As we close out the last issue of this newsletter for the year, we like to go back and review past issues to discover which stories generated the most interest, were clicked on most often, and generated the most feedback.  Below you will find reprints of our most popular stories of 2021. 

We want to take this time to thank all of our readers, advertisers, and supporters.  While this year has been a crazy one for all of us, we look forward to 2022 and hope for a new year filled with health and happiness for all.  

If you have a product you would like us to consider for review or have some exciting news to share, please contact us.

Be well.  Be Safe.  Be ready for a healthy and prosperous new year for all.

Fire Department Coffee

Fire Department Coffee Photo

Launched in 2016, Fire Department Coffee is veteran-owned and run by firefighters with the mission to make great coffee and an even greater mission to support our nation's heroes in need. Ten percent of the net proceeds goes to help first responders who are injured on the job, mentally or physically, or who are facing other serious health challenges.

Fire Department Coffee features a wide variety of freshly roasted coffee including The Original Medium Roast, Light Roast, Dark Roast, Donut Shop, Backdraft Espresso and a Spirit-Infused line with Bourbon, Rum, Tequila, Irish Whiskey infused coffees.

Fire Department Coffee announced earlier this month their plans to unveil a series of new Spirit Infused Coffees throughout the year, adding to its signature collection of specialty roasts that feature the subtle flavor of top-shelf spirits.

The first seasonal blend is Vanilla Bean Bourbon Infused Coffee, available soon in a limited release. Vanilla Bean Bourbon Coffee has been impeccably crafted to capture the essence of rich vanilla bean and premium aged bourbon. It delivers a smooth, unique taste and a distinct bourbon aroma.

The veteran-owned, firefighter-run company will introduce three additional Spirit-Infused blends in 2021, each selected to accent the season and add unique flavor to the coffee drinking experience. The new line of Spirit-Infused Coffee follows the success of the company's recent, limited-edition Black Cherry Bourbon Coffee.

Fire Department Coffee Product

Spirit-Infused Coffee, as well as Fire Department Coffee's other popular roasts, can be ordered online at FireDeptCoffee.com. Each bag is handcrafted and freshly roasted to order.

"The response to our Spirit Infused Coffee has been amazing," said Luke Schneider, founder of Fire Department Coffee. "We're really excited about the lineup that we'll unveil throughout the year, and Vanilla Bean Bourbon Coffee is the perfect way to kick off 2021."

Throughout the year, Fire Dept. Coffee will introduce even more limited-edition blends that combine the best spirits with flavors that perfectly match the season. Savor the juicy and tart Blackberry Bourbon Infused Coffee on the first warm day of spring. Sit on your front porch, drinking a light, fresh Peach Bourbon Infused roast on a summer Sunday morning. And indulge in a smooth and sweet Salted Caramel Spirit Infused Coffee while throwing another log on the fire.

Fire Department Coffee was the first to bring Spirit-Infused Coffee to the market, and it remains the industry leader because it has perfected its signature infusion process to combine the deep flavor and rich aroma of the spirits, resulting in a smooth, subtle roast.

Fire Department Coffee's nonalcoholic, Spirit-Infused Coffee features top-shelf spirits available in Bourbon, Rum, Tequila and Irish Whiskey.  www.FireDeptCoffee.com


What is Your Personali-TEA?

How you take your tea says a lot about you, so put the kettle on… here is ELLE's definitive guide to people based on their tea type.


Smart, witty and direct—you love to connect with new people and are always seeking out experiences that pull you out of your comfort zone. You don't easily tolerate fools and can't stand anyone who doesn't speak their mind. Your bucket list activities include bungee jumping and skydiving (you're a complete adrenaline junkie), and you're willing to give anything a go at least once. You can sometimes come across a little blunt to those who don't know you, but you are extremely accepting of people and never pretentious.


If you take your English Breakfast Tea or Earl Grey with milk, you're most likely to be organized and well-prepared. You have never pulled an all-nighter to complete a school, university or work task because you never had to (life goals). You're not vain but you take pride in your appearance and always look well-presented. Tea-time can be enjoyed on-the-go but you prefer to drink your cuppa when you have time to savor the moment. High teas are your thing and your daily tea intake lies between three and seven, depending on your schedule. You know exactly what you want in life, and you won't stop until you get it.

