On the 4th day of Christmas Starbucks gave to me (roundup!)

     Who doesn’t love seasonal treats that only come out once a year? Everyone has their favorite Christmas Guilty (or, not so guilty) pleasures. Mine, as well as a host of others, love Starbuck’s seasonal offering. As displayed by my Halloween Coffee post, I love Holiday drinks! So of course, I took myself to Starbucks to try each of their seasonal brews!

Caramel Brulee

     This is my number one pick from the current line up over at Starbucks. I love sweet things, and by that logic, I love caramel. Which definitely accurate. This drink is a great substitute if you’re tired of the same old peppermint. I never thought I’d be tired of the peppermint mochas, despite loving them so so so much. 

     This drink has a nice smooth finish, the majority of the flavor is caramel but that tapers off into a mellow espresso flavor. It’s a delicious winter drink that I can’t recommend enough if you fit these two requirements:

  1. You love any and all things Starbucks
  2. You’re like me, and you love sweets

This would be a great drink to sip as you hang out with the girls, or a relaxing night in by the fire with your partner!

Toasted White Chocolate Mocha 

      This one, I didn’t manage to grab a picture of. But as you’d imagine, that’s far from a travesty being that so many of the drinks look the same and taste so different. This one, to me, was not really -good- different. I generally don’t enjoy fruity flavors in my coffee, I’m cream all the way. This latte has a dusting of cranberry sugar on top, and the mingling flavors of caramel and mocha. Strangely, this one is actually too sweet for me and the surplus of sugar comes across bitter somehow.

If you’re really, and I do mean really into sweet coffees and enjoy a touch of fruitiness in your coffees for the holidays, this might be for you. And I think I’m going to let you guys have this one.

Gingerbread Latte

One of the ones I was excited to try this year was the Gingerbread latte, despite not being too huge on gingerbread. I did try this as a frappe a while back, which you can see below. I made the mistake of thinking that I liked Gingerbread a lot. Oh boy was I was wrong. It was too much. During a raining evening after work, I decided to give with the hot variant a try for this post! 

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Really feeling festive here lately! It’s not quite time yet, but why not break out the #gingerbread ? . . #coffeelover #coffeelife #coffeeholic #caffeine #coffeebreak #instacoffee #coffeelovers #coffeeaddict #coffeelove #coffeeoftheday #coffeetime #coffeecup #coffee #morning #yummy #drink #starbucks #gingerbreadfrappe

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While this isn’t my usual thing, it’s not bad at all. Each sip has a nice spice to it that is brought down by the somewhat harsh espresso. I’m not sure that I’ll be getting this one again, because I really don’t care for ginger. It’s pretty true to what it’s based off it. I think it’s a loving homage to a traditional Christmas treat. It’s not my favorite thing on this list, but it’s also not my least favorite. It’s squarely in the middle. If you guys want to enjoy a Gingerbread cookie without the hassel of… y’know, eating it, this is for you! I will add really quick, that I did really like the frappe. I would not recommend pairing it like I did, unless you love ginger.

Juniper Latte

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It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas! I was finally able to drag myself over to @Starbucks to try the #juniperlatte that I’ve been so curious about! Look for it in one of the upcoming posts for the #12daysofchristmas . . #coffeelover #coffeelife #coffeeholic #caffeine #coffeebreak #instacoffee #coffeelovers #coffeeaddict #coffeelove #coffeeoftheday #coffeetime #coffeecup #coffee #morning #yummy #drink #holidaycoffee

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I know this post is a little late to the party with the Juniper Latte, but guys, life. That’s all I have to say. Times is hard, in the immortal words of Ms. Lovett.

via GIPHY

    Anyway, I did make it in to taste this unique brainchild. Of course, I sniffed it first to see what the smell was like. It smelled almost savory, which is not a thing I associate with my coffee. The overall flavor is woodsy. It’s sprinkled with sage, so it has a bit of an herbal taste as well. I made the mistake of taking a large swallow, thinking it was coke, and holy. crap. Immediate regret. It has a sharp, earthy aftertaste and not even the good bite of espresso. My question to Starbucks is this: why. Why would you market this? Come on. I guess I understand, it’s a unique idea. “Hey, let’s make a coffee that tastes like a tree,” because of course, we have to try it.

I’m a little rusty on my coffee reviewing skills, and guys, I took a sip and that aftertaste hits hard. I don’t think I’ll be getting this again. Literally, all I can say now that I couldn’t say before is “I drank tree flavored coffee”. And is that a bragging right I really want to have?

I was really hoping to wrap this post up on a positive note. I was hoping it was going to have more a piney, vaguely evergreen vibe. How wrong I was. If you guys took one for the team, what were your thoughts? Will you be buying it again? 

With that trainwreck, we wrap up another day of our countdown! We still have more on the schedule, so be sure to check back tomorrow! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some coffee to hold me over til tomorrow!

