PRODUCT REVIEW: Upper Cup

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Upper Cup in action – don’t be deceived by the winter sun!

disclaimer: I was sent an Upper Cup to review

I’m pretty sure everyone is now aware that the bazillion take away coffee cups that we power through every day aren’t actually recyclable and generally just add to land fill. This, of course, is a bad thing and bringing your own cup is now de rigueur

I work part time at a university and, on the days I work, I always stop by a coffee van on campus and buy a coffee before hitting the office. Until recently, it was because this was the only way of getting a decent coffee (we now have a proper coffee machine in our kitchen area) – but I continue to do so because the coffee van has friendly staff and awesome cakes. I’ve been taking a tatty old free (promo) cup so I was quite pleased to be offered something new and a little more permanent. 

The Upper Cup is an Australian made, BPA free cup by 321Water and GoLusty – and it’s been designed by baristas – with a concave bottom (apparently this is important for the pour).

As a long black drinker the most common issue I have is hot fingers. It also means that when I buy a takeaway coffee I’m twice as bad for the environment, as the baristas always ‘double bag’ the cups. Many reusable coffee cups have some kind of band around their middle for exactly this reason. The Upper Cup doesn’t … which was a bit worrying – but it has an insulate wall design – meaning no burnt fingers. You can’t even tell you’re holding a hot drink. It also means that the cup does a great job of keeping your drink warm (particularly if you put the lid on).

As I have maybe 200m to walk from the coffee to my desk, I don’t actually bother putting the lid on and I certainly don’t drink from it using the lid.  The lid is a very snug fit, so it’s worth practising with it a few times before using it with a cup full of hot coffee – particularly if you are going to take it off to drink!

Naturally, the cup is dishwashable and your favourite barista can write on it directly. The writing does come off easily but will survive a gentle handwash (and partially survive a dishwash).

There are a limited number of stockists in South Australia but you can also buy the cups online. I have a ‘small’ and this is the perfect size if you drink what is usually called a regular sized coffee. Although the size of a coffee when you head out is far from regular … ūüėÄ

Thank you to Upper Cup for sending a sample cup through. My finger tips are happy!

Your Tea – English Breakfast Tea

20151208_082112Disclaimer: I was sent the tea to review

Amongst the many things I love drinking, tea has a significant spot in the hierarchy. If I were ever told I had to give up drinking tea, there would, quite possibly, be trouble.

I know that the way I drink it (weak, lots of milk, no sugar) is for many people quite wrong – one of my friends even refers to it as homeopathic strength – but I like to think that my approach strikes a good balance between antioxidants, hydration and caffeine. At least, that’s what I would tell myself if I ever felt that I needed to justify my habits!

So when Your Tea offered to send me one of the new Cafe Teas, I was never going to say no.

There is a huge range of flavours available – everything from English Breakfast (my boring choice!) through to rather novel combinations like chocolate rooibos and strawberry sencha. I’m not big on flavoured teas so I figured I’d stick with something I actually know about.

In addition, I also tried this tea out on a fellow big tea drinking friend (she drinks hers strong, with only a little milk and sugar).

The bags are fine mesh pyramid bags and the tea is strong, developing flavour and colour quickly. Even though I’m a weak tea drinker, I think this is a good thing. The box and bags are also very ‘tea dust’ free – which I believe is the sign of a good quality tea bag. 20151208_082138

Flavour wise the tea is robust. It’s a good, clean tea flavour which both my friend and I enjoyed.

In addition to the cafe range, Your Tea also sells a range of mood teas (yes, they even sell a Hangover Tea!) and body teas, which are based on¬†the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Travel mugs, a face cream and gift boxes are also available. The cafe teas are all $13.95 for 25 tea bags, with the mood teas and body teas individually priced. The gift boxes are a good way of trying a mix of teas, if you can’t make a decision.

 

Forage Cereal

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Disclaimer: I was sent the cereal to road test. Check out the full range at foragecereal.com.

Once upon a time I used to make my own cereal. I actually found it a very quick process (I used bran flakes from a health food store as the base) and was able to customise it to my taste exactly. It wasn’t cheap and it obviously took more time than picking up a pack of something but after a good year or so of eating my own cereal it was really noticeable how sweet commercial cereals were.

The upshot of that is that I rarely eat commercial cereals now – the exception being the extremely low sugar offering my small child eats. So when the Forage PR team got in touch I almost turned down the offer of the cereal because I thought it would not be my thing at all. However, when I saw that the cereal was also gluten free I reconsidered my position (regular readers will know that a relative of mine is a coeliac).

Forage was developed by an Australian naturopath and chiropracter and now comes in four formats – the standard cereal, a bircher, a porridge and Forage Paleo. No matter how hippy or faddist that might sound, the products are based on the idea that they should be a good balance of protein, fat (good fat, of course!), fibre and carbohydrates.

The cereal’s ingredients are: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and puffed brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. All the grains are organic. There’s no added sugar (perhaps that’s stating the obvious).

I have really enjoyed eating the cereal. I just plonk some standard cows milk on it and off I go – but those with a healthier bent could add an alternative milk, yoghurt or fruit. I like that it’s not overly sweet and I think the fact that it has some texture and you actually have to chew it is a good thing – far too much cereal turns to pap two seconds after you add milk.

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The recommend serve is 40g (see above for how much this is) which I didn’t find was enough to last me through til lunch. I ended up going for a whole cupful (closer to 100g) which did the job – this is obviously something you’ll need to experiment with yourself.

One word of warning though – if you’re not vigilant about ensuring the bag’s ziplock is well closed you’ll find that the cereal does go soft quite quickly. You can solve this by decanting the cereal into an air-tight plastic container when you open it (or by making sure you close it properly). While the cereal tastes fine if you do stuff up like this, it tastes better when it’s crispy!

All the products are widely available (and, of course, you can purchase on line) and while they’re not cheap (a 1kg bag of the cereal is around $30) you’ll be spending a lot less than heading out for a muffin and coffee every morning.

And it’s much better for you.