Chill Treats; UniquExpressions is Heavenly

Heavenly Caramel Iced Latte
I always get so thrilled when they bring out these cups

  City; Pine Mountain, Georgia
  Stop; UniquExpressions
  Coffee; Heavenly Caramel- Caramel and Vanilla

      On a beautiful weekend of content, my partner and I returned to Pine Mountain Georgia, home of UniquExpressions. We went to try something new this time, and I gave the Heavenly Caramel iced Latte a try. This was an immensely refreshing choice. I adore caramel, and this one has it in spades. My only regret is that we never got to see the sunset while we were there, and believe me, guys. Sunset is Beautiful in Pine Mountain.

     As usual, the beautiful workers behind the counter were amazing. They have building rapport down to an art and are so nice to chat with. I love just asking them for their favorite items, and taking a chance. This time, I got some ideas that I balked at, maybe I’ll be brave down the road and try something way out of my comfort zone (the coffee soda debacle has me reluctant).

Click the link in the tweet for a spoiler to how that came out.

 
     UniquExpressions consistently makes an amazing product. This Heavenly Caramel latte was pleasantly sweet, but certainly not overly so. Though, it did toe the line for a couple of sips. I did find the overall flavor to be harmonious, but definitely more on the sweeter side. The coffee flavor lurking under the caramel was what made the drink so refreshing on a hot day.

     The coffee flavor barely lingered on my tongue, which I attribute to the sweetness of the caramel. Speaking of the caramel, it was the has the final word where the flavor is concerned. This is another drink I would highly recommend for my readers who are just getting started drinking (and enjoying) coffee. It’s one of most sweet, yet somehow mellow coffees I’ve had. I’m still definitely partial to the Prince Harry

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Fourth of July Coffee Chaos!

 Hey guys, welcome to a very special and timely Fourth of July post! Over the past week or so, I’ve been posting to Instagram a few different tries at a Fourth of July Frappe. Not going to lie, it didn’t come out as intended. I had loads of fun trying to figure out how to get my layers right, and balancing the coffee flavor in with a recipe I found. The initial recipe didn’t include coffee, but I was determined. I took it a step further and made espresso with my handy dandy espresso machine. 

I want to let you guys in on my initial idea. I found the recipe here, and as you can see it doesn’t require coffee. My plan was similar to this recipe, but to add coffee and food coloring. I wanted, initially Raspberry flavored red whipped cream and blue and white coffee. I ended up scrapping the red flavored topping in favor of sprinkles and using red and blue in the mixture.

This first attempt didn’t have coffee and so was perfectly white aside from the funfetti. I sort of liked it, but couldn’t commit because, in my head, can I really call it coffee if it doesn’t have coffee in it? I had tried to get the red and blue in the whipped cream, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. It was a mess. A delicious mess. My fourth of July preparations could definitely have started a little better.

This second attempt went a little better, I added about 6 ounces of coffee to it which was enough to throw off the color. Dang. So I decided to get the blue and red from the beverage itself and rely on the cream for white. I split the mixture and dyed it separately, I poured the blue on the bottom. I really wanted the red to touch the whipped cream, but of course, it couldn’t cooperate. The red went beneath the blue and made this neat tie-die effect. 

This third one, was when I recruited outside help and brought my Fiance` in to see if we could work some magic. Spoiler: We couldn’t. I think the issue here started when I blended the ice too finely and messed up the texture. We may have spent a while trying to get the blue and red to different densities with cream and sugar. We poured the blue on the bottom, as it was meant to be the heaviest (and sweetest!). We started pouring in the red at an angle, and it made a cool side-by-side effect. It was supposed to be on top but, I believed it was salvageable. I feel like the downfall here was that we waited entirely too long, and spent too long trying to add sugar and cream, while the ice was already so fine. 

