How To Save Money On Pumpkin Spice Lattes

1. Join a rewards program from your favourite coffeeshop chain to get free drinks. Tim Hortons, Starbucks etc have their own reward program either on their app or website, choose a rewards level, start earning points and redeem those points for your favourite beverages, baked goods or food.

2. Look out for discounted cards that any of the coffeeshops have on sale in their website or in store. It’s basically a gift card for less than its face value, and you’ll get more for your money at your coffeeshop. Great way to save some dollars.

3. Or you can make it at home. Indulge in a pumpkin spice latte any time you like with this great do-it-yourself recipe that I had posted here on my blog.

4. Find alternate cafes where they might charge you a little less but the taste will still be the same. Maybe the ingredients aren’t as rich as the ones at the big chains but I bet you they will still taste as delicious if not more.

5. There are several Pumpkin spice flavoured creamers you can buy year round to add to your coffee at home. This list will give you an idea of which ones to buy.

Prompt from 200 Fall Blog Post Ideas That Will Make You Delighted To Be Writing

I Don’t Want No Sugar In My Coffee

The lyrics to the Big Sugar song goes like this – “I don’t want no sugar in my coffee / makes me mean, makes me mean”. I don’t know about making me mean, I don’t think so but I am not taking any sugar in my coffee anymore. I just cut it out cold turkey. I did not slowly reduce my intake – from over 3 teaspoons in one cup of coffee – 3-4 cups a day – to none.

Just like that! I could not even imagine this before yesterday but this morning as I sit here with my first cup of the day, I am surprised at how quickly I have adjusted. Yesterday I had 4 cups of coffee and I slowly am getting adjusted to the lack of sugar. Slowly. My tongue is expecting the sweetness as is my brain and mouth but then the liquid hits. I will try to get some cream so I can add it to my coffee. Or maybe I will used to sugarless coffee. I have ordered some stevia but I won’t use it for now.

Funny thing is today, half asleep, I actually added coffee and sugar but I didn’t pour the boiling water yet. I was so used to doing these two steps – adding the instant coffee and then sugar – I stopped halfway through adding the sugar and kept that mug aside for my mother. I got another mug and used that without sugar. Old habits, as they say!

Costa Coffee’s Belgian Chocolate Frostino

British coffeehouse chain Costa Coffee has has a small footprint in the Indian landscape and have had an outlet in Lulu Mall located in Cochin since 2015. Overpriced for sure and with a more bitter taste than giants Starbucks or Indian chain Cafe Coffee Day, Costa coffees were something I had only when I went to the mall.

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, I have ordered a few coffees and frappes via either Swiggy or Zomato to quench my premium coffee thirst. Usually it is Starbucks or CCD. I think I have only ordered a latte from Costa Coffee once but I have been hearing about their Frostinos line which I had never tried before. Frostinos are a range of creamy iced drinks for utter indulgence. Available in 6 delicious flavours they are sure to be a hit of they already aren’t.

Double Chocolate Cookie, Vanilla Frostino, Coffee Frostino, Caramel Latte Frostino & Strawberry Cream Frostino are other options but the one I chose was the Belgian Chocolate Frostino: Belgian chocolate sauce blended with fresh milk and ice, finished with an extra swirl of sauce and fresh cream. Nice and thick and not too sweet – that was something I liked as it wasn’t an overdose of sugar. It has the bitterness of coffee with some sweetness of the Belgian chocolate. With lots of chocolate chips and cream. It’s really good!

Vanilla Lattes From CCD

Vanilla lattes are one of my favourite coffees to drink. Ofcourse now because of Covid I mostly order in my coffees, be it hot lattes or cappuccinos or cold frappes from one of the coffeeshops. Today’s brew is from Cafe Coffee Day. My once favourite place to go for a cold or hot coffee. They haven’t seemed to improve on their menu much but some of their coffees sure do hit the spot.

