Thursday, March 19, 2015

But First, Coffee.

Confession time.  I have OCD. 
 Obsessive Coffee Disorder.  
I can't start my day without a steaming hot cup....or two.  
MUST.HAVE.COFFEE.



Okay, so I must have Jesus first and then all the coffee.  And just in case my love for coffee wasn't apparent enough, I had to make sure all my guests were aware of that fact, too...

            


Besides white pitchers, coffee mugs are my favorite thing to collect.  



Albeit busy and cluttered, I love our little coffee bar.



When I first started teaching 13 years ago, I made it my personal mission to love coffee.  Before my first day teaching, I had never had a cup.  I'd also never woken up before 11, but that's a whole different story.  Waking up before the sun rose was a struggle.  I remember my 35 minute commute like it was yesterday.  From my tiny little apartment in the heart of Dallas to a little school in the suburbs just north of the city.  I would stop at Whataburger...because it was right down the street...and grab a small coffee...along with 9 creamers and about 6 packets of sugar. #thestrugglewasreal

A year or so later, I was introduced to Starbuck's.  It didn't take long for me to find my favorite flavor.  I started out with a grande caramel machhiato.  Then I fell in love with white chocolate mocha.  Now, this was all before kids, so the fat conent in the white chocolate mocha didn't reside on my thighs and hips like it does now.  After kids, I switched over to the skinny vanilla latte because it made me feel **thismuch** better.  And in all honesty, I preferred the taste.  That's not to say I didn't love my occasional caramel frapuccino (extra caramel, please!!!) or my iced white mocha, but the taste of the skinny vanilla latte was my morning cup of happy.  

Adam eventually bought a Keurig so that we could brew our own little cups of happiness from the comfort of our own home, but I didn't get on board right away.  I went to the gym before going to school, so taking a cup of coffee with me wasn't an option.  Plus, there was a Starbuck's in the gym parking lot, so I'd stop there every morning after working out and grab a tall skinny vanilla latte and a cup of oatmeal.  YUM.

Upon moving to our little town just east of Houston, I was BUMMED to find out that the nearest Starbuck's was a 20 minute drive away.  Okay, so depressed would more accurately describe my feelings.  Where would I get my morning cup of overpriced coffee now?!?!?!   There was no way I was willing to drive 20 miles in the opposite direction before school every morning.  It was hard enough for me to get myself ready, but adding 2 kids to the mix would make the feat nearly impossible.

So I gave into the Keurig craze.  Donut Shop Coffee K-Cups were always in full supply and with a little...ahem, A LOT....of my favorite hazelnut creamer, I was sure I found a winner.  I've become a lot more health conscious these last few years and about a year ago I ditched the creamer and went straight to milk and Stevia as my preferred sweeteners.  It was a gradual process, of course.  I missed my frou-frou coffee.  A lot.  My husband kept telling me how much I'd love plain, black coffee if I'd just give it a try.  Well...I did.  And I spit it back out.  

I wanted to like black coffee SO badly!!!  So I gradually weaned myself off the milk and sweetener.  And now I can excitedly say that I LOVE black coffee and don't want it ANY other way!!!!  That's not to say I don't enjoy the occasional frou-frou serving of sweetness, but black is definitely the way to go. 

My favorite plain, black coffee is from none other than Sonic.  Their Red Button Roast is hands-down the best coffee EVER.  I keep hoping to see it on the shelves at my local grocery store, but I'm sure that's just all wishful thinking.  For $1.50 a cup, I'll gladly stop by our small town Sonic for a cup every morning.  I just can't get enough!!!  



Of course, my husband would prefer I just brew it here at the house, but now that I've been drinking it black, I have yet to find a flavor I really enjoy. I ditched the Donut Shop K-cups because I felt like it had a sour flavor.  Some of the others I've tried are a little too bitter.  Adam ordered a bevvy of k-cups for me to try because he's determined to find me the perfect flavor.  Bless him.


