Drink Something New: Harney & Son’s Green Tea with Coconut, Ginger and Vanilla

Today was the first day back to work since Hurricane Irene and we still don’t have power at home. Being that I have a few side projects (including this blog) that I usually work on at night, I had to go somewhere after work to get some things done. Where else but Starbucks where the caffeine and power are a plenty.

After setting up shop in at the Starbucks in my hometown Barnes and Noble, I headed over to the counter to ask for a platic spoon so I could eat my YoCrunch Greek (post coming soon!). As I sat down and started to “borrow” their electricity and their plastic spoon, I started to feel guilty. I also started to feel thirsty, so I decided to buy a hot tea. At the counter they had some point-of-sale items nicely displayed and, as a marketers dream (really ironic, I know) I fed right in to it.. kind of.

Sitting there was a bright green, beautiful tin of Harney & Son’s tea sachets. This is my favorite brand of tea – so much so that I’ve ordered some offline. If you know me, you know this is mildly out-of-character and shows just how much I love their tea. The Earl Grey Supreme with Lemongrass and Bergamot is my absolute favorite. But I digress.. Tonight they had Green Tea with Coconut, Ginger and Vanilla (and, come to find out, lemongrass). I just could not resist.

I thought it was a long shot, asking if they sold this in single cups, hoping I didn’t have to buy the whole tin that boasted a $10.95 price tag to satisfy my intrigue. I was in luck! I ordered a venti and brought it back to my work station to cool off.

I’m not a huge fan of green tea. Tea in Chinese or Japanese restaurants, quite frankly, I think is gross. I get it. I appreciate it. But I don’t like it. With the other flavors mixed in – all of which rank amongst my favorites – I figured I would like it.. and I was [mostly] wrong.

I take my tea plain. I hesitate to say black because unlike coffee, even black tea isn’t all that dark. I love my Earl Grey Supreme or Tazo Awake with nothing but, on occasion, a little light agave nectar. Sometimes I’ll add a splenda if I’m in the mood or if the tea stinks, but usually plain is just how I like it.

This tea is okay, but it tasted a little “earthy” and needed that extra bit of sweetness. I add a few drops of honey, which did the trick, and it wasn’t too bad. But then by sip three I started to think It tasted like spinach.

My tea tastes like spinach. Never a good thing.

I would recommend trying it if it sounds like something you would like and if you like green tea. But, unlike many other things I suggest, I don’t suggest you try it if it doesn’t sound like something you’d like. I will not be ordering this one offline.

Side note: These sachets come out to less than 40 cents each, which is less than K-cups. I was surprised and thought I would share! If you’re a tea lover and don’t mind spending 40 cents per cup, or currently buy the tea in K-cup form, I would head over to http://www.harney.com! The elegant tin is decieving, it’s really not that expensive.

Harney & Son’s Earl Grey Supreme, however, I would strongly recommend! Many restaurants bring a wooden box filled with Harney & Son’s Tea, so next time you’re out to eat and  in the mood for a little post-dinner tea, ask if they have Harney & Son’s and try the Early Grey Supreme.

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Pump it up! Starbucks’ Mocha Coconut Frappuccino!

Sounds like a strange title, I know.. but stick with me – it will be well worth it, I promise.

A few weeks ago I was walking through Penn station, waiting to catch the next train on the LIRR and had some time to kill. As I looked around at all of the choices for where to spend my time (and money) I spotted a sign outside of the Starbuck‘s that read “Frappuccino Happy Hour. Half priced Frappuccinos!” Right below this exclamation was a picture and the title of a new drink: The Mocha Coconut Frappuccino. Chocolate, coffee, coconut and iced beverages are on my list of  favorite things so I was extremely excited about this happy hour. I got in line and ordered my drink but it wasn’t until later that I remembered a tip I read on one of my favorite blogs – The New Healthy – about the number of pumps- but I’ll get to that in a second. (see where the title is coming from now?)

