Friday, October 3, 2014

Moving Day

Moving Day!

We're moving over to Wordpress again.  Posts will be archived there, and this site maybe deleted too.

Update bookmarks if someone's bookmarked it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why I use Linux

I was once one of the Windows refugees Linux blogs are talking about. I had a laptop I really needed to get an operating system on -- any operating system on to get it running.

I use it purely because it works, and given the right distribution it just works. I have rarely had the hardware nightmares people talk about. In fact, I think I have only ever had one wireless dongle not work out of the box.

How over this, really sums it for me:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Coffee Naps.

I wonder if these work.  I have been reading a lot about these lately. Basically, the idea is to take a hit of espresso than take a 10 to 20 minute power nap, and you will be more refreshed and awake.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Linux is 23

I've been delving deeper and deeper into my operating system of choice over the past few weeks, learning even more than just using a GUI to do anything. 

I just did not know that today is a birthday. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Bit of Truth from Miami

I really don't have much to say on it, because this is all pretty straight forward. One of the things I like about this song is that she isn't asking him to take care of her, or putting herself in a place of dependence. She's just telling the dude that he's got to grow up and take some damned responsibility for himself.  When everyone stands up and becomes responsible, it makes for a stronger family, stronger community, and a stronger society.

This goes for me and women.

On a side note, I did come across it listening to this:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Climate Change is Real.

And here's one more reason why you should care.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reach Out, Touch Faith

Just because I haven't posted any decent writing in a long while. It is completely unrelated to anything going on. It is just a little drabble based on a story a friend told me this week.

"Reach Out, Touch Faith"

I met my Playmate at hospital after I broke my arm at age 7. A little Indian woman who tells me things, shares things with me. My personal Vishnu, my Kali.

Word is, I couldn't even break my arm right. They had to break it for me again. Being good, western doctors they didn't want me to suffer in pain. A shot of morphine to numb me. A shot of Special K to see the goddess.

Before I knew it, I had a new thick cast as a new friend promising she would stay by my side.

.... Together, we will make the world burn.

Now, where did I put my drugs?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

George House Coffee and Tea

So here we are, finally with a review.

Recently, a wonderful friend of ours brought us some coffee from a coffee shop someone in her family own. That wonderful gesture of generosity does make this review biased. Also, I wasn't able to visit the shop myself since it is in another state.

We were presented with two coffees to try. One is a roast from Panama's Boquete region, and another is a Snickerdoodle.

Both are excellent coffees. I think the Boquete is one of the better ones I've turned into espressos. It hits all of those right notes I like, and makes a pretty little shot. (I would get pictures, but I broke my clear espresso glasses.)

I think Panama is becoming one of my favorite places in the world for coffee, just from the few coffees I've had from there.

George House Coffee and Tea

If I am ever in this part of Ohio, I will definitely check out the shop.

On a side note, we were also given some crystallized ginger. I know its meant to be used in stuff, but I've been sneaking it like candy all week.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coffee in SPACE!

Here's something from one of my favorite science blogs talking about a new coffee machine headed to the ISS. It is being made in conjunction with the Italian Space Agency and Lavazza.

I guess, if you are going to have some kind of vendor lock-in, Lavazza isn't a bad way to go.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Deal With the Devil

Nothing more than someone's drabble I wanted to share. I may not be a believer, but the devil is always fascinating.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The 90's at 9.

Well, 9-ish.

I've been meaning to pop this up for a while. Enjoy.

Whatever happened to Love Canal and Mighty Joe Plum anyway?

Friday, July 4, 2014


I found the most awesome new today that could possibly come from Canada.

Ethical Bean Coffee is now easily available in the US. I don't have to hunt down and horde it anymore. Ethical Bean is now offered through Amazon.

Their full range is now available. Just in time for an extremely belated Father's Day gift.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Open Source Software

I use a lot of it. In fact, at home it is almost exclusively all I use outside of gaming. I came across this little article that really encapsulates open source software, and the value of community driven software.

There is one group missing from the group, and I feel like it is one I fall into: Evangelists. I believe in the value of things created by the community.

I don't write about it enough, and I plan to, in time. There is just something nice about using something that was created as a labor of love, rather than just a product.

Of course, there are issues with that too, but that is just people.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Grinds: A Replacement for Chew

This... This is a thing.

Grinds are coffee pouches that are meant to be chewed instead of smokeless tobacco. You're switching out one nasty, potentially deadly vice in exchange for one less so. It is basically a coffee based energy drink turned into some kind gum or gritty mess. I have to wonder just what the texture is in the mouth.

I get it. I even applaud the effort.

However, at the same time, I cannot quite wrap my head around it.

For those who would want to quit chew tobacco, its is a good alternative.

You should quit chew tobacco. In fact, you should quit smoking too.

I just wonder, is this a good alternative for coffee? If there a DIY method of those wanting to homebrew this mess?

Spitting black spit everywhere is kind of disgusting though.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Back in Flannel and Needin' My Fix

Midnight Rambles

It is the first night of summer, and I just realized it has been a couple weeks since I have posted anything on this blog about coffee, or even something completely unrelated.

I have been cutting back on my coffee intake after a few brutal weeks of caffeine overkill. Also, my own real life has consumed me with a few issues that will not be chronicled for anyone with search engine access to find. 

I will start up with coffee soon. I have almost started drinking Peet's House blend in my espresso maker and French Press, and Hi-Line in the Nespresso Machine.

Dellessa actually likes the Hi-Line over the Nespresso blends, and it works for her in the early hours. 

Even though we are starting to get into the more brutal parts of summer, I am finding my way back into open flannel shirts, grunge and post grunge music, and some of the movies and culture of my youth. 

