Tag Archives: coffee

Review of Dunkin’ Donuts Hazelnut Coffee and Other Related Items

So, every once in a while I write a blog that’s actually about coffee. I know, that’s unusual, seeing as how I’ve named my blog after the act of drinking coffee, yet for some reason I never actually write about coffee or drinking coffee. So, I understand if it surprises you that today we are talking about coffee. But, you shouldn’t be surprised. Anything goes on this blog. If I were to write about ant food or beach sand, you should think, That’s about right. So, today we’re talking about coffee. Specifically Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

Or, am I talking about Dunkin’ coffee?

First of all, before you start reading this blog, or at least read more of it, you need to find yourself a good sandwich because, after all, drinking café latte at 1pm often means you should have a sandwich, too. What’s today’s sandwich? I recommend a croissant, toasted, with some kind of cheese, cheese at which you can pick for yourself, and we’ll say, er, ham. Actually no, bacon. Yes, you should be eating a breakfast sandwich today. Maybe one from Dunkin’.

creamer small

On Tuesday morning, I went to my usual Dunkin’ café on the college campus where I work and ordered my usual drink, a coffee with cream and caramel. No sugar. The workers there know who I am, and sometimes they’ll even have the coffee waiting for me when I get there. I don’t know if I like the idea of people knowing me so well that they know what I’ll order before I know. But, in the Alexa generation, I suppose I should get used to things like that. It never hurts to prepare for the robot apocalypse a bit early.

So, on Tuesday, when I got into line and approached the register, the girl taking my order, before I could even give her my order, said, “We are out of caramel today.” I looked at her for a moment and said, “Okay, that’s fine.” Then, of course, she asked me what I would like instead. I thought about it for a second and told her I don’t know. I started thinking maybe I’ll take pumpkin, but then I remembered that we’re in April right now, and April is not the month for pumpkin. So I had to give it more thought. Thinking about what I want in my coffee when I don’t have what I want for my coffee can be difficult.

I knew I didn’t want vanilla, which was one of the flavors she offered me. I didn’t want the other things she offered, either, which I no longer remember, but hazelnut sounded pretty good, so I ordered that. Now, to be clear, I’ve had hazelnut many times before, usually at home, but I rarely get it at Dunkin’. There’s no reason for that rarity, except that I prefer caramel or pumpkin, and if I’m feeling ambitious, caramel and pumpkin. But, today I had to get hazelnut because it was the best option I had and, in an industry that has sketchy flavor consistency, I didn’t want to take a chance on ordering something too bitter. After all, I had two dollars at stake! A couple of minutes later, I got my coffee and my food, two bacon, egg & cheese wraps, and it was good.

I got back to the office, ate my wraps, and started drinking my coffee. And let me tell you, it was actually pretty tasty. I admit that sometimes Dunkin’ is hit-or-miss, which is why I get the flavors I know. Hazelnut is not a flavor I drink enough to form a consistent opinion about, so I can’t say if Dunkin’s treatment is generally bland or flavorful, but I can tell you that for that one order I rarely get, I got a good one.dunkin small

The hazelnut was sweet, with a little bit of woodiness, and it definitely complemented the coffee flavor that Dunkin’ is best known for, which is, of course, tasting like coffee. I know this sounds obvious, but this is a review, and coffee, from a place that everyone has ordered from many, many times before, needs a fair hearing as much as the next beverage. But, if you’re still reading this, then I think you’re here more for the entertainment than the actual review.

This means that my actual review is not on hazelnut coffee at all, because it’s not new and I’m sure you’ve had it before if you have any coffee knowledge whatsoever, but on the new brand name Dunkin’, as opposed to the original, and far superior, Dunkin’ Donuts, which the company has been called for many, many years, well beyond my childhood, well past my, well, I don’t know how far back it goes, but it’s been Dunkin’ Donuts for decades, if not generations, and now it’s this new thing called Dunkin’, which is some short, sweet, brand name that maybe is hip, maybe is unifying, but it just seems not quite the same as what I remember as a kid or as an adult, and really where is the coffee and where are the donuts?

