RoadWarrior Review: Hot Straws

 

Ever been behind the wheel, heading to that big presentation, meeting, wedding etc.? Sure you have, dressed to the nines, stereo cranked, zipping to and fro in traffic and looking well.. just damned good. Then you raise that cup of glorious, aromatic, brown nectar of all that is good and right to your lips and….

A. The stupid plastic lid comes off

B. POTHOLE!

C.  you are too busy scanning the horizon for tax agents who would find your current velocity…..disturbing, and didn’t check the orientation of the sippy hole in the cup. (This would never happen to someone as smooth and composed as the author)

Pick your reason but the result is the same, a ruined shirt or tie. Well my friends there is hope for us all. It’s called the Hot Straw! Now when @BitojavaJessica informed me that we had received Hot Straws to test, my initial reaction was reported to be something akin to a Weiner dog being given an Ipad. I mean it looks kinda neat but what the hell do I do with it?

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Now I instantly knew that my Grandfather (RIP) could have used these ten years ago, he had mild Parkinson’s and I remember the great difficulty he had getting a coffee cup to his lips. I also immediately realized the need for these in long term care and rehabilitation facilities, but I fit none of these criteria (yet) so I was still a bit confounded.

The Hot Straw is made of a BPH free plastic, they have a flat or oval shape and there are two holes for liquid to pass through. I’m no genius but I think the shape combined with the materials conductive ability and two holes giving more surface area, allows the Hot Straw to take some of the heat before the liquid gets to your mouth.  And as a plus it does not melt when exposed to a super hot beverage.

As I sipped from one of the test straws sent to us and looked at the Hot Straws website, I was rewarded with a photo of someone with a hot straw poked through the hole in a fast-food type coffee cup (a dim light bulb came on). Now there was the perfect use of a Hot Straw! No more emergency stops to rush into a Kohls for a white shirt  and cheap tie before a presentation, due to a coffee spill! Now I could sip my coffee in a civilized manner whilst motoring amidst a flurry of red lights, pot holes and middle fingers……

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Or at least I will be soon, you see our Hot Straws arrived for review in PINK….which is fine for my two cohorts but I as The Benevolent Java Dictator have a certain image that I must maintain for the masses. Thus while Hot Straws are available in Blue, Pink, Red and Green, I humbly suggest  that offerings in Ferrari Red and Navy Seal Black might be more suited to the Road Warrior of the masculine variety, or since I now drive the most manly of vehicles shy of an Abrams Tank (The Pickup Truck), how about something in Mossy Oak Camo?

 

All kidding aside the Hot Straw is a great product, they are reasonably priced, reusable and durable. Thus the Hot Straw is in our opinion a must for those with some physical limitation that want to enjoy a hot cup of Joe without an assistant,  and for the rest of us, it might just be the answer for high Dry cleaning Bills and tardiness. Of course it could also save you from scalding your junk at 80 miles an hour making it  a Bitojava.Com  5 Star product!

 

Needs a Hot Straw!

Needs a Hot Straw!

 

 

 

Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake With Mocha Mascarpone Frosting Recipe

Coffee Chocolate Layer Cake With Mocha Mascarpone Frosting

cake

INGREDIENTS
cake
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 3/4 cup hot water
frosting
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese
Bittersweet chocolate curls (optional)
cake

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
Sift 2 cups cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add hot espresso-water mixture, beating just until smooth.
Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Run small knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto racks; lift pans off cakes and remove parchment. Place wire rack atop each cake; invert again so top side is up. Cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap each cake in plastic and store at room temperature.

frosting

Sift cocoa powder into large bowl; add espresso powder. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in small saucepan. Slowly pour cream over cocoa mixture, whisking until cocoa is completely dissolved, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup cream and sugar; stir until sugar dissolves. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep chilled.
Add mascarpone to chilled cocoa mixture. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until blended and smooth. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until mixture is thick and medium-firm peaks form when beaters are lifted, about 2 minutes (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).
Using pastry brush, brush off crumbs from cakes. Place 1 cake layer, top side up, on platter. Spoon 1 3/4 cups frosting in dollops over top of cake. Using offset spatula, spread frosting to edges. Top with second cake layer, top side up, pressing to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill 10 minutes. Using offset spatula, spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively. Top with chocolate curls, if desired. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Coffee Sundae with Crushed Peanut Brittle Recipe

Coffee Sundae with Crushed Peanut Brittle

peanut

Ingredients:

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons of hot water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pints vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar with the water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until an amber caramel forms, about 12 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the roasted peanuts, cinnamon and salt until the peanuts are evenly coated. Scrape the caramel mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Let stand until the brittle is hardened, about 20 minutes.
Break off 4 medium-size pieces of peanut brittle. Place the remaining brittle in a resealable plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin to crush the brittle into small pieces.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sweetened condensed milk with the dissolved instant coffee. In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar at high speed until softly whipped.
Scoop the ice cream into 4 bowls and drizzle with the milky coffee. Sprinkle with the crushed peanut brittle and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with the reserved pieces of peanut brittle and serve at once.