 

This fourth one was the attempt of my Fiance` on his own. He did much differently than I did, and went with just a latte sort of drink. I didn’t monitor him as he made this, because I wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing. He did tell me that he stuck the blue in the freezer alone for a while, just to make sure it stayed where it belonged. Here’s the photo of his valiant attempt, along with an all-american dinner (or part of it!) and a 4th of July Instagram Staple.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get this frappe to do what I wanted it to for over 2 weeks, and had these previous pictures as my results. Kind of disappointed in my own inability to get ice to bend to my will, but not too upset. It was a learning experience and I look forward to learning and creating my own drinks. 

As mentioned, here’s the recipe for the first two attempts!

Fourth of July Frappe Recipe

6 to 8 oz of milk

1 tbsp of vanilla non-dairy creamer

1 or 2 tablespoons of vanilla syrup

3 tbsp of funfetti cake mix (dry)

1.5 cups of ice

6 to 8 oz of coffee (espresso if you’re feeling brave)

 

Throw all of the ingredients above in the blender, I haven’t found that the order matters. After a few seconds of blending (barista’s choice!) pour it into your cup. If you want to dye your drink more than one color, separate the mixture into different cups and dye it, then combine it at the end.

Add whipped cream to the top, if desired and any other aesthetic touches. Then you’re good to go!

The Domestic Rebel’s recipe calls for a handful of ice, I recommend 1.5 cups if you want more of a Venti size drink. I’ll be trying to revisit this drink next year with fresh eyes and experience.

Keep an eye out for future m̶i̶s̶h̶a̶p̶s̶  experiments. I hope to explore making home coffees a bit more and gain valuable experience for my future reviews.

 

Quickie: My Favorite Addiction

Hi everyone, my name is Jill and I have a problem. Since that first post on My Favorite Muffin, I’ve been back 4 or 5 times. It’s shaping up to be a real problem for my bank account. With all of the delicious treats, I can’t say that I’m too upset. Today I decided to camp out and have a couple cups of coffee and try on of their gourmet bagel sandwiches. I ordered one of their specialty coffees today, the Cafe Caramello alongside a Southern Tradition sandwich on a cheddar bagel. I’ve been eye-balling their sandwich menu since my first visit, so I’m excited to dig in!

 

 

The Cafe Caramello has a name that slightly intimidated me. Honestly, I was expecting something incredibly bitter and to get mowed down by a strong espresso flavor (and then not sleep for a few days). What I got instead was a mouthful of smooth refreshing coffee with a lovely sweet harmony of caramel chiming in. It feels quite delicately flavored. The balance is impeccable. 

It’s nicely light-bodied, and I’m very pleasantly surprised. This is definitely a coffee for those who prefer a more mild coffee drinking experience. If you’re just getting started on your coffee journey, give the Cafe Caramello a try!

This sandwich is fantastic- the basic nature of the filling is made more delicious by the cheddar bagel. The first flavor I get when digging in is a slight saltiness from the bagel, it offers a nice counterpoint to my coffee. Certainly don’t recommend taking a bite then a drink, the two flavors don’t go at all together- learn from my mistakes, guys. 

I just want to rave on their wonderful prices again, they are spectacularly fairly priced. My only gripe is that they do close on 4 all week, which doesn’t fare well for my need to drink coffee in the evening. 

Taste; /5

I don’t know if I feel like this is a 5/5, but it’s really close. I’m starting to get to where I’m preferring a little bite to my coffee, which this one lacks. But I stand by my recommendation for newbies to coffee!

 

 

Hometown Cravings: My Favorite Muffin

Stop: My Favorite Muffin
City: Columbus, GA
Treats: Creme’ Caramel Iced Latte, Cinnamon Crumble Muffin, Strawberry Cheesecake Muffin and Butterscotch Muffin

 

    Guys, guys, guys… I feel cheated. Really. My Favorite Muffin hid from me for so long. I had no idea that there was another coffee shop in town and especially had no idea that it was so close to home and delectable to boot! I happened across them on Facebook among the several (sadly) shut-down establishments of the recent past. Exasperated from the several numbers that had been disconnected, I gave them a try with hope and to my great pleasure they answered! My propensity for iced coffee would be accommodated but the problem was that they closed at 4- bummer. My addiction would have to wait.

