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Later On July Musings in Coffee and Espresso
Later On July Musings in Coffee and Espresso
Posted July 23, 2003 4:35pm
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Jeff Koons cups, and Marina Cups

Shot above is a still life of some of my Illy cups, shot for Ming Pao newspaper.
Name that Dog Update
Hey hey Hey HEY!!!! Some cheaters out there, yah! (and you know who you are!) Seems some of your folks are hell bent on naming our dog Illy!!! And others are hell bent on naming it Marzocco! (but not as many as the Illy Camp). I can see the IP addresses of those who vote, and well, 2 IP addresses are responsible for over 80 Illy votes, and one IP address is responsible for about 20 Marzocco votes!

But hey, it's all fun and games, at least until someone names a dog... and we've come to a decision!

The dog's name will be.... Ruffles! No, just kidding...the Marzoccos have it! Tomorrow morn, we get our new female Border Collie... Marzocco. Now, on to the regularly scheduled CafeTalk.

Wow, it's been a heady few days.
I'm guessing lots of people think I'm a media slut, and this past weekend and Monday went more to proving that - I was featured in most major Canadian newspapers, including the National Post, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen and other papers. Big ass picture in there to boot.

These papers are controlled by and the state of journalism and completeness of this website is pretty bad - the article (along with about 75% or so of all the articles that appear in these newspapers) didn't make it online. Here's a text file of the full story if you want to read it.

With all that said, I'm fairly embarrassed by it all. Believe it or not, I don't want to be the subject of these stories. I'd like to be involved, don't get me wrong, but I'd rather be "the source" as it were, instead of the object talked about.

And with that said, I will say that it was very cool hanging around with Chris (Nuttall-Smith) - the reporter who wrote the article. We spent most of an afternoon and early evening together, and by the time he left my house, he had the shakes. He also says I've ruined coffee for him :) Chris shares another passion(s) of mine - he's into photography and has a Leica M6 camera - ultimate in oldschool mechanics. Pretty sweet... I don't own a Leica! (but I always wanted one).

Name that Dog!

Click for larger image
Our new dog
Here's our new female border collie - we pick her up this Saturday. We need a name!

Jeanette and I are getting a new puppy. I believe in transitioning dogs; that is, get a new puppy while your old faithful has a few years left in them. Since we are going for a puppy this time and not dog rescued by the SPCA, I wanted to get a purebred Border Collie, and Jeanette did as well.

We know the full deal with having a border collie - so anyone from Border Collie rescue or similar great services, rest easy - this dog will be loved, respected, and will be put "to work" to make sure it does not become neurotic or placid. I'm very sensitive to border collie needs (and what they give you as an owner) and I am very much looking forward to it.

So why is this in the CoffeeKid CafeTalk rant? Well, on the front page of the CoffeeKid site right now, there's a poll - name our dog! Yes, we decided it was appropriate to give the new dog (female) a coffee related name!

The choices are: Kenya, Kona, Marzocco, Illy, Cino, and Conpanna. As of this writing, Marzocco is eeking out a slight lead over Illy, and I have to admit, either of those would be fine by me.

The poll will be pulled down this weekend, when we pick the dog up (this coming Saturday!) If you haven't voted, go vote now!


Moblog Shot
Recent moblog pic, crema mag with an iced mocha.

My Moblog is going strong, and was even mentioned in USA Today a few weeks ago (the owners of the hosting site, TextAmerica, singled out my moblog as an example of a "theme moblog"). Initially the Moblog was just going to be for conferences and special events, so I could upload on the fly photos from said events, but it's so damned easy to snap, write the email, and send from my phone, I'm uploading between 3 and 6 (or more) photos a day. Check it out, and leave me comments!

As you might see at the Moblog, I talk infrequently about my World Domination Plans (slogan stolen shamelessly from Lance Arthur, who seems to have given up his world domination plans, which are probably not the same world domination plans as my world domination plans may be).

And what exactly are my world domination plans? Why it's training, one person at a time, a core of teenaged boys and girls (girls so far) how to be a Barista! :) Jeanette's studio for her Piano School is next to our house, and her students sometimes wander into the labs in the basement, and are intrigued by the big La Marzocco. So I jump all over that, and give them impromptu lessons. So far, I have four "disciples" and counting. Mwhahahahaha.

HotTop Update
If you visited the Moblog, you probably saw a picture of the HotTop coffee roaster. I just got it back from Doug Weibe. After a myriad of problems with the roaster (circuit board going, upgrade to the machine's cooling side, etc), a few months ago the drum stopped rotating. I couldn't figure it out. Doug said his brother was a mechanical wiz, and would check it out, so I gave it to him to get it fixed.

Doug came over a few days ago with the roaster, and said it was working fine and his bro couldn't find anything wrong with it. I put some cheap beans through it (some cheaper Colombian), and indeed, it was working. Doug and I started talking about Kopi Luwak, so I pulled out my remaining stash, grabbed 230 grams of it, and started roasting.

Wouldn't you know it, about 1/4 of the way through, the drum stopped.


I wonder if I should send the manufacturer a bill for all the wasted coffee I've gotten from this roaster, because of the failing drum and because you cannot prolong the roast more than a minute or so past the "maximum" (ie, you can't manually extend the roast beyond four clicks of a "plus" button on the roaster, which adds between 5 and 10 seconds to the roast). Not counting the lost Kopi, I've lost probably $100+ worth of coffee on this roaster. With the Kopi? It doubles.

We let the roaster sit for a while, then fired it up again. And the drum was turning again. Go figure. I dumped the barely-roasted Kopi back in, and let it roast. The resulting coffee is pretty bad - flat, blah, devoid. Blame it on the double roast and bake.

I know the roaster has been updated by Chang Yue, and now you have seven "pluses" to press instead of four. There's other changes too, including a new outer grill to protect people from burning themselves. But the fact those "pluses" are still limited really ires me. On a $600 roaster, that's unacceptable that the user cannot extend the roast as long as they want, in a manual way. Sure, keep the same roasting "profiles" built into it, but let the user prolong the roast as long as they want through manual input.

With that said, the roaster produces a superb roast, IF you don't max out the roasting time (some beans take longer than others), and IF it doesn't break down.

Cold Coffee
Lately all my coffee's been cold. I make two drinks - a home brew frappuccino, and iced coffee (or iced mocha coffee).

The iced mocha coffee is easy, but there's a trick - I like it "thick",  not much water from the ice, plus I try not to "bruise" the espresso. So here's how I do it.

Two shots of espresso
6 oz of milk
3 teaspoons of Ghirardelli sweetened chocolate
1 oz of half and half
lots of ice
martini shaker

Take two oversized shotglasses (or a six ounce cappuccino cup), put the Ghirardelli chocolate in, and brew your espresso into it. Make sure the cups are preheated.

Stir to melt the chocolate.

Add your two milks to the martini shaker. Pour in the espresso. Shake it briefly. This cools down the espresso, but not too fast.

Add all your ice. Shake again, SLOWLY. You don't want to crush the ice - you want to ice-cool the drink.

Serve through the martini shaker strainer, then scoop out the icecubes (which should be much smaller and rounded), and add to the cup.


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