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How to Make Iced Coffee at Work

Iced at the Office

The average American spends over $1,000 on coffee drinks per year; going out every day for a $5 frozen latte can be an expensive habit! Luckily, USConnect and Route 66 Coffee give you coffee-shop quality coffee right in the workplace, and with a few simple tricks, you can concoct your cold drinks right in your office kitchen. For cold coffee drinks, we recommend the bold flavor of Route 66 Chicago Dark Roast. Or if you’re looking for a less caffeine in the afternoon, try Route 66 Sonoran Desert Decaf.

how to make iced coffee yourself

Easiest Method Iced Coffee

If your office uses a Keurig or other single-serve coffee machine, pack the reusable cup with your favorite coffee, and choose the smallest cup size on the machine. This will create a strong, concentrated brew that you can pour directly over ice without worrying that the coffee will be too watered down. The best thing about this method (if you have access to a single-serve coffee maker) is that you can make iced coffee to order, whenever the desire strikes.

Plan-Ahead Iced Coffee

If you don’t have access to a single-serve coffee maker, you can still have delicious iced coffee; you just have to plan ahead a little bit. Simply brew your normal coffee, and once it has cooled somewhat, pour it into a glass jar to store in the refrigerator for about two hours. When it is fully chilled, pour it over ice, and voila!

Cold-Brew Coffee

Cole-brew coffee takes quite a bit of planning, but the smooth taste is well worth the bother. When the coffee grounds brew without heat, they don’t produce as much acid, creating coffee with lots of flavor but less bitterness.

To make cold-brew coffee in the office, you will need a large jar, a cheesecloth or nut-milk bag, and your favorite Route 66 coffee. Simply scoop 1.5 cups of coffee beans into the filter bag, tie the bag, and put it in the jar with eight cups of cold water. Keeping this ratio, you can halve, double, or even triple the recipe as needed. Leave the jar on your desk or in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to brew. At this time, remove the filter bag, squeezing the extra coffee back into the jar. You have your cold-brew coffee! This method makes quite a concentrated brew, so you will want to add milk, cream, or even just water to dilute it.

 

 

Not Feeling Quite Right? Try These Mood Foods

Before the growth of modern medicine, doctors prescribed different foods for different ailments. The practice died out as western medical treatments expanded, but a recent movement is bringing these ideas back to the forefront of our medical and social culture. Read on to see how what you eat can boost your mental and physical health.

if you're body is feeling off adjust your food to better your mood!

The Problem: You’re exhausted all the time.

Try: Foods with more iron, especially red meat. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which causes consistent fatigue. If you’re a vegetarian, look for dark leafy vegetables like spinach as well as some beans. See our article on Food Pairings that Increase Nutritional Benefits to learn more about increasing the absorption of iron into your body.

The Problem: You’re jittery and stressed.

Try: Cutting down on the caffeine. Although it can help you feel more alert, it can also increase stress and anxiety. If you’ve been a several-cups-a-day person for an extended period, decrease your caffeine intake slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches. Instead of coffee or a soda, try a mood-boosting shake: put a banana, strawberries, papaya, and flaxseed into a blender and shake it up for a serotonin boost without the jitters.

The Problem: You’re feeling depressed.

Try: Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which several studies have shown to reduce feelings of depression. The best sources of these healthy fats are fish like salmon, but they are also widely available in our Bistro To Go™ kiosks in nuts, peanut butter, and food with chia seeds.

The Problem: You’re feeling down in the dumps.

Try: Some simple carbohydrates. Yes, we all know that from a pure weight-loss perspective, eating plain carbs is not a healthy choice. But eating carbs without protein or fat allows your body to create tryptophan, which transforms into serotonin in the brain. A high-carb snack can be a great treat at bedtime, since it can also help you fall asleep.

Ingredient du Jour: Great Grains

Grains are a staple in much of the world, but many in the United States haven’t explored much beyond quick-cook white rice. Luckily, interest in more exotic grains has risen in recent years, and a greater variety than ever is available in a wider variety of stores. Read on to learn which grains pack the greatest nutritional punch.Which grains pack the most nutritional punch?