So now the question begs to be asked.

What's your favorite?!  Is there something I'm missing??  I've tried the Folger's medium and dark roast...not my favorite.  I've also tried the French Roast (which is just a touch too strong).  If you have a favorite K-cup, I need to know what it is so I can try it, too!!!  




48 comments:

  1. Do you have HEB in your neck of the woods? I love their cafe ole k-cups. My favorite is the San Antonio blend. So yummy!
    http://www.heb.com/product/H-E-B-Cafe-Ol--Single-Cups/1800002

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    1. We do!!! Well...it's about a 30 minute drive from us, but we have them here!!! I still haven't been to one yet! I will definitely be making a trip, soon! THANK YOU!

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  2. Way to go making yourself like black coffee! I just can't do it. My husband would love it if I did start liking it... ick! I have, however, weaned myself off the sugar and just use the natural bliss creamer :) I'm with you on not loving the Keurig coffee.. It all tasted sour to me. I switched to the Verismo (Starbucks brand machine) and LOVE it! Like I should be a spokesperson for them because of how much I love it! I do either espresso lattes or brewed coffee every morning because I am a coffee addict like you :)

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    1. GET OUT, Kara! I've never head of this?!?! Not gonna lie...I'm experiencing a little FOMO right now :) I'm thinking I need to switch!! I'll let Adam stick with the Keurig and I can have my very own Verismo coffee bar!! Now you have me excited!!!

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    2. I got one for so cheap when Dillards was closing them out last year. My husband did not think it was worth the money, but I rarely ever go to starbucks now (maybe once a month at the most). It has saved us so much money :) I get the pods on Bed Bath and Beyond's website. Always free shipping on them and I use a 20% off coupon so it makes them about $0.80 per pod. I did get the milk frother as well at Dillards to make the lattes and I love them. Honestly even my doubting husband requests lattes (no sugar just milk and espresso) now :)

      Here is the link to what I have: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/starbucks-reg-coffeehouse-collection/215371

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  3. Amen, Amen, Amen!
    I have an idea--ditch the Keurig and use a coffee maker. We have a Bunn but the Cuisinart is my choice at school. I find the K-cups a little too strong and I'm sure if I could try it black it would be enough to make me give up coffee!

    (We do have a Keurig also). I like Dunkin Donuts brand the best. I am trying to go decaf after the initial cup/cups in the morning.

    And--off topic--I have that same Hobby Lobby little chalkboard. How do you write on it straight? No matter how I try it appears on a slant due to me having to move my hand off the stand!

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  4. I didn't know you were in the houston area! I just recently moved to Richmond (outside of Houston near Katy) from Virginia and have been following both of your blogs for a few years. This is my 11th year teaching first grade and you are such an inspiration!

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    1. That is so sweet of you to say!! I know exactly where Richmond is :) I grew up in the Houston area and moved away to go to UNT...then I stayed there until just a couple of years ago! I live right in between Baytown & Beaumont. Hope you're liking it down here!! I'm sure the winters are MUCH more tolerable ;)

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  5. Try the reusable kcups. http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/04/news/k-cups-keurig-inventor-regrets/

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    1. I remember reading this article not too long ago. Thanks for the reminder!!!!

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  6. I dont have a ton of experience with K-cups since I dont have a Keurig, but I wish you luck on your coffee-loving journey! (There's a blog that's called But First, Coffee) :)

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    1. That sounds like a blog right up my alley!!!!

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  7. Amen! Got to have a good cup of coffee. I agree with you that the k cups taste very strong. We like the Dunkin Donuts brand the best. However, we brew most in our Bunn since we drink more than a cup.

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    1. Oooooh!!! So good to know! Thank you, Jeanne!

