Saturday, March 04, 2006
an addendum to the audiopost below
and before i rush off to the will-call window for those viola da gamba
tickets -- gotta balance my jazz habit somehow with something besides
st. etienne! -- lemme note that i brewed that delicious gillies yrg in
the chemex with 2 oz. ground coffee to 28 oz. water at 195 degrees f.
that's how you'll find that butterscotch flavor i found so noteworthy.
Friday, March 03, 2006
the classic yrg
and last night i came home to discover another care package from gillies! this one contained my classic yrg, the one that ken davids once called the best yrg ever.
oh yeah, it's wine-y, lemony, caramel. . .yum!
while i did enjoy all those fantastic yrgs from the ethiopian auction -- the kello, the finchwa, the hama -- the ones that famously tasted like harrars -- it's quite a pleasure to return to the benchmark too.
i also noted this article with some amusement. it's pretty common to find these articles that decry the money people fritter away at the mermaid.
what found me rolling on the floor was that the article was british. yup, it wasn't an article about how expensive it is to splurge on that extra tea.
nope, it was an article about coffee, one that was written in a style that took a british love for coffee for granted, and that is what's fantastic.
britain -- soon to be another formerly tea-drinking nation. of course in this case, the u.k. began with java, found it a useful tool to invent the infrastructure of the modern world, and then was led into the dead end of dead leaves.
for a while now i've been able to enjoy the astonished look on people's faces when i ask them what country has the third largest coffee habit in world, based on imports. they also appear stunned when i tell them it's japan.
yuppers, japan is also a formerly tea-drinking nation, and i think britain is fast on its way to joining them. and so i will remind my british readers -- 20% of this blog's audience now comes from the u.k. -- that despite the shocking cost of coffee machines due to the taxes there, you will, dear friends, save tons of pounds by making and enjoying your coffee at home.
it's harder for our british friends, because while coffee is catching on, there is an amazing lack of local artisan roasters, even in the large cities. thus fresh, specialty coffee can be hard to find.
most of the gorgeous c.o.e. coffees i talk about here seem almost impossible to buy there. hopefully, this will soon change as demand continues to increase.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
and guess what arrived yesterday from don schoenholt's gillies? the unusual zimbabwe aa coffee from the ashante estate!
i've never had this coffee before, so i was very excited to receive it.
despite all the turmoil in zimbabwe in recent years, this estate has managed to keep coffee quality high. in many ways, you expect a good zimbabwe bean to resemble a good kenya bean -- so it's going to be a bright, maybe even razor-gleaming bright, coffee with fruit, spice, and an pleasant, plush body.
got your scaa flavor wheel handy? great, let's go. . .
don sent this coffee to me 3 days old. the beans were covered all over with a very light sheen, which is what he calls "dark 2;" others might call it full city+.
i made it up this morning in the unbreakable cafetiére that don himself had given me. (thanks again, don!)
remember, brewing it in a press is going to mute the brightness and heighten the body. i should make this tomorrow in the chemex for comparison -- if i make it in the vac pot it may come out so bright my tongue bleeds!
let me say i found the fragrance of the dry grounds nicely floral. the main aromas seemed to me to be a sweet, candied hazelnut, vanilla caramel, and a little nutmeg or allspice in the aftertaste.
yummy! the coffee had the expected nippy taste, and a nice, light but lush body.
i don't like many really bright african coffees, but this zimbabwe was a lovely breakfast companion.
with a little light cream and brown sugar, the brightness was reduced and the caramel and spice flavors sang out. highly recommended!
also, news from terry p. at doma: long-time bccy pal kenny nye at 9th st. is carrying some of his coffees. long-time readers know i'm a big doma fan, so my advice is obvious.
kenny will no doubt be brewing them on his pretty, shiny new synesso. . .why are you still here reading this? run over there now!
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
ashtanga documentary released
"not many outside the yoga world have heard about the man who made yoga so popular: shri pattabhi jois.
the 90-year-old guru, created one of the most popular forms of yoga: asthanga yoga. he will be in london next week to be the chief guest at the screening (scroll down to march 5) of the film 'guru' by london based filmmaker robert wilkins which captures the thousand-year-old guru-shishya parampara."
i will be very interested to see this documentary when it comes to new york! look for it to see if it's coming your way, yoga students.
in coffee news, the past 2 days i've been drinking a mystery blend that has a certain burnt-caramel note i always associate with the antique jabez burns sample roaster at the exchange. really, you know how really great fresh crème caramel has that super-hard crust with its slightly burnt sugar smell?
i think it's a mix of kenya aa kirinyaga and an indo, maybe a java jampits. so far i've been making it in the cafetiére. tomorrow i intend to try it in the chemex -- i think that brewing method might display the kenya better.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
how to save grandpa's life
"dutch scientists found elderly men who consumed cocoa had lower blood pressure levels, and were less likely to die from cardiovascular problems."