So my review of Dunkin’, the name, is that I can say it faster, and honestly that’s how I’ve been referring to it for a while anyway, as Dunkin’ Donuts really does take too long to say. So, at the end of the day, I approve of the name change, but I wish they’d kept all of the original branding on their bags, because I’m a creature of habit, and what I’m familiar with it is not Dunkin’ but Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m only familiar with Dunkin’ when I’m calling it by name, in a hurry, because I need to go, get coffee, and come back, and I don’t have the time to waste talking to you about where I’m going; I just want to get it over with and get to where I’m going, which is Dunkin’. Dunkin’ Donuts.

Okay you should probably check on your sandwich now. I’m sure it’s well toasted. Enjoy your lunch. Go to Dunkin’, get some coffee. I’d recommend the hazelnut.

 

Healthy Obsession…

November 4, 2015:

Okay, so last month I had a more prolific blogging period than usual. Much of that came from my “need” to promote a novel I was pushing out to the public, complete with chapter samples, launch day announcements, and the eventual cave-in to the freebie model that satisfies the growing trend of $.99 books (and pricier titles) getting ignored. That blogging series steamrolled right into the day that cinemaphiles (including myself?) have been waiting for for 30 years (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re either not a cinemaphile, or very sheltered, or grounded in reality–take your pick). And then there’s the seasonal writing push I tend to feel in October, thanks to the perpetual shots of pumpkin that blitz my system.

And all of this prolific writing leads to the inevitable issue that various viewer stats begin to spike, and with it my “need” to drive the numbers higher starts to eat at my brain. What can I write about next? What will draw the masses? Are the masses out there to be drawn? Why are so many people interested in pumpkin macchiato and hoverboards? It becomes a give and take of experimentation, acceptance, and confusion. How does one article generate more readers than all of my other articles combined? Higher numbers lead to more obsessive questions. And thus my search to answer those questions leads me to experiment with even newer ideas and loftier goals. The results often reveal that one shouldn’t mess with a working formula. But I digress.

The same can be said in the world of e-book commerce. My new e-book, The Computer Nerd, has already shot well past the number of downloads that my last two e-books have generated, in spite of their one- and two-month leads over it (Lightstorm and “The Celebration of Johnny’s Yellow Rubber Ducky” respectively). But how? It’s getting ready to catch the total download count of “When Cellphones Go Crazy,” which I released back in July. And the thing has been on the market for just two weeks. Its acceleration up the graph has been relentless (ever since I made it free, but not at all when it came with a price tag), and I keep holding the planned $2.99 price at bay because I’m curious to see if it can catch the top three (“Amusement,” “Eleven Miles from Home,” and the highest downloaded title, “Shell Out,” which is ten days older than “Eleven Miles,” but a good 80 downloads ahead). The idea that it could take my whole author catalog is thrilling. But then it drives me to wonder, Should I make everything I release, ever, free? If so, how quickly can the next e-book rise? The answer to that next question, of course, will hopefully be answered on Black Friday, when I plan to release my next title, a novella called Cards in the Cloak. Given the cover, length, and category, I’m assuming it’ll have a run similar to what Lightstorm experienced. Just a hunch. But again, the question comes back to “Why?” Why did The Computer Nerd have such a lousy first two days (in viewership and sales) then take off like a rocket in spite of its views never topping the dismal first-day views? I have my theories (coming in the post-mortem I’ve been promising for the last two weeks), but the deeper question is, “Can I replicate and improve these with the next one?”*

So, these numbers become a source of obsession for me. But can we call it a healthy obsession? Besides the weirdness that a writer is even attracted to numbers–as a rule, people with degrees in English don’t mix well with anything related to math–I think a “healthy” obsession with these statistics is possible because that means I’m motivated to write something even better than the last thing and to do it soon while the fire is burning, not just in me, but in the readers who have come to find my writing stash.