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  8. Where did you work in a Dallas area? I worked in McKinney ISD (I found your blog through a friend who knew you and she worked at my school too...Jennie Newsome). She recommended your blog and I just love it. Do you have a Sprouts in Houston or a Winco? They have flavored coffee you can grind in the store. I tried the English Toffee at Sprouts and it's really good. Granted I like steamed milk and Truvia in mine, but maybe a flavored coffee from the grocery store would be good black. The reusable K-cup is great too. I never liked the K-cups coffee.

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    1. GET.OUT!!! We used to live in McKinney!!! I taught in Plano ISD and then my last 4 years before we moved were in Allen ISD. Love that area! And sweet Jennie!!! LOVE HER!!!! I'm not sure if we have a Sprouts in the Houston area, but I'm about 45 minutes east of the city and there's NOTHING out here. I have a feeling something "fresher" is what I'm looking for! SHOO!!!

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  9. I love the Donut House Chocolate Glazed Doughnut flavor. To me, it tastes like a black cup of coffee with a hint of flavor. It's my favorite one! I've only seen them online, at Wal-Mart, and at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

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    1. Haven't seen this one yet, but I'm definitely adding this to the list!!! Sounds YUMMY!!!!

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  10. Amen! The search for good coffee is endless! We prefer Dunkin' Donuts K cups. They seem to less "strong" or "bitter" to me.

    But, if I am grabbing a coffee out--I love McDonald's $1 any size!

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    1. I've never had McDonald's coffee!!! In fact, I haven't been to McDonald's since our road trip this past summer! I need to try it!!!

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  11. No wonder I like you so much- I think we have a lot in common! Ha! I used to be a Starbucks caramel macchiato addict- with extra whip- then I have gradually gotten to where I either get a skinny white choc mocha or skinny vanilla latte occasionally. My hubby has talked me into the keurig here and for the whole first half of this school year I was making my own concoctions every morning- milk, hazelnut creamer and coffee whipped with a little mini battery whipper. I recently started reading how awful the creamers are for you so I've been trying to go with straight black. Donut House choc. glazed donut are my go-to right now. I have heard of those Starbucks machines that Kara was referencing- I will have to check them out!! Love your coffee bar, it is cute and classy at the same time!

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  12. We use Dunkin' Donuts K-cups! We think they are less bitter than any of the others we've tried.
    I do say your husband is a keeper--to get that many different ones to find one you would like--true love!

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  13. If you make it to HEB to check out their selection, they have a tasty Kona blend. I used to savor my cup every morning - until my Keurig died. The replacement they sent doesn't accept non-Keurig pods, so now I'm back to the drawing board to find a new favorite. Good luck to you! :)

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    1. Ooooh!!! Adding it to the list! Thank you!

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  14. Cinnamon bun KCups are my new favorite go to! It's quite tasty:)

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    1. I just tried Guy Fieri's Hazelnut Cinnamon Bun k-cup today and ohmiword...LOVE!!!! It was one of the flavors in the medley of samplers my husband picked up for me!! I LOVE IT!!!!

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  15. Donut Shop coconut mocha or nutty caramel! Or try Starbucks vanilla, caramel, or cinnamon dolce! Yummy!

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    1. Just added them to the list, Lora! Thank you!

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  16. I've been contemplating the coffee-black transition. I just love my half-and-half.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean!!! It was such a loooooong transition for me :) And I do miss my creamers!!

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  17. Green Mountain Caramel Vanilla Cream! YUM! Also, I tried an Entenmann's Hazelnut K Cup.. I LOVED it, but haven't been able to find it again since! Maybe Amazon?

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    1. Good call!! I'll be searching Amazon for these tonight! Thank you!

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  18. I tried so hard to make myself like the coffee from my keurig and I tried so many types but they all tasted weird to me! I finally just went back to my regular coffee machine and it tastes so much better!

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    1. I have a feeling I'll be in the same boat!!! There's just nothing as good as a regular ol' cup of coffee, for sure!