Enjoy!

Road Warrior Review: Coda Coffee Notorious Espresso

Listen up, I’m slammed with IT work and security audits right now so this will be the first in a series of quick “Road Warrior” reviews. Why “Road Warrior”? Because I am brewing these coffees to carry me out the door and into the morning work commute. So here’s a 3 minute rundown from yours truly who has over a million road warrior miles under his belt.

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Coda Coffee, Notorious Espresso: At first I was hesitant to just brew this like I normally do my morning cup but my worries were unfounded it’s a good cup!

Type: Blend

Origin:El Salvador, Brazil, and Colombia

Roast: Medium/Dark

Flavor: Moderately strong but not overpowering your bagel.

Highlights: Cinnamon, Caramel, and some Chocolate.

Bitterness: 3.8/5

 

Overall Rating 4.3/5

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A nice strong cup to get you going, but not so strong as to kill the flavors of your favorite commuter donut or pastry! A solid buy and try.

 

 

 

Coffee and Cinnamon Fudge Recipe

fudge

Ingredients

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Dash salt
1 tablespoon Instant Coffee Crystals
1 teaspoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions

LINE 8-or 9-inch square pan with wax paper. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Dissolve coffee in hot water. Add dissolved coffee, vanilla and cinnamon to chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Lift fudge out of pan with wax paper and place onto cutting board. Peel off paper and cut into squares.

Enjoy!!

Illegal Downloading and the Music Industry

Illegal Downloading and the Music Industry – Editorial 
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“Illegal downloading is a double-edged sword…in one way, it’s killed the music industry…in other ways it’s broadened the fan bases of so many newer bands…Unfortunately it’s made our ‘products’ cheaper (products is a shitty way to describe a ‘song’, but after all, these ARE the things that we create…our craft, our ‘art’ ).At the same time though, illegal downloading has allowed for more people to be able to be exposed to our songs and influenced by our music. Hopefully from that,  the true ‘fan’ will go out and buy a ‘real’ product of ours…like a T-shirt, a concert ticket, or a ‘Roxie Box’…..ha!”

– Ryan Roxie  (guitarist for Alice Cooper, Casablanca, Roxie 77)

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Artists everywhere are continually seeing the effects of illegal downloading of music, good and bad, as our technology grows. The pirating of music is causing the cost of concert tickets to rise and making it harder for artists to make it in the music industry. However, it is helping to increase the exposure of bands.  Illegal downloading is not only taking the profit from thousands of musicians all over the world, it’s stealing art and affecting new artist’s chances of making it in the industry.rec

Keith Ash of The Guessing Game had this to say about illegal downloading and it’s effect on the industry: “I think that people just want to access music they like quickly, easily and not have it feel over priced, just like any other entertainment product. The music industry (including musicians) were terribly behind the ball on the internet explosion because they were all too invested in selling plastic (CD’s). As a result many consumers turned to illegal downloading, which was quick, easy and free. It is now declining as purchasing music online becomes an easier and relatively cheap process. However, just like people used to share their records or record them onto cassettes or burn disc copies of music for their friends, file sharing and illegal downloading will always be present. The reality for musicians is that hopefully you are able to at least cover you costs when you sell music, but it is really about exposing people to your art so they will pay to see you perform live. That is where we can consistently make money (if enough people like your music). The fact that tours used to be about selling records was really only true for record companies. So, in a nutshell, if you don’t provide people with an easy and reasonably priced way to purchase something they really want, they will figure out a way to get it without you.”

guessing

In order to make up for this loss in income caused by illegal downloading, concert and merchandise prices are increased immensely, making it expensive to see some bands that would otherwise have cheaper tickets.  This is because a record deal is like a loan. Artists have to pay back the money loaned to them to make their record through record sales. Due to pirating of music, most artists aren’t making enough money to pay the record companies back for what they used to make their records, therefore, they have to increase the prices of concert tickets and merchandise in order to have enough money to pay everything back.