Winter Wishes: Thanksgiving and Hugs (in a cup)

The weather is getting colder and the nights are getting longer, the holiday preparations are either a bit behind (like in the Java household), or in full and festive swing. To make up for my decided lack of holiday spirit, I visited one of my favorite coffee haunts in the Downtown Columbus area- our very own, Fountain City Coffee. Whose warm and inviting interior begs to have it’s patrons linger for a while and enjoy the soft ambiance of indie music and the calming buzz of conversation. Whether you want to blog or mingle with the locals, this a perfect place to just relax in the charming heart of Columbus. 

 I visit them quite frequently for my favorite drink of choice, the heath freezer, which is my top pick no matter the weather. I usually don’t care about the weather and just get what I like, or try something new on ice. But, it’s entirely too cold for that, especially with the wind whipping between the buildings downtown. No, today I was feeling a little sentimental for the days when I would join my extended family for the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas with delicious food. 

I was recommended the “Thanksgiving and Hugs” latte, which is just about a 4-course meal of nostalgia. It’s got everything, really. Chai, pumpkin, vanilla and cinnamon and the smell is divine. It smells so enticingly like pumpkin pie that I may have to bring some into the house this Thanksgiving. This is the one single time of the year when I allow myself to indulge in rich deserts and loads of meat, I may have found a new piece to add to my list of traditions.

The Thanksgiving and Hugs latte is delicious. I honestly wasn’t sure if it would be, or if it would even be up my alley. This does not disappoint in the slightest. I said that the smell was like a warm pumpkin pie, and the flavor closely mimics it. This is one of the smoothest latte experiences I’ve had in a while. Guys, I literally don’t even like chai. I love this drink. It has a nice full richness that goes down slow and smooth. It’s perfect to just hold in both hands and sip, while looking forlornly out the window like a protagonist of a Winter love story. Was that too sappy?

The chai isn’t overpowering and is in a gentle harmony with the pumpkin and cinnamon in equal parts. The vanilla chimes in as a soft whisper of flavor that briefly lingers on the tongue. I went with the warm variant of this beverage and I really think that was the right call. Even if it wasn’t freezing out, it would be the right call, because this is a drink best served hot. Or, in my humble opinion anyway. I feel like their cups don’t do it justice, I just want to get it home and throw it into one of my festive mugs.

Fountain City has long been a personal favorite of mine, and held a high ranking against so the coffee shops of the past and will most likely hold their spot against many future competitors in ranks. That goes double if they continue to grace my existence with drinks of this caliber. Honestly, this drink may be an annual staple for me and it’s an absolute travesty that I didn’t try it before now.

Needless to say, onto the rating! It should be evident, by how much I love this drink what sore it deserves.

Thanksgiving and Hugs Taste; /5

  The Thanksgiving and Hugs latter deserves a 5/5, and is a spectacular holiday drink to get you in the spirit. I’m feeling much, much more festive now. Thank you, Fountain City Coffee for introducing me to something new for Christmas!

Winter Wishes: Midtown’s Peppermint Mocha

 Is it getting cold, or is it just me? The temperature is dropping and prompting us here at Java and Jeans to don our winter wear and start enjoying hotter options to warm our frozen hands. For the last couple months, I’ve been wishing it would get colder, and my wish has been granted. But, truth be told, winter is just getting underway. To save you the trouble of seeking favorable warm drinks in this upcoming Winter Wonderland, I’ve decided to share my findings with you! My first treat of the season, I ducked into Midtown Coffee House, the winner of my Most Wanted distinction in April. 

They recommended either the razzle dazzle, or a peppermint mocha. I want to preface this with the fact that I am a fiend for some peppermint mocha. All year long I lie in wait for one of my favorite seasonal drinks to return. I’m on the lookout for some unique selections this season, but since I hadn’t written on this one before- I figured why not!

 

When they sat it down in front of me, I was so excited that I picked it up and immediately burnt my hand on the cup. After giving it it’s space for a few more minutes, I could at least take a sip and guys- it’s fantastic.

The scent reminds me of dark chocolate, sweet and rich. Much like their spectacular razzle dazzle, their Peppermint Mocha is so unbelievably smooth. The peppermint is but a whisper over the chocolate that lingers on my tongue. 

It has a hint bite to it, but not an overbearing amount. The drink is invigorating with peppermint backing up the warm mocha with a refreshing hint of coolness. This choice is for people who enjoy a nice, risk-free beverage experience. It’s pleasantly mild, with a rich aftertaste that mimics the scent. This is one drink that I can confidently say tastes almost exactly like it smells.

If you’re here from out of town, or have been here for years, I can’t recommend Midtown Coffee House enough. They consistently exceed my expectations and give just the most fantastic service. They deserve all of the the appreciation they can get for serving up such delicious treats!

