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Homeware Essentials: How to Choose a Coffee Machine

Tea and coffee are the drinks of choice for many people today. Traditionally, coffee was made from granules, although in recent years, coffee machines have become more popular in Britain, and for a good reason. Coffee machines simply make a better cup of coffee. However, with so many models on the market, it can be hard to choose the right one. This is why we have put together the following guide; keep reading to learn more. 

Cafetiere/French Press

A cafetiere, or French press as it is sometimes known, is one of the simplest coffee machines. It is a glass jug with an inbuilt wire mesh that works as a plunger. Allow the coffee to brew for a few minutes before using the plunger to catch the grinds. They are relatively cheap and easy to use too. They are compatible with any ground coffee. 

Capsule Coffee Machines

These are arguably the most popular form of coffee machines. They use disposable capsules or pods to create the coffee. It tends to be one pod per cup. They are really user-friendly and convenient to use. The brand of the machine will limit your choice in capsule. There are pod recycling schemes which lessen the environmental impact of these machines. Luckily, OnBuy has a huge range of coffee-making machines, which includes a number of the make and models listed above. So be sure to check them out.

Coffee Filter Machines

A coffee filter machine works by allowing hot water to drip slowly through ground coffee into a jug or a cup below. Depending on the size of the machine, it can make large quantities of coffee too. They are perhaps more ideal for those who want to drink coffee regularly throughout the day or in a house where there are several coffee drinkers. There is a range of models which hit all price points, and they again are compatible with any ground coffee.


Percolators work similarly to coffee filter machines, although in the opposite way. The water is pushed up through a tube to brew the coffee in a jug above the water tank. They are also traditionally used on a hob, although you can find electric models. Percolators cannot keep the coffee hot for a long time, and they also may overflow. They do make a great cup of coffee, but they tend to be quite strong. They again range in price and can be used with any ground coffee.

Espresso Machines

In essence, espresso machines are essentially smaller versions of the machines that baristas in coffee shops use. Depending on the model, they may also have a number of other features to explore, like milk frothers and different settings too. They can be tricky to master, and depending on the model; they may require a bean grinder. Some of the models are on the more expensive side, but you can still find affordable options. The type of coffee required would depend on the machine and whether you need ground or whole beans. 

How to Choose?

Your choice will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, the size of your household, how much time you have and what type of coffee you prefer. This is why doing research is key. You might even want to consider the aesthetics of your home and which machine will go best with your kitchen and general interior design style. 


Get Bella Luna Blue One Day Only 8/22 #myadagio

This month on the 22nd we are expected to have a blue moon. This means that Adagio Teas will have their rare blend, Bella Luna Blue, for sale. They only sell it on blue moon days, so you will need to sign up for a notification to get yours. 

You are probably wondering what Bella Luna Blue tea is. It is a loose leaf tea blended with Butterfly Pea Flower, lemon grass and natural blueberry flavor. If you are familiar with Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, then you know it brews up in the most brilliant blue color. It has been used as a natural dye for centuries! Once blended with lemon grass and blueberry flavor, you end up with happiness in a cup (or glass). This full leaf tea is truly something special, and can be enjoyed either hot or iced. 

One thing that makes this loose-tea so unique is that it does a magic trick right before your eyes. A little bit of lemon juice transforms this tea into the most beautiful color. Just look at the before and after. 

Check out this video to see the transformation in action.

Today's post is sponsored by our brand partner, Adagio Teas. All opinions are our own as usual. 

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Opening In Columbia This Summer

Columbia will soon be home to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea at 1002 Park St. in the Empire building, near the University of South Carolina campus. The 1,895-square-foot café is set to open this summer and will offer a globally-inspired menu featuring premium coffees, teas, pastries, sandwiches, salads and more.
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea to offer a destination for students and faculty at USC this Summer

Franchise owner, Greg Dodd, is excited to bring Sweetwaters’ unique atmosphere and quality ingredients to downtown Columbia. “Our global and Asian influence sets us apart. We have many beverages that aren’t found at your average coffee shop,” says Dodd. “We’re looking forward to becoming the go-to destination for college students, faculty and the greater downtown community.”

The Sweetwaters brand focuses on strong community engagement, such as hosting events for local clubs and student organizations and partnering with nonprofits, making it a perfect fit for the Vista location.

The Sweetwaters menu includes signature drinks such as the Dragon Eye, French Vietnamese au Lait, Napali Brew, Thai Iced Tea, and Red Moon coffee.

The grand opening will include numerous community events and week-long promotions that will be announced on Sweetwaters website and Facebook page. The Columbia Sweetwaters location is one of more than 100 expected to open across the country. 