I have also started to explore some of parts of the early Internet I missed in those days: I set up my own IRC server and have started exploring Usenet, reading over it like Reddit. It is all fascinating in its simplicity. Well, the IRC server took some doing to get it set up properly on an Ubuntu server, but oh well.

Maybe its just all the coffee talk taking me back to a simpler time? Before a cup of Starbucks wasn't a symbol of suburban middle class, and was a piece of counter-culture.

Of course, us old flannel wearers are soccer moms and middle management stiffs now. Soon, we will be the dreaded Man. 

In the meantime, here's some Seven Mary Three

Friday, June 6, 2014

Coffee Prices.

Well, its finally happening to one of the biggest of the big boys in the coffee world. Even the price of Folgers is going up because of the world wide prices of Arabica.

If these keeps up, the cheap stuff really won't be that much cheaper than some of the decent mid-Range coffees.

Why waste time on Folgers when you can get a slightly better cup for not that much more money out of a brand like 8 O'Clock?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Well, Its Called Coffee.

Well, the track is called coffee. Its also, not a bad riddim, not that I can call myself an expert in it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Is a Pretty Looking Machine.

I know, more link dumping. Real life has kept me from being an active coffee person lately.

This a new machine from Senseo. Its a single cup machine that is made of a lot of recycled plastics. No word or product review yet.

However, depending on price, this would fit nicely with my Pixie and De'Longhi.

I mean, just look at that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cold Brew

Here is some more reposting.  This time it comes from Boing Boing with a great how to for cold brew coffee.

Essentially, its a lot of coffee coarsely ground as if for a French Press. You put it in a nutbag, which is like a bag made from a tightly woven cheesecloth.

You let to sit in cold, filtered water overnight, and it is ready for the next day.

I just need to track down a nut bag and give it a shot.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

More Nestle Coffee News.

I really did not know that coffee from China is a thing. It is a still developing thing that will be worth checking on.

I still have some coffees to review and discuss, but nothing exciting right now.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

More from the Coffee World.

For a while, I've been coming across more and more stories about threats to the coffee industry as a whole. Frankly, the price for higher quality beans is going to sky rocket from a mixture of global warming, and disease that is enabled by global warming.

Simply put, the smaller farmers we rely on for the really good stuff, are having trouble coping. Plants are dying which is causing prices to go up. Cheap Robusta is the only thing that seems to be surviving well enough.

Here's a well written article that will apply to us in the States as much as New Zealand.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nespresso in Danger?

Here's an interesting industry article about single serve. It is a big deal in the coffee world. A bunch of company's are joining up to pose a creditable threat to Nespresso. Of course, there's also the K-Cup and Green Mountain's dominance here.

However, I have always regarded Nespresso as a premium brand with a commitment to quality. For single serve, it really cannot be beat... at least, for single serve espresso.

Community - RIP

Well, its official, one of my favorite TV's shows is cancelled.I might be a late comer to the party, but Community has become my one go to show to marathon when I really need to forget about life for a while. It was a silly show at times, that was also poignant enough to make me consider growing up. I

It helped me reflect on some of the changes I have been through over the years since I was a fresh face our of high school. It would also make me smile as I thought about the group of misfits I hung out in my own abortive attempt at college many years ago.

I was brilliant escapism, that will now only exist in marathon runs and fanficition.

Oh yes, I'll be looking for the fanfiction.

Like a Wiccan in the early 2000's, I'll never forget.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

3 Little Birds


I kind of got this stuck in my head tonight. Everyone should hear it again.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Turkish Coffee - An Update and a Recipe

It seems, I have been neglecting my blog a bit the past week or so. In truth, I have been trying to cut back a bit in my coffee drinking. There are limits to how much one should drink.

Of course, lately, as the temperatures get a little warmer, and the flowers come out, I have been wanting to trying a few new things.

After a wonderful birthday gift, of some Chinese ginger, and a purchase of cardamon, I set about using it for a spicy little brew for Turkish Coffee.

I grind down two parts coffee to extra fine, add one part sugar. I find the two to one mix makes it sufficiently syrupy. I add the spices with a cinnamon and follow the preparation instructions on Coffee Geek.

Then, I attempt to bring the temperature down by pouring it off into a mug. I'm also careful to leave as much of the grounds in the pot. I let what is in the mug cool and settle.

Several minutes later, I pour it again into mugs over ice with almond milk and enjoy.

For the coffee, I have been trying to finish up the Robusta from several weeks ago. Its been sitting, and I'm afraid a bit stale for most other uses. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Well, here we are. 33 today.

I wanted to say something profound about turning this old, or even something about a year of coffee snobbery.

Though, I really don't have anything to say. It is mostly just a time to be glad and thankful to reach 33, and be glad to the luxuries of modern life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Why I should have a Quadcopter of my own.

DJI PHANTOM FIREWORKS from Gasper C on Vimeo.

Need I say more?

Really, sorry its basically been a coffee link dump. I really haven't had a lot of cool finds aside from online. I'm working through the old coffee now. I can't stand the idea of wasting stuff.

Friday, April 18, 2014

From Fruit To Bean

Here is a nice little article that goes into some detail about the different methods of processing coffee before it goes to market, and eventually a roaster. Their pictures are nice and informative.

It never really occurred to me how much this process creates the flavor profile.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Robusta to Get Its Due?

Over at Daily Coffee News, they have an article today about Uganda attempting to ramp up and improve Robusta coffee to the level of Arabica.

Given the heartiness of Robusta in comparison to Arabica, and the fact it will grow in more places, I have to agree with the idea.

However, will the snobs accept it?

