Top 5 Coffee Brands All the Experts Adore

Starbucks or Lavazza? Nescafe or Don Pablo? Which do you consider to be the best coffee in the world? And, most importantly, do you drink coffee to enjoy an unforgetable taste, texture and flavor experience, or you’d drink just about anything just to get up early every morning? When it comes to ranking the best coffee brands in the world, the choice is very hard to make. Coffee experts, ust like wine ones, don’t select the brews on bestselling rankings alone. In order to properly evaluate a brand of coffee, experts factor in the beans’ origin, the tree variety, the processing methods, the value factor of the coffee, the costs and, of course, the taste – among others. Today we will take a look at the top 5 coffee brands all the experts adore. Be warned, you may have not heard of any of them, as they are not your regular store-bought packs blends and brews!

1. Kenya Guama Peaberry by Bird Rock Coffee Roasters

Deemed “lively and intense”, this coffee scored 97 points out of 100 at the end of 2016, making it the best coffee in the world in the eyes (and taste buds) of coffee experts. This particular brand of medium roasted single-origin coffee comes with finishing touches of cranberry, coconut oil, and grapefruit blossom flavors. Add the sustainability factor and the unforgetable taste and you will soon understand why this unusual Kenyan coffee made it to the number one spot on the top 5 coffee brands adored by experts.

2. Deri Kochoha Espresso by JBC Coffee Roasters

While the location of the company is in Wisconsin, U.S.A, the origin of the coffee is in Sudamo, southern Ethiopia. Evaluated as an expresso, this coffee is a dreamy experience for all coffee lovers out there looking for emotion and satisfaction in just one small cup. Imagine a flavor mix combining jasmine, tamarind, saffron and bittersweet orange blossom, all enveloped in a dark chocolate finish to warm up your palate and your soul.

3. Laura’s Reserve SL-28 by Hula Daddy

This coffee is produced in its entirety from the exquisite SL-28 variety of Arabica growing in the Mount Hualalai volcano region of the Big Island Hawaii. Sweet, lush and savory, this coffee comes together with a blend of fruity and floral notes in a mix of black currant, hops, coriander, and kola undertones for the coffee experience of a lifetime. Keep in mind that this is a limited edition coffee brand sold only on the Hula Daddy website. A dream came true, this coffee is recommended to coinesseurs and people looking for art in a cup of coffee rather than a blood pressure boost.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Reko by Temple Coffee and Tea

If you ever visit Sacramento, California, go to Temple Coffee and Tea and ask for a cup of Yirgacheffe Reko to get lost in a dream of scent, flavor and richness. Silky in texture and sweet in finish (with spicy undertones offered by the lychee and pink peppercorn flavors), this coffee is so delicate, it was labeled as “lyrical”. A veritable poem in a cup, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Reko is produced in southern Ethiopia by villagers in organic small farms in garden plots interplanted with other substinence crops, flowers and vegetables. You will probably fall in love with its distinctive flower and citrus notes and the unmistakable texture of Ethiopian Arabica varieties, just like all experts did, or you will be forever seduced by the candied ginseng and intriguing coconut notes that turn your coffee drinking experience into an exotic vacation.

5. Brazil Fazenda Passeio Natural by Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea

You may be surprised to see that this coffee brands top doesn’t include some of best coffee brands in Europe, but we have to admit that there are few things more pleasurable in this world than high-end Brazilian coffee. Fazenda Passeio Natural is made of Yellow Catuai, Mundo Novo and Acaia varieties of Arabica and Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea is a distinguished roaster famous for its excellent choices of single-origin delights. This coffee has a very sweet and layered complexity, with a creamy rich texture and flowery and fruity notes combining papaya, gardenia, chocolate, musk, and almond finishing. A vertitable nectar of all coffees, a cup of Brazil Fazenda Passeio is a bucket-list item if you ever visit Branford, Connecticut.

These are the most appraised coffee brands selected by experts. Have you ever tried one of these? Do you favor other more commercially famous brands?

