Saturday, January 01, 2005
2005 brings. . . .spring?
2005 starts out well enough with warm temperatures reaching 60 degrees, and brilliant sunshine, as if it were, well, may. even tho' i'm still lacking anything that resembles energy, i'm not complaining.
on this front, our pal in tokyo, joyce g., sends a list of poses from the svaroopa yoga tradition she swears helps combat the lingering cold:
"Magic Four Pose #1 - Slow Motion Dive from Chair
- Sit in a chair. Toes pointed slightly inward (for better contact with gravity).
- Lean elbows on knees. Let head hang. Totally relax.
- To go deeper (provided you do NOT have high blood pressure or glaucoma), go fully forward, letting your head and arms hang between your legs.
STAY FOR AS LONG AS COMFORTABLE (for me, this is sometimes 30 sec and sometimes 15 min.). Come up with common sense - gently, with head coming up last.
Magic Four Pose #2 - Half-Lotus Slow Motion Dive from Chair
- Still in chair, place ankle of one leg on thigh of opposite leg.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3, above. (And then repeat on opposite side).
Magic Four Pose #3 - Lunge
(The only time to skip this one is before bedtime!)
- Go into a lunge (front leg bent, back leg straight).
- Lift torso and twist it slightly so that your breastbone can rest on the thigh of the bent knee. (So it's like a lunge with a mini-twist.)
- Place hands on floor on both sides of bent knee. Let gravity flow up into the arms.
- Let chin hang wherever is comfortable. Stay for as long as. . . Repeat on other side.
Magic Four Pose #4 - Reclining Spinal Twist
- Lay down on floor.
- Bring knees to chest.
- Drop knees to one side.
- Have arms comfortably extended. The key is to have the knees touch the wrist.
- Keep head STRAIGHT. Repeat on other side.
If you don't feel well enough to do the entire series, just the last pose might create a shift in how you're feeling."
a-ok, joyce, will try this series myself!
also today i enjoyed the wood-roasted espresso fabriano sent by tim f. from caffe d'arte. the founder of d'arte, mauro cipolla, traces his roots to caserta, outside naples.
as a result, this is a dark-roasted coffee with large patches of oil, not a northern-italian style at all. although this endless cold really prevents me from tasting the all-arabica blend properly, i think some green spiciness from the dry grounds managed to penetrate my sad sinuses.
as brewed espresso, the fabriano seems most notable to me for its outstanding thick body and really dark-colored crema, almost earth-colored, a deep maroon with more "burnt siena" than red. it does have a long, slightly powdery, pungent, and mouth-drying finish that calls out for a glass of water, which is of course how coffee is usually served in naples.
as an americano with sugar and light cream, the coffee develops a real dark chocolate flavor that made me feel like i was eating a square of cafe tasse. i may prefer this blend as an americano, in fact.
mr. right, who deeply dislikes dark-roasted coffees, pronounced this one "good, nice, ok." which is pretty high praise for someone who generally rejects coffees of this hue completely and normally refuses to try more than a few sips.
i can't wait to try this coffee when i can taste it!
Friday, December 31, 2004
amazing & what brown can't do for you
first of all, let me immediately thank the coffee-drinking consumer community. many of you have already responded to bill fishbein's appeal for the coffee kids sumatra relief fund.
for example, one group of home-roasting consumers, the green coffee co-op, has apparently even launched a US$600 matching donation grant. that's amazing.
and i'm sure donations will be prove steady in the long weeks and months of reconstruction to come!
still not feeling my best, my day was however quite brightened by this news. and by the delivery of several pounds of mr. right's old favorite, caffé d'arte from seattle. truly long-time readers will recall that i first mentioned their coffee long ago.
(it's a shame that a long-ago server error in the old blogger ate posts older than may 2001 and caused me to have to re-create my account. otherwise you would have seen my early discussions of this coffee.)
after such a length of time, it's great to check in with an old friend. thank you so much, tim fleming!
however, i can't help but notice something -- which is of course not at all tim's fault. this coffee was shipped to me ups on dec. 21 to arrive before xmas; yet i didn't receive it until today.
why? it's a pure example of what brown can't do for you! stories of ups errors and bungles are so common in the consumer coffee community it's almost comic.
and here's mine -- click this link to see the tracking of this coffee and then click the details link for a hearty laugh! that's right: ups seems to have misrouted this coffee 3 separate times during shipment.