Goofy Girls

You never take anything for granted and are very content with where you are in life. You love leading a balanced lifestyle and being outdoors—ocean swims are among your list of favorite things. You enjoy reading and watching documentaries and are both book and street smart. While green is your go-to tea of choice, you don't mind the occasion fruity infusion or peppermint tea. As a friend, you're reliable and trustworthy and always enjoyable to be around. You genuinely care about what is happening in your friends' lives and never miss a birthday.

Girls Silly Face

All your friends would call you the sweet one but you know that you can bring the sass when it's needed. You're an extremely loyal friend but once someone breaks your trust, you find it difficult to forgive. You are empathetic and not one to sit back and watch others talk badly about someone. Your quick wit gives you instant charisma, and you can hold conversation with almost anyone. Although your passion is one of your strong suits, it also means that you can be stubborn at times (apologizing is no easy feat).


Creative, clever and sensitive—the fruity tea drinker radiates positive energy and happiness. You're popular and love your nights out, and believe that regularly treating yourself is a crucial component of self-love. While you can often get carried away, your spontaneity creates incredible opportunities for you that most people can only dream of. You are your toughest critic but overall have a great outlook on life, seeing it as one glorious and exciting adventure.


Always ready for the next challenge, the Oolong sipper loves to travel and see new things. Always full of energy and curiosity, you are a goal-setter and go-getter. You're a born leader and like to set the trends rather than follow them. While you're well-read and informed, you know there is still so much more to see.


So, how did Elle magazine’s editors do predicting your personality?  Such a fun, quick exercise.  Bottom line…whether you are creative or critical, active or apologetic…tea is a treasure to be savored.  Make time for tea!


Guinness Reimagines Coffee with New Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer

The Guinness brand was established in 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin. The iconic beer brand is brewed in 49 countries worldwide and sold in over 150 with almost 9 million glasses of Guinness beer enjoyed every day around the worldGuinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Beer

Guinness is back with another nitrogenated creation, which is already a fan-favorite: Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer. As the brewers of the world's most popular nitro stout, Guinness is now combining everything you love about coffee and Guinness into one beer. Sweet-smelling with a distinct rich coffee aroma, Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer is the perfect balance of bitter and sweet with a roast coffee flavor. Brewed using cold brew coffee extract and coffee flavors, it has a rich, smooth and creamy palate with hints of espresso, chocolate and caramel.

"Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer is a welcome addition to the Guinness family, and the response so far has been incredible," said Nikhil Shah, Guinness Brand Director. "Now that it's officially iced coffee season, we're excited to give consumers a coffee-forward beer to enjoy during their spring and summertime occasions."

Guinness has consistently proven that no one does nitro beer better. Pioneered in 1959 as the first nitrogenated beer, the legendary Guinness Draught instantly became the best-selling Guinness beer worldwide. At 4% ABV, Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer is best enjoyed straight from the can or poured into a clean glass to fully activate the widget inside the can. The widget infuses nitrogen into the beer upon opening and re-creates the signature surge and settle effect you get from a Guinness Draught on tap or in a can.

Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer is a permanent addition to the Guinness portfolio and began appearing on U.S. shelves in March, with expansion now happening nationwide. Each pack contains four 14.9 fl. oz. cans, with a suggested retail price of $9.99. While it is expected to slowly start rolling out to other countries over the next 12-18 months, the U.S. is now the first market to be able to enjoy this new offering.

Guinness has long been at the forefront of innovation, and today the brewers in both Dublin and Baltimore continue to use their creativity to brew all styles of beer. Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer is the latest release from the St. James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, and back across the pond is the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Maryland, home to Guinness Baltimore Blonde and experimental Guinness beers in the U.S. 

As with all legendary beers from Guinness, please remember to drink like a brewer and savor Nitro Cold Brew Coffee beer…responsibly.   More information can be found at www.guinness.com.


The 9 Best Instant Coffee Brands to Turn to on Busy Mornings

You already know instant coffee gets a bad rap. It’s often considered to be a last resort for coffee drinkers when they don’t have time to brew a proper pot in the morning. What you don’t know? Instant coffee is in the midst of an epic renaissance: Sales went up by nearly 30 percent in 2020 as more and more people began making their daily joe at home. Not only does it provide a consistent cup, but offerings have dramatically improved since its last American heyday in the ’80s. The folks at PureWow tested a slew of popular options to find the best instant coffee brands out there that deliver a joe just as delicious as one brewed with a drip machine or French press.