And that’s really my main drive, to keep the writing coming.

As a reader, you may be wondering what this means to you. To put it simply, it means, don’t ignore what drives you (as long as it’s healthy and won’t cause you or others physical or psychological damage). That might be obvious, but there are still millions of people in the world who aren’t seeking out their dreams, or aren’t putting as much into them as they could, so I guess the message is still important, and if you’re reading this, and you’re not doing anything but dreaming, then stop driving yourself crazy and start doing what matters. Satisfying a dream is psychologically rewarding, even if it keeps you stirring in bed at night wondering if this was really such a great idea. The answer is yes. It’s such a great idea. You may hate the results, but at least you did what you’ve always told yourself you’d do, so you can stop asking all those “what if” questions, at least the starter “what if” questions–the branching “what if” questions, including “What if I had a million people reading my story about penguins in a jungle?,” may not actually stop assaulting your brain. But that’s okay. We’re humans, and we are never satisfied completely.

It also means that pumpkin coffee and hoverboards are popular subjects, way more than e-books and reading.

*To answer the above question, I think the answer is “not necessarily.” Books are like dates. You might have a successful run with one and a lousy run with another (not usually in that order), but you can’t really learn from your triumphs and failures because success comes from the other person’s experience, not yours, which means you have no control over how successful you are. You either hit the mark or you don’t. If you don’t, don’t despair. Just try again. Unlike true insanity, you probably could do the same thing the same way and have better results because the reader (or your new date) may have different needs that are more in line with what you have than the last reader (or your old date). You could also do it differently and have the same results. You just don’t know until you put yourself out there. If you do hit the mark, then congratulations, you’ve got a book that connects to people (or a follow-up date, which is also preferable).

Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Macchiato: A Review

October 12, 2015

So, I give Dunkin’ Donuts about $20 of my hard-earned money every week. I shouldn’t, but I do; I have what some might call a coffee addiction. Now, I know this is odd to think about, given that the title of my blog is Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm, but I have yet to write anything about coffee in the ten years or so that I’ve had this blog (with just over one of those years existing here on WordPress).

But that’s about to change!

This morning I went to get my coffee, Monday Edition, when I saw that Everything Pumpkin is back on the menu. Now, I’ve been getting my pumpkin coffees religiously for the last few weeks (I usually get caramel coffees the rest of the year), but today I was stunned to see that DD (cool speak for Dunkin’ Donuts) has introduced a new brand of coffee, the Pumpkin Macchiato. When I stood in line this morning, its picture in the marquee spoke its thousand or so words at me, and all of them said, “Buy me!” My thought: “Yes, please!”

The picture showed a coffee with three layers of coloring: a milky layer on the bottom, a regular brown layer in the middle (the estuary layer?), and a dark layer on top for the espresso.

Ah, yes, there’s espresso in this bad boy. Two shots if I’m not mistaken. Pumpkin + espresso = coffee dream.

Now, I think the drink comes in one of two ways. Apparently, if you don’t specify how you want it, it comes to you iced, which is fitting because iced coffee is generally more expensive than hot coffee, since, you know, ice is costly. If you get the drink by itself, it comes with a cup holder (like a warmer for cold coffee). I got mine with three other coffees, so I just carried everything in a crate.

(Just to clarify, the four coffees weren’t all for me. Just one of them.)

The Review:

So, you’re probably wondering what I thought. Okay, here’s the breakdown.

Well, it was made of pumpkin, so right off the bat it was awesome. As a rule, if it has pumpkin in it, it’s awesome. Case in point: 1. Pumpkin pie = awesome. 2. Pumpkin cheesecake = super awesome. 3. Pumpkin coffee = awesome. 4. Pumpkin sneakers = weird but awesome. See my point? It’s hard to say anything bad about pumpkin anything. Unless, of course, you hate pumpkin. If that’s the case, then how dare you!