Alas, check out the article. Its worth a read, even if it is a small indicator towards our changing world.

Will all Arabicas be treated like Blue Mountain or Kona in a decade or two of global warming?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Coffee Blending For the Home Roaster (

I came across this in my feed tonight. When I was roasting, I think I came across a lot of these recommendations by accident.

It is good to have a little validation on those counts.

Coffee Blending For the Home Roaster (

Thursday, April 10, 2014


In Chicago

I came across this in my news feeds today. Really, it sounds like a cool idea, and I do like a Con.

Basically, the idea is a consumer facing coffee convention for coffee lovers, and people generally interested in coffee beyond their morning fix. It is like the ones for comics and general geekery, but for coffee.

Unfortunately, it is this weekend, and in Chicago.

They are going to do this in more cities. Hopefully, might be something to add to the Con schedule for 2015.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Project Endure

Getting Students in the Mountains

And I do not mean the Mountains of Madness, which was probably closer to my own high school experience. 

While we were prowling around the Farmer's Market at City Market in Indy, we came across a group selling granola. 

It was a couple high school students, promoting and raising money for their group, Project Endure

From the promotional material, and what they discussed, they use adventure trips as a means of teaching leadership and responsibility. (Though, I often wonder about these groups, since the type of students who gravitate towards these programs are the ones who already received this message.)

Still, its a noble effort. There is value in getting out of your environment, to experience new things. the more a person sees of the world, and experiences the little differences, they realize those differences between people really are not that different. Our motivations and needs are mostly the same. 

We just seek to meet those needs differently. 

I was looking for something profound, but there really isn't anything profound. But it seems profound at 17. 

Well anyway, its good granola, and at the time we bought the jar, that was what I was focused on. Its so much better than the stuff you buy in the store.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Harvest Cafe Coffee - Guatemalan Santa Rosa

An Indianapolis Best

This weekend, we made an early morning trip to the Indianapolis City Market to catch the Saturday morning Winter Farmer's Market. (During the regular growing season, its moving to the week days, which is incredibly inconvenient right now.)

I was not sure what we were going to find before even the Spring vegetables had come in. I was cranky, and it was early.

Harvest Cafe Coffee Roasters had a table set up, with coffee for sale. They are a local roaster on the other side of town from where we live. Consequently, I had not heard of them before that morning. We bought a couple cups, because the caffeine monkey was hitting my back hard.

Luckily, the coffee they had on tap was the absolute perfect wake up coffee.

One of the biggest aspects coffee snobs get into is having the absolute freshest possible pot. Since they were just selling off a table, they had a big vat of it, in one of the containers usually reserved the for Gatorade pour over the winning coach at the Super Bowl. I was not quite awake enough for this little detail to settle in.

However, it was full of a recently roasted batch of Guatemalan coffee. After the first few sips, it was as if a light came back on. Even though the drip was a couple hours old, it still held together its characteristics.

Once the cup was nearly empty, we bought a pound.

Since, I have made a couple Presses, an espresso shot, and I tried it in the Electric Santos.

Still, it is an ideal coffee for a morning French Press. Its bold, but not bitter. It is a very smooth coffee. The simpler the extraction, the better. There is a slight spiciness in the back that reminds me of a nice black pepper.

This really is a rainy day coffee to keep you going when all you want to do is sleep.

Harvest Cafe Roasters does sell to the public, and they do ship. They also open their rotisserie for tours, and if you call ahead you can pick up your order. According to the guy I was speaking with, they also sell green beans for home roasters.

Eventually, I plan on checking them out on the East side of Indianapolis. In the meantime, I highly recommend this coffee and this overall brand.

I also plan to have a bit more about out trip.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


A Nespresso Alternative

I have been working on this review off and on for a while. After doing some investigating online, I came across a few competitors to Nespresso, using compatible capsules to their most popular machines. 

After all, I do like Nespresso's coffees, and their blends are amazing. The new single origin Bukeela is definitely something to try.  But, honestly, Nespresso is expensive, and I do not always like buying a big load all at one time. 

From reviews, and availability, I decided to give Hi-Line coffee a shot. They are a New York based coffee company that seems committed to quality coffee and sustainability. (Of course, what small coffee company isn't?) 

However, they are a small company with few people working for them rather than the biggest food company in the world. Accountability for making a solid product is much higher with Hi-Line, and it shows in their coffees.

I have made several orders in an effort to really be certain I like their coffees. Generally, I do. When compared with Illy, Lavazza, or even Nespresso, the espressos from Hi-Line truly are in their category. 

There are some differences, of course. Instead of being a aluminum pod, there's are recyclable plastic with a foil cover. They are well tamped, and a substantial amount of coffee in the pod. These pods are compatible with most machines, including my Pixie. They will work with most machines, except for some of the newer (and mostly discontinued) U's, and VertuoLine. Hi-Line is meant for home use, and the commercial Nespresso machines are not even discussed. 

I find the coffees, particularly the medium to light roasts fit American palates. They certainly work better with my own except for a couple exceptions in Nespresso's selections of coffee.

However, one of the better things with Hi-Line is the fact they have a smaller, more focused selection. Hopefully, they will build on it over time, but for now there is just 12 coffees to chose from. However, that is probably closer to the average with most smaller coffee companies. 

As for price, the coffee is $0.50 per capsule, sold mostly in sleeves of ten. Shipping, no matter how many you order is just $5.00. They're shipping may not be guaranteed two day shipping like Nespresso, but my deliveries have been coming fast enough. I will order on a Friday, and have the coffee from the Postal Service by Wednesday, just in time to make a cup for work.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Bodum 12 Cup Electric Vacuum Coffee Maker.