Be sure to follow them on facebook by clicking here! And of course, like and follow Java and Jeans on facebook and Instagram to keep in the know about our hijinks!

taste; /5

I have nothing bad to say about this drink! There goes Midtown Coffee blowing me away again!

Most Wanted May Edition: A UniquExpression of admiration

This post comes a little after the end of May, but I would be remiss if I didn’t make note and share my pick for Most Wanted coffee in May! We went to a few different coffee shops, not as many as April, in all honesty. We did finally make it out to Pine Mountain, Georgia to revisit UniquExpressions. Finally.

I waited for what felt like forever to return there and try their delicious blends again. We brought Jeans (who has since left the blog to pursue her own), who absolutely raved about it. They are the coffee for people who do not like coffee. Their flavors are so fantastically harmonious and smooth that it’s difficult to find something bad to say. My personal favorite is the Prince Harry Iced Latte, because all of the flavors just mesh so well. I’m not sure what they do differently, but it makes the coffee out of this world

We’ll be revisiting Pine Mountain and the surrounding towns for content for the first leg of a rather large undertaking that my Fiance’ inspired me to attempt. I’ll be releasing information about that soon, so be on the lookout!

Coffee and their shoe selection
They have the cutest shoes alongside their amazing coffees!

They give you the coffee in a nicely portable cup- but I do want to note, that it’s not very sturdy. I definitely advise you drink the coffee fairly quickly because the cup will come apart. But, really, I don’t see too much risk of that because my coffee certainly didn’t last long enough for it to be a problem, neither did anyone else’s.

One of my favorite things about UniquExpressions is that they have their information right up front- such as where they acquire their beans and the intensity of the roast. You can view all of that in my previous post about UniquExpressions

I do want to put it out there for our readers that this little shop has more than just coffee. They have pizza, sandwiches and ice cream as well. When we go back to Pine Mountain I intend to give their other treats a try. If you find yourself in the area, or are lucky enough to do a coffee road trip, you don’t want to miss Pine Mountain’s (in my opinion) greatest treasure.

Congratulations, UniquExpressions for being my May’s Most Wanted! We’ll most definitely be back!

 

Hometown Cravings: Time to go to the Bank… Iron Bank

City: Columbus, GA
Stop: Iron Bank
Drink: Caramel Latte

 

Iron bank is situated at the corner of Tenth and Broad in the gorgeous downtown that Columbus is home to. The Exterior is that of an old… well, Bank. And every time I see it, I stop and stare. I adore the architecture. It’s classic and classy, and makes me feel like I’m stepping back in time to a day when you’d see gorgeous buildings like this. And not going to lie, I do a feel a little like a mobster or like someone from a Noir film, which is definitely a plus.

 

When you walk in, it’s clear that this shop has history and for the curious, you can read up on that here. The interior is fairly simple with long and short tables interspersed around the large room- they have what appear to be glass chandeliers hanging from the insanely high ceiling. The most interesting feature (to me, at least) is that you can go sit in the old vaults each one is furnished with a table and chairs and one of them has lovely natural light from the fairly large windows. The music is usually a decent volume for a coffee shop, but for some reason this morning, I found it to be louder than the norm. They play a range of music from the Plain White Ts to En Vogue. The latter was noticeably louder than the former.

 

Of course, aside from coffee, they do sell food and in particular, I’d recommend the turkey, bacon, swiss on a croissant. I’ve treated myself to that multiple times and it’s phenomenal. They do have muffins, bagels and parfait as well, if that’s more your speed.

For my coffee this morning, I decided to go simple, which I’ve actually never done here, and get just a Caramel Latte which is surprisingly better than the specialty ones I used to get from this place. It’s not overly sweet, or overly bitter. All around it’s nicely balanced, the caramel flavor is soft and subtle and I felt more alert with each sip. I did notice a slightly nutty taste underneath the taste of coffee. All in all, it doesn’t stand out as remarkable in either direction.

Instagrameter; ohenrys insta/5

The Exterior is unique and the interior is simplistic- I feel like any photos taken here would benefit greatly from being outside. The interior doesn’t lend itself to instagram fame.

Taste;3 out of 5/5

As noted, the coffee wasn’t anything out of this world but, by no means, bad. The espresso was very mild and effective and the entirety of the drink was balanced.

 

-JJ

 

 

Hometown Cravings: My Boulánge, our own little piece of France

City: Columbus, GA
Stop: My Boulange
Drink: Elizabethan (modified)

Situated like our other Hometown Cravings, in the scenic downtown area of Columbus, sits sophisticated and classy looking cafe` that features pastries, quiche, and breakfast that I haven’t been lucky enough to make it in time for. The cafe`itself sits beneath what appears to be lofts and it sets itself apart from the red brick by having a modern brown and gold front.

