Hometown Cravings; Zebras in Midtown?

Hometown Cravings; Zebras in Midtown?

Stop: Columbus, GA
Shop: Midtown Coffee House
Beverage: Zebra Mocha   

 

Hey, guys! Happy Thursday and yet another awakening from yours truely accompanied by an attempt to keep this site alive in the midst of having NO time for anything ever for the moment! For today’s post, I visited Midtown Coffeehouse in my little town of Columbus! I do plan to branch out again once time permits- I can’t wait to be able to resume my initial post schedule. For now, I’m probably going to change my post schedule temporarily to Thursdays, and resume Monday posting once I have time to do so… 

      Plans aside! I was finally able to go see what they have as far as that new new, because sometimes I go in and they have something so unique on their blackboard, like the wedding cake latte from ages ago, that I can’t find the post for. This day they were still repping for the Lemonade, and while that was DELICIOUS I’m not using my day off for drinking something I’ve already tried. I hate being a pain for these lovely people who enable my addiction, because I love their work, but I asked for something new. I kind of ran over flavors I enjoy and what I’ve tried from there, all the while casting glances at the sweet couple chatting behind me debating on apologizing outright for taking (what I felt) was so much time.

     In the end, the Zebra Mocha was pitched, a mixture of dark mocha and white. I’ve probably had something like it before, because it is mocha. But I haven’t had it from them specifically, I went with that. And after paying, I apologized for taking up so much to the couple behind me, turns out I didn’t need to worry because they were just as lost as I had been. I told them the lemonade was kicking and took a seat to wait. 

     Once it was brought out to me, I took the first sip. Anyone who goes without anything for any amount of time, and then gets what they’ve been deprived of, knows how sweet it is. The espresso was mild, as is their custom. It’s not overly earthy, like my Jamaican Blue Mountain, but has just a little bit of presence in the taste. The primary flavor is a tossup between the two mochas. I’m moved to say that the white mocha is slightly more prevalent. The darker trails behind and leaving a lovely richness on your tongue. 

 

Onto the rating! 

Taste;/5

    Due to the somewhat noticeable taste of the espresso itself, I wouldn’t recommend this for those who loathe a bit of earthiness in their coffee. But if you can make it through a nice soft earthiness and like chocolate this is for you!

Home Brews; French Vanilla Great Value (K-CUP)

Home Brews; French Vanilla Great Value (K-CUP)

ey guys, I’m so sorry for my unannounced hiatus. It’s not been a good time in the JNJ house. Coffee, and makeup have been my only escape from the defeatist summer I’m experiencing. Who knew being unemployed could worsen symptoms of depression? I have luckily managed to land a freelance thing, so I’ll hopefully be able to sustain a little bit of adventure. I have a friend over at Kalon Kosmetics, with whom I’m affiliated, that I plan to pay a visit to when funds permit! Let’s get to the blah festivities, and look at the French Vanilla K Cup from Walmart!

Chain; Starbuck’s Cascara Coldbrew… ew?

Chain; Starbuck’s Cascara Coldbrew… ew?

     Hey there guys! Thank you for joining me for this late post! I know I usually post around noon, but I’ve honestly been swamped. And that’s on top of trying to recover from whatever has me under the weather. I’m bringing us back home with a (somewhat) new-ish drink from everyone’s favorite chain coffee shop; the Cascara Coldbrew!

    I’ll keep this one fairly short, but I want to preface this with a thanks to the gentleman who allowed me to try a sample of this one! Based off the title, I didn’t care for it, but I really liked the opportunity to give it a go! 

     The first thing I did was sniff it- because, this is what I do, especially when faced with an unfamiliar “Cascara”. Right off the bat, I was stricken with how sharp it smelled. I caught the scent of bitter nuttiness that was offensive to my sugar-cravings. If you remember my attempts to like coffee soda, this gave me war flashbacks. Not a fan of remembering a drink I’ve worked so hard to repress.

 

The Drinkening

 

     Onto the actual drink itself; I procrastinated on taking the first sip. Despite the super nice barista assuring me that it was citrusy, and creamy, I found that I did not agree. Once I was able to psych myself up, I closed my eyes and took a sip. Right off the bat, I noticed the froth was mildly earthy, almost nutty with those citrus undertones. 