I Give You: The Electric Santos

I know it sounds a bit like a sex act, but I was able to get one of these today for about $10.00. I cannot say exactly how or why, but it was not in a Goodwill. (Nor is this for sale.) 
After doing some digging online, I found out that it is a bit of a collector's item. After my first use, I can see why.
I have always been a bit wary of vacuum coffee preparation because of the glass and boiling, but this is a good way to dip my toe into it. I will dive into a proper review once I get more accustomed to the method and the machine. 
Currently, this brings our preparation count up to 9 different methods and makers.
Here's a link to the product description on Amazon. Sadly, this machine is simply no longer made by Bodum.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Pink Floyd Mix

I don't write enough about how much I love this band. Its been a life long, sometimes obsession with Pink Floyd since I was a misinformed teenager. Tonight, after a re-install of my operating system and tooling around with the new version of Clementine, I came across this mix by doing a Floyd search with Soundcloud.

So far, about a half hour in, its been a smooth tour through the early years, pre-Dark Side. If you've got an hour to while away, this is the mix for it.

Lots of props to the DJ on this one.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tears in the Rain

We were discussing this speech this evening. Time to post it up just because I can.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On K-Cups and DRM.

Here's an article from Ars Technica that goes into some detail about the new Keurig Cups and their proposed product revision that locks their machines and pods to their proprietary technology. Truthfully, I'm not a fan of the K-Cup in any of its iterations. I generally find the coffee weak. Therefore, I tend to roll my eyes about anything involving K-Cups.

There article is worth a read, simply given the state of the mainstream coffee business and where its going. Music, and increasingly movies and books demonstrate how useless Digital Rights Management protections really are. Building it into coffee pods its phenomenally dumb.

With the increasing droughts in coffee producing regions, and the rising price of coffee, we don't need anything else to drive up the price of our favorite fix.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ice Caves in Alaska

Bigger Than Life - Ice Caves from Firefight Films on Vimeo.

This is really cool, though not everything I hoped when I initially clicked the link. The song is pretty good too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nespresso VertuoLine

Some Thoughts on the Latest and Greatest in Coffee

I have been meaning to write about this new machine and coffee system for a while. Because of the unnamed company I work at, I have been fortunate enough to try quite a bit of coffee from this machine.

I will admit a Nespresso bias, since it is a coffee system I personally sell for work, and something I have been to their specialized training for sometime ago. My destiny is somewhat tied to this doing well.

Therefore, I will not get into a heavy review, and I spent few weeks waffling about what I want to say about the machine. After all, this blog is a portion of my personal "journey with coffee" or some such nonsense.

For those who have not seen it, or had a chance to sample it, the Nespresso VertuoLine is Nestle's attempt at winning over America's drip coffee drinkers. The United States still has not fully been won over by pure espresso. The bulk of American's first instinct to a shot of espresso is to pour in enough milk and sugar into 1.3 ounces that it swells to two cups, and one more ticket in the diabetes raffle. Crema is a foamy substance on the top that is fairly alien to the average drinker.

With the VertuoLine, they created a new proprietary capsule with a bar code reader on it, then changed the extraction method to centripetal force to reach the usual 19 Bars of Nespresso pressure. When I heard about this machine, and the details, I thought that Nespresso is copying, or adapting The Remington iCoffee (a machine I'd like to get and try out for myself, honestly.) However, the VertuoLine is still not this, and could be something better. The coffee pods themselves make up for the difference.

What you get with the "coffee" coffee pods looks like 8 ounces of Guinness with a thick, foamy head that would impress any barkeep in London. The resulting coffee is still the dependable, excellent coffee that most people but the snobbiest of coffee snobs consider great.

No matter how they sell it, it is not drip coffee. It is not even amazing drip coffee that one would get from a Chemex.

With any of the coffee Grand Cru's, the resulting cup is closer to an Americano with a thick, two inch crema, or a a French Press with the mythical crema on the top. The coffee is thicker and silkier than anything out of most drip machines. (One of the reasons my mind went to the iCoffee.)  Nespresso recommends folding the crema back into the coffee itself to rebalance the cup. I haven't seen anyone do that, yet. The crema holds just too much wonderful aroma though.

The few purely drip coffee people I have talked to about the machine report that they are getting upset stomachs after drinking the coffee. I chock it up to that big difference in intensity. Potentially, due to the method of extraction, the VertuoLine has a hell of a hit of caffeine. It will be surprising to regular espresso drinkers.

So is this American style coffee? I really don't think so, and I think calling it that is a mistake.

For marketing towards a traditionally conservative portion of coffee drinkers, I think the VertuoLine is too much. For drip, the VertuoLine does not beat the purity of pouring a cup from the Chemex.

The VertuoLine is a new experience in coffee, and Nespresso marketing it the way they are could be a mistake. Secondly, I wonder about its price point in comparison. The machine is pricey, outside my range, even discounted through my employer. The coffee at just below a dollar a pod is pricey for cup of joe, and a capsule based system. Its still cheaper than McDonalds or Dunkin, and tastes better, but still not as convenient, nor is it quite the portion size of either. Also, the crema maybe too much if a change to bear, even as wonderful as it smells.

For espresso drinkers looking for something a little different, or looking for a cup they can enjoy a bit longer than a shot, this is the real deal. I honestly can't wait until someone reverse engineers this so someone can use their own beans, and coffee people can tweak and play with it.

CNET has a comprehensive review of the machine and some comparisons. If you're looking at this machine, I'd recommend checking it out. It is the first fully fledged consumer review I have come across.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Good Science Fiction.

This is how much fun good science fiction can be, even in a short form.

