation practice that the whole family can be involved with. It is pretty straight forward and can be added to any part of your day.  

Step 1: Choose your space

Find a quiet and comfortable place in your home that you will use for meditation sessions. Make sure the area is free of clutter. 

Step 2: Set the mood

Decide whether you want to sit or lie down. Although sitting is ideal, this may not be possible for some people to do comfortably. If you're sitting, you can sit on a mat on the floor or use a chair. If you're lying down, try to keep your spine straight by laying on your back, if possible.

This part is optional, but we enjoy practicing a little ritual that cues the brain to get into the meditative mode. We light incense and turn on some calming flute music. If you have music streaming services like Itunes, Spotify or Amazon, with a quick search, you can find lots of meditation music.

Step 3. Start Meditating

Start by closing your eyes and begin diaphragmatic breathing, also called belly breathing. We recommend doing about 10 breaths to start. Breathe in through your nose for a slow 4 count and then out for a slow 4 count.  This will induce full body relaxation. If you're having a little trouble getting starting, Deepak Chopra has some helpful guided mediation audio to help you on your way. He's on Itunes and Spotify.

Don't try to clear your mind because that's impossible. Simply focus on your breathing. If you get distracted by thoughts, gently guide your focus back to your breath. That's pretty much it!

If you're new to meditation, start out with 5 minutes at a time until you can build up to the desired amount of time. Remember to be patient with yourself and just enjoy the process and benefit of the practice.