  • Quinoa: One of the most popular “superfoods” of the past decade, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), has been a staple in the Andes for millennia. Although people frequently refer to quinoa as a grain and use it as a replacement for rice, it is technically the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant. This makes it related to such other superfoods as spinach and chard and accounts for its high nutritional value. One cooked cup contains 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 21 percent of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of fiber. It is also high in calcium, magnesium, and folate.
  • Brown Rice: Brown rice is cheaper and easier to find than quinoa, although it doesn’t quite measure up to quinoa’s profile. Brown rice is actually the same grain as white rice, but it retains its bran and germ, which are removed for white rice. The bran and germ provide many nutrients, including almost a full day’s supply of manganese as well as five grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber. One cup has 216 calories.
  • Farro: Italians have been cooking with farro for centuries, but it didn’t gain traction in the United States until our most recent concern with simple carbohydrates and desire for whole grains. Although the term “farro” may be used to describe a specific species of wheat grown in Tuscany, it is also used as an umbrella term for three different species of wheat: spelt, emmer, and einkorn. Farro is an ancient cousin of modern wheat with significantly higher nutritional power. Like other complex carbohydrate grains, farro has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. One cooked cup has 200 calories, eight grams of protein, and seven grams of fiber. Farro is also high in complex carbohydrates called cyanogenic glucosides, which have been linked to lowered cholesterol.

Breaking News? Sit-Down Restaurants Are Often As Unhealthy As Fast-Food

Fast-food restaurants have been getting a bad rap for years, and rightfully so; between the high fat and sodium contents and the urging to “supersize it,” fast-food has been a strong contributor to this country’s obesity epidemic. However, the vilification of fast-food restaurants has led many diners to assume that all other restaurant food is okay, which is of course not the case. Ingredients are ingredients no matter how quickly they’re served and consumed.

sit-down-restaurants

The “breaking news” about the unhealthiness of many sit-down restaurants is the result of a 2015 study published by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign professor Ruopeng An in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It shows that people eating out at either fast-food or sit-down restaurants consumed an average of 200 more calories per day than those who ate at home. They also consumed more cholesterol, more sodium, and more total fat. The surprising data is that people who ate at sit-down restaurants actually consumed more sodium and cholesterol than those who ate at fast-food restaurants.

An, who studied seven years of data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, suggests that the social nature of dining out lends itself to extended meals, giving people time to consume more food and drink. Further, all the bad press given to fast-food restaurants may encourage people to feel that sit-down restaurants are a healthier option, without actually considering the nutritional content of their meals.

One answer to this problem may come in the form of new federal nutritional labeling regulations that go into effect in December of 2016. Under the regulations, all chain restaurants (those with more than 20 locations with the same name) will need to post nutritional information for all standard menu items. A similar local law in Washington State saw calorie awareness triple and calorie consumption decline, so hopes are high that these results can be replicated on a larger scale.

The federal labeling regulations also apply to vending machines, but USConnect is far out ahead of the game on that one. Our Bistro To Go kiosks and vending machines already provide nutritional information, and our The Right Choice…For a Healthier You™ program helps lead diners in the right direction.

USConnect and Route 66 Partner with Life in Green to Provide Eco-Friendly Coffee Solutions

USConnect’s premium coffee service, Route 66, is pleased to announce its new partnership with Life in Green packaging and accessories. USConnect, the United States’ only nationwide wireless integrated food service network, provides the highest quality fresh food through a variety of customized dining services, fresh-food vending services, unattended retail services, and office coffee services.

cup-slider3

For many years, USConnect had purchased coffee for its office coffee services from other vendors, but in 2013, USConnect CEO Jeff Whitacre started thinking about how USConnect coffee could stand apart as its own brand: a brand that reflected the company’s values. Recognizing the iconic power of Route 66 in American culture, Whitacre and the USConnect team chose Route 66 as the name for its new coffee line. “There’s nothing more American than Route 66,” says Whitacre. “It represents the American spirit of adventure, of travel and experiencing new things in new places. As people travel along Route 66, they stop in coffee shops and diners all across America. This coffee celebrates that journey and the spirit of those travelers.”