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Due to illegal downloading, it is getting increasingly harder for new artists to make their way into the music industry. When asked during our interview what it takes for a band to make it today versus when he was starting out with Cinderella, Tom Keifer said “Record companies and publishing companies are the people who develop artists and when they don’t have the money because their revenues are down by billions of dollars, literally, because only a fraction of music that’s out there right now is actually paid for. Record budgets and artist development budgets and stuff are just nothing. There’s zero and it’s one of the areas in the industry that’s been impacted the hardest, so pay attention out there, kids and listen. You know, when we were coming up, record companies had tons of money, so you could make a really crappy demo and they had A&R people who had ears and imaginations and they could listen to this crappy demo and say “man, we could make a real record with these people” and they would sign you based on that cruddy demo and bring you in and make sure you had the best producers and studio engineers and make a real record with you. That kind of opportunity is few and far between these days.”

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Now, record companies are expecting artists to be completely ready with finished records before they approach them. A couple of decades ago, record companies would work with a band to make them as good as they could be. They wanted to be a part of the band getting to their full potential. That doesn’t happen as much now in the industry, simply because they don’t have the budget to shape artists and bring them to their full potential when making a record anymore, all because of the increase in pirating music.

studio

“If you rob artists of their means of earning, eventually there will be no art of consequence or substance.” Goo Goo Dolls front man Johnny Rzeznik (in an interview with Billboard)

Not only is illegal downloading making it harder for artists to get into the music industry and causing prices in other aspects of the industry to increase, it’s stealing art.  They are taking these songs that  artists have worked so hard on and put their blood, sweat and tears into to get out there without paying for them.  Musicians pour themselves into their music. Music, like any other form of art (paintings, photography, sculptures, etc…), is full of heart and soul. When you write a piece of music, you put a part of yourself into it and leave it all out there for the world to hear and relate to. Music is one of the most telling, raw, powerful ways to express yourself.  I think that Mick Jagger said what I’m trying to say best in the lyrics to “It’s Only Rock and Roll”. “If I could stick a knife in my heart ,Suicide right on stage, Would it be enough for your teenage lust ,Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?, If I could dig down deep in my heart, Feelings would flood on the page”  You put every emotion you have inside of you out there, whether it is pain, sorrow, lust, love, happiness, anger, heartache or fear, baring your soul, for everyone to see. So, when people download your music illegally, they are essentially taking a piece of you. For free.

Wacken

Illegal downloading is not only taking the profit from thousands of musicians all over the world, it’s stealing art and affecting new artist’s chances of making it in the industry. Yes, I agree that illegal downloading is exposing some bands and artists, but it is definitely doing more harm than good when it comes to the music industry and is having a harmful effect on many artists trying to work their way up and make a profit from their art. So, before you click download on a track you really like, think about how it will affect the artists who put their heart, soul, time and money into sharing a part of themselves with you and go out and purchase the cd, buy the vinyl, purchase the download on iTunes or Amazon. Just support the artist. Don’t steal from them.

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*Now, we at Bitojava.com want to hear your opinion… What do you think about illegal downloading? How do you feel about how it affects the music industry? Email me at Jessica@bitojava.com , tweet us at : @bitojavajessica , or comment below. We will pick one response to receive a bag of our Bit O Java Coffee.

Johnny Rzeznik  Quote : 

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/74027/top-artists-join-fight-against-illegal-downloads

Our interview with Tom Keifer:

http://www.bitojava.com/2013/12/30/dont-know-youve-got-till-almost-gone-tom-keifer-cinderella-talks-vocal-scare-solo-record-guitars/

Our interview with Jeff Rouse of The Guessing Game:

http://www.bitojava.com/2013/12/16/interview-jeff-rouse-duff-mckagans-loaded-guessing-game/

  Our interview with Ryan Roxie:

Part1: http://www.bitojava.com/2013/08/30/rock-isnt-dead-part-1-of-our-interview-with-ryan-roxie-of-roxie-77-alice-cooper-and-casablanca/

Part2: http://www.bitojava.com/2013/09/07/year-of-77-part-2-interview-ryan-roxie/

Part3: http://www.bitojava.com/2013/09/24/enjoy-ride-part-3-interview-ryan-roxie/

Photos Courtesy of: Jessica Howell, Ryan Roxie, New Ocean Media (Doug Weber) & Chris Jordan

*Special Thanks to Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, Casablanca, Roxie 77 ) & Keith Ash (The Guessing Game)*

For more info on Ryan and The Motley Crue / Alice Cooper Final tour , Check out:

www.roxie77.com/

www.alicecooper.com

Twitter: @RyanRoxie

For more info on Keith and The Guessing Game’s upcoming album “Holy Crow”, check out:

www.theguessinggameband.com

Twitter: @GuessingGame5  & @KeithAsh