Found at:

Monday, March 10, 2014

Eight O'Clock Central Highlands

 I deride Eight O'Clock coffees a lot. For a while, it was shorthand for the pseudo-good stuff, only suitable for people who want to look like they know what they're doing with coffee.

Its not a coffee hipster brand, kind of like the Strokes or Imagine Dragons of coffee. Its cheap, but it comes in whole bean! It also has a market share and saturation that probably keeps its price down.

When I first got my press, I started buying some of its simpler blends because it was what I could afford at the time. Still, its affordability is a big part of its appeal.

Back during the coffee spree, I started to second guess myself for the Turkish coffee, and grabbed this.

Its a Rain Forest Alliance, ecologically sustainable, blah, blah blah, (keep reading the corporate assurances...) coffee from Central America.

I was more interested in the flavor profile, and I had recently had a coffee representative from the one of major coffee maker companies talk about how surprised she was by their coffees. I also have another friend that is often impressed by Eight O'Clock.

I thought I would give it another shot. I've used it for espresso, and I just don't like it there. Somehow, it makes a weird, acidic shot that makes my mouth hurt.

For discussion purposes, I took it back to my beginnings with this coffee and put it in the French Press.

This is a dark roast with spikes of flavor through a predominately mellow flavor on the tongue. It is spicy but not in an overwhelmingly peppery or cinnamon kind of way. Black pepper comes to mind in the way it activates the tongue. I don't get the cocoa described by the company, but it does remind me of the softness I find in coffees that are heavily cocoa. Again, it goes to that mellowness.

I did use this coffee to make Turkish and Vietnamese coffees, but I buried the coffee under so much sugar, sweetened condensed milk or other stuff that I cannot adequately describe coffee because of it. The French Press is simply the best way to get to the coffee. There's very little filtering, no removal of essential oils, no trickery because of pressure or crema.

Eight O'Clock seems to be re-branding, and they are trying some new things for their company to meet a certain market share.

Would I get Central Highlands again, sure. Am I enjoying it now? Yes. This is a good coffee if you want to surprise your coworkers who aren't big, serious coffee drinkers, or a good one for your group of friends who just don't know better. Sometimes, its just not worth wasting the good, good stuff. Its a bit like the Magnum coffees that are made more for the commercial market rather than specific palates. However, I might snag the African Plains coffee if it is ever released in whole bean.

This is a coffee that will most certainly do.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

She Drives Me Crazy

Tricky put this up on his Facebook feed today. I don't know why, but it put me in an unbelievably good mood.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Video from Save the Children UK

Here's a somewhat frighteningly good and poignant short film from Save the Children UK. They are using this to draw awareness to the plight of kids in war torn regions, especially the ones caught up in the Syrian Civil War.

I am not really sure what they would like us to do, because no matter what, the best and most effective way to save these children is the end the conflict without more bloodshed. Frankly, that is a lot easier said than done.

However, this piece also works as an effective bit of near future science fiction as well. It does what science fiction can do very well: based off an extrapolation of our world, illustrate a certain path. In many cases, the hope is that we can turn back from that path.

The effectiveness of this piece brings to mind a lot of great science fiction, such as 28 Days Later, Children of Men, and Black Mirror.

Of course, the most effective way to save the kids in any strife-ridden region is to come back down from the histrionics, and think about how it looks to your kids.

Is your cause important enough to sacrifice your children? Even in America, where acceptance of violence in our culture is part of our lives, it would serve us all well to think about it, at both a macro and micro level.

We say "Will someone please think of the children" as both a platitude and a joke. But does anyone really think of the children, and our future as a society?

(Sorry, no much coffee stuff today, my blood stream needs a break.)

Scott Listfield on The Verge

I cannot describe just how much this painting speaks to that inner 6 year old hunkered down with his toys. That was where the real fanfiction crossovers happened.

We're just missing some Legos.

In any case, check out the whole series and the scattered pop culture ephemera. This guy's work somehow frames a Geek's world very well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Tamping How To

I was checking out the Instructables email and I came across this primer for espresso shot tamping by Paige Russell. If you have questions, or what to do it right, I recommend this one. I have read a lot of how-to's across a lot of websites, and this is more or less the same information. However, this one seems to bring all of that together, and skips some of the more esoteric coffee discussions.

Also, it has pictures of someone actually doing as its being described.

Check it out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Coffee Industry in South Florida

Here's a great, long story about the coffee industry in South Florida with a lot good, general information on coffee, and the international business as well.

I highly recommend it.

Even though I'm no longer there, its still hard to do without WLRN.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Radioactive Toy

Here's one of my all time favorites. I'm putting this live version up, just so I remember to come back to it.

I'll have more coffee related stuff soon!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Under Construction

I'll be working on the layout of the blog a bit to make it easier to read and track down some of the coffee stuff on it.

So if you're visiting, which I doubt, there'll be some changes around here.

Nicola Coffee Rossio

Here is a surprising coffee.

I found this during my big coffee spree last week with the intention to use it for Turkish and Vietnamese coffees.

I have finally gotten around to giving it a real try.

After a little research,I discovered that it is a roast from a cafe in Lisbon, Portugal. I found something surprising.

I dug around on the Internet just be sure, and read the bit of English that I missed before on the packaging.

This is a coffee made entirely of Robusta. High quality Robusta, but still Robusta, and mostly from Africa.

To some people in the coffee world, the lowest quality Arabica is better than the highest quality Robusta. I have come across quite a few people disagree with that, including the people at Nespresso and the wonderful people at Sweet Marias.

In order to write and say something intelligent about the coffee, I decided to forgo all tricky methods and get right down to basics: a French Press. I discovered this interesting fact after I started cupping and tasting.