The coffee power is marginally high. Normally, coffee is a quick stimulant, fast to get me going, but just as fast to tire me out. It’s one of the reasons I can drink coffee at night. It does little to keep me awake. In fact, I think it’s more psychological than anything. For me, coffee is more of a stimulant for my brain. If I have a cup of coffee beside me, my IQ goes up about 10 points.

Obviously, the amount of sleep I get the night before is a factor in coffee’s general success. I tend to buy coffee anyway (or make it at home if I have the time), whether I need it or not, but on mornings when I get my average sleep, which is to say hardly any, then I definitely need it. This morning was exceptionally difficult to keep awake, so the need for coffee was higher than average.

Fortunately, the double-shot espresso makes waking up so much easier. The downside: the crash is so much harder.

Normally I get sleepy around lunch time. That’s just how my body works. By 1pm (hence the blog title), I’m dragging my feet. On a regular cup of coffee, I’m groggy but coherent. On the pumpkin macchiato (and its two shots of espresso), I am passing out and speaking nonsense. Because I read papers and tutor college students for a living, this sometimes makes giving good advice challenging. Part of the challenge is reminding myself that the dream I’d just had while struggling through a student’s second-to-last paragraph has nothing to do with what he or she has written in his paper, and I should probably give advice that’s relevant only to his paper. The pumpkin macchiato, while brilliant in the morning, was a complete letdown in the afternoon. I’m sure I nodded off in the middle of the conversation at least a couple of times.

Lastly, the pumpkin taste is sweet, maybe even too sweet when you consider the cream, the syrup, and the sugar (sugar being the one thing I never put in my coffee anymore), but the espresso is sufficiently bitter. If you’re going to order a cup, be sure you carry some Altoids with you. You’re gonna need them if you want to talk to anyone later.

Final verdict: Worth buying, unless you feel that spending three dollars on a cup of coffee is outrageous.

If you would like me to review anything else, let me know.

The Birth of Drinking Cafe Latte at 1pm

Originally posted to Blogspot on:

November 6, 2005:

Well, I’ve known about this blogging thing for awhile, but since I don’t journal that often, I haven’t really done much to take advantage of it. But for some reason in my half-awake state (at 1pm on a Sunday), I feel like doing something different. Maybe it’s just the fact that I still don’t have any new emails to appreciate, or that the other site I visit from time to time hasn’t had much activity in the last couple days–I can’t really blame it on boredom because I haven’t been up long enough today to blame it on boredom. But, whatever the reason, I thought I’d look up some information about setting up my own webpage (which I also have been meaning to do for the last year or so ever since I put my first book online for preview purposes), and somehow I came across this again. Probably a strange time to all of a sudden decide to take a look at how this thing works, but then I think there’s enough to think about lately that it’s worth writing it all down.

The first thing I discovered just now is that highlighting any block of text on this site while I’m typing is bad. Evidently when I press any directional key while a word or segment is highlighted, it deletes it. Good thing I know how the copy function works (Ctrl+C to copy, Ctrl+V to paste for those who are savvy enough to write a blog, but not enough to know about the copy and paste functions). So, just thought I’d mention that.

Well, now that I’m starting to wake up a bit from this caffeine shot, maybe I can start writing about some pertinent issues–at least enough to get me to the point that my sister will start bugging me for the telephone (I’m still on dial-up). Something tells me that won’t be long from now. She’s 13.

The biggest thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the issue of prioritizing. A few months ago I listed a series of projects that I would like to finish over the course of the next three years, and listed them in such a way to give old projects priority over new projects. I decided I had to do this because I just kept adding too many new things to my already extensive plate, and I just wasn’t getting anything finished. So, now that I’ve written out this planner (back in April), I’ve already finished some outstanding projects that I started way back in 2001, though there are others still on the waiting list.

So far the plan had been working out nicely, but then something happened around the third week of September. An outstanding idea came to me for a novel, and I thought it was something I had to write now, not at the end of my list. The idea was too fresh, and too important to let it sit, so I knocked everything else on the wayside and started working on this novel…about panhandlers.