Like most of the coffee shops here in Columbus, the interior has an industrial feel- and guys, I swear I’m trying to come up with other words so I can stop beating you about the head with it. The ceilings are high and adorned with fairy lights, and I love the way the red bricks complement the entire decor. The fairy lights and wood accents lend a welcoming energy. I have the distinct urge to bring my computer in and just people-watch from the large front windows.

When you walk in, you’re immediately greeted with a gleeful Bonjour on a light purple wall, as you proceed further in the large Eiffel Tower standing behind the counter and surrounded by delectable looking pastries guarded behind glass takes precedent.

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The service here is always top notch with the cashiers being knowledgeable in the products that they sell and able to tell you, based off of their experience and your preferences, what you may enjoy. I employed this particular skill of theirs this afternoon when I went in to try something a little different.

They have seasonal lattes with interesting names that are fairly unique, which you can see some of them in the picture below.

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What I treated myself to today was the Elizabethan, and before you say “But, Jill, that’s what you got at Midtown Cofee two days ago”, I changed it to Strawberry and Mocha. Next time, I think I’ll try the Queen Bee from here.

The Elizabethan as I got it tastes quite like a strawberry dipped in chocolate which makes me wonder if they used natural flavoring as opposed to the coma-inducing artificial flavors that you might have at home. The flavor is balanced- the strawberry is the forefront but then steps aside for the mocha. It’s surprisingly dainty with almost no bite, it even smells mild and sweet with just a hint of chocolate.

As an extra note, they do hold wine tastings here so if wine is more your speed, they have you covered here! I’ll go ahead and move on to my ratings!

Instagrameter; 4.5 out of 5/5
Taste; Taste Rating/5

A couple of notes before I sign off for this post! First, a quick thank you to our readers so far.  I know doing reviews is touch and go for myself and miss Belle Bottom Jeans, but I have every faith that we’ll get better at reviewing things and become more discerning, so in these first phases of our blog we appreciate you stopping by!

Second, I do want to maintain a Hometown Cravings series but I’m not sure how often would be too often to visit these places. I’ve added a poll on the Surveys and Polls page so if you want to put in your feelings on visiting the same place multiple times, I encourage you to drop a vote here!

-JJ
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O’Henry’s Coffee- Turtles are Awesome!

City: Homewood (Birmingham, AL)
Stop: O’Henry’s Coffee
Drink: Frosted Turtle, Mocha Chip
Extras: Strawberry Cake and Oreo Brownie

We left our home to seek out a venue for a particularly important event in our near future and on leaving, we made our way towards Birmingham. We made a beeline toward O’henry’s Coffee and were not disappointed. The outside was a little nondescript in comparison to the somewhat ritzy buildings surrounding it. That did not deter us as we made our way in.

The first thing I noticed was the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans, which we were informed was accurate as all of their beans are roasted onsite. The interior was surprisingly mature looking but also a certain level of hiptitude that could easily appeal to a younger crowd as well. We perused the menu for a moment and decided on our respective drinks.

While we eagerly awaited our drinks, we wandered around the cozy (but not cramped) main floor. We were more than a little entertained at the little naked iron woman posing seductively on the bathroom door. I can’t recall the motif on the men’s door but it was likewise a somewhat green looking iron. The rest of the place was interspersed with similar motifs and wall art pertaining to coffee, that lent the place a certain amount of charm.

After we got our drinks from a knowledgeable and friendly barista, we made our way to a warm loft with mellow lighting. The Frosted Turtle was surprisingly smooth- I didn’t notice the bite of espresso or any unpleasant bitterness. The Caramel and Mocha blended smoothly into a lovely harmony that left me feeling energized. Neither flavor was particularly overpowering, which is fairly impressive for something featuring two strong flavors like caramel and mocha.

I didn’t drink the entirety of the Mocha Chip, admittedly, as that belonged to our food writer, Obadiah. On trying his coffee, I was hit by the bite of strong mocha. It was a stark contrast to the smoothness of the caramel in my own drink. The bite from the mocha was short lived as I adjusted to the change and it was pleasantly rich, with the coffee and chocolate flavors merging.

As we drank our coffee we shared some delectable treats! The strawberry cake was soft and lightly flavored- perhaps due to a lack of artificial flavors. It tasted like strawberry, but not overwhelmingly so. The frosting was likewise delicious with a softness in taste and texture.

We made short order of the cake and moved on to the oreo brownie which I highly recommend. The brownie was soft and yielding, with a richness that made it hard to imagine eating a huge portion. The couple bites I was able to enjoy left me feeling full and satisfied.

 

 

 

Instagrameter*: ohenrys insta /5
Taste: Ohenrys taste/5

-JJ

 

* how photographic I feel like the environment is based on atmosphere and any existing motifs