Indeed, Route 66 roasters scour the world in search of the best beans and blends to create the most flavorful coffees. Each American Heritage coffee (see full list below) is named for a different stop on Route 66, representing the scope of the American experience. But for USConnect, it wasn’t enough to just embrace the American spirit of adventure. In order to help keep America great, Whitacre and USConnect felt that Route 66 should be an eco-friendly company. To that end, Route 66 is partnering with Life in Green to provide cups and accessories with the smallest possible environmental footprint. It’s about celebrating what’s best about America!

From the sunny shores of California to the Lone Star State, Route 66 coffees will magically transport coffee drinkers from their desks to some of the most notable places of our great nation:

California Blonde: A light, lively, perfectly balanced cup that’s easy to drink all day

Rocky Mountain Blend: From the heights of the Andes to the heights of the Rockies, this 100% Colombian coffee is fresh and heady.

Lone Star Select Roast: This 100% pure estate-grown coffee is as rich in flavor as the Texas soil.

Sonoran Desert Decaf: This seductive blend of the most flavorful coffees carries a unique, rich flavor without the caffeine.

St. Louis Doughnut Shop Blend: This medium roast is a great way to start the day with a smooth, clean taste and delightful aroma.

Chicago Dark Roast: Every sip of this rich, deep, robust roast is as vibrant in flavor as Chicago’s great heritage.

Summer Vending Tips and Trends

Summer is here, and the living is easy… or at least, easier. How does summer affect the vending industry? Read on for ways to maximize the benefits of summer and avoid some of its pitfalls. summer-vending-tips-trends

Health takes a front seat. This is an overall trend that accelerates in summer. People want to show off their “beach bodies,” so they’re more likely to try to eat healthily when possible. Warmer weather also means that a crisp, cool salad or wrap sandwich is more appealing than the warmer, heavier fare that people crave when the weather turns cold.

Keep it fresh. Again, the emphasis on freshness is a long-term trend that gains momentum in the summer when more fresh foods are available throughout the country. Kiosks like our Bistro To Go™ offer a wide range of fresh foods that see increased sales when the temperature rises. But be careful; when offering fresh food, it’s crucial to keep it fresh! A wilted salad or slightly-off hard-boiled egg can reduce consumer confidence and may chase them away forever. During the summer, when people travel a lot, make sure that fresh choices stay fresh.

Help people stay hydrated. Cold drink sales tend to rise in the summer as the mercury rises. And again, with the emphasis on health, many vending machine operators are moving away from sugary drinks and toward healthier options. Increasingly, people are willing to pay premium prices for high-end items like kombucha, green tea beverages, and smoothies, especially if they contain trendy health ingredients like chia, kale, or antioxidants.

We all scream for ice cream! Some companies are stocking freezer vending machines with frozen treats like old-fashioned ice cream bars and ice pops. And although this might seem to buck the health trend, there are lots of healthy options like frozen fruit bars and frozen Greek yogurt.

USConnect Reaches Milestone

We’re growing!

USConnect now has over 40 affiliate members serving 100 U.S. metropolitan areas.

“The affiliate coverage area is vital for USConnect’s success; we want to provide a consistent, employee-focused, connected level of service for national accounts,” says Jeff Whitacre, CEO. “Our national account program is so effective because employers see significant value in making vending, food service, and micro markets an extension of their employee benefits.”

USConnect

The USConnect family of affiliates provides employee services via a connected network of vending machines, food service, and micro markets as well as providing cashless convenience, loyalty, and promotional services via the proprietary USConnect OneCard. The USConnect OneCard also allows for instant refunds to its customers and detailed reporting to manufacturers.

Jeffrey Lee, General Manager of Kinney Vending, a company that recently signed with USConnect, states, “We are an independent, family-owned business guided by our family values for three generations. We are looking to compete in a market of giants who do not hold the same values. USConnect has given us the competitive advantage we need by allowing us to connect with other businesses that share the same values while still allowing us to maintain our independence.”

USConnect has been conducting regional sales and operational seminars to educate the affiliates on the plethora of services provided. Seminars are scheduled for Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and San Diego. To find out more about these seminars, visit www.usconnect.biz.

USConnect plans to complete its affiliate network expansion by mid-2016.

September Specials with Your USConnect OneCard

Take advantage of these great deals by using your USConnect OneCard on any of these products now through Sept. 30, 2014.

Quench your thirst

  • Buy 4 Mt. Dew bottles (any flavor) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Lipton Tea bottles (any flavor) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Mt. Dew Kickstarts and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 regular 7-Up, A&W, or Sunkist bottle beverages (mix and match) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Dr Pepper bottles (any variety) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Snapple bottle beverages and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Crystal Light On The Go Sticks (any flavors) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy an Aquafina bottle and a Sun Chip LSS together and save $0.50.

Satisfy that sweet tooth

  • Buy 4 Snickers bar singles and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Twix bar singles and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Dove Chocolate bar singles and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Welch’s Fruits Snacks single-serve (any variety) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Wonka Chewy Spree or Mini Chewy Sweetarts singles and get the 5th one free. Wonka Candy
  • Buy 4 Chips Ahoy single-serve sleeve or bag cookies and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Nature Valley Oats & Honey or Peanut Butter Granola Bars and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Chex Mix Muddy Buddies 1.75 oz and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Swedish Fish or Sour Patch Kids (2 oz size, mix and match) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Nestle candy miniatures bags (mix and match) and get the 5th one free
  • Buy 4 Gummi Factory Bears or Worms single-serve (mix and match) and get the 5th one free.

Grab a quick snack

  • Buy 4 Pringles cans (any size) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Cheetos Flamin’ Hot LSS 2 oz and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Rold Gold Pretzel Thins Three Cheese and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Combos single-serve (any flavor) and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Cheez-It’s single-serve and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy 4 Kraft String Cheese singles and get the 5th one free.

Make it a meal

  • Buy 4 Hot Pockets and get the 5th one free.
  • Buy any 4 Stouffer or Lean Cuisine meals and get the 5th one free.

With your USConnect OneCard, you earn points on each purchase. Cardholders earn 5 reward points for every dollar spent. Redeem those points online for cash back on your account.

Remember, your rewards also give back. At participating locations, 1.5% of every
dollar spent on your OneCard goes to the charity of your choice. Now that’s truly
rewarding!

For full terms and conditions, visit www.usconnectme.com/promotions.

Take a Tour of Route 66 Coffees!

Travel down Route 66 and discover flavorful coffees from all over the country with USConnect’s custom-roasted,  American heritage coffee line.
route 66 coffee

From the sunny shores of California to the Sonoran Desert to the heights of the Rocky Mountains to the Lone Star State, our Route 66 coffees will magically transport you from your desk to some of the most notable places of our great nation.

Take a tour down Route 66 every day, stopping to savor each of the distinctive flavors along the way. Route 66 offers four unique blends:

California Blonde

A light, sun-kissed roast

California Blonde is a light and lively, perfectly balanced cup that you can drink all day. Mild in flavor, with a light body and lively finish, California Blonde is as mellow as a day in the California sun.

Rocky Mountain Blend

The peak of flavor ­­– 100% Columbian

Flavor erupts from our Rocky Mountain Blend, a rare cup encompassing all of the qualities that first made Columbian coffee famous. Just like the heights of the Rockies, this blend is fresh and heady. You’ll have a 10,000-foot view of your day with this clean, mellow flavor balanced with a pleasant finish and distinctive aroma.

Lone Star Select Roast

An estate blend with the big, bold taste of Texas

Put some kick into your day with our Lone Star Select Roast. This 100% pure estate-grown coffee is as rich in flavor as the Texas soil. You’ll be transported to the ranch with the complex, pleasant aroma rising from your mug.

Sonoran Desert Decaf

A panoramic flavor experience

Take a trip to the Southwest with this seductive blend of our most flavorful coffees, where you’ll find a unique, rich flavor without the caffeine. We start with the finest Columbian and Central American coffees, then gently decaffeinate, blend, and roast them to perfection. You can enjoy this one all day long!

So take a coffee break and take a tour down Route 66.