Yes, I’m writing a novel about panhandlers. And it’s important. I’m not going to discuss the book itself any further because I’m only on Chapter 9, but it’s something that I can’t wait three or four years down the road to write–especially with my ten-book epic in the planning stages. Once I start working on the epic, that’ll be my writing life for the next several to many years, so I’d rather get my other stuff finished first.

But back to the priorities–the hardest thing about keeping them is knowing that new ideas keep filtering in, and somewhere along the line I have to cut the new ones off and keep whittling away at the old ones. That can get a bit unnerving when it means going back to projects that I haven’t touched in several years. Figure, the spirit behind my reasons for writing them in the first place had changed over the break period, and I’m not sure that I can go into the stories with the same heart that I originally began them with. Sure, I can finish the stories with some feeling, but after three years the risk is higher that they’ll be more objective. That doesn’t mean they’ll ultimately suck, it just means that they’ll be different than what I probably intended them to be.

But that’s all up for debate I guess.

So, what am I doing now, now that I’ve put my planner on the backburner (which I suppose defeats the purpose of having a planner)? I’m typing in all the handwritten content I wrote for my book during the massive power outage we had a couple weeks ago. Before the power went out Monday morning at 8am on October 24, I had written up to the 4th page in Chapter 6, which scaled down to book size will equal page 7. Pretty sizable accomplishment given that I just started the thing about four weeks earlier. Once the power went out, I stayed awake for three hours watching the news on a battery-powered television, and then I fell asleep about ten minutes after the eye of Wilma passed through and slammed us with the back eyewall, which kicked up our winds from about 15mph or so to more than 100mph in less than 30 seconds. For those who have never experienced that, it’s pretty cool (I’ve always imagined the Rapture to be something like that). But obviously the sudden increase plays havoc with your backyard, and the turbine on your roof will eventually fly off after the plastic bag covering it (to keep the rain out of the attic) rips apart. And that’s after you decide to bring in the stray cat who had been riding out the first half of the storm underneath the metal desk that you used to have in your bedroom before you picked up a better wooden desk with a hutch from Best Buy a little more than a year earlier, because the back side of the storm will bring in winds from the opposite direction, which would ultimately mean smacking the poor helpless feline right in the face with 100+mph winds, and no stray cat wants that, and neither did we. So we had our turbine fly off and we brought in a stray cat. But that’s derailing the point that when I woke up to the gentle cold front that followed the hurricane, and after I took my pictures of the damage (which I did after Charley and Frances last year, but not for Jeanne because I really didn’t know which damage belonged to her and which belonged to Frances), I ate a nice cold meal, read a few chapters of Douglas Adams’ s last book called The Salmon of Doubt, and then went on to write by hand on line-paper my own chapters. Over the course of a week I managed to write 55 pages stretching from the 1/3 point of Chapter 6 all the way to the 1/3 point of Chapter 9. Then last Tuesday I went to have a family dinner with friends of my mom’s, and managed to start my lengthy typing session over there, which thankfully I was able to resume in my own house the next evening when our power finally came back on. So now, after several days of hunching over my computer keyboard, I’m finally at the point that I can transcribe Chapter 9, which means I’ll be back on pace with the novel by the end of the day today. And that’s good to know because I hate having to write the same thing twice, especially when it involves nearly 20,000 words.

On another note, I just discovered that if you click an area of the page with your left mouse button after highlighting your text, you can save what you wrote. Interesting.

So, that’s the start of this blogging journey. I don’t know how often I’ll keep up with it because I don’t journal often, and I hate having to combat for the phone, but I can see why people are addicted to this, so I don’t know. Maybe next time I can talk about why I liked the new Batman movie way more than the last four. I don’t know…we’ll see what happens. I just know that I need to get a website soon so that I can showcase my books, so that people might actually want to buy them. That would be nice too.

Well, here I go back to the typing thing.