As you know, I still treat myself to things, but if I can eliminate some of what I think is excess fat and calories, I absolutely will.  To the right here is a screen shot of the nutritional information for my drink based on the calculator on the Starbucks website .Not too too  bad for such a decadent treat- but you should notice that I did not get the whipped cream, and I asked for nonfat milk. I could have cut even more calories had I remember the 1 pump rule! Stefanie over at The New Healthy is an iced coffee fan much like myself and has often written about asking for a certain number of pumps. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then I will tell you that the flavors often come from syrups, which are dispensed from bottles with pumps on them. More syrup = more calories, unless you often for sugar free. If you’re not asking about their sugar-free options and are going for a drink like this Mocha Coconut Frappuccino, then I would suggest asking for only 1 or 2 pumps of syrup. If more than one flavor is used, which is the case here, then asking for just one of each will limit the amount of syrup and thus calories and fat.

Now, if you’re concerned about the flavor that will result – fear not! I would argue that the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino, although tasty, was way too sweet. I don’t like to feel as though the sugar is actually taking up residence on my teeth. It would have been more enjoyable had I asked for fewer pumps of flavor. With that said – this is a must-try drink! I love the flavor combination, especially in an iced drink, and  the toasted coconut sprinkled on top was a very nice touch!

Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?

What’s your favorite drink?

Your favorite seasonal drink?

Do you go sugar-free or the one-pump route?

Panera for Breakfast

It is April and time for my next Panera post. If you’re not sure what I mean, get caught up here. At any rate, it is early in the morning, I have a huge exam in about 2 hours, and I wanted a fresh look at the material over a hearty breakfast before giving it a go. The plan was to head to Starbuck‘s, which I did, but once I looked over their food selection I realized it just wasn’t worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Starbuck’s coffee. I cheat on my Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards with Starbuck’s all the time. Their food selection, however, is lacking. The banana nut bread is delicious, but the calorie count for how filling it will make me feel isn’t worth it on a day like today. So, living in a college town, I conveniently walked across the street to Panera.

I don’t know about where you live, but in Delaware it isn’t a law (yet) to have the calories listed on the menu. Many national chains, though, are adopting the practice in all of their establishments, Panera being one of them. I looked up at the breakfast sandwich selection and wound up choosing the 360 calorie egg and cheese sandwich.

Most people I know aren’t fans of the idea of being conscious of the number of calories they’re consuming while dining out. I, however, am a huge fan. I don’t so much count my calories as I make sure my calories count. If I’m going to indulge, it needs to be in something that is going to satisfy me and make me feel full. Like this egg sandwich. I also am constantly surprised when I research menu items for nutritional facts when I find out which selections are lowest in fat and calories. One example being California Tortilla here on Main Street – the  lowest fat and lowest calorie menu item (entree, not counting a small sides) is their Havana Chicken Burrito Bowl. Their salads are the worst on the menu. Who would have thought.

Anywho – I chose the breakfast sandwich and asked for whole grain bread. There was an issue with the cashier’s computer, so I told him no to worry about it and just went with the ciabatta. I was skeptical since I know that what characterizes ciabatta bread is a crusty (and often oily) outside and soft, doughy inside. Although I know this is what defines ciabatta bread, I also know that most placed refrigerate and re-heat unused bread at the end of the day, making ciabatta bread rather unpleasant.

I am so so glad I was absolutely and completely worrying for nothing. This, quite honestly, may be one of the best egg sandwiches I have ever had. According to the Panera website, the eggs are all natural, cracked fresh every morning, and this sandwich is topped with Vermont white cheddar.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on the type of cheese – it tasted a litttttle like swiss, and somewhat like Mozzarella, but I wasn’t sure. Vermont white cheddar is my new favorite cheese for egg sandwiches. It doesn’t get lost in the other ingredients as cheese tends to do (especially on sandwiches) but it didn’t dominate either.

The bread was divine. And no, that is not too strong of a word. It was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside just like it should be. It was soft enough to bite through without any noticeable effort. The ratio of bread to egg and cheese was perfect – a common problem with bagel breakfast sandwiches and sometimes with ciabatta.

If you like egg sandwiches, I highly recommend the Panera Egg & Cheese on Ciabatta. It is one of the items with the lowest price, fewest calories, is completely satisfying and filled me up! GOOD morning! 🙂

Coming from me this is saying something – by the way – because I actually prefer local cafes, restaurants and the like over chains (despite the recent and upcoming posts about chains/franchises).

 

Have you tried Panera’s breakfast selections?

Which is your favorite? Any you’re dying to try?

What is your favorite breakfast food?

Scrubs fans – are you fans of brinner?