We've got a dark, slightly sour coffee, with seemingly high caffeine, and a hint of spiciness. Its different from my usual fair, and I like it.

Frankly, I think it needs a touch of sugar to really taper off the bitter, but its fine in a Press.

This form of extraction really gets down to the essence off the coffee without removing anything or altering it.

For reviewing purposes, I drew a shot of espresso with knowing more about the coffee. It is a better espresso. When properly tamped, it creates a nice, thick crema. Still a bit bitter, with something earthy in the smell. It still draws an intriguing shot. It lingers on the tongue.

You can find it on Amazon, or like I did in Home Goods.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oddly Enough, a New Happy Place

However, I still slow down whenever I see a Crown Victoria cruising near me.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mixing the Turkish in Spain.

For Valentine's Day, I was given a few assorted coffee toys by the wonderful Dellessa for Valentine's Day. Among a Phin and a nice, heavy tamper, she gave me a couple Ibriks.

Turkish coffee is one of the things I've wanted to try out for a long time. It holds an allure, a certain decadence that cannot really be achieved by many coffee styles in the west. Espresso is fast. Drip coffee styles is everyday joe. Even as technically cool as something like the Aeropress or French Presses are, they still don't quite contain the centuries of tradition that is Turkish Coffee.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find reasonably priced cardamon (at least, at an experimentation price point.) I first used a surprising Highlands coffee by 8 O'Clock, all spice, vanilla, and sugar.  Dellessa enjoy it, I enjoyed it.

However, I wasn't quite satisfied. I also had this wonderful coffee that pulls a nice shot from Spain. Again, I stumbled onto it, and was drawn to the unique profile of the canister. It is from UgaboCoffees and seems to be part of a celebrity designed line. Which is fine. the truth is in the coffee.

This coffee is intensely chocolatey with a heavy cocoa base. As advertised, there is a bit of nuttiness. Once ground superfine, it made a natural accompaniment for Turkish style coffee. It matches up with the sugar nicely. The intensity and bitterness melt away into something like European style cocoa without the milkiness. 

It is a bit like sipping coffee in the Alhambra.

I have not done much else with this coffee because I am that enamored with the Turkish style right now. 

If you find this, buy it. 

I think I am enjoying the Turkish style so much, I might begin a collection of Ibriks. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Coffee and Beer in Wynwood and Brazil.

One of the things perfect espresso shots are compared to is a perfectly drawn pint of Guinness. It is used as an analogy for what perfect crema an separation should look like. People often compare coffee to wine in its complexity, but I think a more apt flavor comparison is beer.

Primarily, beer, like many coffees, is an exercise in enjoying bitterness. There's still acidity, creaminess, nutty flavors, even the occasional bursts of sweetness that pop into the flavor profiles than that, but ultimately, there's the bitterness.

Good crema can be savored like good beer head, just not quite so slowly. There's also a million ways of preparation and varieties. Well, maybe not a million preparation methods for beer. But there are certainly a hell of lot of beers.

There are also many levels of coffees, much like beers. You've got your Folgers/Maxwell House and Budweiser equivalents. You have your micro-brews and small time roasters. You even got a good comparison between Starbucks and Sam Adams.

(I'll let that sink in rather than elaborate.)

Beer even has a home brewing movement that is as vibrant and as easy to get into as home coffee. You really can't say this about wine. There is a much higher entry point to wine production.

Therefore, naturally, one of the greatest things in this world is the happy marriage of coffee and beer. I've had my share of coffee stouts, stouts with coffee added for flavoring in the product process. This seems to be a growing thing in the Indiana beer industry. Hell, my favorite ever came from a little brewery in Brazil, Indiana called "Bee Creek." Sadly, now gone.

Lately, I have been introduced to a beer from my home town I'd love to try. It is a coffee IPA. Yes, and India Pale Ale with coffee in it. I considered the idea to be completely madness, but the reviews coming in from friends is that its pretty good.

Next time you're in Miami, make the trip to Wynwood to the Wynwood Brewing Company.

One of these years, I'll try my hand at beer brewing.

Friday, February 14, 2014


I've got a few new coffees in my cupboard. I might have went a little overboard. I haven't gotten anymore green beans, but I will in time.

For now, I've got some coffees to review.

A Donegal Fairy

Here's a quickie recording for my darling Dellessa for Valentine's Day.

9 Years together! I should have some thoughts on that, but I really don't. I like spending time with her, so nine years of it isn't so bad.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Shot.

This isn't the god shot, or even the great possible shot. However, I am proud of how this one came out. There's a bit of crema. The coffee is my own. The grind and tamp was right. Seemingly, it isn't over extracted.

There's a slight tartness to it, and the crema didn't hold up very long. There's still a bit of nuttiness and creaminess to the shot as a whole as it rolls over the tongue.

But its mine. All Mine.

Back To Roasting...Again.

Not the best of picture of me. However, this is the lengths I am willing to go for the best morning cup I can manage. I just look sweaty there.

Luckily, you can store dried, green coffee bean for up to a year in a cool, dark place. I still have a bit leftover from the last buy with Sweet Maria's and I needed to use it up.

Now that time is permitting, and I no longer have a cold, I broke out the mask. I could still smell the roasting coffee, and it was easier to get into the roasting a bit more. However, it did filter the fumes that were giving me days worth of problems.

I changed the amount to about a third of a cup each time, and used the end of a bamboo spoon to occasional stir.

I wanted to roast dark, but in the end, I wound up making a roast similar to the ones I have done in the past.