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Top 5 Chocolate Brands and What Each of Them Is Most Known for

If you’re one of the people who consider chocolate to be a food group in itself, then you’re going to love the topic of today’s article. Chocolate is one of the most popular foods in the world, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Apart from the fact that you can eat it as such, you can add it to all sorts of sweets, make hot chocolate, or even eat it with milk. This explains why there are so many chocolate brands out there. Still, not that many are as popular as to be known all over the world and loved by so many people. Today, we’re going to present 5 of the best chocolate brands in the world and talk about why they’re so popular.

cinnamon rolls next to pieces of chocolate

Top 5 Chocolate Brands

1. Ferrero Rocher

Undoubtedly the best and most popular chocolate brand in the world, Ferrero Rocher chocolate has become a must-eat for anyone who has a sweet tooth. This brand has been operating for more than 200 years, winning over the hearts of people from all over the world. Part of what makes the Ferrero Rocher chocolate so appealing is its rich flavor. Still, there’s no denying that its appearance is also noteworthy. The brand is well-known for their golden wrapped chocolates made out of a wafer ball filled with chocolate that contains a whole hazelnut in the middle.

2. Toblerone

Very few people haven’t heard of Toblerone before. The truth is that the Toblerone chocolate is really hard to miss due to its unique shape. It has a prism-shaped packaging that hides multiple chocolate varieties, from milk chocolate, to white, honey comb, pralines, and fruit nuts chocolate. The first Toblerone chocolate ever made goes as back as 1908. Its main ingredients are nougat, honey, almonds, and rich cocoa. Nowadays, this recipe is adored by millions of people, almost as much as the chocolate’s distinctive shape.

3. Mars

Another chocolate brand that has been around for quite a while, more precisely 100 years, Mars relies on ingredients such as topped caramel, sweet honey, minced almonds, and added nougat to create the Mars bars that everybody knows and loves. As an extra fact that you maybe weren’t familiar with, Mars also has some subsidiary brands, including American heritage, Milky Way, and the more famous Snickers. We don’t know about you, but we love to snack on a couple of these chocolates every now and then.

4. Kit Kat

Who hasn’t heard of the famous line “Have a break, have a Kit Kat”? Probably very few people, which explains why Kit Kat is so popular all over the world. The brand manufactures all sorts of candies, desserts, and chocolates, but the most famous ones are the Kit Kat bars. They come in a wide variety of chocolate flavors and added ingredients that are bound to satisfy every taste. Plus, the shape of the candy bar allows people to divide it easily and equally. It has even sparked the controversy related to the right way to eat a Kit Kat.

5. Lindt & Sprungli

Finally, the last chocolate brand that we’d like to mention is Lindt & Sprungli, which is a Zurich-based brand. They make traditional chocolate bars, being well-known for the perfect balance between milk and cocoa that they manage to achieve. One of the most popular products manufactured by this brand is the 70% cocoa bar, which is a real delight, especially for people who enjoy dark chocolate.

We hope today’s guide to 5 of the best chocolate brands in the world has managed to determine you to try them all. You won’t regret it, that’s for sure! Before you go shopping for chocolate, remember to let us know how you eat your Kit Kat bars.

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8 Creative Hot Chocolate Recipes and Ideas You Will Love

As we dive deeper into the cold season, it’s time to swap ice cream and frappes for warm soups and delicious hot chocolate. But if you’ve been a hot chocolate junkie for a while, you’re starting to grow bored of the same “pour cocoa, pour hot milk, and stir” routine. Don’t worry, this is the Internet, which means that here lie countless of creative, unique, and downright sinful recipe ideas that can help you give a twist to your cup of precious molten delight.

Hot Chocolate

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Without further ado, let’s discover the most awe-inducing hot chocolate recipes – ideal for those days off when all you need to do is watch reruns and snuggle under the blanket.

#1 Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Let’s start off with a simple yet effective twist: if you don’t know how else to enrich a recipe, make it boozy! Chocolate and bourbon go together almost as well as chocolate and rum. Throw a black cherry into the mix and you’ll get the same kind of flavor that makes boozy black cherry chocolates so incredibly sophisticated and popular.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp Ghirardelli double chocolate hot chocolate mix (or mix of your choice)
  • 2 oz. Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon by Jim Beam
  • whipped cream
  • chocolate shavings

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#2 Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Sometimes all it takes to really give a unique twist to a drink is one particular ingredient. In this case, our star is peppermint, an unmistakable festive scent and flavor. Just like the pumpkin spice can do wonders for the ever-so-popular PSL, peppermint is going to give your hot chocolate a new edge – a Christmas-y edge.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • whipped cream
  • crushed candy cane

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#3 Lemongrass-Lavender White Hot Chocolate

