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Saturday, February 28, 2004

how to import an espresso machine

long-time readers may recall this was my birthday week. and i must say mr. right stepped up to the plate: he imported an espresso machine from europe!

this new espresso machine -- my 3rd -- is a very special, rare model. made in china, it's apparently sold only in europe. it has features neither my silvia nor my "carlos" expobar can boast.

a two-tone dove gray and charcoal plastic body, with a 10 oz. water tank. it's a pre-programmed automatic model, with 3 buttons: one for a single espresso, another for a doppio, and one for a lungo. the 4th button controls the steam, which makes a satsifying whooshing noise.

further, it has a great l.e.d. display of a red demitasse while brewing. the on/off switch is the portafilter handle itself: lock it into place, and the machine starts.

while the portafilter isn't brass, and is a tad shallow, the machine has a nice wide drip tray. it also came with two plastic demitasse cups and saucers in colors to match the machine. the cups have those kind of "airplane coffee cup" handles.

and the best part is that's lightweight, portable, and runs on just 2 small batteries. further, it has a really cool backlight that makes the product shine as it drips from portafilter to cup.

i'm calling this new machine the "boy toy." that's right: i'm describing the hilarious english toyline play espresso machine, so much cooler than the usual e-z bake oven!

now if only it actually made coffee. . . .(side note: all you baking hipsters know that the e-z bake toy oven has a passle of twisted adult devoteés, right? who fanatically post recipes -- and here -- on the 'net?)

but seriously, the toyline espresso machine seems to be sold only in england and few websites will ship to the u.s.a. it has to clear customs to boot!

for those interested in giving their wee child a headstart on the world barista championship, you can find it from arbon & watts ltd online store.

posted by fortune | 6:15 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Friday, February 27, 2004

hey what about us?

i was thrilled to see this press release about the upcoming scaa atlanta coffee conference. but i was deeply disenheartened to see no mention of the fact that consumers are welcome!

normal people can come too!

the average coffee lover is welcome to appear at the door of the atlanta convention center during the weekend of april 24, 2004, plonk down their US$45, become a consumer member, and attend all the consumer events, as well as wander the exhibit floor with the great tour led by don schoenholt of gillies.

what are you people waiting for?

posted by fortune | 4:27 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Thursday, February 26, 2004

confirming study

long-time readers will remember that i have previously cautioned women of child-bearing age to watch their coffee drinking: try to stay around three 6 oz. cups a day if you are trying to conceive.

there are many natural chemical components in coffee and they seem to have a special affinity for women. this confirming study from hull university reports that more than 6 cups a day can temporarily reduce your ability to conceive.

while the article says that study didn't discuss the effect of coffee on male fertility, some of the answer is known.

one previous study showed that coffee -- frankly -- revs up those little guys. not only do they apparently make the dash faster under the influence of our favorite beverage, they are also, um, more accurate.

i think this counts as an enhancement if you're looking to become a father. . . .

once again, there's no need to stop drinking coffee, ladies. just drink the best coffee you can make in moderation!

and on the subject of coffee drinking, it's interesting to see so many new coffee pots being released so far this year. large companies are finally catching on to the growth in fine coffee appreciation around the globe.

since lately i've been complaining about office coffee, it seem á propos that the mermaid has just announced its own new line of office coffee equipment. . .

devoted readers may recall the recent african coffee conference in nairobi. things are tough for coffee farmers all over.

even the prized kenya aa has not been spared from the world-price depression known as the coffee crisis. . .again, this is a consumer issue: we will may soon be paying more for lower-quality kenya beans!

posted by fortune | 2:28 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


so sorry i missed yesterday, but it's crunch time in the office. you know how that darned job really gets in the way of what's important in life?

please forgive me and be patient! we will return to coffee, yoga, all those good things very shortly! as soon as i finish working, finding the machines for the consumer espresso lab at the upcoming scaa conference in atlanta on sunday, april 25; planning for the exciting zen coffee meditation on saturday, april 24; finding sponsors for next year's conference in seattle; getting the scaa consumer membership private mailing list straightened out; updating the agenda for the march coffee meetup; and adding new events to the wica website.

yoga nidra! yoga nidra! it's a salvation, if i could only find those 20 minutes. . .

but don't let my craziness get in the way of your registering to go to atlanta. how to do? first, become a c-member. then, book a room at the omni; the rates are as low as US$155. next, buy a cheap flight at your favorite 'net ticket place.

finally, register for the events! we have an entire weekend of events just for consumers at the conference, including the coffee meditation, the espresso workshop, a home coffee roasting workshop, tours of the exhibit floor with don schoenholt of gillies, discussions on the coffee crisis, a workshop on making the perfect non-espresso coffee at home, talks with famous coffee authors and experts like ken davids, plus an amazing cupping lesson.

the cupping lesson is the high point; even professional scaa members -- people who own coffeeshops -- are trying to cut into our consumer cupping. that's because it's being led by two of the most famous living cuppers, don schoenholt and lindsay bolger of green mountain.

and i haven't scratched the surface of the fun social and party events that will take place. any self-respecting coffee lover can't miss this conference!

posted by fortune | 6:44 AM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

Sunday, February 22, 2004

the paws that refresh

frequent travelers who also practice yoga sometimes complain about the difficulties of carrying the mat.

all kinds of mat bags are now available, and long-time readers may remember we here at bccy have had a couple of probing discussions on different ones.

now comes along another mat strategy -- the no-mat. i'm referring to the yoga paw.

imagine fingerless bicycle gloves, but made of sticky stuff to give you traction on a regular floor. US$35 buys you 4, one for each hand and foot.

you can get these over at yogasyz. i haven't tried them yet myself.

i do imagine however that even if you had a regular mat, yoga paws would help those people who always have sweaty, slippery hands. . .they might be a good replacement to the usual toss-down-a-towel or fold-a-belt-under-your-palms tricks. . .

posted by fortune | 12:18 PM | top | link to this | | email this:   |

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