Natural stimulants: How to Feel Alert and Fabulous sans Coffee

The mere mention of the word “coffee” is enough to jolt me awake. Just kidding! How I wish that’s for real, but here I am sipping my third cup. I must admit that there were nights when I lose sleep thinking over how I can ditch my caffeine habit. I drink more coffee as I haven’t slept much the night before. Then the next day I’ll be too sleepy, so I’ll bring crank up my coffee just a bit. The cycle goes on and it’s so pathetic! Sounds like you?

Caffeine Junkie Anonymous

Coffee is life. You are not your usual self until you gulped your morning cup. But what if you are taking in too much? How will you know that you are suffering from caffeine addiction? Your coffee habit is ruining your life if you were having bouts of insomnia, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, headaches and occasional migraines.

You have already built-up caffeine tolerance, so there is days when you’ll reach for your third, fourth or fifth cup. You are rushing the day, but there are just moments when you are feeling so tired. You might have already tried other caffeine-containing beverages such as energy drinks and cocktails. You even tried to cut back your coffee intake, only to get attacked by a headache the next hour. Sounds like an addict in coffee withdrawal? Since this is also my dilemma, let me share how I worked around my caffeine habit.

Natural Ways to Feel Awake without Coffee

Addiction treatment experts might say that the first step to healing is admitting that you have a problem. OK, you are hooked on caffeine, so it’s not that big of a problem, you are right. Our “addiction” is not as severe as say, drugs or alcohol or sex but hey, it’s still addiction! Our chronic caffeine habit will put us at a greater risk of having brittle bones and heart disease later in life. We must cut back on coffee before it’s too late. How?

1. Plan and sleep
It’s possible to plan your day so you can have more sleep hours. There are days when I just go bum all day only to hurry up and finish my to-do at night. It’s not healthy. It’s super stressful. Don’t cram your activities; instead, plan it. Coffee might make you work fast, but it won’t help if you are inefficient. Plan your day, maximize your hours and get some sleep.

2. Drink water
Before you go about and reach for another cup, drink first at least two large glasses of water. Why water you might ask? Well, you are feeling sleepy but it might also because you are dehydrated. Clogged body equals to fuzzy brain. Drink water to flush out all those toxins. Don’t drink soda as caffeine is usually included on most sodas. Your brain is made of 73-77% water so just a glass of water every two hours during working hours is enough to keep you on your toes and awake.

3. Eat green
Meat can weigh you down. Meat can make you sleepy and less attentive. If you are particular about your brain health, I suggest that you go vegan. If that is not possible, set aside a few days as no-meat days. Eat light, don’t stuff yourself too much. Eat in such a way that you are neither feeling full or hungry. Minimize sugar intake as it can only make you crash and burn in a few hours. Eat a light lunch and munch on small snacks such as apples, nuts, carrots, celery, sweet potato and salad.

4. Drink tea
If you can’t take coffee, go for green tea instead. Green tea has natural caffeine that can make you calm and awake. Tea is effective in keeping you focused without tiring you out.

5. Buy a small cup
The best way to cut back on caffeine intake is to buy a small mug. Water down your coffee gradually and use sugar sparingly. This is also the reason why fitness experts may sometimes advise us to eat meals on a smaller plate.

6. Keep calm
Maintaining ideal temperature can significantly affect an individual’s performance. The summer heat can make us feel sleepy so better invest in a good air conditioner. Turn on the lights and crank up your AC for the sake of productivity.

7. Take small breaks
Stretch your muscles throughout the day. Walk around the office after every hour of intense computer activity. Chew gum during your most sleepy time of the day. Do some jumping jack and jog in place. If you are barely holding up your eyelids, walk a bit around the office. You can also do some eye exercises to keep your eyes awake and alert.

8. Listen to music
An excellent way to keep your blood pumping is the listen to some upbeat music. Avoid sweet songs as they can just lull you to sleep.

If you find yourself reaching for coffee throughout your working day and if you use coffee to feel motivated, then you have a problem. If the challenges of your work are not enough to keep you awake daily, then you don’t need a cup but rather a new job!

Thanks to Sarah M. for this guest article

Adagio Teas For The Most Discriminating Tea Lover

I want to tell you all a little something about my husband, Dwayne. He is the rough and rugged type who isn't afraid to work hard and get a little dirty. He also loves books, music and business. In recent years, he has become rather passionate about something we wouldn't have expected. He LOVES tea. He loves it to the point where he buys books on tea, researches them online, and drinks lots and lots of the good stuff every day. 