If sprinkling some peppermint over your hot chocolate’s whipped cream just isn’t quirky enough for you, dare to experiment and completely rewrite your own definition of hot chocolate. This recipe is a  reinterpretation of hot chocolate from base to flavors, swapping the traditional dark cocoa for its lesser used white counterpart. The real spiciness and exotic edge of this beverage, however, is given by the peculiar yet astounding lemongrass-lavender combo.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 12 ounces whole milk
  • 1 small stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 1 makrut lime leaf, torn in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon zest from one small lime
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#4 Cardamom & Orange Spiced White Hot Chocolate

We’ll continue with the white chocolate propaganda because, dang it, it deserves some love too. In fact, many fail to realize the possibilities that come with white chocolate and its mild flavor, which is a perfect foundation to build all kinds of crazy flavor combinations. For example, take this combination. Cardamom and orange meet in your cup to create this recipe, which can be enjoyed on Christmas Eve and an average February night alike.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 oz. (by weight) good quality white chocolate, roughly chopped (or about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3-4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 two-inch strip of orange zest*
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish
  • fresh whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#5 Spicy Hot Chocolate Mocha

Some say that there’s nothing that doesn’t go well with chocolate. We argue that coffee goes best of all. The popularity of the divine beverage typically known as mocha should serve as proof of that. If you love your coffee and cocoa alike, don’t make the mistake of missing out on this zesty recipe. It’s as classic as it easy to prepare (don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you)  and make your own.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • whipped cream
  • marshmallows
  • mini chocolate chips
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#6 Strawberry Sweethearts Cocoa

Pink, cute, and delicious – this is a hot chocolate that basically begs to be part of a Valentine’s Day table. Even without this kind of special occasion, would anyone’s life be poorer while sipping on a strawberry hot chocolate? No? Of course not. Enrich your life and learn how to prepare this beverage, reserved only for those seeking supreme relaxation.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pint strawberry ice cream
  • 4 cups water
  • whipped cream, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#7 White Fudge Oreo Hot Cocoa

You know you’re fighting a losing battle when you see fudge AND Oreo in the same sentence. For something that sounds so incredibly fancy, it’s actually incredibly easy to prepare it. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the ingredient list below.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1½cup milk
  • 2 white fudge oreos, crushed

Read the recipe here for instructions!

#8 Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

You will never have to leave the comfort of your home to seek out cafes that can prepare this taste bud-soothing beverage once you learn how to prepare it at home. Caramel is great. Caramel with chocolate is even better. Salted caramel and hot chocolate should just be downright illegal.

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4½ cups room temperature milk
  • 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • big pinch salt
  • whipped cream and caramel sauce, to garnish (optional)

Read the recipe here for instructions!

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And here we are, at the end of this journey (which really tested our resilience). Which one of these hot chocolate wonders made you crave it more? It doesn’t even matter. It’s hot chocolate, meaning that you can prepare it with minimal resources and effort. Get those cups ready!

5 Ice Cream Topping Ideas For Wintertime

What are the first flavors that come to mind when you think of winter? For us, it’s these ice cream topping ideas. At the end of the list, you’re surely going to feel the need to try them out.

1-ice-cream-sundae

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Winter and ice-cream don’t typically go hand in hand, some may say. Isn’t ice-cream cold? Do we really need something to feel even COLDER? Well, some people have it in them. And if you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome the holiday season with the following ice cream topping ideas, perfect for really feeling the vibes of wintertime. Alternatively, you may try these during a scorching summer so you can try to pretend the heat isn’t there!

#1 Caramel Apple Sundae

You will need:

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, finely diced
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, for serving

We start off with a combination of two traditional and highly popular flavors: caramel and apple. The right kind of apples will balance out the sweetness of the caramel and you will have a dessert worth swooning over. Here’s how.

#2 Brown Butter And Cinnamon Apple Sundae

You will need:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 1/2 cup water

What’s a more iconic winter flavor than apple? Apple with cinnamon, of course! This is one of our favorite ice cream topping ideas since it brings together some of the most nostalgic wintertime tastes. It’s a hot topping, served with vanilla ice-cream, which will also warm up your cold days. Here’s how.

#3 Homemade Marshmallow Sauce

You will need:

  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract can be substituted)

Marshmallow is a wintertime flavor by default, you may say. Few things compare to a lazy day in during snowy times while you’re sipping at a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. For this very reason, this incredible marshmallow sundae works best on top of a couple of scoops of chocolate ice-cream. Here’s how.