well, duh. long-time readers know we at bccy have been telling you for years that the flavonols and anti-oxidants in chocolate and coffee both were slowly being proved to have beneficial health effects.
i found the nutrionist's reservations at the end of the piece hilarious. if you're 85, is an extra 200 calories a day your biggest problem?
usually at that age you're more concerned about trying to get enough to eat, since many elderly people lose their appetite. and health-wise, heart disease is a bigger threat that the healthy fat in cocoa butter, yes?
plus of course, the whole low-fat thing was just tossed out recently by another large study. but if calories and fat are worriesome to your grandpa, make him a couple of cups of hot cocoa every day with splenda and skim milk.
8 oz. of skim milk, splenda, and 1 tablespoon of dutch cocoa powder comes to a grand total of about 140 calories. if the milk's a problem, use oat milk, or even plain water -- with 1 oz. milk, 7 oz. water, splenda, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, i think the drink comes to 60 calories.
and isn't it interesting how the mermaid has hopped on the rwanda trend? dougie, dougie, i think you at gmcr started something. . .
of course, as i think i made clear, dougie's rwanda is a mighty, mighty fine bean!
Monday, February 27, 2006
diversity is good
"coffee farmers, suffering from low earnings, are diversifying into higher-paying crops like macadamia nuts and even vanilla in an attempt to boost their incomes.
in the central highlands of kenya, where 80 percent of the country?s coffee is grown, macadamia trees and vanilla vines dot coffee farms in the districts of nyeri, kirinyaga, embu and meru."
it's great that kenyan coffee farmers are diversifying; this will only help them survive the rollercoaster that is the global commodities market. however, they have to make sure they do it in a smart way.
i would argue that macadamia, while a high-paying, cash-on-the-barrel crop, isn't so good because it's not drought resistant, and drought is a recurring problem in kenya. i might seek out another gourmet item with a little more resilience, personally.
and yesterday while wandering thru my local store in search of fresh basil, i ran into marcela of jalima. she was sitting there in a freezing draft trying to talk to people about her organic coffee.
of course, the specialty coffee family's very small and it took us exactly 3 seconds to realize we had already met previously at the scaa convention last year in seattle. thus we knew all the same people!
marcela's blend is a mix of mexican beans from chiapas and veracruz. she is trying to bridge supermarket and specialty, so she has the beans medium-roasted, ground, packed, and nitrogen-flushed in mexico for shipping to the usa.
i tried her blend and it's pretty much what you would expect: quite bright, citrus-y, with a light body.
i understand she's just getting started, but i gently urged her to consider adding a whole-bean product to help improve her freshness, within the limits of her situation. . .
Sunday, February 26, 2006
can't complain today
these mail-in posts always have screwy formatting. forgive me. while it's true i still can't log in to blogger at the moment, and audioblogger has been giving me a busy signal for the last 30 minutes, i have to say i can't complain today because long-time bccy pal and google guy eric case wrote me himself.
thanks eric. i appreciate your time. in short, i can't avoid upgrading to camino any longer, it seems. in general, i am wary of downloading and installing things on my beloved macintosh. this is probably left over from my long experience with the days of serious extension conflicts.
you just can't always anticipate how an otherwise well-behaved software program will perform on your own little desktop, because you generally won't know that it's going to be fatally allergic to some obscure widget my well-meaning husband installed as part of quark or something.
not to mention that i'm still nursing along that quark installation for os9 because my husband's job still hasn't upgraded! i can't wait for the day i can cart this dearly beloved apple back to tekserve and have them wipe the partition and install whatever hip new jungle cat's available at that time -- with quark for osx.
speaking of hip new cats, i did load my ipod shuffle with about 18 hours of jazz. the irony of this is naturally that the shuffle's battery only lasts for 12.
i'd like to tell you what i'm listening to, but of course the beauty of the thing is that i have no idea! well, that's not really true. you can always recognize ornette coleman as opposed to mingus, no doubt. but there are a few moments when i ask
myself, "what is this song?"
today i found that i basically forgot that i was wearing it, which alas led me to do bad, bad, foolish bad things that the ipod instruction manual clearly tells you not to do.
such as wash dishes while wearing the shuffle, or lean into the oven to rotate the pans of irish shooting cake. (google the blog for my recipe for this delightful cross between shortbread and a raisin scone.)
surely there are wireless earpieces for this puppy. if i didn't sometimes see the slender in-ear cables as i move, i'd forget that the world isn't actually an elegant supper club in the village, period.
(yes, some of the oscar peterson pieces do actually include the sound of knives and forks clinking against porcelain. . .)
oops! time to bake the pizza!