Our area has been plagued with some fairly terrible weather since the birthday post, and today was no different. I waited for the weather to make up its mind and headed out. The storefront is fairly small and unassuming, so I almost missed it entirely. Had I not been staring at their logo yesterday, I never would have seen it. This is due in part to the dreary lighting and my own blindness. 

 

Feeling a little adventurous on this #rainyday. Let’s try a new place!

A post shared by java and jeans (@java_and_jeans) on

For being small and somewhat simple, I found it rather charming. Upon stepping inside I was greeted pleasantly by the woman behind the counter. I deliberated for a moment before asking her about her preference and went with that. I do want to note, that for those of you who enjoy a frappe, they are able to take care of your tastes here as well! The caramel decadence frappe that they offered almost swayed me, but I opted for the Creme’ Caramel iced latte as was recommended. 

The coffee was rich and flavorful, and in my infinite wisdom, I forgot to ask what sort of roast they use. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d wager dark roast by the flavor. The caramel flavoring was light and didn’t overpower the flavor of the coffee itself, which was a surprise. I’m so used to caramel being used in excess, and while I enjoy caramel coffee, I do enjoy the coffee part especially. The richness of the coffee lingers on the tongue after drinking leaving you wanting more. Until the cup is gone, I’m going to be very happy. 

 

It be much akin to a crime if I didn’t try a couple muffins, from a place called literally My Favorite Muffin. Not going to lie, guys, this place quickly became My favorite muffin place. The pricing is very fair, 2 large muffins and a micro-muffin was only about 5 dollars. And the quality of the muffins is superb, on top of that. I chose the strawberry for myself and I have one word: YUM. The muffin is so soft, even when not heated. The Strawberry Cheesecake bits are swirled in, and make it so soft and sweet. It feels really decadent and rich- I almost feel bad for eating it. Almost. There’s a great balance of strawberry and cream cheese and it makes me feel like I’m eating an actual cheesecake.

The Butterscotch minimuffin tastes much more mild in comparison to the somewhat vocal strawberry, it has a tiny bit of crunch. I’m not sure if it’s the butterscotch or the baking and honestly, I’m okay with either because it was also delicious. I’m still really feeling the strawberry swirl muffin, so I’m going to recommend that! I got the cinnamon crumble one for my fiance’, since that’s his go-to for muffins and bagels, I can’t speak for it though.

If none of those sounds like something you’d be into, don’t worry, they have quite a selection!

My favorite muffin muffin collection
Couldn’t quite fit the whole selection in frame. When I go back I’m pretty sure I’m going to be just as stumped as I was this time. They all look SO good!

Before I close this review out, I do want to give a shoutout to the exceptional staff of this location!  While I was placing the order for the muffins, the sky opened up and drenched the entire town (or at least my location, but the entire town sounds so much more dramatic), I was about to risk going into the rain and continuing my errands when I was very nicely invited to stay dry inside with them “We can turn on Netflix- is Pocahontas okay with everyone?”. We watched the movie for a little bit and when the rain let up, I left- but rest assured, I’ll be back. 

The staff is so sweet and made me feel so welcome. They just gained a regular!

Instagrameter: /5

   The interior was also rather unassuming and comfortable. Their seating wasn’t too hard, and for some reason I didn’t take a photo of the seating area. It’s what would expect from a business and nicely clean. These ladies take pride in the shop and it shows!

Taste: /5

  I’m really feeling a 5/5 for the entire experience. They really are My Favorite Muffin. Good job, guys!

Before I call this review done, I also want to direct our readers to their Facebook where they advertise their Flavor of the Month! March was Irish Cream, April was Salted Caramel, May is Creme’ Brulee…. I wonder what’s next?