Vanilla lattes are made with 1?ÂĽ cups 2% milk, 2 tablespoons vanilla flavored syrup & 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger brewed espresso. Pour milk into a steaming pitcher and heat to 145 degrees F to 165 degrees F (65 to 70 degrees C) using the steaming wand. Measure the vanilla syrup into a large coffee mug. Brew espresso, then add to mug. Pour the steamed milk into the mug, using a spoon to hold back the foam. Spoon foam over the top.

These are best enjoyed hot and with a biscotti or some cookies on the side. Or maybe a muffin. Or even a sandwich. Hmmm I could go for a nice sandwich right about now.

Coffee Is Life

How many of you are coffee drinkers? I first started drinking coffee at around the age of 13. Once I stopped drinking milk – flavoured or otherwise – for breakfast I started drinking tea. Being in India, tea is a big thing but in the South we tend to drink a lot of coffee as well. Then ofcourse once the coffeeshop boom hit us, I think coffee drinking has a big boost in consumption numbers.

So like I said I started drinking tea at around 8 or 9 years old but I drank so little of it. I tend to not like tea with milk; the taste is off putting. Once I started drinking coffee, not only did I like the taste but I also liked the energy it gives me. Since that time – I am now 44 – I am kinda addicted to it. I need a big cup to just wake up in the morning and another cup a little later on. In the evening I want one more cup atleast and 2 unless I am drinking some juice or a Coke/Pepsi/7up or maybe a beer.

As I make my 3rd cup of coffee while still drafting this, I wish I had a nice big top of the line coffee machine that can make cappuccinos, lattes & espressos. Proper machine. And what about the frappes? I wish I could make them at home. Where is a food replicator when you need one eh?

Starbucks Cravings

Well it has happened. I guess I am a basic bitch! LOL, I hate that term and I will call all who use it to go and fuck off. Yeah, fuck off cause we are not basic bitches. But I, as do lots of people, love Starbucks coffee.

I had been waiting for years for Starbucks to finally come to our shores and they have. So it is plain and simple to see that I would want to visit them over and over again. Now because of Covid and because the only Starbucks we have in Cochin is in Lulu Mall (which is quite crowded) I do not want to go there. Instead Zomato has a delivery service agreement with them. So I have ordered a few coffees since they launched.

Now with the 4th coffee that I have had from them (5th if you count the macchiato I had in Chennai back in 2015) I have a greater appreciation for them. But not for the charges which are really high. Though my latest frappe from them wasn’t the greatest. It was a strawberries and cream frappucino which was more artificial tasting than anything and had no coffee flavour. Point to self; avoid anything strawberryish from Starbucks. I’m already awaiting my next orders from them since I am developing quite the craving for sweet coffee and whipped cream with dollops of sinful chocolate syrups.

If only they weren’t so damn expensive!

Yes! Finally We Have A Starbucks In Cochin

Read This. And then this little article. And then my first visit to a Starbucks (not in Cochin but in Chennai) back in 2015. And now….

We finally have a Starbucks open in Cochin! Finally after all this time. I first heard about Starbucks on a Discovery Channel program back in the 90s. I think. Coffeeshop culture hadn’t hit India at the time. Then Friends became a thing and Indian fans of the show wanted their own cafes. Enter Cafe Coffee Day which soon spread all over India and became our version of Tim Hortons & Starbucks. But we wanted more.

In 2008 I had heard about the possibilities of Starbucks coming to India but it was only in 2012 that they finally did launch – I was informed of this via an NYTimes article sent to me via Twitter by a Canadian who was living & working in India at the time. Starbucks had started a partnership with Tata Global Beverages LTD to launch Starbucks in India with 50 cafes. I visited a Starbucks for the first and only time back in 2016 when I was in Chennai and the mall that I was in just happened to have one. And now, 2020 we finally have a Starbucks in my hometown.

Located at Lulu Mall, Kochi is Starbucks’ 14th city and the company’s 201st store. I’m sure than in a few years we will have a store in Calicut, Trivandrum and maybe Thrissur as well. Now if I can get a part time job there to be able to afford the coffees and food.

Coffee Tumbler Collection

I like coffee. I like coffee cups and coffee mugs and coffee tumblers. And I cannot lie. I want to have a nice collection of different mugs with designs and logos on it. I currently have 2 coffee mugs, the regular stuff, which are predominantly white but have some colourful logos on it.

