Starbucks Verismo 580: Love it!

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Today I picked up a Starbucks Verismo 580 for an unbeatable price. I saw the bundle pictured above at the Bx and couldn’t resist. The Verismo 580 sells for $149 through Starbucks (and on Amazon as well I believe) however the Bx had it for just $99 AND it included 6 boxes of Verismo coffee and espresso pods and a welcome pack with 10 additional pods (for a total of 82 pods!).

Boxes of Verismo pods sell for $12.95 each through Starbucks, so this bundle came with over $77 worth of pods all while being $50 cheaper than the machine alone elsewhere! I believe the bundle was leftover from the holidays, and I’m not sure how they lasted this long.

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So far I’m really impressed with the machine. It has a water reservoir which is a really nice feature, allowing you to make quite a few drinks before it needs refilled. You feed the pods through the top and after your drink is done brewing you just flip the lever up to drop the used pods down into the used pod container. The machine looks wonderful and feels quite sturdy which is nice.

I haven’t tried brewing any coffee yet, but the espresso is done in a flash as you can see in the video below. I mixed in some chilled 1% milk and had a great tasting drink in under a minute! I’m looking forward to recreating my favorite Starbucks drink, the Vanilla Iced Coffee tomorrow after work.

NYTimes: ‘The Food May be Fast…’

I just finished reading the article “The Food May Be Fast, but These Customers Won’t Be Rushed” in the NYTimes and I wanted to share it with you.

The article is a discussion about how the dining rooms of fast food restaurants (McDonald’s is discussed mostly) are starting to look more like the insides of a Starbucks. In other words you see more and more customers ordering just a cup of coffee and taking up space at a table for extended periods of time. This is popular with the elderly (and sometimes homeless) especially at McDonalds. They’ll buy a small coffee and read the newspaper for 30 minutes or longer. McDonalds used to be a place where customers would buy food, eat and leave, but it’s starting to become a place where people do more than just eat.

This trend has annoyed some fast food employees and customers who have a more difficult time finding places to sit, but the article brings up a good point considering public space. The article quotes Don Mitchell, a Syracuse professor of urban geography:

“Whether they have been private property, public property or something in between,” he said, “taking up space is a way to claim a right to be, a right to be visible, to say, ‘We’re part of the city too.’ ”

The coffee drinking patrons could certainly do whatever task they’re doing at home, be it reading the newspaper, their mail or a book, but there’s a sense of participating in society that is gained doing these things in a public space. It’s the reason I love drinking a coffee at Starbucks or in a library; there’s stuff going on around you: conversations, people coming and going, etc. that makes life more interesting. It’s a welcome change of scenery for those who may not have a lot going on at home (some elderly for example). I don’t think this behavior needs to be discouraged. In fact we could use more of it.

Iced coffee in winter

Is it weird to continue to drink iced and frozen coffees in the middle of winter? Every time I’m at Starbucks I can never get anything other than a vanilla iced coffee, or a Frappuccino no matter how frigid it is outside. In the morning I don’t mind drinking a hot coffee at home, but in the afternoon I have to go with a chilled drink.

On a related note, does anyone have a Verismo coffee maker? We have a Hamilton Beach Keurig brewer but it’s pretty cheap and I really like the way the Verismo machines look. How do the drinks taste? I’m really thinking about picking one up once I get my tax refund as I think it’ll look a lot better on the counter and will last awhile longer.

Anywho, tonight we’re probably going to have a drink or two and play some Wii Bowling before watching either August Osage County or Her. I’ll be sure to post a few words about whichever we end up seeing.

 

New Year: Quitting energy drinks

Though not necessarily a New Year’s Resolution (I never bother to make any), over the last few weeks I’ve quit energy drinks…mostly. For years I’d drink at least one energy drink a day, seven days a week. Usually on weekends I’d have 2-3 a day. At $2-3 each (Rockstar Punched) that’s upwards of $15-20 a week, at least $80 a month and easily $700+ a year. The commissary often sells Rockstar’s for $1 which was nice, but even if I bought 400 in a year for a dollar that’s still $400.

In an effort to save money and cut a couple hundred calories (and mountains of sugar) a day I decided to give up the habit. I haven’t had a Rockstar in over two weeks! I did however have a couple of Mountain Dew Kickstart’s this weekend, but I consider them more of a soda than an energy drink.

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I don’t think I’ll ever kick the caffeine habit, so I’ve been drinking coffee in the morning instead. It’s not as convenient because I have to take time to brew the coffee before I hop in the shower, and it doesn’t give as much as a kick as Rockstar, but it’s much easier on the wallet, and I imagine just a bit healthier. A $7 bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee has lasted two weeks so far and should stretch another week or so.

I’m hoping I can keep up the progress I’ve made. I’m sure I won’t quit energy drinks forever, but a bit of break will be nice.

Morning Coffee: Happy MLK Day

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How are you today? I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the New York Times and listening to The Beatles. It’s a nice relaxing morning. I do, however, wish the sun would show itself in Boise. All week in Mountain Home it’s been sunny and warm (mid 40’s) yet this weekend in Boise it’s been overcast / foggy and cold. It’s due to the inversion I guess, which is unfortunate.

In this picture taken from Bogus Basin (the local ski mountain) you can see how the city of Boise sits below a depressing, everlasting cloud cover while the sun shines and the sky is blue above.

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I’m glad to have today off, especially since we had to work on Saturday due to the squadron getting in trouble. I’m probably going to sit here and read for awhile longer and then I’ll probably get into some video games. I picked up Gran Turismo 6 last night and look forward to giving it a spin.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an inspiring post our Command Chief made on Facebook this morning.

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Do not buy: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew K-cup brewer

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So almost a year ago we purchased the Hamilton Beach Flex Brew K-cup / single serve coffee brewer. It was cheaper than a Keurig by around $50 (I think it was $80 or 90 at the time, it’s now around $50 and not worth a penny of it). It worked great for a month or two, however eventually it stopped puncturing K-cups and would spill water all over the place.

We had it replaced and now the second one will drip on and off and then spew out a steady stream of nearly clear, watery coffee at the end to fill up the rest of the cup. It ruins otherwise great tasting coffee. Even if we brew coffee grounds instead of a k-cup it’ll drip awkwardly and make watery coffee while spilling water all over the counter.

I’m hoping Wal-Mart will let us exchange this one for store credit so we can get a quality coffee brewer, not a cheap product that will require an exchange every month.

Starbucks and drinking coffee at home.

I have a bit of a Saturday morning tradition of dragging Vanessa with me to the Starbucks just around the corner and having a coffee (usually iced vanilla coffee) while reading the (digital) New York Times and skimming WordPress. It’s a nice and relaxing way to spend 30 minutes or so in the morning before we decide what to do with the day. It’s also nice to get out of the house. My brain always feels more productive when I’m sitting somewhere other than at home sipping on a coffee. In college I’d always take my coffee to the second floor of the library to read or write while overlooking the trees and smoke stakes of the city in the distance. I’m not sure whether it’s the brighter lights or the act of being somewhere with less distractions that puts me into a good, productive mood.

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Unfortunately, this morning there weren’t any seats available so we had to take our coffees back to the house (I would’ve been willing to sit outside, though it’s a bit chilly and now starting to rain). So for now I’m drinking my coffee while listening to SiriusXM’s The Coffee House with the Penn State game taking my eyes away from the page (or screen rather).

I suppose this isn’t so bad. Do you have any particular way you like to drink your coffee? Am I just crazy? 576677_10152067618475610_1776601611_n