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McCafé at Home in Your Kitchen

EAT, snacks By October 16, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

McCafe at HomeThere’s a joke in my house about me not being a morning person. But it goes further than that. I’m so groggy in the morning that I probably should have padded walls in the hall and a bathrobe made of bubble wrap so that I don’t hurt myself on the way to the coffee maker. Unless I make it the night before I always measure wrong. One friend laughed and told me it was ‘simply’ the miles to kilometers ratio for portioning coffee to water. That didn’t help much.. If I had a few million dollars I wouldn’t hire a cleaning lady or a chef. I’d hire somebody to place my coffee beside the bed in the morning so that I could wake to the scent and avoid EMI – early morning injury.

Morning Person McCafeWhen McCafé first launched I had the opportunity as an all-access-mom to work behind the counter at a McDonald’s restaurant where I could act professional and run the barista machine. Incredible. Perfect every time (it was the machine), full of flavor and float-on-a-cloud aromas. I got slightly addicted. But then I ran into the issue of having to jump in my car in the morning in a half-awake state in order to reach the drive-thru for coffee. Not a wise move. The last time I tried I drove over my purse whilst backing up. I remember at university McDonald’s used to deliver to our residence. MMMM. Can you imagine fresh-brewed McCafé in the morning delivered all steamy and rich after you’ve been up all night writing a paper?

Though I still do a fair amount of last-minute writing, pigs can’t fly and I’m no longer in a university residence, but a thrilling coffee solution has fallen into my kitchen. McCafé is now sold in every major grocery retailer in Canada. To keep in your pantry! McCafé at HOME! In Canada, 65% of coffee is consumed in the home. I suspect that stat is about to go up… And if you have a fancy coffee maker you’re still golden – it comes in K-Cup, Tassimo T-Discs, or Ground. BOOM.

Now if McDonald’s could just teach my kids the miles to kilometers ratio…


The Comforting Routine and Ritual of Coffee

GEAR, home By March 22, 2013 Tags: , , , , , 3 Comments

Asking a mom to write about coffee is like suggesting that Carrie Bradshaw evaluate a pair of Manolos.  It’s a perfect fit.  Close friends and my children know that Mommy is not to be asked any taxing questions before her second java in the morning.  I sample baristas who design flowers and logos on the froth, and taste tests are common in my household.  That said… I have learned that there are two crucial parts of coffee: the taste, and the ritual.  My new must-have for spring is the Tassimo T47.  And maybe a few pairs of heels.  Damn you Carrie Bradshaw.

Last week I was in Liberia, West Africa learning about how Right To Play levels the field for kids.  The educational games were exciting, but the 40-degree heat and emotional rollercoaster of seeing the poverty around me made for deep sleeps.  And very groggy mornings.  Breakfast was ever-important and I went to the restaurant with high hopes after a night of wicked cold air conditioning.  I didn’t understand the whole coffee drill.  But it was explained.  You boil the water.  Rip open (good luck) the tiny packet of instant coffee and drink out of a cup and saucer.  After three rounds I was ready to meet more smiling children.  Compared with the atmosphere outside and lack of basic services, I grew to find comfort in the morning coffee routine, even if I didn’t enjoy the taste of the coffee.

Flash forward a week and I am home.  The cleanliness, smell and luxuries I had always taken for granted were heightened.  And in a daze I received a courier at my office of one of the products at Canadian Tire.  It was a Tassimo T47.  It looked more advanced than the most sophisticated medical equipment in Liberia.  And after the experiences I had just had, I was admittedly thinking that instant coffee rocked.  Kind of.  Well, not really. I had no idea how Vancouver had influenced my taste buds until I turned on the Tassimo.  Wow.

The connoisseur in me was geeking out on the barcode technology and ability to brew a custom strength (STRONG would suffice but I guess they must cater to tastes other than my own).  You can remove the drip tray as well as the water reservoir for washing, and set the height of the tray to different levels.  Just in case you want to use your grandmother’s demitasse cups.  (I have extras if you need some).

Now let’s talk pods.  Not only am I able to get a fancy new pod storage system, but the pods make a perfect cup.  And the coffee is incredible. But the routine?  Priceless.  We know that kids thrive on predictability, and I had recently learned that the morning routine can make even the most upsetting situations grounding.

With the Tassimo?  My sons can make it.  Yes.  When they wake at 5 and poke me, I can send them to the kitchen to make my coffee.  The water is already in the machine.  They simply have to pop in a pod and push a button.  On day 1 the boys begged to be the one to put in the pod.  Hopefully in time they can work out their duties so I can remain in bed and not break up an argument! Mother’s Day breakfast should be amazing this year..  Their sense of accomplishment and pride was inspiring, and they now have a task to ‘own’ while they simultaneously make Mommy happy.

As I mentioned, I live in Vancouver, so not only is coffee a religion, but recycling and environmental mindfulness is always front of mind.  In Liberia I threw away plastic individual instant coffee packets, and usually at home I toss coffee cans into the recycling.  But what about the pods?  Checking, I found that Tassimo has partnered with Terracycle for a pod recycling program. Excellent!

So I now have a system that engages my kids without spilling coffee grounds, wakes me up and impresses dinner guests.  (I promise – it’s the coffee, not the demitasse cups).  The benefits of that kind of routine are beyond measure.



Ethical Bean Coffee

EAT, family meals By October 19, 2011 Tags: , 2 Comments

I’m not really a coffee snob.  Well, I didn’t used to be anyway.  I was sent a lovely package of coffee beans from Ethical Bean Coffee, and I’m pretty hooked.  Not only by the taste (Rocket Fuel was a fav), but by the whole experience.  A gorgeous handwritten letter talking about Moms and coffee, a ribbon on the box, and a great socially responsible story.   I must share an excerpt from Aaron’s beautifully penned letter (their Director of Coffee):  “New moms, experienced moms, it doesn’t matter – often can do it all.  (Coffee is) a reason to gather, a moment to pause, all the while strapping one’s mind to a finely honed edge.  And as we both know, every little bit counts.”  Wow.  This is from a guy.  Who obviously understands.

It’s fairtrade certified, and organic.  There are no pesticides, and the company donates partial proceeds to the two Guatemalan organizations (Project Somos and Child-Aid) from sales in the month of December.  Tastes good and you feel good.  Time for a coffee break.


Outside Toys in a Public Playzone?

LIVE, play By February 8, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Recently I took my youngest son, who is nearly two, to a cafe known for it’s “kid-friendly” play area and colourful cupcakes (his big brother was at preschool). I met a friend there for coffee, and a few kids were already making use of the place’s toys and activities.  Before we left the vehicle, I made a point of asking him to leave his truck in the car. “We don’t want another little boy or girl to take it home by mistake.” I said. He understood this because it is our habit – when going to a public play area we don’t take “outside toys” in with us.  Why risk a problem when we can avoid one?