I also have a camera coffee mug and 2 more that I have still in the box. I just haven’t opened them up but I know that they are there. Back when I was teen, I bought my first unique looking coffee mug, different from the usual set that my family used, and I always wanted to drink my coffee from that mug.

I think I also have another one that is huge and it was a gift given to me by someone who for no reason that I can think of went away from my life quite shortly after I was given that gift. And now I have these two coffee mugs – very similar to the one that is shown here in the pic. These were sent as a gift to me and I love them. I will also look out for similar ones as well as I love these.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is a coffee drink made with a mix of traditional autumn spice flavors (cinnamon, nutmeg and clove), steamed milk, espresso, and often sugar, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice. Since 2015, it has also often contained a small amount of pumpkin puree. The drink is offered by Starbucks, Tim Hortons and many other cafés on a seasonal basis, usually available from late August through January.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a medium microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the milk is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.

Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Missing Cafes

IMG20200821171219One of the I miss since the Coronavirus hit us is sipping coffee in a nice cafe. I love coffee and I love sipping hot or cold coffee depending on the weather. But I rarely drink cold coffee at home since I don’t know how to make them. So when I am out and about I tend to look for a nice cafe and if I have time, will relax for an hour or so.

If it is regular day then I will have a cold coffee/frappe and if I am in the mood for extra sweetness, I will get one that has whipped cream or even ice cream in it. Or if it is a cold & rainy day then I will order a hot latte or mochacino and sip it slowly as the seconds tick over into minutes and minutes into an hour or so. And I can relax in the cafe, listen to some music on my headphones or watch whatever they have on the telly.

Since the lockdown I haven’t been out to get coffee. I have missed them and I do not know why I took this long to order some. Atleast some places do deliver. Cafe Coffee Day, which has dropped in quality quite a bit and still has some rather ridiculously priced, atleast they have decent coffee. And they have signed up with both Swiggy & Zomato for delivery. This past week I have ordered twice. I wanted a hot chocolate a few days and so got two – one for my mom and one for me. This past Thursday, after I had to go out for a couple of errands, I was siipping a banana caramel latte at home. Delicious. I still prefer the cafes though.

Sunday Morning Shopping In Hypermart

If you want to go to Lulu Hypermart for shopping for groceries and stuff, then go on a weekday in the morning hours before late afternoon. For me, Sunday morning is the day for doing it. I remember going a couple of times in the morning, by 9:45 am and still they have a lot of people in it. The problem is, we don’t have large groceries stores like Walmart or Sobeys or Costco etc etc. We have just this one Hypermart in the entire city and state – well atleast until the Thriuvananthapuram and Calicut malls open.

Anyways, I went yesterday but it was later than I wanted to. I kept the alarm for 7 am so I could leave by 9ish. However since I went to bed only by 2:30 am and slept fitfully I went back to sleep till 8:30 and only left my home a little after 10am. I was in the mall by 10:30 am and quickly had a breakfast of an ice cold latte and a chicken & cheese sandwich at Costa Coffee and then found a cart and went in. It was quite busy but not as busy as it usually is in the evenings. Getting there by 9:30 am is actually much better.

I bought soaps, I bought some chocolate, cheese, apples, plums, eggless mayo, nuts roasted in pepper, cashewnuts, fresh baked cookies, hamburger buns and bread, biscuits, dates, coffee, sugar etc etc. It cost me quite a bit (trust me these things are expensive here) but it was fun and it had been a year since I last went to hypermart. I just wish we had more of them and that they were cheaper.

New Cafe 17 Outlet In Ravipuram

Today was the day after almost a month that I was able to go out and enjoy the day. With the work going on in my apartment and then my foot injury/minor tor fracture. The last day I went out – enjoying a movie and dinner – was on July 6th. Since then I have stayed in, mostly not due to choice. Even last week I thought I might go out but the heavy rains and cold weather plus the fact that my feet was still tender. That would change today. I thought if I woke up earlier yesterday I would have gone out but I ended up waking only by 11:45 am and decided to stay in.

