At Sunset, most of us like to kick-start our mornings with a jolt of java or tea. But we all face the bleary morning a little differently. It’s Best of the West, home barista-style.

Pique Tea Passionfruit Green Tea
Courtesy of Pique Tea

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Welcoming the AeroPress into My Life


Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

When you talk about morning coffee rituals with a married person, you’ll likely get an answer that’s loaded with insight into their relationship. Recently, my husband brought home a plastic Aeropress and to say I wasn’t happy about it would be an understatement. It illustrates the push and pull of form and function in our household perfectly. He wanted it because of the 13,000+ five-star reviews that proclaim it makes an amazing cup of coffee with zero waste. I didn’t want it because it’s hideous, and a one-cup-at-a-time coffee press seemed like a cruel joke. I gave it a shot, and as much as I hate to say it, it does make a perfect cup and I never have to throw away the extra brew I think I might drink. And I have to really want a second cup to boil the water, grind the beans, and start from the beginning, so it’s curbed a potentially troublesome caffeine addiction. I don’t want to say he was right, but he wasn’t wrong. As a compromise, I usually pick the beans (Low Pigeon Coffee Roasters in Santa Barbara, all the way). —Christine Lennon, home and design editor

A Pressing Need for Counter Space

French Press

Nicole Clausing

I, too, love a pressed cup of coffee. I started down the French press path out of practicality—when I first succumbed to caffeine addiction learned to appreciate coffee, I lived in a small, underpowered apartment where counter space and electrical outlets were at a premium. I liked that a French Press wasn’t tethered to a plot of precious kitchen real estate. I still use one today, although the appeal for me now has more to do with the rich taste and substantial mouthfeel that no other method produces quite as well, in my opinion. I’m not as picky about beans as you might expect, but I am fiercely loyal to my current French Press, an Espro stainless steel model. No more glass carafes lost to early-morning under-caffeinated clumsiness. —Nicole Clausing, digital producer

Coffee with Benefits 

Flora MCT Oil

Courtesy of Flora

IDK about you, but lately, my morning coffee just isn’t giving me the same energy boost it used to. Maybe it’s the pandemic brain fog or I’ve finally built a strong tolerance for caffeine, but I find I need an extra cup in the morning and afternoon to get through the day. So when a friend recently recommended that I add MCT oil into my coffee or smoothies for an extra dose of energy, I was intrigued. For those of you who don’t know, MCT oil is a supplement made from supercharged fatty acids, which in some people can help kickstart metabolism and increase energy levels.  

I started by adding a small teaspoon Flora Organic’s MCT Oil, which is made from ethically and sustainably sourced coconuts, into my morning cup and almost instantly noticed the difference. In the few weeks I’ve been adding Flora into my morning routine, I find I don’t have a need for a second cup, feel more alert, and best of all I don’t feel jittery after the caffeine wears off. —Jasmin Perez, digital director

I Love a Lavender Latte

Monin Lavender Syrup

Courtesy of Amazon

I am one of those people who enjoy a floral tasting treat. If there is anything advertised as rose, lavender, or jasmine I will splurge the extra cost and give it a try. Somewhere around my junior year of college, I became addicted to lavender lattes (I credit this to living down the street from my favorite coffee shop, All Saints Cafe). Making the move from Florida to California I had to account for many changes, including my $3 coffee order turning into $7. Because of this, I opted to make my lavender lattes at home. I found the same lavender syrup that All Saints uses right here on Amazon. I don’t have to leave my kitchen to have a quality cup of joe and I can save some money while I’m at it. Next, I’ll have to use the syrup to create some yummy cocktails. —Teaghan Skulszki, editorial intern

Switching up My Coffee Routine

Kuju Coffee

Courtesy of Kuju Coffee

While my coffee routine once consisted of taking the time to make a shot of espresso with my Nespresso and artfully pouring steamed milk into a small barista-style heart on top—I have been cheating on espresso with pour-over these past few weeks. I’ve always loved the flavor of pour-over coffee, especially as a black coffee drinker, but never felt like I wanted to invest in the tools or have another coffee-related dish to wash every morning. Kuju coffee has the cutest solution to my pour over problem: these handy pop up (and disposable) pour-over pouches. With anchors on both sides of the coffee filter, you can insert their unique pour-over pouch into a mug of any size and make a perfect single-serving mug of coffee. With a variety of origins and bean blends to try, Kuju is making switching up my coffee routine easier than I could’ve imagined. But don’t worry espresso, I’ll be back soon! —Magdalena O’Neal, assistant editor

The Tea That Piqued a Coffee-Drinker’s Interest

Pique Tea English Breakfast

Courtesy of Pique Tea

Embracing adventure and weekends away post-vaccination are 2021 goals. And I’m looking for a tea that will travel—as in no steeping required—but still provide a quality tea-drinking experience. Pique tea crystals dissolve in water—cold or hot—depending on your choice of tea. Fortunately they carry many of my favorites—from matcha to rooibos to Earl Grey—and more. Pique gently preserves all of the healthful benefits of the freshest and rarest of plants with its patented cold brew crystallization process. Their teas are also triple toxin screened for pesticides, heavy metals, and toxic mold.

Depending on your tea goals—better digestion, fasting, or the calm energy I’ve come to appreciate after ditching the bean for the leaf last summer—you’ll find a tea match. Start with Pique’s tea buying guide. It charts offerings by providing optimal time of day to drink, taste description, ingredients, and caffeine and polyphenols per serving. It’s worth a visit to their site just for the chart! But hopefully you’ll walk away with a new way to make your tea even when you’re not traveling. For the tea drinking moms in your life: If you spend more than $100 for Mother’s Day, aside from the free shipping, Pique is offering the limited edition hard-copy recipe book Bouquet of Teas and donating $5 of profits to Every Mother Counts. This promo starts April 22. The recipe book not only contains creative ways to use Pique teas in hot drinks and cocktails, but features twists on classic brunch eats too, like Earl Grey pancakes and Hibiscus Berry French Toast Bake. For mom we like the Ode to Tea gift box with its 8 curated tea crystal blends. —Christine Bobbish, photo editor

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