     The coffee portion of this drink, which I was excited for before having one handed to me, was surprisingly smooth. Not sweet in the least, which I should have figured. It honestly could just be my propensity for sweets, that made me take this as bitter. I did note the citrus flavor kind of peaking through the nuttiness. My general feeling is that it’s like coffee soda, without the carbonation. I think my least favorite thing about this one, is that it’s rich. It’s got a heavy thickness that lingers at the back of your throat and leaves you tasting it for minutes afterward. 

      Honestly, I did look into sweetening it. But I was unsure on how I wanted to go about that. I kind of feel like sweetening it would make it into a different drink, and I may try that next time… If there is one. I think what I’m trying to get at with this post, is that super nice baristas aside, I don’t like the Cascara. And I guess I certainly don’t like cold brew.

 

Taste; /5

     Really, I don’t think this one needs any explanation. I think this is first time since the Cinnamon and Almondmilk Macchiato that I’ve been this displeased with Starbucks. That Juniper latte was rough, but I don’t know… I think this one might give it a run for its money. 

     It’s okay Starbucks, you can’t please everyone!

 

 

Winter Wishes: My Wish is a Farmer’s Tan

Iron Bank menu
Farmers Tan
Sporting my Farmer’s Tan at W

 

The days have gotten so much colder that anyone who’s brave enough to venture out without a jacket (or two) will be frozen to the core in short order. The only farmer’s tan possible, or safe, is this particular one. 

You can see the specialty menu above- the farmer’s tan isn’t peppermint mocha, which I’ve done already. But rather, white chocolate and caramel. People who don’t order the usual peppermint, typically opt for this, according to the lovely lady behind the counter.

I’ve tried this once before, in the iced variant. Frankly speaking, the hot version is leaps and bounds better. I firmly believe that this is a drink that begs to be served hot. The warmth radiating from the cup really lends to the richness and weight of the coffee and makes it a genuinely pleasant experience.

This is a somewhat weighty drink that settles on the tongue and leaves a lingering sensation of white chocolate. The caramel, while usually being an overwhelming flavor, is quite pleasant. It’s the very first flavor I notice, but it does fade out and let the white chocolate have some screen time. It has a lovely harmony that just works. It is rather rich, however, so it may fill you up if you drink it before a meal. 

An interesting thing I noticed with this particular latte is that I picked up some fruity notes underneath the predominant flavors. It takes nothing from the drink but adds some wonderful dimension to the texture. It added a great counterpoint to any residual bitterness left from the espresso. I didn’t notice the same with the Be Mine latte, strangely enough.

 

taste; /5

  I feel like Iron Bank deserves another 5/5 for this Winter Wish. This was delicious and makes a great Latte to drink up to Christmas. Seriously, if the Thanksgiving and Hugs is for November, the Farmer’s Tan is the time leading up to the big day. It’s a modest flavor of coffee that’s timeless and done well. My only wish right now is that I had more.

 

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: Custom Coffee from My Boulange

 


This Winter Wish comes from My Boulange, here in my own little town. You guys probably can’t tell, but my favorite thing to do is ask a barista what their favorite drink is for whatever occasion and then go with that. I find some gold with this method, and highly recommend it if you like getting out of your comfort zone. If you give this method of selection a try, let us know how it goes!

The sweet (and patient) barista/cashier, made a custom off-menu drink for me this afternoon, after asking tentatively if I minded cinnamon. She whipped up a latte with Mocha, Caramel and Praline. Which makes a lot of sense to me, because I’m somewhat reminded of hot cocoa. It’s very gentle for a latte, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. We’re not sure what to dub this delicious concoction, and I’ll leave it up to a vote here if you have any ideas!

It has a pleasant warm weight on the tongue and a very mild coffee flavor lingering just under the sweetness. This is another Latte I can’t recommend enough for those who aren’t huge fans of coffee and Espresso in general. This should be right up your alley. It’s a very subtle and nostalgic experience, drinking this.

When the whipped cream melted a fair bit, the hot cocoa illusion was strengthened and it takes me back to when I used to drink cocoa with cinnamon as a child. I’m exceptionally pleased with this particular adventure out of the menu items.
The espresso flavor is fairly muted, and there’s no burn from the lurking bitterness. It tastes like a sweet nostalgia, from simpler and sweeter times. I do want to note that it’s fairly rich, as well, so I would suggest starting with either an empty stomach or drink this as dessert. It’s quite filling for a beverage. Sadly, I ordered a lunch and I’m not certain I can eat it, but I can say one thing for sure: I have no regrets.