This was also the first time I was able to use the espresso machine for a roast, properly. For espresso, this lighter roast took about 72 hours for the flavors to settle down. Yesterday was fine, but today was perfect. The first day or so, the coffee was just too gassy and acidic. I've also made an Aeropressed Americano with it. It came out nicely. (I will have more general commentary on the Aeropress Americano soon.)

I also broke out the French Press, which I hadn't used in a while. With fresh roasted coffee in it, it is about what I remember.

And it is good.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Gin

Over on Art of Manliness, they published an article on Gin that I've been waiting my whole drinking life on.

I have always been a bit curious on this most adult of adult drinks, but I just have never gotten around to asking about it. Also, no one I know seems to drink gin with any seriousness aside from an ill-advised martini when they want to look sophisticated. The simple descriptions for the major brands is a handy way to get things started.

I will be going back to this, I think. I just wish I could run to the liquor store right now.

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Generally, its not something I go in for on blogs. Hypocritically, I tend to use adblock software on the vast majority browsers I use. However, not too long ago, I set up Google Adsense for this blog. I've got them set to be an unobtrusive as possible, and not to advertise using your browsing history.

I'd rather the advertising sell you things germane to my blog rather than something to looked up on Amazon on a lark. I just like a certain cohesion.

I signed up for almost a month ago, and I never received word from Google that it went live. Alas, help toss me some spare change for coffee and click on an ad from time to time!

I will also continue to unblock more and more pages I like.

I just really hate ads based on my browsing history, or you know... porn being advertised at inappropriate times.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Coffee Trail with Simon Reeve

The Coffee Trail

I happened on this documentary by doing some general reading on coffee lately. Its a BBC thing, and not readily available in the US, but with a VPN routed through the UK, you can watch iPlayer content.

Its not exactly legal, but its what we have for the United States for this kind of thing. For some reason, American documentaries tend to be lacking.

Here we have an exploration into coffee growing and production in Vietnam, a country that is bound and determined to grow mostly Robusta for instant coffees. Apparently, it mostly goes into NesCafe. (I'll get into NesCafe one day when I'm bored.)

It is a pretty evenhanded documentary exploring both sides of the issue around the cultivation, the crushing poverty growers have endured before growing coffee, the ecological damage wrought, and the political repression the country is facing as a consequence of this economic policy.

From a connoisseur perspective, it would make more sense to grow Arabica, but from a business perspective, growing Robusta works. This is, until climate change and massive deforestation finally take over.

Still, Vietnamese coffee is grown mostly by small farmers. As part of their communist ethos, they tried mass farms, but it did not work. Therefore, they went to a more competitive based market, small farms owned by farmers struggling to get by. Its making some very poor people better off than they were before. Unfortunately, because of the mass farm scheme, and because of favoring the ethnic majority over the minority groups, it caused a hell of a lot of repression.

I almost wish this series was able to go more in depth into these issues and the history. Fortunately, they were very honest that there were certain questions they couldn't ask with government minders around. They also touched on Vietnamese coffee culture and cafe culture, briefly profiling one of the big exporters and shop owners, Dang Le Nguyen Vu. (He's looking to become as big as Starbucks worldwide.)

Alas, I recommend watching the program if you've got a chance. It is always good to know where things come from. I find I appreciate it a bit more.

As a bonus, here's a look at Vietnamese style coffee over on CoffeeGeek. I haven't read it yet, but I will.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Coffee and Cigarettes in War-Torn Damascus.

Here's something I found flipping through the BBC's site. There is a reason why Damascus is one of the most enduring cities in human history, despite a history of invasions, fighting, and bloodshed.

Its people like this...

From the article:
There is a table at the cafe which has the same customers every single day. They start with coffee and end up in the evening drinking locally-made arak and smoking the affordable Al Hamra cigarettes made in the coastal city of Latakia.
As much as I wanted to know about the coffee, the article really does not get into it, despite a description of how the cafe has declined over the years. I did, however, came across this gem:
Khaled is defiant and still tries to enjoy life when possible, drinking, eating, smoking and making love: "I live every day as the last day and I try to enjoy it with whoever is left in the city and with whatever means of pleasure are left," he says.
As a quote, it might pertain to anyone facing any kind of strife.

We can find the bright even in our darkest days.

Go over and read up on the article.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I don't write about software and operating systems a lot. However, all of the computers we use at home run some form of Linux, even our Android phones. I even keep my own server just for media and rss feeds I follow. After the Google Reader fiasco of last year, I learned a lesson and decided to keep as much of my Internet enjoyment in my own hands, on my own computers as possible.

Being a Linux user, it means that I am pretty accepting of trying out new things and new software. Recently, I have been increasingly annoyed with the bloat in both Chrome and Firefox, and I have never been particularly enamored with the Chromium experience. (There is just something about the color scheme that does not seem right.)

Last night, I came across a review on some tech blog, I really forget which, and came across QupZilla.

After a few hours of use, this may become by default browser. It is based on Web-Kit and QT, cross platform compatible, and so far it opens most websites without any trouble. It even opens up my TT-Rss instance which would occasionally give Chrome some fits.

For the version in the Ubuntu Software Center, it does not include native spell checking, and it seems to not like pop up forms in websites. I will be trying to update to the latest version soon just to be sure.

By default, it uses Adblocker and it blocks flash. You can chose what loads, which is always nice when you are wanting things to load quickly.

You can find it at the link below.

(It crashed as I tried to add the screenshot from the post, of course.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Home Roasting Tutorial - I Need Coffee

As I begin to get back into home roasting, I have been going back through coffee blogs to see what others are doing. Based off this one, I have been doing a few things wrong.

I am missing some things that will help with consistency.