It isn't unusual for us to go out to a restaurant and he asks the server if they have hot tea. He believes in drinking hot tea after each meal to aid in digestion. Needless to say, he drinks quite a bit of hot tea. We were so lucky to get to try out Adagio Teas recently. They offer a wide variety of teas for every taste. Having Dwayne peruse the site was like sending a kid to a candy store. He was in heaven! 

It took him over an hour to place his order because he was overly excited about what to get. He took the smart route and ordered a variety of sample sizes which makes up to 10 cups of tea. This gave him the option of trying smaller batches so he could narrow down what his favorites are to order in a larger size next time. We actually recommend for anyone to do that as well. There's no need in buying a full size of a particular tea that you might not care for. 

We picked out a variety including chai, rooibos, green and Pu-ehr. He was very curious about the rooibios and honeybush, so he tried those first. He chose this small black tea pot and coordinating cups to steep the tea and make his actual tea drinking experience feel more authentic. I told you you loves his hot tea! 

One of his favorite tea tips is to add a small amount of local honey in the bottom of the tea pot before adding the hot water and tea. This way, the honey gets distributed into the tea so you don't have to add any after steeping. With some tea varieties, he doesn't bother with any sweetener at all. We actually reserve the tea leaves when he does not add sweetener after brewing, to add to his worm compost bin. 

The packaging is air tight and when you cut it open, you are hit with the distinct tea fragrance. I have to say, this isn't your ordinary supermarket tea. Those simply can not compare! Each packet of tea comes with brewing instructions on the package. You can adjust the amount according to your personal taste. So far with the ones he has tried, the suggested quantity and brewing times have been spot on. He has even experimented with mixing two types together to make a unique blend.

The taste of Adagio Teas is very robust and very true to what it supposed to taste like - pure and natural. You can tell that their tea comes from excellent crops by the quality you receive.

A few things that I really love about Adagio Teas is the amount of information they have listed with each variety of tea or tea accessory on their website. You can find out where they are sourced and read the reviews of verified buyers. This makes it very helpful when you need a little help selecting just the right tea. They sell most of their tea in loose, bulk packaging, but do offer tea bags/pyramids for those who prefer the convenience. My husband actually has a one cup tea ball so he can have his loose tea while at work. Again, we highly recommend starting off with some sample sizes to find which teas you like best. 

So far it looks like the green chai, decaf chai, rooibos, honeybush, and spearmint are the faves. You have to check out the Adagio Teas website because they carry practically every type of tea you would want. You can even design your own tea blends and containers. They have a lot of gift options, tea collections and brewing accessories. If you are a real tea lover looking for superior tea, you have to give Adagio Teas a try. Once you create your account and start making purchases, you can earn points toward gift certificates to use on the site. There's a dashboard where you can keep track of your orders, points, wishlists and more. They also have a tea of the month club and very affordable flat rate shipping of only $3.75 (you can qualify for FREE shipping on orders over $49).

Learn more about Adagio Teas on their website and stay connected on Facebook & Twitter for product updates and promotions.

Disclosure: I received a gift code to spend on products for review purposes and all opinions are my own as always. 

Warm Up With Numi Organic Pu-Erh Tea

Are you a tea drinker? My husband drinks tea every single day, even if it's 100 degrees outside. When I received the Organic Pu-erh collection from Numi Tea, he was thrilled. 
The Pu-erh organic teas are exceptional and full of rich flavor. We received the ginger, chocolate, cardamom and Emperor's varieties. These teas are sourced from 100% real, non-GMO ingredients and that is it. Why would you want anything else? They use biodegradable filter paper for their bags and even the package can be recycled or composted. 
The flavors of these teas are so nice. I'm a strong cup-of-tea girl and these fit my taste just right. My current favorite is the ginger variety. It has a spicy, balanced taste. I like mine with a little organic honey. My husband loves the cardamom and Emperor's blends. He drinks a cup of hot tea after each meal. You certainly can tell the difference in quality from these teas. The fact that they are all made with so much care for the earth and fair labor practices makes it even better. You really can feel good about every cup. 

To learn more about Numi Pu-erh tea and to purchase them, you can order from their website or check their store locator for local stores that carry them. I was lucky to find a couple health food stores locally that carry Numi tea. I look forward to trying out their turmeric teas for the great health benefits. 

If you are a tea lover, you must try these out for yourself. Be sure to follow Numi Tea on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates. 