Name this Winter Wish! Cast your vote in the comment section below

 

You can also check out our Winter pick for Midtown Coffee, by clicking here! Or, alternatively, you can check out the other delicious treat we were served there.

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!

Hometown Cravings; First Tryday Friday!

 Midtown Coffeehouse has been a staple in my coffee habit since I discovered them about a year ago. I’ve written a bit about them previously, like the Razzle Dazzle and the Caramelnilla. Both of those are solid choices, but to bring in new interesting content for you guys, I need to branch out. What better time to branch out than a new Series that I’ve decided to dub Tryday?

              If you follow the twitter or facebook, you may have seen my curiosity about coffee soda. (< Link) The consensus when I made it at home, was not good. I didn’t like it initially and I continued to not like it after I tried to make it more “mine”. A real bummer, but I intend to revisit it and see if I can make one that I do like. Surely it exists, and I will find it.

              This evening after walking into Midtown Coffee, I noticed their chalkboard that usually has their specials had something different. It enticed me to ask about Barista’s Choice selections. Always in the spirit to test my taste buds, I obliged and was introduced to a menu outlining their personal favorites. All of them off-menu and all unique in their own way.

Coffee Soda!

              The one that especially stood out to me was the Dirty Vanilla Coke. Coffee and Soda? Where have I heard that before? Right….

It scared me and piqued my curiosity- so hesitant (and somehow excited), I ordered it. While in various stages of preparation, it foamed intensely and they had to cull some, if not, most of it. Once the drink was in my hand, I took the chance and tried it in front of the barista. And the panel says….


 

              Still not my thing. The carbonation from the coke mixed discordantly with the espresso making a very strange aftertaste. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone with the recipe and done the double shot. It’s a really unique and jarring contrast of saccharine sweetness and espresso. I don’t feel like it meshes too well. The flavors are a little too different to be able to go together in a pleasant way. I enjoy the coke flavor, but only for a split second before the espresso chimes in. It has a vaguely fruity flavor that I think is being amplified by the sugar content.

Ultimately not my thing in the least, I do want to make it clear that this is not a reflection on Midtown. You win some, you lose some when you take a gamble on a new treat and I’m going to call this one a loss. But, I will say that it tastes pretty similar to my attempt, which means that I did it right. So… win?

              BUT, I returned to the counter with my tail between my legs and admitted that I had to surrender to the Dirty Vanilla Coka. They suggested the Choddy, which is Cold Brew, Milk and Mocha. I was dubious, since I had been burned by my latest encounter with Coffee Soda.

Choddy
Midtown’s Choddy- yum!

              I’m happy to report, that while I have never been altogether too fond of cold brew, I’m happy I took the chance. They described it as “Chocolate milk with a nice coffee flavor”, which is quite accurate. It smells a bit bold and has a nice edge to the sweet smell of chocolate. The predominant flavor is much like dark chocolate. Which, is to say, it’s sweet with a little bitterness to temper it.

              Though they use the same beans in this beverage, I’m not picking up any hint of the fruitiness that I was getting from the other one and I’m almost 100% sure that it was coke over-exaggerating the undertones. I do suggest a hearty sloshing around of this one, as it does get a touch more bitter if you let it sit still for a few minutes. Definitely not one to chug, this one should sipped slow and savored.

 

Taste; /5

              For my ratings, unfortunately since I still don’t like the Coffee/Soda duo, this one gets a 1 out of 5. I’m still curious as to where that fruity undertone was coming from.

Taste; /5

              My second rating, for the strangely named Choddy is a 5/5 because I was completely in love with every drop in that cup. I was legitimately sad to look down and see that it was empty. Coffee and Chocolate milk? Amazing pairing!

Hometown Cravings: Valentines All Year Long

Iron Bank Latte and Sticker
Be Mine Latte and my sticker collection begins!

 

I finally had the opportunity to return to Iron Bank after my previous visit. I revisited my all-time favorite latte, their Be Mine specialty latte. It’s always been my favorite menu item and I’ve had it maybe 20 times, and that’s no exaggeration. That may actually be a low-ball estimate if I’m being honest.

Be Mine is nestled in with a variety of other specialty beverages, which you can see listed in the above image. I’m planning to feature another one of the delicious choices above for our Winter Surprise. 

