April 2016

Hacks to Save Money on Your Daily Coffee Fix

A wise man once said, “Behind every successful person is a substantial amount of coffee.” Now there are many nicknames for coffee whether it be joe, java, daily grind, brain juice, rocket fuel or whatever your name for it is, coffee is a vital and necessary asset in the workplace.

We here in the America consume more than 3 billion pounds of coffee every year, according to researchers at CouponBox.com. That amount is proportionate to 2,854 Airbus A380 airplanes or 15 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.

Consuming those immense quantities of coffee beans comes at a high scot. In America, we spend upwards of $30 billion on coffee each year. That figure is gathered from the amount of coffee we brew at home and substantial amount of money we throw at our local Starbucks or coffee shop.

Sure, abandoning your daily caffeine fix will save you some money, but is it really worth it? Luckily, there are tons of strategies that will give both you and your budget a boost while helping you keep your sanity.

At-home Coffee Hacks

  • gGrind your beans before preparing a cup. Coffee loses most of its flavor when it’s been roasted, and grinding will speed up the process.
  • Using an AeroPress is a convenient, inexpensive way to make an Americano or espresso coffee.
  • AeroPress paper filters can be rinsed and reused with no negative effect on the quality of your coffee.
  • Your water used should be at 175° F and filtered. This will make better coffee and encourage you to make your own cup each day, saving money.
  • The fridge is the enemy of coffee. Store coffee in an air-tight container (preferably glass) in the freezer.
  • A hand-crank grinder is inexpensive and will do the job for a good homemade java.
  • Cold brew is the latest thing. Simply soak ground coffee beans in water overnight, and then strain out the grounds. Change things up and drink something cold.

Coffee Shop Hacks

  • Shop around. Just because a coffee store’s product is expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.
  • Try buying a double shot espresso and adding your own milk at the condiments bar, or an iced latte with “extra syrup” instead of a more expensive Frappuccino.
  • Buying Fair Trade coffee means you are helping provide a decent wage for hard-working coffee farmers.
  • If you bring your own mug or cup, sometimes you can get a small discount.
  • If you are with friends, Starbucks can brew a fresh French Pressyou can share (and share the cost).
  • There are lots of discounted gift cards on sites such as eBay, which can shave dollars from your coffee habit.
  • Order a “short” espresso instead of “tall” to get the same amount of kick for 80 cents less.
  • Apps such as CoffeeGuru are available that can guide you to the best-tasting and most-affordable coffee deals in your local area.

Tools Every Griller Needs To Get Ready For Barbecue Season

Barbecue season is finally upon us. That means it is time to gather up those grilling tools, find some meats, and fire up those grills. It might also be time to purchase some new tools for your collection. Or maybe you haven’t even started your own collection of grilling tools.

Maybe you don’t even have your own grill yet. Whether starting from scratch or just updating your arsenal, there are some essential grilling tools you will need to start this season on the right foot. Here are some of the most important grilling tools that no aspiring grill master should live without.

The Grilling Spatula

Even Spongebob Squarepants understands the importance of a quality spatula when it comes to flipping burgers. Having the right spatula handy can either make or break your grilling experience. Spatulas come in all shapes and sizes. It often comes down to a battle between simplicity and available features.

On one hand, you have the traditional long-handled spatula. Many grill masters still prefer to keep this trusted tool nearby. They may also have a few specialty spatulas available if the need arises. For example, there are spatulas that combine several tools into one, such as a spatula, fork, and tongs, to make your grilling experience easier.

As for the traditional spatula, you will want a long handle that is slightly offset. This lets you easily slide the spatula beneath the food without fighting. The long handle is there to protect your hands from the heat. Choose either silicone or metal for a tough spatula that is easy to clean.

A Press And Store

Flipping hamburgers is easy enough, but actually forming and storing perfect patties can be somewhat difficult. Luckily, they have these neat tools called press and stores. The are cylindrical in shape and stand vertically. They are the perfect tool for anyone who grills a lot of burgers and is tired of struggling to get uniform patties.

You simply place the hamburger meat into the container up to the measuring mark. You then use the press device to apply pressure to the meat. This spreads the meat out into the circular shape of the container. Most presses will come with disks you use to separate the patties. Place the disk on top of the patty and then put more meat on top to repeat the process.

Not only can these be used to create perfect, uniform patties, but they are also ideal for storing and transporting the patties. You can keep extra burgers for a few days until you’re ready to fire up the grill again or even remove and freeze the patties for a later date.

The Unique Branding Iron

This is more of a novelty item, but it is still a great addition to any grilling tool set. You work hard on your delicious dishes. Wouldn’t you love to brand them with your initials? You can purchase unique monogrammed branding irons for a fairly low price online or at specialty grilling stores.

Using the branding iron is pretty simple. You just heat up the end in the fire of the grill and then press it into the meat. Then, everyone who takes a bite of your steak will know just who the artist was behind its creation.

Other Essential Utensils

A long set of tongs is the perfect way to get those hot dogs off the grill without them rolling right onto the ground. You will also need a basting brush to add the barbecue sauce when your meat is almost done. Of course, it should be long handled so that you are protected from the heat and any flare-ups. You should always end the cook-out by scraping your grill with a metal brush. These come in a variety of styles and work best if used when the grill is still hot.

Don’t Overlook The Grill

None of these tools will really help if you don’t have an awesome grill to use them with. Grills are available in a huge range of designs, features, shapes, sizes, and fuel sources. Be sure to find the grill that really resonates with you and has the features that you want. Once you have found the grill of your dreams and have the right tools for a successful barbecue, it is time to send out the invitations and get your grill on!

Roger Lehman writes and plays music in his spare time. He runs a site, BestBlenderForTheMoney.com that gives you the latest reviews and information on blenders to help you make the right choice.