Nutrition Facts: The Best and Worst Seasonal Hot Drinks at Wawa

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‘Tis the season for escaping the cold by ducking into a coffee shop and ordering a piping hot cup of peppermint hot chocolate with extra whip and sprinkles. Or, in the case of many Philadelphians, ducking into a Wawa and doing just the same.

While I’m not here to needlessly rag on Philly’s most ubiquitous and beloved convenience-store chain (we did find lots of healthy stuff there, ya know), I’m betting that a lot of you have wondered, even once for a split second, just how many calories are in your favorite seasonal Wawa latte or hot cocoa drink. So in the name of fact-finding, we compared them side by side—looking only at stats for 12-ounce drinks, to keep it fair—to help you find the best choices and avoid the pitfalls.

Here’s to smarter holiday sipping.

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New La Colombe Planned for Independence Mall

dow-building-940The former Rohm and Haas building at the corner of 6th and Market Streets will be the home of a new La Colombe coffee cafe in 2015. La Colombe is leasing 1,700 square feet of ground-floor space at on Independence Mall. This will not be a mega La Colombe like the 11,000 square foot cafe recently opened in Fishtown.

The building has seen a rebirth of its public spaces since the joint venture of Keystone Property Group, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and Parkway Corporation took over the building. Over the summer, the building’s plaza and breezeways were the home of the successful Independence Beer Garden.

La Colombe has been focusing on expansion since raising $28.5 million in backing this summer. No exact word on an opening date.

La Colombe [Official]

Little Spoon Cafe Is Now Open

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Little Spoon Cafe opened today at 15th and South Streets, in the former (and a bit weird) home to Baja Room. The space has been transformed into a super attractive cafe that is open for breakfast, lunch, and on some nights, dinner. We stopped in for a late lunch and enjoyed a BLT served with crispy bacon, on excellent bread.

The cafe is owned by area residents, Jeanne French and Julia McMeans. The chef is Lauren Geary, who was once the chef down the street, at the now closed Pumpkin Market. The cafe opens at 7 a.m. and offers quick breakfast options, plus breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Daily breakfast specials include a rotating selection of scrambles and galettes, a rustic pastry with seasonal filling.

Lunch offers soups, salads, sandwiches and a rotating choice of grilled cheeses. Little Spoon also stocks ice cream from Franklin Fountain, plus treats from Shane’s Candies.

Photos, specials and menus » 

The Gold Standard on Fitz Is Now Serving

gold-standard-on-fitz-400The Gold Standard on Fitz is up and brewing coffee, as well as serving breakfast pastries, bagels, sandwiches and salads. The branch of West Philadelphia’s Gold Standard succeeds the Beauty Shop Cafe at 20th and Fitzwater in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

The coffee shop, which serves up Green Street coffee offers an a.m. special where a small coffee or tea and pastry is available for just $3.50.

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Local Brothers Aiming to Shake Up Craft Beverage Market

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BKON Craft Brewer at Philadelphia’s Counter Culture Training Center

Two local brothers are looking to shake up the craft beverage market. Lou and Dean Vastardis have co-founded BKON (pronounced beacon), a company looking to utilize negative pressure to infuse teas, coffee and made-to-order, infused cocktails.

When I met up with Lou Vastardis upstairs from Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia’s Counter Culture Coffee Training Center, he had samples of  tea leaves, coffee, dried fruit, herbs, spices and chilies lined up on a workbench. Also present, the Vastardis’s BKON Craft Brewer, a touchscreen controlled brewing apparatus that promises an easier way to make tea, more flavorful coffee and unique cocktail combinations. The Craft Brewer controls the extraction of flavor using temperature, pressure and time to create a replicable drink quickly. The device, which was awarded the “Best New Product” at the World Tea Expo in 2013 can in 60-seconds pull the flavor out of a loose-leaf tea that might ordinarily take multiple brews and ten-plus minute wait times, not to mention the possibility of human error.

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ReAnimator Coffee Opens Big New Spot

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While we’ve been all amped up on news from La Colombe, ReAnimator Coffee has quietly expanded with its own bigger and better facility.

ReAnimator Coffee is hosting their grand opening at 310 Master Street on Saturday October 11th starting at 3 p.m. The coffee shop is currently open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends, but the grand opening is a great time to tour the new space, a restored elevator factory in the Kensington neighborhood.

The new space serves not only as a ReAnimator cafe, but will also house the green coffee inventory, serve as a training lab for employees and feature a 12 kilo Probat coffee roaster.

Coffee equipment geekery ahead » 

La Colombe Raises $28.5 Million; Plans Nationwide Expansion

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There is no shortage of news coming from the La Colombe camp recently. As we, not so patiently, wait for co-owners Todd Carmichael and  JP Iberti to open their Fishtown flagship cafe and rum distillery, the Philadelphia based coffee roaster has announced it has raised $28.5 million towards opening 100 cafes in the next five years and has also released “The Dragon,” a $359 coffee making device that has coffee geeks salivating. This is all happening as La Colombe has been busy opening new cafes in Washington DC, New York and Chicago. And that’s not to mention that the original 19th and Walnut location is getting revamped and Iberti is a recent father.

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