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  19. Not sure if it's just a Midwest brand, but I love Cameron's Breakfast Blend K-cups. It is one of the smoothest tasting blends I've found. (Not a fan of bitter coffee either).

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    1. Aaahhh!! SO good to know!!! Thank you!

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  20. Hi Cara, Firstly - I love your blog and I feel ya about the coffee thing - I love Espressos but I have an Italian machine (Rancilio) where you have to do everything by hand - grind the coffee, then screw it into the machine etc. but it makes pretty killer coffee!! Also, I am a teacher (and mum) working part time but thinking about going back full time in the new school year. I was wondering if you could do a blog post about 'a day in your life' kind of thing - mainly highlighting how you fit everything in. Eg. Do you work full time? How far do you commute to work? What time do you wake up? Do you do much meal prep etc? If you're not feeling a blog post, maybe you could just answer my (probably annoying) questions!!?? Haha. Thanks and love your work. Take care, Anna

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    1. Hey Anna! I have a random routine this year. I stepped away from the classroom this year to mentor and travel/present. It's been amazing and I absolutely LOVE it! I miss the classroom like crazy, but I still get to mentor & "teach", so it's working out wonderfully! My commute to the school is only 7 minutes (thank you, Jesus). When I was in the classroom, I woke up between 6-6:15...took a shower the night before. Woke up my boys at 7 and then headed out the door between 7:30-7:40. I would love to say I'm organized enough to meal prep, but I am SO not good at thinking ahead that far. I usually wait 'til halfway through the day to figure out what we're eating for dinner :) I hope this answers everything!!! Take care, Anna!

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  21. Responding to you from snowy Minnesota today with a suggestion I think you may enjoy. San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee French Roast. It is a nice strong coffee in a biodegradable kcup. You need to store in an air tight container to keep fresh. They average about .35 a cup, and can be found at Costco or Amazon. After trying many of your yummy recipes, I am pretty sure we have a similar taste. ;)

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    1. I'm checking out Amazon for this right now!!! I am SO excited to try this!!! Thank you so much!!!!

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  22. I have gotten lots of new ideas for yummy coffee!!! Coffee is a way to soothe the day!!!

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  23. I think I could have written this blog post! Well....except for the kids playing in the rain thing. It's still too dang cold in Indiana for that ;) I weaned myself off of my creamer with a splash of coffee addiction this year and I have to say I am really loving black coffee now :) I do treat myself to some Starbucks or another local coffee shop specialty every now and then though. I have too been on the search for the perfect K-cup. I do think coffee from a pot taste better, but I don't have time for that. LOL! So far, Green Mountain Caramel Vanilla is a staple in the house, but I am also enjoying Gloria Jean's Brown Sugar Cake as I type. I just bought some Folgers Sugar Cookie, which isn't too bad either. Are you seeing a constant theme hear? If they create a coffee with a name that includes some "desserty," I'm a sucker and I try it! I will definitely be looking for the Hazelnut Cinnamon Bun K-cup!

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    1. Hahahaa!!!! This is why you need to move to Texas ;) However, I'm sure you'd hate it here in the heat of the summer!!! And I feel ya on the coffee from the coffee pot...ain't nobody (especially teachers)...got time for that!!! I'm laughing so hard at your flavors right now because out of all the samples that Adam picked up for me, I've only tried the "desserty" ones!!!! HA!!! And I actually have loved them ALL!!!!

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  24. Where is your iron wrought cup carousel from??

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    1. The mug holder is from World Market : http://www.worldmarket.com/product/wire-3-tier-glass-drying-rack.do?&from=fn. THey have it in antique white, too!
      The K-cup carousel is from decorsteals.com. They don't have it available right now, but I'm sure they'll bring it back! I've also seen something similar at Hobby Lobby!! Hope this helps!!!

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    2. Thank you!!! I'm absolutely obsessed with your decor style. You are truly talented!!! :)

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    3. That is really sweet of you to say :) Thank you for such a nice compliment! You made me smile :)

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