To test them, they prepared each instant coffee according to package instructions, making one hot cup and one cold if applicable. They added a bit of milk for tasting, unless the instant coffee already included creamer, and no extra sugar. Then, they rated them based on affordability, quality of ingredients and processing, ease of use and functionality (can it be made with either hot and cold water? Can you only make one cup at a time?), dissolvability and flavor. Read on for their top picks.



PRODUCTS WE LOVE! Instant Hot Coffee Cocktails from CASK & KETTLE

Let’s get the party started with CASK & KETTLE—beloved hot coffee cocktails in an instant.  Perfect for parties, brunches, and ladies luncheons!  Cask and Kettle Product

Focused on true innovation in the spirits aisle, CASK & KETTLE is an easy way to prepare and serve a well-crafted hard coffee (or cider) cocktail. This ready-to-brew line of boozy k-pods is sure to be a crowd pleaser, or a comforting treat delivering a relaxing cup of joe for one.

Oh-so-delicious and easy to use, CASK & KETTLE is an easy and convenient way for anyone to prepare and serve a complete, well-crafted hot cocktail. Simply pop one of the single serve cups into your brewing system (we used a Keurig brewer) and a smooth, aromatic hot cocktail is ready in seconds.  Steamy, hot, and perfectly blended, our test kitchen was all a buzz when we brewed up a batch for testing.  They received high marks for convenience and taste.

CASK & KETTLE k-pods can be used in Keurig-style coffee machines or just open the cup and pour into hot/cold water. Each k-pod contains liquid ingredients (no powders)—liquid distilled spirits, concentrated coffee and robust curated flavors. Just add your favorite coffee finishing touches, like creamer, coffee liqueurs, ice cream or add nothing at all.

Cask and Kettle Photo

Irish Coffee: Your favorite whiskey cocktail prepared with a modern twist.  Coffee with the aroma of smoky whiskey mixed with the welcoming allure of dark roasted beans and buttery caramel. The perfect balance of Irish Whiskey and robust flavor with a mild sweetness.  38% ALC/VOL (per pod).  76 PROOF.

Mint Patty Coffee:  For vodka lovers, a delicious mint coffee treat with a bit of chocolate to make it extra decadent.  Bright, crisp taste of vodka and mint blended into dark roast coffee with a touch of dark chocolate.  37% ALC/VOL (per pod).  75 PROOF.

Mexican Coffee:  Tequila, vodka and coffee with natural flavors.  An aromatic bouquet and nuanced combination of flavors to please a sophisticated palate. The smooth mouthfeel and light agave flavor of silver tequila combined with darker notes of roasted coffee and a whisper of Mexican chocolate at the finish.  30% ALC/VOL (per pod).  60 PROOF.

Hot Blonde Coffee:  Vodka, coffee and vanilla with natural flavors.  Beautiful sable color, decadent aroma and notes of malty vanilla swirling through a blend of roasted coffee and full-bodied, crisp vodka.  37% ALC/VOL (per pod).  74 PROOF.

CASK & KETTLE pods are currently available at a variety of large chain stores and independent retailers. They retail for $14.99 per 5-cup stack, “well worth the price for the convenience and the incredible taste” said one of our taste-testers. Go to www.caskandkettleusa.com to find a store near you, to get more information, or to make an online purchase for home delivery.  https://caskandkettleusa.com


What’s Your Sign? What’s Your Tea?

Harney & Sons has taken tea to a whole new celestial level with their recently released Harney Zodiac Collection! Tea lovers can now choose their tea based on their astrological sign. See how your sign matches with your zodiac tea:

  • Scorpio & African Autumn - What do you get when you combine great passion and assertiveness with a calm, cool demeanor? You get Scorpio and African Autumn. Scorpios are expressive and emotional trailblazers who have a somewhat laidback, mysterious side, while African Autumn, with its bold earthy flavors, is an herbal blend whose straightforward, no-holds-barred taste belies its calm, “it’s cool” decaf side.

  • Sagittarius & Ginger Liquorice – It was probably a Sagittarius came up with the Harney Ginger Liquorice tea because only an adventurous, enthusiastic extrovert would have been so bold as to come up with a tea that is as independent and freewheeling as a Sagittarius! And much like the sign it’s paired with, Ginger Liquorice doesn’t care if you like it or not, because it knows it’s awesome! Gotta love a tea and a trait that is secure in who they are.

