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Positively the last coffeepost

Hand grinder. Positively the last bit of coffee equipment I’m going to buy (well, I’d like another big china cup, but that hardly counts). The blade-type grinder I’ve had forever does a mixed sort of grind, with some of the beans ground to powder and some big chunks.

A burr-type grinder, with two metal blades an adjustable width apart, will make all the grounds the same size, whatever you dial it to be.

So! Combining all the bits I’ve bought and the things I’ve learned and I made a cup of coffee and it was…very nice. I used the Monsoon Malabar that I roasted myself last week (the book says to give it five days to a week).

Nice enough to be worth it now and again, fiddly enough that I wouldn’t do it for every cup of coffee.

The truth of the matter is, though, what I really wanted to post about today were LAMBS! In the field next door! A month ahead of the usual time! But I didn’t get any good pictures.


Have a good weekend, everyone.

March 3, 2023 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 8

A drop more coffee geekery

I won’t keep doing this, I promise, but this thing came in the mail today and I’m excited. It’s a Kalita Wave, all’a way from Japan.

I know what you’re thinking. “Pff!” you’re thinking, “it’s a drip coffee maker, Weasel!” Well, yes…but it’s got a flat bottom with three holes. Supposedly, this keeps the coffee in optimum contact with the water as it brews.

Eh. This exact model secured a victory in the Coffee Masters competition at the London Coffee Festival two years running. So there!

Here’s what you do, distilled from various sources on the net:

1. Pour boiling water in it to warm everything up and wash off the paper taste. Empty it.
2. Grind the coffee and put in. Make a little well in the middle.
3. Pour just enough water in to get the grounds wet. This makes it ‘bloom’ – swell up and give off carbon dioxide. CO2 apparently makes it harder to extract flavor from the coffee (bonus: makes Greta cry).
4. Wait 10 – 45 seconds and maybe even stir it, depending on who you believe.
5. When the water has cooled to the desired temperature, slowly drizzle water around the sides until the grounds are evenly wet.
6. Do this (~twice) until you filled the cup.

It’s a tiny one-cup maker. It’s kinda small in there to ‘drizzle around the edges’, but the point is to pour slowly and meditatively while thinking pretentious thoughts.

I’ve used it once today. It made a very nice cup of coffee.

February 28, 2023 — 7:45 pm
Comments: 17

The adventure continues

Still playing with fancy coffee. I got this book, and it’s been a big help (I didn’t pay that much for it, though).

One thing he said has stuck with me. In coffee terms, he says, bitter is the opposite of acid (sour).

Not in absolute terms. I can think of things that are both bitter and acid. Lemon zest comes to mind.

But in coffee, dark roasts are bitter and light roasts are acid. Or so he says. Starbucks is all dark roast, and I think I’d describe it as acid rather than bitter (I hate Starbucks).

In fact, I’ve thought about this so much over the past few days, I’m not sure I understand what bitter *or* acid means any more.

Does this resonate with you?

Interesting tidbit: he says the lightest roast Starbucks sells – the Blonde Roast – is darker than the darkest roast most small artisanal roasters offer.

I’m just grateful I’m not into espresso. That’s the real money sink.

Hoffmann has a YouTube channel, if you’re innerested. I haven’t watched many of his videos, though.

February 27, 2023 — 8:41 pm
Comments: 5

Shiny squeezy

LED tweezers, y’all! I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but I had to have them. At the model railway exhibition, yes.

Changing the subject, the Daily Mail is bigging up food shortages today, particularly fresh vegetables.

‘There was hardly any fresh produce in Tesco. In Morrisons I asked a young staff member what was going on and he said there was nothing in the back stores.

‘It was the same in Aldi and Lidl, it seemed to be affecting all the supermarkets.’

Coincidentally, we did our shop today. Uncle B went by himself into Waitrose for a few special bits and pieces and he said there was plenty of everything. They are, of course, more expensive than the rest. Tomatoes, if you can afford them.

But we went into Aldi afterwards and – hoo boy! – it was thin. I bought the last iceberg lettuce (and a very sad specimen it was, too). There were no tomatoes at all, no sweet peppers, (no eggs, but that’s different). I’ve never seen the veg so empty.

Meat was okay (phew!) and canned goods and all that sort of stuff. Just fresh produce. They’re blaming the weather here and in Spain and North Africa (where a lot of our fresh vegetables come from in Winter).

Oh, well. We’ll be in hobby growers season soon. I can deal with canned tomatoes until then.

February 21, 2023 — 8:26 pm
Comments: 5


Welp, one kilo of green coffee beans arrived today. I paid way over the odds for it, but it’s from a local roaster with a good reputation.

Imagine my surprise when it came with a gift of Costa Rican coffee and a handwritten welcome note from the owner. Also that chatty newspaper in the photo (which Uncle B assures me was extremely expensive to print).

