Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Coffee Isn't Just a Beverage Anymore...

by Elaine Sosa

Yes, it's the perfect way to start your day, but now that java jolt can also be had outside of your favorite mug. With the resounding popularity of coffee and all things caffeine, it should come as no surprise that some enterprising folks have seized on the fabled bean as fodder for other products. A recent stroll through the aisles of the NASCORE (National Association of Specialty Coffee Owners and Retailers) trade show turned up a number of interesting coffee-related products, some mere whim and others possessed of a practical aesthetic. Herewith, a sampling of my favorites.

The folks at Café Tan believe that our favorite bean works from the outside in just as well. That's why they've launched their line of suntanning products, all of which use a generous dose of pure coffee bean oil. In their hands, the essential fatty acids of coffee bean oil, coupled with some FDA-approved sunscreens, result in a lush lotion which will turn your skin a lovely shade of Cappuccino. Isn't that how we all want to look? Okay, you can also look like a Latte or an Espresso Roast (I'm not kidding). It doesn't stop there, though: these lotions are coffee-scented as well, so you'll both look and smell like the heavenly brew. A bottle of Café Tan will run you about $5.95 - a small price to pay for that caffeinated glow. Café Tan, 433 Camden Drive, Suite 400, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (310) 644-0600 or (877) CAFÉ TAN.

At Hula Girl Cigars, fine Kona beans are put to some surprising good use. Yep, Kona-coffee-scented cigars. Don't laugh: smoking one of these babies is an aromatic revelation, especially for those who love a joltin' cup a joe. Indeed, some fine Kona aroma with every puff. If you find yourself awash in smoke to the point where you feel a need to wash it off, Hula Girl Cigars can help you there, too: they also make Kona-coffee-scented soap! It's true, these folks are having too much fun with coffee, but the good news is that you can share in the revels. The Hula Girl Cigars logo is peachy, so these products make for a most attractive gift. Hawaiian Royal Trading Company/Hula Girl Cigars, 1215 S. Kihei Road, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii 96853-0959 (800) 311-1818.

Want to know what coffee sounds like? Jazzy, for one. At Inlytes Productions, music is also flavorful. These folks are unabashed coffee fanatics, which is why their latest spin around the turntable is infused with coffee. The Java Jazz Collectors Series is ideal for anyone who places a premium on both coffee and mood. The first two CDs in the series, "Java Jazz" and "Black Coffee Blues," are guaranteed to keep your mood mellow. Contact the company for the name of a coffee retailer near you. Inlytes Productions, 11215 Watermill Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20902 (800) 243-7867.

While most of us have indulged in a taste of tiramisu, that Italian coffee dessert confection, how many of us have savored Jamaican Blue Mountain mousse? Well, it's a lot cheaper than a $40 bag of beans and much, much smoother. At I Can't Wait Desserts, the idea is to sell ready-made dessert confections to coffee retailers. That many of their desserts use coffee in them is an added plus. Contact the company for a point of purchase near you. I Can't Wait Desserts, 7955 Haskell Avenue, #15, Van Nuys, CA 91406 (818) 787-3222 or (888) 917-6925.

Although coffee candies aren't especially new, Café Dry is a sweet burst of flavor which comes from Spain. Manufactured by Intervan, S.A., these old-line confections are imported to the U.S. by Gourmet Traders International and are sure to make you an aficionado. The importer can direct you to a retailer in your area. Gourmet Traders International, 19000 Kinbrace Street, Northridge, CA 91326 (818) 831-0633.

The following products aren't coffee-related themselves, at least not directly - their purpose is to insure that your cup a joe tastes a little different but wonderful nonetheless. Big Train Blended Ice Coffees will quickly win the hearts of candy bar fans with their Heath Bar Mocha - yep, just as good as the Heath name implies, although their regular mocha ice coffee mix is darn good. Call the company for a coffee retailer near you. Big Train Blended Ice Coffees (800) BIG-TRAIN. At Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, coffee is also part of the plan, or at least choco-coffee drinks. Their Frappe Classico blends turn out a nifty White Chocolate (as well as a Double Chocolate) mocha. Yum! Call for a coffee retailer in your area. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company (800) 877-9338. The other big "G" in chocolate is Guittard. This chocolate company has been in business almost as long as Ghirardelli and also hails from the San Francisco bay area. Guittard's chocolate powders and syrups are used at some of the most venerable cafes in San Francisco's North Beach (they are available across the US) and always make for a smooth mocha. Call for a coffee retailer near you. Guittard Chocolate Company (800) 468-2462.

How's that for fun with coffee?

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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