This is great to revisit and look over. It is probably the most spelled out, well documented tutorials I've seen. Also, they use a West Bend like I do.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

80th Post!

Steve Burns - Troposphere.

I will get some coffee stuff up soon. I am just letting some thoughts come together about tamping practice.

It really is the difference between a good shot and a iffy one.

In the meantime, here's a song I dug out of my music collection tonight and remembered just how much I love.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Copy of A

Here's a killer cover by Diane Birch of "Copy of A, " by NIN, one of my favorite songs from 2013.

Found courtesy of

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


We can leave our little ice hut finally! After several snow days, frigid temperatures, and a dead car battery, I can go back into the world again.

Of course, back to work. 

In the meantime, I Am Robot and Proud "Winter at Night"

Chemex Tutorial

One of these days, I'll work on a fast and dirty tutorial for brewing with the Chemex. This is a good step by step with ideal conditions and EVERYTHING you need to do it right.

Also, is using a Chemex and taking control of your coffee experience all that of a hipster thing? When did simple craftsmanship develop such a bad reputation?

I also disagree that Chemex makes the absolute best coffee you will ever have. I have this firm opinion that the coffee should be the focus, and everything should flow from that, including the method of preparation.

Each method of preparation will remove or highlight certain aspects of a coffee different than others. Therefore, its not unreasonable to expect to try different extraction methods.

Still, this is another good, step by step if you have everything you need: scales, gooseneck kettle, hand crank burr grinder.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Snow Day, Day 3: Made in the Shade Coffee

I have never thought I would be so excited to see the temperature reach 1 degree F. I really have nothing else to say. 

However, true to form, and apparently true to the US Postal Service, my latest order from Nespresso arrived. It is a small highlight in what is another dreary, cold day. 

Meanwhile, I have putting off talking about a coffee I have been working through that I just cannot make a decision on. It is another coffee found in TJ Maxx simple called Made in the Shade. It is a light roast, that I wonder if it isn't too light. My biggest issue with it is not being able to find it online. There's not even a website on the bag. It just says that it is distributed by "International Design LTD."

I have done the full array of extractions with it I have available to me, in multiple machines. For being a light coffee, it seems to do best as an espresso or in the Aeropress. It was tolerable in the Chemex as well. 

Some of the less experienced coffee drinkers in my circle seem to like it. Some of the more experienced ones don't like it. One described it as being a bit "dirty." 

On the tongue, its tastes fine with an odd texture behind it. It tastes a bit like almonds with the bid aftertaste. Otherwise, its not particularly overwhelming. Without the nutty taste, it would be a fine coffee. 

I have probably gone through a about pound of this coffee, and I am not sure if I would buy it again. They have a darker roast, but I wonder if it will have the same issues.

It does purport itself to be a "Shade Grown Coffee," meaning that it was grown under tree growth, which more ecologically responsible than the plantation methods more commonly used. It is a nice touch, but since I cannot find much of anything on the coffee on the internet, I cannot verify any of it. 

I also am not sure if it makes up for not being that great.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snow Day!

Snowbound by =Dellessanna on deviantART

We're getting an amazing amount of snow to day, soon to be followed by not so amazing temperatures that will truly freeze someone's balls off.

So we've got a snow day, where work and travel and all around everything has been called off.  It a Sunday, so it isn't so bad. It is also prompting this flurry of posting.

However, here is a little panorama the remarkable Dellessa took with her phone this afternoon.

If its snowing where you are, check out the rest of her gallery and savor the spring and summer pictures. Hopefully, only a few short weeks away!

Sweet Play - Across the Sky

Just from listening to the first track, this is clearly some of best quality music I've heard on Jamendo. Its trip hop in the vein of Portishead, but without the absolute gloom.

I highly recommend a download and a listen.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Favorite Albums of 2013

I'm just in time to be late for 2014, as usual.

For the most part, at the end of every year, I put together a favorite albums list. I realize that most of the world has gone back to the single format for consuming music. I also realize that this is meant to be just a coffee blog.

However, its still my blog, and I really liked quite a few albums this year. I have mentioned about half of these artists and albums already in the past year, and this is not quite a complete list.

It also is probably missing some things that I will discover or remember in the coming weeks when reading through some of the professional music blogs. That always seems to happen. 

This list of the albums I keep coming back to from 2013. These albums stick with me for one reason or another, or simply blew me away to the point where I wonder what I was listening to before I heard it. There are a few old favorites on here, and some new things I only really got into this year.

Musically, rather than rehashing the 60's or the 80's or revisiting one part of the 90's or another, I feel like the music I am enjoying are things heavily influenced by the Southern California sound of the early to mid 1970's. 

2013 was a year to stop, pause, and smell the coffee. Somewhere along the way, I spent a good chunk of the past year figuring out just who and what I am as a person slipping into his mid 30's. Not a midlife crisis, really, but just one a little more accepting of some forms of bullshit, and a little less tolerant of other kinds.

I only have so much time, so listening to something I ought to be listening to is being replaced quickly by what I want to be listening to. They're my ears, after all. 

So here's the list. Your agreement and mileage my vary.

Jonathan Wilson - FanFaire

Turin Brakes - We Were Here

Midlake -Antiphon

Steven Wilson - The Raven that Refused to Sing

Depeche Mode - Delta Machine

Bombino - Nomad

Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe

Capital Cities - In a Tidal Wave of Mystery

Johnny Marr - The Messenger

NIN - Hesitation Marks

Tricky - False Idols

There were a couple things I did not put on the list, because I just cannot justify including Best Of's or Greatest Hits collections. However, I really kept going back to A Perfect Circle's 360 Collection, and The Killers best of album. 

Happy 2014 Everyone!