#4 Cardamom Ice Cream with Honey-Apricot-Orange Sundae

You will need (for ice cream):

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 8 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

You will need (for topping):

  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice or fresh squeezed orange juice + water to equal ½ cup
  • 1 pound apricots, halved and pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)

Aside from ice cream topping ideas, we’re also dropping in some instructions for the preparation of a proper ice-cream. This is because this orangey delish of a topping works best with cardamom ice-cream, which you can make at home! Reminiscence of the time you’d peel an orange next to the Christmas tree with this recipe. Here’s how.

#5 Christmas Ice Cream Sundae

You will need:

  • 75 g dried blueberries
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 100 ml limoncello , plus extra to serve
  • 411 g mincemeat
  • 284 ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons chopped candied peel
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 2 limes , zest of
  • 2 clementines , zest and juice of
  • 1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 8 meringue nests
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, leaves picked

Last but not least, this recipe is very explicitly titled as a “Christmas sundae” so it doesn’t get any more winter oriented than this. The recipe uses wintertime fruits such as cranberries and adds some neat holiday touches with flavors like meringue and ginger. Here’s how.

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Saved any of these ice cream topping ideas down? We guarantee they will be a hit among Christmas dinner guests since they represent a change from your average pie.

The 8 Best Tasting Alcoholic Drinks For First-Timers

Someone taking a sip from an alcoholic drink for the first time may be turned off by the strength or bitterness of said drink. Usually, it’s not a pretty experience. This is why we should get rid of it by only recommending the best tasting alcoholic drinks.

Best Tasting Alcoholic Drinks

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Whiskey, wine, beer, or vodka aren’t exactly the most recommended alcoholic beverages to experiment with for the first time around. Anyone who’s ever tried alcohol knows that the burning sensation down the throat can definitely turn someone away. Let’s not even mention the relatively dry and morose taste. So, what’s there to be done? Blow a mind away by offering them some drinks with a stellar taste. No one will ever be able to say that alcohol tastes dull. Here are what we believe to be the best tasting alcoholic drinks.

#1 Baileys

Yes, we did say that whiskey is one of the drinks we strongly recommend against for first-time drinkers. But this is Baileys, an Irish cream kind of whiskey with a velvety and sweet taste like no other. The beverage can even act out as a desert, which is why some might not even believe it’s actually alcohol.

#2 Appletini

Generally speaking, cocktails are definitely recommended. You don’t just get the rawness of alcohol in its pure form. You get a delicious blend with fruity, perfumed, and sweet flavors. This Martini hybrid is no different. It’s easier on first-time drinkers than a regular Martini thanks to the infusion with apple liquor.

#3 Radler Beer

Beer can be pretty bitter and unpleasant tasting. So, if you want to take your first sip and fear getting turned away before you get the chance to get used to it, try Radler. It kicked off a trend of lemonade-mixed beer and, let us tell you, it definitely cuts off the typical taste of beer.

#4 Sangria

Sangria is a beloved Spanish-originated beverage and one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world (in our humble opinion). The best part, however, doesn’t come from the taste of the liquor itself but from the incredible combination it makes with fruits. People serve sangria with apples, grapes, oranges, peaches, and others.

#5 Apple Cider

There may not be a better way of stepping into the world of alcoholic beverages. Apple cider is mild, perfumed, and flavorful. You won’t even know it’s alcohol that you’re drinking. What’s more, this drink also has variety. You can find still and sparkling versions and if you end up disliking the boozy part of it, you can opt for a non-alcoholic version.

#6 Amaretto Sours

These Amaretto Sours are particularly popular with ladies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit up the bartender and order some if you’re a gentleman. They’re extremely flavorful, but also happen to pack a considerable alcohol level. Just don’t let the taste carry you away because you’ll end up downing one Amaretto after another and this is all bound to end with a throbbing headache.

#7 Shnapps

Okay, so Shnapps may not exactly be extremely welcoming to the throats of first-time drinkers. This beverage contains approximately 42% alcohol levels so its strength might be a bit of a turn off. However, it wholly makes up for it with its incredible fruity flavor. Shnapps may be strong, but it’s one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world. You can find them in flavors such as cherry, apple, orange, and peach.

#8 Pimm’s

Pimm’s is very similar to sangria, in the sense that it’s a beverage best served with a side of flavorful fruits. The main difference is that it’s a gin-based brown nectar. Also just like sangria, it tastes wonderfully on its own, so no matter how you serve it, you’ll love it.

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What we’ve learned today is that skeptics may be swayed into really enjoying their first boozy sip as long as they try one of the best tasting alcoholic drinks in the world. And we’ll let in on a secret: people who are long time drinkers will enjoy them too.