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!

 

Quickie: Starbucks Did Something Right

Hey everyone! I’ve been trying to find something rave on from Starbucks (Aside from my old usual mocha frappe), and I found it, in an unlikely place on their menu. I’ve previously, only had the Black and White Mocha, White Chocolate Mocha with caramel and that… cinnamon thing, I had before. 

 

Seriously, the Coconut Milk Vanilla (iced) Latte was fantastic. I’ve never cared too much for coconut milk, and I’ve surely never had it in my coffee. Thi drink was a surprise and a half, after the first taste, I was hooked. It had a very harmonious flavor with the coconut and vanilla mixing, and left me feeling very zen. 

Without a doubt, this is a great vacation drink. If you enjoy coffee that tastes a little stronger, with a very down-to-earth sweetness, this is the drink for you! 

I see you Starbucks, good job!

 

Taste; 

Coffee Abroad; Revisiting Good Memories with UniquExpressions

On February 17th of this year, my boyfriend and I visited the charming town of Pine Mountain, Georgia and visited the coffee shop UniquExpressions. My partner isn’t a fan of coffee for the most part, and gets turned off by an espresso flavor so finding coffee for him is a challenge. Honestly, we were very surprised by this little shop and fell in love with it. Afterward, he surprised me with my engagement ring, so needless to say we have some good associations with this place.

 

We have not shut up about it since then and I’ve been itching to take Jeans there with us. Today, I got my wish. We made a day trip to Pine Mountain and treated ourselves to the most AMAZING burger I’ve seen in a small town from Eatz on the Corner. Seriously, it was phenomenal, seasoned so well and cooked perfectly. Look at this beautiful thing. 

 

For dessert, as is our custom, we hoofed it across main street and to the main attraction. UniquExpressions- we couldn’t wait.

We have done nothing but talk it up since February, and finally got the chance to bring her. The inside of the shop is incredibly homey and feels a little Boho to me, with the soft mismatched seating. It feels welcoming and comfortable and I had to fight the urge to retrieve my laptop and geek out.

 

 

There was also the cutest decor above the large window that I would love to take home- you can view it above. The idea is so inspired! I loved the coffee cups hanging with the fairy lights. 

Coffee and their shoe selection
Shoes and Coffee- a match made in heaven!

We sat down to enjoy our drinks- Jeans and I got one of their signature drinks, the Prince Harry iced latte. The drink is a made from a dark roast with Chocolate, Caramel, and English Toffee flavors. Their beans are a locally sourced proprietary blend that they have posted by the register for the curious.

UniquExpresions Blend info
UniquExpressions was kind enough to display their blend information at the register

The coffee was as fantastic as I remember- the flavors are incredibly smooth and balanced without a hint of bitterness. The toffee was the predominant flavor and followed nicely by the rich mocha and caramel. There is espresso in it, but the flavor is so subtle and sweet that it even my coffee-ambivalent partner was enamored. I did try a second one from them today, since we were there for a while and the prices are so fair.

The second drink I got was the Nobel Prize Latte which was English Toffee and Vanilla- honestly, it was quite similar to the Prince Harry, while delicious, I didn’t taste the vanilla under the toffee, save but for a whisper.  You really can’t go wrong with any option here- because although I couldn’t taste the secondary flavor, it was delectable. When I go back, I’m going to be more adventurous. There are so many options to choose from!

Honestly, this place has some of the best coffee I’ve had so far- it’s sweet, flavorful, smooth and has just a little bit of a nutty flavor that makes it all pop. So far, this town has a lot going for it. Gorgeous views, wonderful burgers and incredible coffee. If you find yourself anywhere near the area, I highly recommend a visit to Pine Mountain. 

 

Instagrameter; /5

Taste; /5

 

    Pine Mountain gets my first 5/5 on both counts- for the wonderful atmosphere, service and flavors!