March 21, 2014

Coffee break

Some people say that material things don't matter, and that in the western world we accumulate too much unneeded stuff, and that people put too much emphasis on owning things and not on spiritual things. Me, on the other hand, I am a firm believer in that the more you buy the better off you are. No, not really. I am just kidding, But I do have to admit that I really like my material stuff. I get unhealthily attached to my prized possessions. Take my rolling pin for example. I have four rolling pins. My oldest, and favourite is a traditional wooden one that I've had for about 12 years and moved it 3 countries before it handle broke a few months ago. Do you think I threw it away? No, I did not. I keep it in the cupboard, with the other three rolling pins thinking I might use it without a handle. I don't, but it's still there waiting for me, and every time I need a rolling pin it breaks my heart to see it there all sad and broken.
Yes, I am weird, but that is hardly news. At least the rolling pin doesn't have a name, which I can't really say about most of our other possessions. A few weeks ago my friend Izzy wrote a post about naming things, on which I commented with an "of course we name inanimate object, doesn't everyone?" Like Roomby which we treat in a combination of a third child love and a sweatshop slave driving but is in fact our iRobot vacuum cleaning robot that we've had for the last three years (and two countries), and Cici, the last car we owned, when we were living in Gibraltar (still, after two years, I can't get used to the whole driving on the opposite, not to say wrong, side of the road here. The bus driver does it so much better than me), which was a Citroen C3 (I know, you couldn't have guessed that one) and which was the cutest most adorable car we have ever owned. It had kind of a gender crisis since Hidai and Ron refused to drive a female car, and I said something that cute can't really be a male car, but we'll ignore that for the moment. Then of course you have the iPhone which doesn't have a name but is never more then 30cm away from me at all times (yes, even in the shower), and my wonderful new Macbook which I keep patting whenever I see it, to the point of Hidai looking at me weirdly. I have no idea why. It is after all, totally normal.
But nothing is more precious to me than my Nespresso machine. Let's put it this way, if the house was on fire, the Mac and the Nespresso will be the things I will run back inside to save (kids, Hidai and iPhone come first obviously). I bought my first Nespresso machine in 2007, as a gift to myself after I lost all the weight I gained during Ron's pregnancy. My excuse was that Weight Watchers said you should buy yourself something small to congratulate yourself for the achievement. And a Nespresso machine is quite small in its dimensions. This past October, with no relation to Weight Watchers, I decided it is time to indulge again and also the machine started making weird noises instead of coffee, and I bought myself a new Nespresso Lattissima, and life has never been the same. I know that I really should try to migrate more towards drinking tea, at least for as long as we are living in the UK, that this is not a coffee-lover country but I am a coffee person completely, and the only times I drink tea is when I am ill. And even then I put three spoonfuls of sugar in it. That is why Hidai is in charge of the tea drinking in this house, and since moving here he has even discovered the adding of milk to his tea, so at least one of us is being more in line with the UK life.
So back to coffee, the last two weeks, as I have already mentioned, were not all roses and sunshine. Especially in the one night when at about two in the morning Yon decided to start throwing up and we spent the rest of the night running between the toilet and the watching machine. It was one of those night when you tell yourself - wow, I am old, I really am not up to any more babies. We don't do lack of sleep well, and now that the boys have grown, we don't do lack of sleep at all. I guess every once in a while you have to go through one of these nights that reminds you why you really don't want to go through any more of those nights. What does that has to do with coffee? No, we didm;t give Yon coffee the next day, but after having a night like this, the best gift you can get (after time to catch up on sleep and chocolate - because chocolate is always the best gift you can get) is an enormous black box filled to the brim with coffee capsules.

Carte Noire sent me exactly this box, because they had both a new range of coffee and a sixth sense that I will need a huge amount of very strong coffee if I am to get through a day like that. Carte Noire makes coffee capsules that are compatible with Nespresso machines* and they have a new range of four flavours that differ in their intensities. Now, you might be new to this blog so you don't know this, but this is a very serious blog (not really) and I usually don't do reviews around here, in fact I can count on one hand the number of reviews I've done over the past year and a half of writing this blog. But this is coffee, and therefor second only to chocolate, so I couldn't really say no, right? The best thing and the worst thing about Carte Noire is rolled into one - each capsule is wrapped individually. The bad - It is very annoying after a night of little to no sleep to try and wrestle with the wrapping. The good - the smell. I have no idea how they've done it, but once you open the wrapping you get the most deliciously intense smell of raw coffee. I am not ashamed (ok just slightly ashamed) to say that I stood in the middle of my kitchen and just sniffed the wrapping for a few good minutes before I even put the capsule in the machine. I did think at first that I was extremely lucky, or just hallucinating, but every one of the capsules, in all the flavours, had that same wonderfully intoxicating smell of coffee. The coffee itself was, well, coffee. It was strong and hot and kept me alive for the day and without harming young children, so I definitely recommend it for times of sleep crisis. Other than that, when I tried it again on a day where I was actually conscious, I found that it worked wonderfully with my Nespresso machine, and that you could really distinguish between the tastes and strengths of the difference kinds. If, like me, you have a tendency to not look which capsule you are taking from the box and just like being surprised, than you'll love the fact that all of Carte Noire capsules look the same, and if you tear all their wrapping in advance and stuff them in a single box you won't be able to distinguish between them by look. And also you will lose that fab smell. But on the other hand, you won't find yourself ripping viciously at a small wrapper with eyes that are half closed. The coffee itself was really good, and after trying all four flavours (more than once. Just to be sure you understand) I preferred the stronger tastes while Hidai liked the less strong ones, and the kids loved the big black box it came in.
I know I turned out to be a real coffee snob / weirdo in this post, but the truth is only one of those things is true. To risk becoming an even bigger weirdo, the real reason I even drink coffee is because coffee, for me, is really the excuse for cake (and sometimes a very necessary energy shot), and seeing how the last few weeks were filled with hard times, they were naturally filled with cakes, and because you have to drink coffee to not feel guilty about eating cake (it really is how my mind works) - they were filled with coffee. Mainly Carte Noire coffee, so I feel like I am a good authority to tell you this - Carte Noire coffee works fabulously with all kind of cakes.

This is a sponsored post, though all opinions, craziness and cakes are definitely my own.

**Nespresso® is a registered trademark of a third party without any link with Mondelez International group. Compatible with all Nespresso®* machines bought before July 1, 2013. After that date, compatible with most Nespresso®* machines bought. For additional information regarding compatibility, please see UK:
Want to know more about Carte Noire?
The new range of capsules will be widely available in UK supermarkets making them a convenient and affordable way for coffee connoisseurs to create an extraordinary espresso at home.
The new range of capsules features four distinct flavours and each espresso comes with its own special character.  Some are accompanied by subtle fruity notes, whereas others offer a more complex chocolaty or nutty aftertaste. What’s more, there are a range of intensities so the higher the number, the higher the intensity, providing real choice whatever the mood or occasion:
·       N°3 Élégant is an exceptional pure Arabica coffee with a smooth and subtle taste enhanced by cereal notes.
·       N°5 Délicat is a pure Arabica coffee with fruity notes and a silky texture
·       N°7 Aromatique is an aromatic pure Arabica coffee with delicate hints of cocoa
·       N°9 Intense is a rich, intense blend of pure, darkly roasted Arabica coffee

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