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Author Archives: aldavidson90

My Charleston Favorites

When I have family members and friends come down and visit me in Charleston I am always asked the same question, “How could you not love it here?” and its true. Charleston just has this way of getting under your skin and never really letting go. It’s more than just a place to live, it’s home.

Coming from Michigan where I lived my whole life, Charleston was a breath of fresh air compared to the grey skies and snowstorms. But, to be honest it was more than just the hot weather that made me fall in love with this great city. So, with that, I thought I would put together a little guide to my favorite parts of Charleston for those of you who may not be from the area.

The Best Places to See:

  1. The Battery
  2. Sullivan’s Island beach
  3. The Cistern yard at the College of Charleston

Favorite Restaurants:

  1. Peninsula Grill
  2. Tasty Thai
  3. D’allesandros Pizza

Favorite Places To Go:

  1. Magnolia Plantation
  2. The straw market
  3. The Farmers Market at Marion Square

Favorite Things To Do:

  1. Take a bike ride downtown
  2. Go to a concert at Patriots Point
  3. Have drinks on the rooftop at the Market Pavilion Hotel

So, next time you are visiting Charleston try out some of my recommendations and of course, try some Lowcountry Blend while you are here. I promise you will not regret it.

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Cheers to the Lowcountry and to Coffee!!

Summer in the Lowcountry is the perfect time for a summer soiree or a backyard barbeque. With the sweet and salty ocean breeze, the hum of the cicadas and the clear starry nights the Lowcountry serves as the ideal backdrop for any summer shindig and that is something we here in the Lowcountry never like to waste. So, the next time you are planning your summer get-together add some coffee to your menu lineup. Now I know you are probably asking yourself, “Coffee at a party?” and my answer is yes. Coffee pairs great with some of your favorite spirits to create a perfect marriage between coffee and cocktail. To help the rigorous party-planning process along, I have listed three coffee cocktails that will be perfect for any Charleston celebration.

1. Mint Chocolate Coffee Martini

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1 ounce of chocolate-mint cocktail mix

1 ounce of vodka

1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur such as Kahlua

1/2 strong brewed coffee

2. Hard Coffee Soda

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1 pint of chocolate ice cream

5 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup of light rum

2 Tbs. of finely ground coffee

Instant coffee crystals

Mix all ingredients in a blender and top with coffee crystals.

3. Wine Coffee Froth
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1 cup of cold coffee

2 ounces of Muscatel wine

2 tsp. of sugar

1/2 tsp. grated orange peel

Pinch of cinnamon

Whip all ingredients until foamy and smooth . Serve over ice.

With all of these new recipes your set for your summer spread, the only thing your missing is some Lowcountry Blend for these new coffee cocktails. Cheers!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Coffee for a Cause

Today, I am going to follow Alaina’s lead and take a step back from all the coffee talk and turn our attention to another significant part of the Lowcountry Blend campaign, the Lowcountry Food Bank. The Lowcountry Food Bank is Sunoco’s official partner of the Caffeinate Charleston campaign, in which, for each cup of Lowcountry Blend sold, one cup will be donated to the Lowcountry Food Bank.

The Lowcountry Food Bank was founded in 1983 as a clearinghouse for food donations and other resources with the help of Trident United Way and the Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina. They serve the ten coastal counties by, “soliciting and distributing healthy food and grocery products to nonprofit agencies serving the poor, and to educate the public about the problems and solutions to domestic hunger.”

In addition to providing food and other goods they also provide other resources such as nutrition education, safe food handling practices and maintenance information. The Lowcountry Food Bank is also highly involved in childhood hunger efforts such as Kids Cafe, Backpack Buddies and the School Pantry. So far this year the Lowcountry Food Bank has helped 4,166 children through these programs.

With such incredible services and a heartfelt staff the Lowcountry Food Bank is a truly important and gifted organization. With that in mind, the Lowcountry Food Bank needs your help. They are currently in the running for the Non-Profit of the Year Award given through Charleston Magazine. So, if you have a second while your sipping on your cup of Lowcountry Blend please go online and vote so they can move on to the next round!

For more information on the Lowcountry Food Bank visit http://www.lowcountryfoodbank.org

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Get a Kick Out of Your Coffee

When the #beanteam belles and I began our internship, one of the requirements was that we each had to plan our own event to promote the Lowcountry Blend here in the Lowcountry. It was suggested that we each team up with an area that we are passionate about or an area in which we have a lot of connections or experience with. Once I heard of this, I immediately knew where I was going to turn for my event, the Charleston Battery semi-professional soccer team.

For the past two Charleston Battery seasons, I was a public relations intern in charge of writing the post-game press releases, so I still had connections with Andrew Bell, the president of the Charleston Battery. After some quick emails and lots of planning the event was set for the July 14 game versus the Wilmington Hammerheads at Blackbaud Stadium, the Battery’s home field.

At the game this past weekend, the #beanteam and I set up a booth inside the stadium walls to promote our coffee by teaching the Lowcountry about the Lowcountry Blend and its initiative as well as letting them try the coffee and getting their feedback. All of the soccer fans who tried our coffee were extremely receptive to it and loved the taste and how it was brewed just for them (and they also loved the free t-shirts).

