What's in My Cup This Fall?

What's in My Cup This Fall? | Writing Between Pauses

I didn’t really drink coffee until I was 26. I had drank Starbucks drinks, of course—but I think we can all agree that those are mostly milk and flavors and much less about the coffee. (No shade, though; I love a latte!)

For a long time, I drank coffee very, very weak with a scoop of hot cocoa powder, milk, and Truvia. That sounds so gross to me now because my love for coffee has only grown. People really aren’t kidding when they say that the taste of coffee will grow on you; I absolutely used to hate the smell and taste of coffee, but now it’s one of my favorite things in the world!

These days I have two favorite types of coffee: the 1850 Black Gold dark roast from Folgers and Starbucks French Roast. Both are dark roasts. I use almond milk, salted caramel non-dairy creamer, and Truvia in my coffee every single day. It’s the best part of my morning some days, to be honest.

I feel like coffee is one of those extremely personal drinks that everyone has. And everyone has their preference. Some people live by creamer. Or half-and-half. Or black coffee. Some people only use sugar. My grandma still only uses Sweet’n’Low, which tastes so awful to me I can barely stand it. Usually around mid-Spring, I go through a phase of not really drinking coffee—and then by Fall, I’m ready for hot beverages again!

How do you take your coffee? Does it change seasonally?

Product Review: Starbucks Cold Brew at Home!

Product Review: Starbucks Cold Brew at Home! | Writing Between Pauses

Over the summer, I developed a serious cold brew problem. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew at Starbucks is one of my favorite drinks of all time: it is really coffee-flavored, lightly sweet, and perfect for a cold day. It's also not super calorie heavy; 110 calories for a tall is actually pretty decent. And compared to other drinks at Starbucks, it has 14g of sugar--which is still a lot (about 3.5 teaspoons). Hence, why it's not an every day treat! 

While cruising Target, I noticed that Starbucks now sells packs to make cold brew at home. They come in a variety of flavors, but for around $8 for a box that makes one pitcher, I decided to just get the regular version. 

Cold brew at Home
Making cold brew at home
Is Starbucks cold brew at home good

The instructions are quite easy. However, it does take 24 hours from start to finish. You fill a pitcher with 4 cups of water, add the two giant tea bags of coffee grounds, and pop it in the fridge for 24 hours. Yep, 24 hours. When it's ready, you add another 4 cups of water, remove the big packs of coffee (carefully, I accidentally broke one), and your cold brew is ready to enjoy. 

Minus the fact that it took 24 hours (I don't know why I thought it would be 4-5 hours max!), the cold brew it produced was delicious. It tasted just like the cold brew you would get at Starbucks; with a packet of Truvia, a tablespoon of salted caramel creamer, and a tablespoon or so of almond milk, you have a lower-sugar Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold brew at home. 

The pitcher made about 8-10 servings of cold brew for me. At $8 for a single pitcher, that evens out to $1 or less per serving, which was pretty good considering a drink at Starbucks is $3 or more. Ultimately, it saves money and you can control the calories and amount of sugar in your drinks more effectively. 

Fall is fast approaching, so I've been experimenting with cold brew and pumpkin spice. Let me tell you: it's just as delicious with a little Pumpkin Spice creamer and almond milk! If you love cold brew, but are tired of spending so much money at coffee shops, these are a great option. 

How a New Coffee Maker Changed my Mornings

It was approximately halfway through November when I noticed that something was, well, off about my coffee maker. Every morning, while Danny gave Forrest his last bottle, I would get the coffee maker ready and get it started as I pumped, washed bottles, and made bottles for the day. I'd make Danny a lunch, pour myself a cup of coffee, take Forrest off Danny's hands, and then watch Good Morning, America! as Danny got ready for work. It would be approximately 3 or 4 hours later when I realized the coffee maker was still brewing. No matter how much water we added, the coffee maker went from only making 8 cups or, somedays, even just 6. 

We cleaned the water receptacle, scraped calcium build up wherever we could find it, ran vinegar through it... and nothing. It still continued to make coffee, but each day, it struggled just a little bit more to do that. And the endless steaming and boiling and noise making got a little annoying, especially after noon. 

However, it was the days where it made barely enough coffee for Danny to fill his (admittedly way too big) travel mug, leaving with me maybe a teensy cup that really started to get to me. 

I never realized the importance of coffee in my life until I couldn't have it. I'd never been much of a coffee drinker. Even in college, I would go weeks between Starbucks or Dutch Bros purchases. When I was working at a car dealership, I got Dutch Bros everyday, but it was more for the taste than the caffeine. It was only about a year and a half ago that I started drinking, and enjoying, coffee--but I always insisted I didn't need it the way some people did. 

When I first got pregnant, I told myself I would avoid caffeine for nine months. I solemnly resolved to do this for the good of the baby, utterly convinced that without caffeine, I would be totally fine! The exact same person I've always been! This was a lie and I absolutely knew it, but I was in denial. 

I went without caffeine for two weeks while I was pregnant. Two weeks. I was miserable. Because, not only was I having caffeine withdrawals and, thus, caffeine headaches, I started to get morning sickness. Combine with the horrible fatigue that plagued me my entire pregnancy and it was an absolute disaster. I had to admit it to myself: I needed caffeine. I needed it to survive.

Sorry, scratch that: other people needed me to consume caffeine for their own good. It's the way of the world. 

So I continued to drink coffee throughout my pregnancy, mostly openly because I refuse to be held down by society's expectations of a healthy pregnancy. 

After Forrest was born, I went a week without caffeine--hospital coffee is, after all, terrible.

Then, once we were home and there was no nurse to help me with every-two-hour feedings, I started to truly understand how much I needed caffeine. I needed my morning coffee, as much for the caffeine as for the ritual, the tie to a normalcy I'd given up in favor of warming bottles, rocking a baby, and changing diapers. 

Coffee tied me to the rest of the world, helped me to stay functioning even when I was running on 2-3 hours of sleep. 

So when the coffee maker decided to give up the ghost and start making less than 6 cups of coffee (after receiving 12+ cups of water), I knew it was time: we had to do something, or I was going to go crazy. 

It took nearly a month but we finally got a new coffee maker. Danny and I are decidedly cheap. If I have to spend more than $40 on something, it better be totally worth it. So I was excited when we found a programmable coffee maker for $24 at Target. We brought it home, as excited as if we were bringing home a new baby or something, and got it ready. 

I screamed with delight the first morning I went downstairs and found coffee, piping hot and ready, at 6am. I was also delighted to not have the coffee maker hissing and fizzing at me for the entire morning. Mostly, I was just excited to have enough coffee for both Danny and I so we could be humans, and not zombies, while taking care of Forrest. And most of all, I found myself astounded at just how happy and fulfilled it made me to have a working, functioning coffee machine.