Browsing Tag

Summer

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: SO LONG, SUMMER!

September 16, 2015

Instagram Challenge | So long, Summer | UncommonGoods | #UGInstaFun

The next Instagram Challenge theme is SO LONG, SUMMER! Fall officially starts September 23, which means we have about one week to soak up the last bits of the most carefree season. Though we were ready to trade in the sticky heat by the time Labor Day rolled around, we know that we’ll be longing for ripe tomatoes and sun-kissed skin by the first snowfall. Join us in giving summer a proper goodbye by sharing your favorite moments of the season! While sharing your sunny shots, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the entries we’ve received so far.

Have a great rest of the summer!

 

Congratulations to @alexpaulettedesign for winning our Back to School Instagram Challenge with this beautiful portrait of her art supplies for grad school. 

Instagram Challenge Winner | Back to School | #UGInstaFun

The Uncommon Life

Summer on Ice – Sashee Chandran’s Iced Tea Tips

August 12, 2015

I love summer, not just because it’s travel season or light and bright into the evening, but also because it’s iced tea season! There’s nothing more enjoyable to me than grabbing my favorite iced tea blend and walking around to explore a new city on a warm summer day.

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When I founded Tea Drops, I wanted to make the ritual and preparation of tea easy for others without sacrificing the loose leaf tea experience. Sure, you could use a tea bag, but tea connoisseurs the world over agree that loose leaf preparation is more flavorful – some go so far as to condemn the tea bag as one of the worst inventions of the 20th century! The aim is to make loose leaf teatime easy to prepare whether  at the office, on a camping trip, or simply relaxing at home. Simply drop a Tea Drop, stir, and sip a delicious cup of tea anytime, anywhere.

But – you can also make a delicious brew served over ice! It’s incredibly easy and fun to make an iced tea blend just for yourself or to serve at your next summer bash… or infused into your favorite summer cocktail!

Reach up to iced tea heaven by following these simple steps:

1. Add a Tea Drop of your choice and 3 tbsp boiling water in a cup until the drop dissolves. Stir.

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2. Add a half cup of ice to a 8-10 ounce glass. Pour the mixture over ice.

3. Fill the remainder of the glass with cold water. Enjoy!

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Makes 1 serving.

Another deliciously fun idea is to mix different varieties of tea together. Blend a Citrus Ginger Tea Drop with a Sweet Peppermint Tea Drop to create the ultimate refresher, or a Sweet Peppermint with Rose Earl Grey to create a unique, delicious twist. You can put your culinary imagination to the test and create a range of creative iced tea blends.

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Right photo by Diego Jimenez/@dejota3

We’ve been playing around with some delicious & refreshing mashups. Here are some of our favorite iced tea blends, all of which can be made with the teas in our Tea Drops Sampler Box.

  • Citrus Ginger & Sweet Peppermint: Ultra refreshing! Follow the steps above using these two Tea Drops.
  • Vanilla White Coconut: Follow the steps above with a Vanilla White Tea Drop and add a splash of coconut milk for a delicious, creamy treat.
  • Rose Earl Grey London Fog: After following steps 1 & 2 above with a Rose Earl Grey Tea Drop, substitute water for milk in step 3.
  • Minty Rose Earl Grey: Spruce up your Rose Earl Grey Iced Tea by mixing in a Sweet Peppermint Tea Drop. Follow the steps above using these two Tea Drops.

I’m excited to see what Iced Tea creations you’ll come up with next – there’s just so many!  Make sure to share your iced tea creation on social with #TeaDrops so that I can try your recipe too.

The Uncommon Life

Instagram Challenge: SUMMERTIME

June 24, 2015

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Much missed, summer is officially here; you’ve probably been made acutely aware of that fact if you’ve had any trouble booting up your AC this past weekend! It may mark the end of (cozy) sweater weather, but summer means it’s time to put the work aside and enjoy some fun in the sun. Whether you’re kicking back on the beach and soaking up the good vibes, taking a much-needed vacation with your family, or just dodging the heat with a pitcher of cold iced tea and an ice cream sundae, we want to see how you’re enjoying this special time of year! While sharing your summertime snapshots, be sure to use the hashtag #UGInstaFun to be in the running for a $50 gift card. Visit here to see the entries we’ve received so far, and scroll down to view our favorite inspiration from Pinterest.

From the entire UncommonGoods team, we hope you have a fantastic summer!

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Congratulations to @mariinfanti for winning the Father’s Day Instagram Challenge with this cute picture of dad and the kids!

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Stay Cool & Caffeinated with Cold Brew Coffee

May 15, 2015

Abi tests the Cold Brew Coffee Set

Product: Coffee Cold Brew Gift Set

Hypothesis:
Iced coffee is one of my favorite morning treats, so I was super excited to try out the Cold Brew Coffee Gift Set (and drink the coffee in the morning at work). I hypothesized that this set would be a great alternative to spending money at coffee shops.

Research:

The set includes instructions, which I followed to the best of my ability. I am rather impatient, so there were parts that I was tempted to skip, but I stayed faithful to the directions throughout.

Experiment: 
I began by boiling the filter (the instructions say to boil the filter before its first use, to pre-shrink it) in water for 10 minutes. The instructions say that filters “will continue to shrink slightly for the next few uses and will produce the best quality brew from then on.” I don’t have any proof of this yet, but I look forward to tasting all the future cold brew coffee batches to see if taste improves over time.

Boiling the Filter

The provided recipe says to use 2 cups of freshly ground coffee of your choice (the kit comes with two cups ready to go for your first batch).

Coffee Beans

I added the coffee to the fabric filter and “bloomed” the grounds, as per the directions. In this case, to bloom the grounds means to wet them thoroughly and let them stand for 60 seconds.

Grounds

I twisted the neck of the filter, as tightly as I could, and wrapped the tie string around the neck a few times, then slipped the neck of the filter through the glass ring (which is attached to/hanging from the filter bag).

Tightening Filter

Then I inserted the filter into the jar and filled the jar with cold water.

Cold Brew Coffee In The Works!

Luckily I did this at the end of the day in the office, because it takes 12-16 hours to cold brew in the fridge till it’s ready. The next morning, I would get to sample my first batch of cold brew!

Conclusion: 
Fresh Coffee | UncommonGoods

Ta da! I opened the fridge to find some actual cold brewed coffee. It looked pretty good, smelled delightful, and was also tasty. I did feel that it was a little weak, though. I removed the filter, dumped the grounds into the compost bin, washed the filter out, and set it out to dry until I made my next batch.

Finished Coffee

The kit comes with a pouring device that fits inside the lid, which works quite nicely for pouring the coffee once its done.

Drinking Cold Brew Coffee

People don’t naturally look at a camera when they are drinking coffee, but I wanted to show you that I was trying the coffee I just made, and allow you to fully see the expression on my face while I first tasted it. I look pretty strange, but I assure you, the coffee tasted good and I was excited to be trying it out.

Yumzies! |Delicious Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk
Here I am, showing off the final product, in my favorite glass, complete with almond/coconut milk. So yummy!

In case you are wondering (and you really might be curious about this), I do not add sugar to my coffee, unless it tastes completely awful. I did not even consider adding sugar to this batch. I found it very yummy (though, like I said, I would have liked it to be a bit more concentrated).

During my next trial, I filled the filter as much as possible (this was probably almost 3 cups of coffee grounds). It was delicious but quite strong. I think two and half cups is probably the ideal amount of coffee grounds that should be used for this cold brew coffee (at least for it to be just right for me). I’m excited to use the Coffee Cold Brew Set this summer to beat the heat in a very delicious way!

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