A quick search will set this drink apart from other similarly named Lattes. A lot of the ones I found in my research include cherry in the mix, which honestly doesn’t sound too appetizing to me personally. I’m glad that Iron Bank decided to forgo the usual Valentines Mixture and go for something else.

As should be evident by now, I adore this drink. The trifecta of vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon have such a perfect harmony. It may be due to my preference to get this made a bit sweeter than usual, but in my opinion, it tastes quite a bit like chocolate milk with cinnamon thrown in. The cinnamon is the predominant flavor with the vanilla and chocolate coming in at a tie and balancing nicely. There’s a pleasant weight to the coffee that leaves a hint of espresso lingering, but nothing particularly biting. 

I honestly don’t taste any bitterness in this particular latte (probably thanks to my sweet tooth). Iron Bank has created a perfect drink for the people who aren’t too big on coffee in general. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s perfect to sip during a relaxing day just people watching, as is my habit. 

Of course, I quite enjoyed my return to Iron bank and the lovely ladies behind the counter were friendly in a genuine way. Honestly, it’s been so long that I forgot how much I love their entire aesthetic. I didn’t go crazy on describing their aesthetic here, due to the previous post. Check it out if you’re curious!

 

Taste: /5

Seriously, I just love this drink way too much. It became somewhat of an obsession for me a while ago. Revisiting this drink reminded me why. Working so close to Iron Bank may present a problem for my wallet.

 

 

 

Panera Two-fer: Two reviews for the price of one!

Hi guys! So, I have to confess something to you, and you may laugh, but here goes… I forgot Panera bread existed. I definitely forgot that it was in my town. Since Panera is a fairly sizeable chain, I won’t be adding it to Hometown Cravings. I may make another post category for large chains.

 

Now, guys, I know Wheely’s is a chain. But it’s not a HUGE one like, say, Panera, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and the like. So that one can maintain it’s HC position.

 

This is a lazy Sunday if there ever was one, I woke up and checked our networks then decided I was going to head out and be lazy somewhere else. That laziness snuck into my speech at Panera, as I forgot to specify which Caffe Mocha I wanted, and got the wrong one. I did get it corrected, but I want it to be known that it was 110% my fault for not saying. But, since they can’t take a drink back after they do the handoff, I can review both the hot and iced versions of Panera’s Caffe Mocha. I also got myself a cheese danish for breakfast, but I don’t expect anything much out of myself as far reviewing that goes…. aside from me being happy it’s cream cheese.

My breakfast for this Sunday. Am I instagram famous yet?

 

 

For the first order of business, I’ll talk about my feelings on the Iced Mocha. Honestly, not the biggest fan. It’s not particularly strong in the tastes-like-coffee category, and it has a slight thickness in texture that strikes me as strange. It’s almost reminiscent of chocolate jello, in flavor. It’s not overbearingly sweet, and though the menu seems to say it has espresso, I’m not tasting it. After becoming acclimated to the flavor, it fades into blandness and after a few moments, I stop tasting anything at all.

 

Since I hit a wall with the iced one, I’ll go ahead and move on to the regular, hot Caffe Mocha. My first thought was that I wasn’t very big on this one either. It tastes more like coffee than its iced counterpart, but the mocha flavor is so invisible. I feel like the coffee taste (as light as it is) totally overpowers the mocha. It’s not bitter, and on a lazy Sunday when you don’t know what you feel like doing, it’ll just suffice. I mean it’s better than bottled coffees you can find at gas stations, even though it has a quality that reminds me of Keurig coffee

 

The best part of my Panera visit is the one I knew I would like. The Cheese Danish is just as good as I was thinking it would be. I can’t really recommend you get the coffee, but if you like cream cheese pastries, you’ll like this one. This experience makes me want to find something here that I want to rave about, but that’s for another time. 

 

Time for a disclaimer, I think, I know it might look like I go into chains, order coffee and then complain about it. But I really go into this trying to find something good that I can wholeheartedly recommend. I’m not going to lie to you guys or advertise something I don’t believe in- this isn’t a sales blog, and it’s not run by a business.

My rating for this coffee will be combined, in the spirit of charity.

INSTAGRAMETER; /5

If you’ve seen one Panera, you’ve seen them all. It maintains a rating of 2 because I liked the few pieces of art and the lighting. Definitely won’t bring you instafame, but it’ll show that you leave the house.

 

Panera Cat is the piece of art that cemented my rating, btw

All hail Panera cat, the bringer of adequate ratings!

 

TASTE; /5

TASTE; /5