Is this what happens when you knowingly overpay? Is this what it’s like to be rich? Hoo! I could stand having my butt smooched on the regular.

I got Monsoon Malabar, which I’ve had before and liked. Wikipedia says: “The harvested coffee seeds are exposed to the monsoon rain and winds for a period of about three to four months, causing the beans to swell and lose the original acidity, resulting in a flavor profile with a practically neutral pH balance.” Yup, that’s how I like it.

The plan is to roast in mall batches as needed. I’ll let you know.

February 16, 2023 — 8:01 pm
Comments: 6

No, not *that* kind of green beans

I had a question today. And the answer is – yes, you CAN roast small quantities of coffee beans in an air fryer, if you like light or medium roast. Which I do.

Have you ever roasted your own coffee? Is it worth it? I bet there are some volatiles in coffee beans that don’t last long post-roastie.

Yes, that’s me all over: yesterday, I buy a fancy coffee subscription; today, I’m looking into wholesaling beans.

Oh, don’t worry. It won’t last. My enthusiasms flare up and burn out in short order, streaking across the sky like Chinese weather balloons.

February 6, 2023 — 8:11 pm
Comments: 10

Happy Groundhog Day

I understand the magic rodent has predicted six more weeks of Winter. Well, there are five daffodils blooming in my front garden, so there you buck-toothed prognosticator.

They’re under the bathroom window. I hate to think why it’s especially warm there.

Check out these carrots. Uncle B discovered them poking around in the vegetable beds yesterday.

Mind you, we knew we’d left them there, we just didn’t realize they’d be recoverable. I thought they might be woody, but they’re still tender and sweet. Damned if I can get the dirt out of the little cracks, though.

I’ve decided the dirt is good for my microbiome.

February 2, 2023 — 7:57 pm
Comments: 4

What is this deviltry?

We had to do an errand in the big city today. First time we’ve had Mickey D’s in at least four years.

They already had the touch-screen ordering kiosks when we visited last, but the McDonald’s app? That’s new. Imagine being a registered McDonald’s customer.

Free food, I guess.

I ate a Big Mac, fries and a Coke every school day for a whole year once. I think it was 1975. I don’t believe they called it a meal deal in those days, but I do remember it was under a buck.

I also remember a Big Mac was a much bigger sammich. And Brits are really stingy with secret sauce.

I’m not going anywhere interesting with this, just sharing.

Oh, look at that – 1975 was the year they invented the Big Mac. That probably explains it.

February 1, 2023 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 13

I did a middle class thing…

I bought myself a coffee subscription. Every six weeks, they’ll send me two bags of fancy coffee from two different artisanal roasters. It costs stupid money for what it is, but hey – surprise treat in the mail from time to time.

Look at that, the coffee even comes with baseball cards.

Why Waaqa? Oh, that’s the Ethiopian sky god, naturally. The Oromo tribes of Ethiopia believe coffee plants must be nourished by the tears of Waaqa.

Really. That’s the kind of pretentious wankers I’m dealing with here.

I have to say, though, following their instructions I made some of the best coffee ever. Turns out, I was cooking it too hot for too long (though, to be honest, there’s a part of me that likes it nasty bitter, especially first thing in the morning).

Bring the water to a boil and then let it sit for a minute or so to cool down. Grind the beans while waiting – coarse for a cafetière – 13g to 18g per 250ml cup (my usual scoop is 16g. Yes, I weighed it). Pour a little water on the grounds and let it soak for 30 seconds, then pour in the rest of the water for four to five minutes.

At first I thought, “pff! So it’s coffee.” But the more I drank, the more I realized it was milder and sweeter than my usual. Almost chocolatey.

Very nice. Still not worth stupid money, though.

January 31, 2023 — 6:57 pm
Comments: 16

It’s just ham, y’all

We are having gammon for Thanksgiving this year. I think this might be the first time ever I’m not having turkey on Turkey Day, but Uncle B was the first to point out that we have two turkey holidays a month apart and then don’t eat it again for a whole year.

Looked at that way, it diminishes the specialness of…one or the other holiday, somehow.

I have been puzzled over the exact meaning of “gammon” ever since I moved here – especially when I learned it’s also called boiled bacon. Delicious!

It’s just ham, though. Upper leg of pig (nowhere near bacon, but whatever). We’re going to pressure cook it.

Pic nicked from Wikimedia, with proper attribution.

With it, we’re having homemade dinner rolls and the traditional pease pudding – an unremarkable starchy side dish that does well with pork (do follow the link if you’d like to take a peep at pease pudding and faggot).

Speaking of Christmas turkey, I ordered mine yesterday. I know your turkeys have gone through the roof this year, but you can console yourself they’re still substantially more expensive in Jollye Olde.

November 23, 2022 — 7:37 pm
Comments: 14