You can get your Pumpkin Spice Latte fix early!

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While logging into the WiFi at Starbucks yesterday I saw something wonderful. An ad for early access to the coveted Pumpkin Spice Latte.

To get your PSL fan pass, head over to this link and type in the password (‘Pumpkin’). You’ll then be asked to type in your phone number and you’ll receive your very own PSL fanpass which when shown to a barista should allow you to order the Pumpkin Spice Latte before its official release.

I’m looking forward to trying this out later today. Fall is on its way, and the best part of Fall is the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

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Trying a Starbucks Reserve Coffee

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Usually my trips to Starbucks involve enjoying a latte, mocha or Frappuccino, but today I decided to try something a little different. After reading about the Starbucks Reserve store / tasting room opening in Seattle (it looks amazing) I figured I ought to try one of their Reserve roasts.

Reserve coffees are described as “the finest coffees” they offer and as “exquisite and rare.” They are made in a special brewer and from beans sourced from a single location. The drinks are priced in the same range as lattes and mochas (about $3-4).

I asked for the barista to recommend a dark coffee to try and ended up getting the Sumatra Lake Toba coffee. I’m no expert in describing taste, but I can say it’s strong and dark yet smooth and doesn’t taste burnt. I’ve had plenty of dark coffees that taste burned, so it’s nice that it can taste strong and yet still be smooth.

I’m interested in trying more Reserve coffees, so if you have any recommendations throw them my way in a comment. I may also have to purchase some beans at some point and get a coffee grinder.

 

The joy of Starbucks on a lovely Sunday morning

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The Ravens are playing as I write this, but for once I’m taking a break from watching them struggle to survive the season. I’m still wearing my Flacco jersey, but rather than sitting at home screaming at the TV I’m savoring a Salted Caramel Mocha Frapuccino while sitting in a comfortable chair under a heat lamp on a cool early November morning.

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I love the crisp blue of the Fall sky and the sound of cars passing by on the busy street. I’m enjoying the soft sounds of coffee house music floating down from the ceiling and mixing with the sound of everything around. And of course I love the coffee!

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I think I love enjoying a coffee while lounging in the outdoor seating at Starbucks so much because I don’t have a porch to relax on. Sure there’s a stoop, and I’ve enjoyed my fair share of coffee sipping mornings on it, but I long for a place to sit outdoors and take everything in while reading the NYT. Someday I’ll have an outdoor space of my own, but until then I’ll continue to enjoy these mornings at Starbucks.

A few of my favorite things: Starbucks FVL and the NYT

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This afternoon I enjoyed a few of my favorite things on a Sunday in Korea. Enjoying coffee and the New York Times became a weekly tradition last spring, and I’ve managed to continue to enjoy the tradition through my travels in Hawaii and Korea this summer.

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The setting sun glows in the hazy sky above the dorms.

Unfortunately the Fall favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte hasn’t arrived at the Osan Starbucks yet, but the French Vanilla Latte is just as tasty. I love reading the ‘paper’ (in digital form of course) while enjoying a wonderful Starbucks beverage, especially while sitting outside. I miss sitting out and watching the trees and the cars back home, but it’s been nice to enjoy a relaxing hour each Sunday as I’ve counted down the days until I return (soon!).

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Enjoying the NYT and hotel coffee in Hawaii.

 

 

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Coffee in one of my favorite mugs on the steps back in Boise.

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.

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.

 

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

Starbucks Pick of the Week (free song): The Lumineers

If you haven’t found a good reason to install the Starbucks app on your phone, I’m about to give you a good reason to do so. Not only can you use it as a quick and easy way to pay for your daily dose of caffeine (and earn rewards doing so), you can also download a free song every week via iTunes. It’s simple, you get a message titled ‘Pick of the Week’ every week and you simply click a button which will take you to iTunes and start your free download. Recent weeks have featured songs by Dave Matthews Band, Black Prairie and Van Morrison.

This week’s pick is by far my favorite, and I have fallen in love with this band which I discovered via Starbucks. The band is The Lumineers out of Colorado, whose album (The Lumineers) debuted this past April (check it out on iTunes). The song is “Stubborn Love” which you can see in the video below. It’s an amazing song, and a great video!