first misrouted by train; then misrouted at parsippany; then misrouted in new york city (that's why it was checked in and out several times, apparently).
so alas this lovely coffee, which should have reached me at 3 or 4 days old, is now 10 days old! meanwhile, let me say that the batdorf dancing goat coffee lovely jessica sent me fed ex ground on dec. 28 also arrived here today without incident. . .as usual!
again, i stress this has nothing to do per se with tim or jessica -- it's just another example that brown can't do.
but let's focus on the positive today. what coffees did tim kindly send?
the espressi firenze, parioli, taormina and the wood-roasted fabbriano, as well as as the wood-roasted drip blend, velletri. mr. right used to be rather fond of their firenze northern-italian-style espresso.
it'll be a great way to start the new year. i'll be staying home with this cold, but i wish all of you fun send-off to 2004, and a very happy 2005!
Thursday, December 30, 2004
moving the light outside the bulb
update -- message from bill fishbein of coffeekids:
"Due to the urgency of events related to the recent earthquake and tsunami, Coffee Kids had partnered with ForesTrade to deliver disaster relief services in Sumatra to families in the coffee-growing region of Aceh. All contributions made to the Coffee Kids 'Sumatra Relief Fund' are tax-deductible and 100% will be sent on to the PPKGO coffee cooperative in Aceh. Coffee Kids will not take any administration fee.
PPKGO is currently delivering food, clothing and other essentials to the many thousands of people affected in the region. Information is limited at this time. However, Coffee Kids will post information about the disaster relief effort on its web site as it becomes available.
Contributions can be made on-line through the Coffee Kids web site at this special Sumatra link or by check to:
1305 Luisa Street
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Please specify Sumatra Relief Fund.
Sumatra Relief Fund: Contributions to the Sumatra Relief Fund will benefit coffee-farming families in Sumatra affected by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in the area of Aceh. Coffee Kids will not take any administration fee. 100% of your contribution will be sent to the PPKGO cooperative. Information about the PPKGO cooperative will be available on our web site shortly. Your contribution is tax-deductible.
Thanks for your assistance with this mission.
after yesterday's post on that eureka moment, i wanted to follow up on what we coffee-lovin' consumers ourselves could do to target aid to sumatra and aceh.
to this end, i spoke just a few minutes ago to bill fishbein of that great coffee charity, coffeekids.org, which has extensive experience helping coffee families and an unblemished reputation for its excellent philanthropic management.
for the past couple of days, bill has been working with the people at forestrade, best known for their connection to the famed sumatra coffee group gayo mountain, to establish a fund and channel it directly and efficiently to the needy.
bill is supposed to contact me later today with more details on how we can all help get aid right to the afflicted; bill assured me 100% of monies donated to the new fund would get straight to origin.
in the meantime, visionary roaster peter g. of counter culture has already put together a sumatra relief coffee.
this coffee is a blend of an organic french roast, guatemala antigua, and papua new guinea, with notes of butterscotch, chocolate, and plum. US$1 of every pound you buy goes right to sumatra relief.
this coffee will be sold until april 1, 2005, since it's obvious the scale of the disaster will require long-term relief aid. peter promises that in april he will offer a full accounting of all your donated funds so you can trust that it was being properly and intelligently used.
as soon as i know any more, i'll post an update here. it's great to know that we coffee lovers can offer support to the victims of this catastrophe by simply enjoying our favorite specialty beverage!
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
sound of one light bulb flashing
'"'this morning, i read about the tsunamis and the thousand and thousands of people killed or losing their homes," she said. 'then I was buying some coffee beans, and realized i get sumatra all the time without really thinking about where sumatra is or what life there is like.' "
this comes from a nice article today that gives long-time bccy pals at batdorf a very nice mention (hiya jessica!). but what's more important is that it documents a eureka moment, when one consumer realizes her relationship with the coffee farmer.
but let's address her concern: what is life like for a sumatra small-holder coffee farmer, particularly in hard-hit aceh? not pretty, even before the earthquake, due to a low-level civil conflict: see here and here and here.
it seems so small, yet it's a profound instance of disintermediation, and that's a good thing! connecting consumers to roasters then to greenies and then onto the farmer is an important part of what the scaa's consumer membership program is trying to do.
the depth of the catastrophe in the region is astounding and remains horrifying. . .surely no one is unmoved.
i was also pleased to hear at long last from the fact-checker at new york magazine, meaning the cupping i held at the exchange with gillies and oren -- was it so long ago? -- will finally see the light of day. . .thanks once again to nybot and former scaa prez steve colten of atlantic for helping make that happen.
alas, i'm told we were seriously edited for space, so i'm a tad worried about what will actually run. . .
since this cold has me sicker 'en a dawg, i'm home today drinking more americanos and watching the light fade. despite all the various remedies i down, nothing can unblock my poor congested head.
i can barely breathe period and so i'm afraid it's still no yoga for me. i may miss new years altogether with this mess!