By the end of the night we gained many new Lowcountry Blend fans, received a lot of survey feedback, and learned more about how people prefer their coffee and on top of it all the Battery beat the Wilmington Hammerheads with a score of 3-1.

* A special thanks to Andrew Bell and the whole Charleston Battery organization for allowing us to set up at the game.

Take a look at the pictures below taken by #beanteam member JoAnn Makinano to see the #beanteam belles hard at work at the game.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston, Events

 

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What’s in a Roast?

When I first started drinking coffee, every trip to the local coffee house was a bit of a conundrum. I was confused and a bit overwhelmed about all the different kind of roasts and what they were and how they would taste. Through trial and error I eventually found my favorite roasts, but to this day I still find a roast on a menu board that I have never tried and never really heard of. So, for all you beginner coffee drinkers looking for some clarification or for the veteran drinker still looking for some clarification here is a little guide to different types of roasts and what they taste like.

Dark Roasts:

-Have a fuller flavor

-Beans are roasted approximately 14-15 minutes

-Tastes include smoky flavors

-Examples of dark roasts include

* “Italian Roast” or “Dark French Roast”:

-Dark and oily to look at

-Has a stronger burned taste

* “Spanish Roast”:

-Almost black in color

-Charcoal undertones

Medium Dark Roasts:

-Have a more natural flavor due to the natural oils of the bean being brought to the             surface

– Beans are roasted approximately 12-13 minutes

-Examples of medium dark roasts include:

* “French Roast”

-These are the roasts most often used to make espresso

-Less acidity

* “Continental Roast”

-Similar to a French Roast, but lighter and with a spicy body

* “Vienesse Roast”

-Similar to an American Roast, but is roasted longer

-Chocolate undertones

* “City Roast”

-Comes from a medium dark brown bean

-Also contains chocolate undertones as well as caramel undertones

Medium Roasts:

-This roast balances body with flavor

-Beans are roasted 9-11 minutes

-Common in Western parts of the USA

-Examples of medium roasts include:

* “American Roast”

-Often used in Eastern USA

-Typically used for professional tasting

-Known for its aroma

* “Breakfast Roast”

-Sweeter than a light roast

Light Roasts:

-Beans are roasted for approximately 7-8 minutes

-Has a very light bodied flavor

-Examples of light roasts include:

* “Cinnamon Roast”

-Has baked undertones

-Will have subtle sour taste due to the lower roasting times

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Coffee and America’s Independence

Happy fourth of July to all you coffee fans! In celebration of this important date in our nation’s history, I decided to find out what role coffee had in our nation’s independence –if any. After some serious searching and google filtering, I found this website that briefly explains how coffee transformed our country, even back then.

We all know tea was a personal favorite of much of the population back in the 1700’s. So much so, that King George III added additional taxation on tea. Although the colonial population adored their tea time, the additional taxation angered the American’s and they put their pinkies up in protest.

In 1773 England placed the Tea Act on the colonists. The principal objective of this act was to reduce the massive surplus of tea held by the British East India Company who was in extreme financial ruin. This tax pushed the colonists to their final limits and when ships arrived in America to drop of tea, their shipments were turned back. 

This continual protest eventually led to the Boston Tea Party and later came America’s fight for independence. According to the website link above coffee was, “…embraced by the patriots of the day as it showed a symbolic reaction of the English practice of drinking Tea.” This thought process was embraced so much that, “…coffee was declared the National Drink of the colonized United States by the Continental Congress.”

So with all this said, stop by your local Sunoco APlus convenience store and raise your cup of Lowcountry Blend to toast to our wonderful country and our celebration of independence.

 

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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Oh, What One Would Do For That Coffee Fix

Coffee. We devote our lives to it in a way. We will be late, make our lives more difficult and make our schedules more hectic all for that calming feeling we get when we take that first sip and simply say “ahhh.” In that moment everything slips away. For just one second all you are concerned with is enjoying the soothing feel and the tiny jolt that coffee gives you in just one gulp.

However, it is this euphoric taste and addicting feel that can get us in trouble much of the time. Or if not trouble, just make our lives a little more stressful. Just a couple of days ago, I had one of these stressful moments occur because of my need for my morning coffee fix.

It all started on Monday morning of this week. I had set my alarm promptly for 8 am so I would have plenty of time to get ready for work and of course – brew a pot of coffee. However, apparently when I thought I hit snooze, I had turned my alarm completely off. I awoke startled and knew without even looking I was running majorly behind schedule. I rushed to the kitchen to start my coffee so it would be ready when I headed out the door, but to my dismay and agitation we were completely out of coffee. You know those days where everything seems to be going wrong? Well, this was one of them.

As I stomped out of the house I could not push away that feeling in my brain that kept saying, “I need coffee!” Tried as I might, I was losing the battle, but I couldn’t think of a coffee place that would be quick enough so I wouldn’t have to wait, but still have great tasting coffee that would help subdue my coffee craving. That’s when I realized I was close enough to Mt. Pleasant for a coffee detour and some Lowcountry Blend! I pulled in Sunoco and filled up on gas while the Sunoco On The Go team brought me my coffee and I was back on my way to work in minutes. The best part you ask? Getting that “ahh” feeling and realizing everything was better now that I had some coffee and most of all some Lowcountry Blend!

 

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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston