It’s October! Do you know what that means?

Oh yes, you’ve guessed it! It’s time for TheCoffeeNinja’s FOURTH Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest.

My goodness! It’s already been four years? Time sure has flown by. I’ve managed to *almost* master some delicious Vegan Pumpkin Soft Cookies. They’re my new favorite thing about fall. :)

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But alas, it’s October and time to bust out those pumpkins and show us what you’ve got!

The Rules:

1.) Pick your pumpkin – Any size, shape, color, or even material (yes, it doesn’t have to be a real pumpkin if you get grossed out by the guts or just want something that will last after it’s been decorated). ** Computer generated/ altered graphics will not be accepted. **
2.) Get to carving! Creativity counts in this contest, so don’t be scared to test the realms of possibilities!
3.) Please incorporate your name, twitter handle, website, etc. or take a picture of you with your pumpkin. I only ask this because it’s far too easy to find pictures of carved pumpkins online.
4.) Submit all entries by Sunday, October 27th by 9pm CDT to be considered for the contest. All entries will be incorporated into a article on http://www.thecoffeeninja.com posted on Thursday, October 31st.
*** Be sure to include your name and valid contact info in your submission so I can notify you if you won.

You can email your submissions to [email protected]

    Prizes

The prize options have changed this year. Since it’s just too hard to pick “The Best” pumpkin, all entries will have their name thrown into a bag (or cup, or hat, or bowl, or skull?) and the first five names picked will receive a $10 Starbucks Gift Card. This assures that everyone has an equal chance and to make this more of a FUN event instead of competitive.

TheCoffeeNinja’s Third Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Fall is finally here. Have you had your Pumpkin Spice Latte Yet?

The onset of fall brings several things: football, baseball playoffs, cooler weather, hoodies, and lots of candy. But most importantly – TheCoffeeNinja’s Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

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The Rules are pretty simple:

1.) Pick your pumpkin – Any size, shape, color, or even material (yes, it doesn’t have to be a real pumpkin if you get grossed out by the seedy guts). Computer generated graphics will not be accepted.
2.) Get to carving! Creativity counts in this contest, so really express yourself!
3.) Please incorporate your name, twitter handle, website, etc. or take a picture of you with your pumpkin. I only ask this because it’s far too easy to find pictures of carved pumpkins online, and nobody likes a cheater anyway.
4.) Submit all entries by Sunday, October 28th by 9pm CDT to be considered for the contest. All entries will be incorporated into a article on http://www.thecoffeeninja.com posted on Wednesday, October 31st.
*** Be sure to include your name and valid contact info in your submission so I can notify you if you won.

You can email your submissions to [email protected]

The top 6 winners will each win a Starbucks gift card.
1st Place – $20
2nd Place – $10
Runner Up [4] – $5

A Tribute to the “Almost Heaven”ly Blondes

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Every year I find myself sometime in February realizing that I haven’t started working towards a single one of my New Year’s Resolutions and that’s the whole reason I try to refrain from even setting them to begin with. Sure, I’m only one month into the year so I have plenty of time to correct my bad behavior and make the best of the rest of the year… but I don’t. I’m so focused on immediate short-term goals that I forget about all the other stuff I set forth to achieve.

Thus, my first blog article in two months.

The launch of Blonde Roast has been quite successful in my area. Tons of regular customers at my store took part in our “Find the Roast You Love the Most” tasting event and have “made the switch” to Blonde from their daily Dark Roast or Pike Place Roast. Seems to me that Starbucks has hit another home-run with this coffee. For those of you who don’t know, our daily drip coffee offerings consist of Veranda Blend, Pike Place Roast, Decaf Pike as well as a Dark Roast offering.

Speaking of Starbucks hitting home-runs, Casi Cielo finally hit stores February 7th and has been flying off the shelves ever since. After promoting and drinking so much of the Blonde Roast in the weeks leading to Cielo’s release, this years blend tasted rather bold to me and took several french presses to get my palate back to remembering why I love this coffee soooooo much. Such a rich, decedent coffee.

Which leads me to-

After high demand for it’s return and I’m sure tons of hate mail, Starbucks will be bringing back Tribute Blend on March 6th, 2012. *insert squeal of excitement here*

Tribute Blend launched March 8, 2011 as a Tribute to the Customers and Communities and celebrating 40 years of growing together over a cup of coffee. A delicious post-roast blend (meaning that they are blended after roasting to bring out the specific flavor characteristics) of beans from Papua New Guinea and Colombia with Aged Sumatra and Sun-Dried Ethiopia, Tribute Blend was a cup bursting with cherry flavors and hints of spicy note. My mouth exploaded with favor and I immediately fell in love. Frantic after being told it was a “one-time thing”, I stockpiled all the Tribute I could get my hands on and prayed that this blend would take the place of wretched Pike Place.

I am honestly surprised at the lack of hype leading up to the return of this amazing coffee. With all the demands, requests, tears, rants, etc. that the company received at the end of the run last year, one would think Starbucks would jump on chance to dangle this coffee in front of the Coffee Zombies ready to kill to get to the Tribute Blend. I’ll admit, I’m first in line. Even though we have it in stores now (since we’re less than two weeks from it’s launch date), we have specific instructions not to mark it out or purchase it before March 6th, so every day I go to work and see this coffee and drool knowing that soon my mouth will dance with the most magical flavor over-load.

What seasonal coffee (or core coffee) gets you most excited? Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know!

~* Above pictures were taken from the Starbucks.com Coffee Menu and Photoshopped together for my personal use. It might be a crime. Not sure. >.< *~

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