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: 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!

Coffee Abroad; Twofer with Lightnin Bugs!

Coffee Abroad; Twofer with Lightnin Bugs!

  For an adventure, my lovely partner and I headed to Warm Springs, about an hour outside of our hometown. The small town of Warm Springs, Georgia has some of that small-town-charm that I’m so big on. We had found that there was another coffee shop out near UniquExpressions and we had to see how it stacked up against one of my all-time favorite spots.
 
        The cafe in Warm Springs is called Lightnin Bugs, and the ladies behind the counter were polite and courteous- always a plus! The hype was real when we walked in and saw the decor- I adored all of the wall hangings, and low-key want to buy one for our kitchen! The Lightnin Bugs Cafe has a fairly large shop area that has a variety of items, ranging from purses and apparel to stuffed animals. I find it really cool, because up to recently, I had never seen a coffee shop that also sold wares. Check out the small slide-show below for a quick peek at their inventory!
 

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        We perused the menu for a while and eventually decided on the French Vanilla Iced Latte, since i don’t think I’ve done this basic coffee-staple on the blog quite yet! Sadly, the picture I took of the drink got erased in the meantime between actually drinking the coffee and writing this post. It was just your basic coffee cup, though so you’re not missing too much there as far as aesthetic goes.
        
        I was really not too excited to do a a writeup on this drink.  It had a very generic flavor that was simiar to the Starbucks Frappe you can get in the convenience stores. In fact, it was so similar in flavor to that, that I’m half convinced that that’s what I served. It was extremely mild and a little over-sweet. The vanilla, while refreshing and likewise on the overly saccharine side. The coffee had little to no bite, unfortunately. Sadly, I can’t recommend this particular drink just due to to the over-whelming generic quality of it.
 
        I did get another beverage tho that I did quite enjoy- I tried a hot Peppermint Bark Latte. I really get the feeling that this was a light roast, due to the mildness of the blend. The flavor was not unlike a York’s Peppermint Patty, to my great pleasure. There was a light mingling harmony of flavors, with the peppermint and the dark chocolate that was charming and rich. The mildness of the coffee itself lent to a more relaxed vibe that I altogether enjoyed. 
 
            This was definitely one of those times that I enjoyed the Hot latter a fair bit more than the iced. Which is rare, as I’m generally pretty big on iced coffee. I do intend to return to Lightnin Bugs Cafe to give them another go with a different flavor. I feel like they have such potential and I need to see what they can do. Next time I return, I intend to sample something from their personal favorites and see how it stacks up.
 
        My general consensus for Lightnin Bugs Cafe, right now, is that their hot drinks are leaps and bounds better than their iced variants. They have a charming, down-home aesthetic with baked goods and wall hangings adorning the actual cafe portion of their building. They have some cute wares that you can see in the pictures I captured while I was there.
 
        No one yet has managed to dethrone UniquExpressions, we’ll see if one day someone manages to come close!
 

Instagrameter; /5

    I really liked their walkway to the door. The hanging plants made me feel like I was (somehow) back in time. It has a very old-timey feel that is only magnified by the quaintness of the town in which it resides. I loved their ambiance, and the neutral tones that were contrasting nicely with the banners that were hung along the outside.

Vanilla Latte Taste; /5

    Generally not something to write home about. If you like Starbucks Bottled Frappes, you may like this iced latte. I know that this comes across as just being overly negative towards this particular drink- but it really was that similar to a bottled coffee. I hope to have something different to say on my return. 

Peppermint Bark Taste; /5

    This one was much better than the iced beverage- it had a distinctly holiday vibe. I really love the harmony of Mint and Dark Chocolate, and this one made me very happy. Despite the climbing temperatures outside. It’s not a menu item, so if you find yourself in their cafe, just tell them the recipe!

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.

 

 

 

Hometown Cravings: It’s a Caramelnilla kind of day

City:  Columbus, GA
Stop: Midtown Coffee
Drink: 
Caramelnilla

Hi everyone, guess what time it is? It’s time to revisit the downhome shops that Columbus has in store for us. Since I already revisited Fountain City for this series, I took a moment to return to Midtown Coffee once again, since they struck gold once.

After a moment of indecision, I settled on the Caramelnilla Latte (iced this time, so no art, sadly- no time to relax today). Since I showed you the interior last time, I won’t bore you with those details. And this post will consist of my thoughts and rating for this Latte.

Full disclosure, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this drink, but my second. But I couldn’t very well, write on it unless I have it in front of me. So onto the coffee.

Caramelnilla Coffee in the wild
Had to come up with a good way to illustrate how delicious this drink is!

The coffee, unlike the imitation coffee drinks I’ve sampled, tastes sweet and strong like a good coffee should. It’s got a nice full body and low acidity, and in stark contrast to the aforementioned imposters, the flavor that lingers is the sweetness of the mingling vanilla and caramel.

Overall the drink feels balanced and pleasing. It’s strong without being bitter and sweet without being overly saccharine. Which is quite the achievement. The underlying flavor is a little nutty, which isn’t a bad thing and adds a lovely bit of contrast in its softness.

Taste; 5 out of 5/5

With all of the good qualities in this coffee, I can’t think of any reason not to give it a solid 5/5 rating. Good job, Midtown Coffee!