I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

HOT! Get An Iced Tea Maker For Under $20

I have been making my own iced tea at home for as long as I can remember. Living in the south, it's referred to as 'sweet tea', and you may likely get cut if you call it iced like I do. I have a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker that was actually handed down to me a long time ago and it is seeing its last days. The pitcher has cracked and started to leak. Although I can easily order a new pitcher on Amazon, I was lucky to find a brand new unit for only $8.00 more. Check out this great deal for the Mr. Coffee 2-Quart Iced Tea Maker, Blue. It's under $20 and if you have Prime, you can get free two-day shipping.

I am thrilled that I can replace my old machine and also ordered a replacement pitcher as well (Mr. Coffee TP1-1 2-Quart Replacement Pitcher for TM1, TM1P) . If you are looking for an easy way to make iced/sweet tea, you have to get this! It makes a great gift as well. You can't beat the price and I'm excited about my gift to myself. Mine will arrive on Tuesday **insert the heart-eyed emoji here** This is the BEST way to make sweet tea, so go get one for yourself too!
*This post contains affiliate links 

Green Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags

It’s easy to think of your coffee grounds and tea bags as mere tools with which to brew a little pick-me-up. However, they can both be much more. Once your cup is empty of your favorite hot beverage, you can reuse the grounds and leaves in an environmentally friendly manner. Here are 10 ways to give them a second life.
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Remove Odors From Skin
Cooking foods with strong odors doesn’t mean you’re destined to wear them afterwards. Rub your hands with leaves or grounds to freshen your skin before rinsing them with soap and water

Brighten Up Wood
Boil 2 to 3 tea bags in a quart of water to create a green cleaning product for your wood floors and furniture, which will also brighten and leave a shine. Traditional teas (as opposed to the herbal variety) are best to ensure tannins are present. Be sure the wood is darker than the tea to avoid staining.

Deter Uninvited Garden Guests
Your coffeemaker grounds can keep your garden free of ants and other pests. They can also be extremely helpful in keeping the neighborhood cats from turning your beloved oasis into a litter box. Sprinkling only a few tablespoons of grounds near each plant will deter felines.

Deep Clean Dishes
Your pots and pans can be cleaned without the use of harsh abrasives or synthetic chemicals. Instead, use the natural abrasion offered by grounds. If the dish needs to soak, place a tea bag or two into the warm water to allow tannins to break down stubborn residue.

Compost for Plants
Both types of grounds offer nourishment to plants that live indoors as well as those outside. For plants such as roses, strawberries and tomatoes that prefer a more acidic fertilizer, use the remnants from your coffeemaker. For less acidic-loving plants such as lilacs, succulents and geraniums, use the tea.

Pedi Pleaser
Take a few of your used tea bags and steep them in warm water for a good foot soak the next time you give yourself a pedicure. The antibacterial properties of the tea assist in removing odors while cleaning and brightening up the skin.

Fridge Freshener
Place grounds in an open container and place in your refrigerator to add an aromatic scent while deodorizing and freshening the area.

Whether you are looking to dye eggs, paper, clothing or even your hair, you can steep grounds in hot water to create an earth-friendly dye. Strain the liquid when you have achieved the desired color and leave to cool.

Home Facial
For a light exfoliator and skin brightener, create a facial scrub by mixing grounds with honey or avocado. Reduce puffy eyes by placing two cooled, used tea bags over your eyes for about 10 minutes.

Eco-Friendly Shoe Shine
Once you’ve steeped your brew, rub the damp tea bag over the surface of your dark-colored dress shoes to clean and moisturize.


Golden Blossom Honey - Perfect for the cold and flu season

Every person in my household has been sick over the course of the last 5 weeks. It seems like the cold germs keep on getting passed around and it has been hectic. Being a homemaker and mom of 3, I knew it was going to hit me. I can always tell by that uncomfortable tickle in my throat. I received a bottle of Golden Blossom Honey to review at the right time. I immediately made a cup of Earl Grey tea sweetened with the Golden Blossom honey and a few splashes of lemon juice. The honey had a wonderful, rich taste and was very soothing going down. One of the things that made me feel good about this honey is that it is a product of the U.S.A.. 
Thankfully I am feeling a lot better, but I will keep this recipe in mind for the future, just in case...

Ginger & Honey Citrus Sore Throat Home Treatment

Juice of 1 large lemon
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Mix all ingredients together in a small jar. Every hour, take 1 teaspoon in your mouth and gargle. Then swallow the remedy.

You can find Golden Blossom Honey online to learn more about their products and check out the awesome recipes they have posted. I am glad I can find it in my local Publix Supermarket, here in Columbia, SC!

I received a sample of Golden Blossom Honey for review. All opinions are my own as always. No other compensation was received. 
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