Saturday, February 25, 2006
why does blogger hate my macintosh?
actually, i think it's ie for the mac that it loathes. sometimes it just refuses to let me log in, telling me erroneously that i have cookies disabled. well, ie for my happy mac is sure troubled in many ways, but it plays nice with every other site's cookie jar.
waaah! please nice google people, fix this because while safari is great, it also has its own bugs, and many sites just won't work on it. . .still.
but seriously, i logged on today to drink dougie's gmcr special reserve rwanda at 10 days old, brewed in the chemex. long-time readers know i love walking thru the lifecycle of a fresh coffee, and this is no exception.
i had a chance to chat with both catie baril and dougie about this coffee the other day. catie was sitting in jfk airport waiting for a jet plane; she talked to me about how long-time bccy pal, greenie, and former scaa prez david griswold had actually brought some of the farmers who grew this coffee to the u.s.a.
he showed them all the marketing materials, the reviews, the fancy packaging -- everything used to sell their coffee. the farmers, who live in little villages in the distant misty mountains, had never seen anything like it; they had never had any idea how their coffee was sold.
isn't that fantastic! finally we are beginning to close the gap.
readers will recall that i prefer this brewed at 2oz fresh ground coffee to 28 oz. water, which is maybe a tad strong, but did finally bring some of that dried cherry into the cup. as the coffee ages, i think the molasses and the malty notes are growing.
i would expect the cherry to decrease, but i was surprised to feel that some of the chocolate aftertaste had diminished too. this could be an artifact of the brew strength, perhaps?
dougie and i also had a little conversation about the coffee's brightness. it seems like i perceive this to be a bit brighter than dougie does.
he says he's making his in the basic melitta pour-over. so i wonder if this is a brew water temperature difference, or due to the differing qualities of the chemex vs. melitta filter.
i'm brewing mine at 195, just because pouring into the chemex makes it hard for me to adequately measure the water precisely and keep the temperature higher. i wonder what you're brewing at, dougie?
this is still a superb coffee. just beautiful!
catie and dougie both told me stories of how it practically blasted outta the warehouse. the founder of gmcr had wanted a case of this coffee himself.
however, it sold so strongly that even his earmarked case went before anyone realized it, and apparently he was left with only 1 or 2 bags!
Friday, February 24, 2006
thanks again, jessica!
and today jessica of batdorf gets another big bccy thank you! i think this makes 3 years that her ever-reliable customer service has delivered hy husband's favorite coffee, the dancing goat, fresh, on time, and with no errors.
roast date: the 22nd; meaning it's only 2 days old. also, many thanks to alan of aerobie for sending me his unusual coffee-brewing device. colin and i have been talking about it a bit and i think we are hoping to look at it in depth over time, comparing notes informally as we go along.
i love talking to colin: he is light-hearted and shares his vibrant passion for specialty coffee. he's just a guy who cheers you up, you know?
also, let me proudly announce that thanks to my husband, i've finally personally joined the 21st century with an ipod shuffle. at home we have a 5-disc changer, which i always fill up and then set to massive random.
thus the shuffle was made for my personality type, beyond any doubt. plus i can wear it around my neck -- important, because i do tend to lose everything that's not attached to my body.
i love wacky free-form music in this way, especially while cooking. now i can carry this style of brain-wandering with me everywhere and no longer have to inflict it on my poor mr. right, who like most people, is driven to distraction by the sudden jump from baader meinhof to kayhan kalhor to zorgina to aphex twin to arto lindsay.
now i'm no longer limited to 5 random artists and can just toss on whatever (john zorn! john coltrane! john adams!) insanity my little heart desires. this random-mode play allows you to discover connections between artists and genres you might have never otherwise suspected, you know? it's sort of a patient yoga of listening. . .
ok, dear readers, do you have any recommendations for total craziness i should add? please comment below.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
great note from andrew b.
when andrew b. sent me his ecco reserve espresso yesterday, i remarked to him that it smelled (in the bag!) more like hazelnuts than i remembered. i wondered if he had changed coffees.
but no, here's what andrew told me in his own inimitable style:
"still blending luis nortberto pascoal's (coe board of director member) 2004 daterra reserve and gabriel carvalho dias's (1999 1st place winner coe) fazenda cachoeira pulped natural, yellow bourbon into the ecco reserve espresso.
flavors are changing slightly as these coffees age. perhaps, this is part of what you are experiencing. will be seeing new crop (2005 harvest) from both of these artisan producers in the near future. eagerly anticipating arrival of 2005 sao benedito (brazil coe #2) very soon."