  • Capricorn & Earl Grey Pu-Erh - This Earl Grey Pu-Erh was divinely inspired by the traits of Capricorns: a traditional tea with a down-to-earth quality. It’s a tea suited for responsible, disciplined grownups who can at times be stubborn but appreciate quality craftsmanship, which is exactly what this tea represents. The fermented earthiness of Pu-Erh along with the time-honored cuppa Earl Grey is just what a Capricorn needs while keeping his, her, or their nose to the grindstone.

  • Aquarius & Indigo Punch - All an Aquarius wants to do is make the world a better place. If you’ve had the Harney and Sons Indigo Punch tea, then you already know the peaceful feelings both its beautiful color and bright flavors inspire. With blue as their spirit color, Aquarians are doubly drawn to Indigo Punch’s irresistible beauty, like a siren song. Only it’s tea, and it won’t hurt you. Whether they’re drinking a cuppa over an intellectual convo or making a plan to save the whales, Aquarians are feeling anything but blue when they drink Indigo Punch.

  • Pisces & Island Dreams - Intuitive and compassionate, gentle and romantic, Pisces have strong emotional relationships with those around them. Their love of music and a dreamy inner spiritual life complete their connection to Island Dreams. Is it the sound of steel drums they hear in their heads when they open a tin and let the island aromas waft over them that causes them to instantly say “Ya, mon”? Find a Pisces, give them a cuppa Island Dreams and see the chemistry for yourself.

  • Aries & Organic Rooibos Chai - There is no way an Aries isn’t immediately attracted to the fire-red color of Organic Rooibos Chai. The bold flavors and spice perfectly mimic and complement the energy and in-your-face enthusiasm of this sign’s “Oh yeah, you’re on! Bring it!” personality. Fortunately for the already souped-up Aries, this tea is naturally decaf; no added zoom needed!

  • Taurus & Earl Grey Supreme - When nothing but the best will do, a Taurus will turn to a tea that practically screams “supreme quality” as loudly as the whistle of a tea kettle. They share common traits of loving the finer things in life and being determined to get their way, as Earl Grey Supreme will never back down from being the finest cuppa you’ll ever drink. Perfect for those times Taurus is ready to explore their calm, serene side.

  • Gemini & Yellow and Blue - Like two peas in a pod, Gemini and Yellow & Blue were born to pair up! The bright floral flavors of this herbal blend tea are as lively as a perky Gemini. If that wasn’t enough, yellow is Gemini’s spirit color, and lavender is one of Gemini’s favorite flowers, so yellow & blue are strong with this sign. Twin superpowers unite!

  • Cancer & Victorian London Fog - Because Cancers are always in touch with their feelings and like to surround themselves with people they care deeply about, it’s no wonder that they also feel most comfortable when they wrap themselves in the comforting flavors of Victorian London Fog. If bergamot, lavender, and vanilla don’t give you all the feels, what will?

  • Leo & Hot Cinnamon Spice - Wondering what Leo and Hot Cinnamon Spice have in common? Everything! Bold, passionate, warm, and natural-born leaders are qualities that describe both of them to a tea! The amazing in-your-face spices of HCS come roaring at you just like Leo taking center stage and before you know it, will be ruling your tea cabinet. Just run with it, it’s all good.

  • Virgo & Wedding Tea - When you need something done right, all the “t”s crossed and “i”s dotted, you need a Virgo. And when they are turning their full attention to detail, Virgos say “I do” to a cuppa Wedding Tea, a perfect marriage of a gently flavorful white tea that will never distract from the job at hand. A wedding demands careful planning and attention, which makes Wedding Tea the perfect mate for Virgo.

  • Libra & Dragon Pearl Jasmine - At the core of a Libra’s personality is the desire for harmony, being in a partnership, and sharing with others. Their love of symmetry, balance, and artistry is reflected perfectly in the beauty of the hand-rolled pearls of tea that make Dragon Pearl Jasmine so unique and perfect for sharing. This tea’s balled-up inner life also mirrors that of the reflective and contemplative Libra – mysterious and imaginative!

Each 50-sachet bag is now available for purchase—stock up now, most are $20.99 at https://www.harney.com/search?type=product&q=zodiac