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
as usual, the government seems confused
"now, not only does just about every home in the u.s. have a percolator, but many also grind their own fresh from coffee beans."
wow! is the census bureau discussing 2004 or 1964? because i have to say i haven't seen an unironic perculator as an actual kitchen appliance since oh, 1977, even among my aged in-laws.
you know with the census they're always 10 years behind the state of actual life, but this seems even more regressive than usual. the mr. coffee autodrip swept america in 1975, just three years after its introduction. . .
but enough wonderment, which should be saved for jim p. of 1st-line. not only did he promise a capresso coffeetec as a door prize for the upcoming jan. 12 nyc coffee meetup event, he's shipped it next day to me!
it's here in my hot little hands even as we speak. it's a brand-new absolutely never used floor demo in stylish black!
for those of you who love drip-brewed coffee, this is considered a very fine machine. and it's on a programmable timer too.
when i have time, i'll go through it all and make sure all the parts are here. . .once again, i'm so grateful to jim!
if you'd like a shot at seeing this baby in your kitchen, run on over to the coffee.meetup.com site, r.s.v.p., and be prepared to meet me at juan valdez!
and finally, ooh ooh ooh, here's a great article about one of my favorite people, shirley corriher!
do not, do not, do not miss the sidebar with the links to 2 chocolate cake recipes.
Monday, December 27, 2004
regional coffee culture, part xxviii
"but with 2005 only days away, starbucks' austrian empire stands at just eight stores in and around vienna. that's down from 10 -- two didn't make it, including one at a high-profile spot by the naschmarkt, vienna's beloved central outdoor market.
the perceived travails of what one newspaper called the 'u.s. paper-cup store' have inspired no small amount of schadenfreude.
'we don't want to burst out in unrestrained coffeehouse chauvinism here,' said a recent commentary in the daily die presse. 'but a little satisfaction that not every standardized global chain can just take over the naschmarkt is allowed.'"
yes, regional coffee culture the world around is alive and thriving. the viennese prefer traditional-style coffee in china cups, and as this story makes clear (use bugmenot), that's not going away anytime soon.
in other news -- before this cold kills me completely! -- i have to offer jim p. of 1st-line a giant bccy thank you for offering a really nice drip coffee machine for the door prizes at the jan. 12 2005 nyc coffee.meetup.com gig at juan valdez.
along with promised coffee and gift certificate donations, attendees at this event will have a chance at some cool stuff!
finally, i know many of you, dear readers, must be wondering if the tragic catastrophe in sumatra and east asia will affect coffee prices. the answer: probably not.
Sunday, December 26, 2004
alack & apamate
alas and alack indeed. my little snuffle seems to be an actual rhinovirus.
thus i spent time today consoling myself with a bar of el rey apamate 73.5%, drinking an americano, listening to kronos quartet play peteris vasks, and translating an italian sonnet version of a lovely latin epitah by orazio found in a gorgeous book mr. right gave me for the holidays about one of my favorite places on earth, livia's garden, a most beautiful fresco that fills an entire room in the palazzo massimo alle terme.
no pizza making or yoga for me today, i fear! we also watched the extended version of lord of the rings, part iii, return of the king. i must say, i prefer most of the scenes they took out of the theatrical release to many of the ones they left in.
not everyone likes this long version, and it is loooong -- tho' not quite berlin alexanderplatz, true (use bugmenot) -- but i woulda lost some of the sappy stuff they left in for much of what they left out.
maybe this is just because i think the most fascinating character is christopher lee as saruman. . .poets being of the devil's party and all that.
now forgive me while i return to the last stanza, so beautiful, where the departed reflects on the world, something like:
"all that is dear in mortal life have i completely seen
and all these things i leave to you
for i went by them all myself in youth
save for the jeweled fruit i picked, each one."