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Today I decided to go check out the new outlet if Cafe 17 which is in Ravipuram. Their original outlet is in Kaloor on Kaloor-Kadavanthara road, which is the one I have gone to a few times, and they also opened one in Edapally which is around 45 minutes away from me in heavy traffic. I thought this outlet would be better and wanted to check it out as it was bigger – the Kaloor one is very small with just a a couple of couches and 4 tables – and their food is awesome.

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I managed to find the place after a bit of trouble. It wasn’t showing up on UberEats or Swiggy’s apps when I tried booking a ride so I googled the building it was in and then tried guiding the driver to the area. However I made a mistake as there were two Dell outlets in that part of the city and I went to the one about 10 minutes away and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Cafe. Then I walked back and realized that it was on a parallel road and walked again for about 10-12 minutes before I found myself there. I wiped my face as I was sweating buckets and then went straight to their washroom on the 1st floor.

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That’s right, they have 2 floors although the ground floor section isn’t that big. But I like their new digs and quickly ordered a cold coffee with ice cream and the Crazy Beef burger but first asking for some cold water which the attentive staff quickly gave me. Nice place and plenty of place to sit. Loved the cold coffee and the beef burger was pretty good too. More than decent French fries on the side. The total bill came to around RS. 525. Overall happy that they have expanded.

It’s Coffee O’Clock

I love my coffee. I drink 3-4 cups of coffee or life giving nectar as I like to call it. I cannot start my day without a cup and usually it is 2 cups a morning after which I start to feel like a human being and less like a zombie from The Walking Dead.

Do you like your coffee as black as the night on a moonless night or the colour of brown / mocha? See sometimes I like my coffee strong, sweet and black and sometimes I need to add milk in it. We don’t use cream or anything else in it over here. It’s either milk or nothing at all. I wish we had more options. I also see some people adding stuff like eggnog in their coffee. I have never had eggnog before but I would love to try some and then see if it goes well instead of milk in my coffee.

Any which way you like your coffee, it is an essential part of a lot of us. Even more than beer or vodka. Gasp! I can’t believe I just say that. Coffee is more essential to me than beer & vodka – the horror!! LOL, I kid. I love coffee. Bring me another cup.

Coffee Choice

Coffee is that life giving liquid that changes us – well atleast once you turn 30 – from zombies to functional human beings ready to face the day and go to work or whatever in the morning once you have had a cup. In my case it’s also something I drink between 11 am to 12pm as I work late evening shifts that start at 6:30 pm and end at 3:30 am with me reaching home between 4am to 4:30 am. So I find it absolutely necessary to drink my share of coffee.

Here are the three brands of coffee that I usually drink. Out of these Bru is what I prefer to drink and this is the one we buy more often and Nescafe is the one I get when the other two are not available. Sunrise is ok and I pic that from time to time as an alternative but Bru is still the best option available for my and my family’s taste buds.

 

And yeah, we drink instant coffee since not many of us have coffee machines – I could buy one but the bags of coffee are more expensive, I think. So instant it is. Less of a hassle in making it as well.

Battling Sleep & Tiredness With Black Gold

If I had to choose between drinking either of only beer or coffee for the rest of my life I guess I would have to reluctantly pick coffee. You can’t drink beer in the mornings and besides, Captain Janeway beat the Borg with it. Good morning!

Nothing can beat the taste of a nice big mug of strong coffee just after you wake up. I like my coffee strong, with or without milk and sweet. I need the sweetness but I also like a bite of coffee bitterness so I make it strong.

Mornings like today are perfect examples : I woke up early, by 5 am, as I had fallen asleep quite early for me. By 11:30 pm or so my eyelids were getting droopy so I switched off the lights and went to sleep. The two beers I had last night were the culprit. Anyways I woke up by 5 am as it was kinda hot.

I still lay in bed in the dark and checked my phone. I went online to Facebook and also played a few games but then tried to go back to sleep. Still groggy at 7 am I finally gave up and woke up. I brushed my teeth and washed my face and went to make my first cup of coffee for the day. Ah! Much better.