 

Hometown Cravings; Best Seller, The Snickers Freezer

City: Columbus, GA
Stop: 
Fountain City Coffee
Drink: Snickers Freeze

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Hometown Cravings! I visited Fountain City Coffee once again to try one of their best selling items: The Snickers Freezer. In contrast to the Heath Freezer, I got last time, they don’t have crunched up candy bars but instead use syrup. Since none of my qualifications for this blog state that a coffee must have finely ground candy, I said: “why not?” and decided to give it a go!

The Snickers Freezer has much the same consistency of the Heath, sans candy dust. Like a milkshake- but better! The predominant flavor is nutty with mocha undertones. I feel like the sweetness is trying to emulate the nougat, even if it’s not, the nougat taste certainly comes to mind. It also has a slight bitterness that sticks around as an afterthought to the mocha.

When it comes to using the syrup to create flavors, you can tell. That being said, it’s not bad at all. In fact, they do get admirably close to the flavor of a Snickers candy bar. And for that, I applaud them.

Taste; 3.5 out of 5/5

Would I recommend this drink? Certainly! If you’re a big Snickers fan, this will satisfy any craving you have for the treat. I got the freezer, but they can make it in a hot variant or regular Iced.

 

Coffee Abroad; Just how Mama used to make it!

City: Auburn, Alabama
Shop: Mama Mocha’s
Drink: White Russian

I’ve been wanting to come back here since we found it a few weeks ago, before our trip to Homewood. It has a really mellow lighting that is calming and tranquil when paired with the comfortable seating options it really makes you feel right home. Mama Mocha’s has a wide open floor plan with a somewhat disheveled charm that feels altogether welcoming. And though they have a menu with so many things, it’s not intimidating in the least because the baristas are so knowledgeable and patient. 

This evening when we went, it was busy. Like really busy. It’s near Finals time and there were college students lounged out everywhere (some with blankets!). In order to respect them, I didn’t take pictures of my own but took some from google reviews that have been posted.

Mama Mocha's has quite the extensive menu

The view when you walk up to the counter! Look at all of those choices!
My favorite corner of the seating area- that couch is insanely plush!

When I went to place my order, I was tossed up between the White Russian (toffee and white mocha) or the Drunken Waffle (Maple and Heavy Caramel), I asked the barista what she liked better and ended up opting with her advice; the White Russian. It came out the moment I was done paying, and the service was phenomenal.

The drink itself smells a little like candy, which is to say it’s very sweet smelling. Luckily though, it’s not quite as sweet as it smells with a pleasant bite from the espresso acting as a precursor to the somewhat forceful toffee flavor. It reaches a lovely contrast as the flavor disburses. The espresso is certainly potent because I’m not going to lie, I feel raring to go!

If you don’t like toffee, this drink is definitely not for you because the toffee is definitely noticeable. If you enjoy toffee or toffee flavors, then I urge you to give this drink a try. Full disclosure, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried this, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Mama Mocha's date night

Yum!

Instagrameter; 3.5 out of 5/5

for the artsy layout and the cloth covering that could be seen as an interesting backdrop to photos, I give Mama Mocha’s a 3.5 out of 5.

Taste; 4.5 out of 5/5

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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Hometown Cravings: Give ’em the Ole Razzle Dazzle

City: Columbus, GA
Stop: Midtown Coffee
Drink: Razzle Dazzle

A little out of the way and a fair way down 13th street, (far enough for me to think I somehow went the wrong way) rests another hidden gem. Midtown Coffee sits among various boutiques and restaurants that have trendy balconies and fairy lights. The exterior feels classic and timeless and almost reminds me of a bygone era.

Walking in, the hum of patrons talking and the decor immediately makes this shop feel homey and wholesome. Belle Bottom Jeans feels like it’s where the “cool Christians go for Bible Study” and there are some scripture references and even the Wi-Fi Password supports that sentiment. They have fairy lights hanging from some industrial feeling rafters (?). I’m noticing a trend here of hip industrial-eque establishments. I’m definitely not complaining. The music is more in the interest of ambiance and just is the perfect volume to be a soft background noise.

The handwritten menu signs give it comfortable and unintimidating air, as opposed to places with impersonal and cramped menus.

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This time I did try something new, the Razzle Dazzle, a raspberry mocha. The artful presentation gives it an immediate lead on the instagrameter. But how’s it taste? The most prominent flavor is Raspberry with a soft whisper of mocha undertones. The balance achieved by this is interesting because it’s usually the other way around. The mocha flavor isn’t overwhelming or bitter. Overall the drink is smooth and soft- goes down easy and feels like the perfect drink for the holiday season if I can get away from Peppermint Mocha.

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Drinking it, as good as it was, was exceptionally difficult for me as the latte` art is just too cute. I imagine it’ll get easy to just devour the art as we grow, but for now, I just really want to enjoy the dainty and photogenic drink in front of me. Unfortunately, I do have to drink it before it gets cold. I do want to note before I issue my ratings, that the drink itself really reminds me of the Raspberry Dark Chocolate Break-Apart treat. It was a pleasant surprise to see that resemblance because I loved those as a child and even more so now.

Needless to say, I certainly recommend MitownCoffee, on the basis of taste and environment. I do want to add the superb customer service, too. They will steep your tea again and reheat your coffee which was a surprise!

Onto the ratings!

Instagrameter; Te Amo Insta/5
Taste; Ohenrys taste/5

 

-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