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
thanks again, andrew!
and another big bccy thanks to andrew b. of ecco for sending another batch of his northern-italian style espresso reserve.
yummy! no, double yummy!
btw, about dougie's great rwanda from gmcr -- i think the best way to brew that is in a chemex. that's the method that gives me the best balance of its flavors so far. . .
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
congrats to chris of chris coffee!
"chris nachtrieb's efforts to educate customers about coffee service has begun to pay off big. . ."
and a big bccy congrats to long-time pal chris of chriscoffee! he's particularly highly regarded among coffee lovers for providing access to many of the most advanced home espresso equipment.
and he's famous for his generous personal customer service. it's a nice article for him.
i love this below! so many people still write to me worried about how coffee may effect their blood vessel health:
"the truth: A study of more than 155,000 women uncovered no association between drinking regular or decaffeinated coffee and increased incidence of hypertension."
so drink your coffee in moderation -- but avoid those soft drinks.
Monday, February 20, 2006
"starbucks' caramel frappuccino -- a blend of coffee, milk, caramel and ice capped with whipped cream and a swirl of caramel -- is a tempting treat.
but at 525 calories for a venti, or 24-ounce cup, it's nearly as decadent as a big mac, which weighs in at about 560 calories."
just in case you forgot how fattening those hot milkshakes are, this article reminds you. and as i've said before, you can make an equivalent drink at home with higher quality ingredients for less money, with far fewer calories -- and in a more reasonable, elegant size.
think 6 oz, like an italian would. for example, torani came out with a sugar-free caramel sauce, 1 oz. of which is only 80 calories.
so combine that with 2 oz. of espresso (about 8 calories), 3 oz. whole milk for a full-fat taste (let's call that 60 calories), and 1 tablespoon whipped cream on top (50 calories), and i think your at-home drink, which can make and enjoy while still in your jammies without having to leave the house -- clocks in at less than 200 calories.
of course if you like, you can used a reduced-fat whipped-cream-substitute thing, as well as skim milk, but, you know, the choice is yours. . .put half the caramel sauce in the cup, and pour the rest over the whipped cream in a decorative swirl.
speaking of making coffee at home, i had just a scoop full or two of terry p's great doma organic ethiopian harrar left, on what was basically the last day of its freshness life-cycle. there was only 1 thing to do with it.
yup, make turkish coffee! i think harrar makes a fantastic cup of turkish, and no doubt turkish is the fastest and easiest way to make coffee.
long-time readers will remember i've discussed how to make good turkish coffee, not the nasty kind you often see, here before. ibriks are plentiful and quite inexpensive!
(and despite what people say, i found if you keep your heat low and stick your instant-read thermometer into the foaming brew, you will see that the coffee actually isn't boiling! it's about 205 degrees, the upper limit for coffee brewing. . .)
Sunday, February 19, 2006
what food & eating are all about
"While I was perusing cookbooks this morning looking for something to make of groceries purchased yesterday, I found this. It's quoted in 'Lost Recipes, Meals to Share with Friends and Family' by Marion Cunningham.
Now, while this is an odd little book, starting with its binding and ending with its title, the recipes inside are overall just plain out good eating of an old-fashioned nature, without arcane ingredients and easily made. Which of course is her point, that in the day when people lavish their kitchens with fancy counters, cabinets and appliances, they don't do much cooking there, and a lot of the emphasis on cooking is chef-driven, fancy dishes that are a lot of trouble and ingredients to make.
I guess that's why my parents and I are digging stuff like pot roast, lasagna and other simple fare. And why people get SO very excited about home made bread and cookies.
Here's the pertinent quote:
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter of what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.
from the preamble to 'The Physiology of Taste' "
There's no need to fisk this, imvho. so i won't. people appreciate simple, pure food that's about the food.
it's not just that they're yahoos or that food preferences are imprisioned by their childhood memories and suspicions, altho' there is a lot of that, alas.
i find m.b.'s statement quite sensible. now back to the coffee!