Friday, December 29, 2006

Texas is a helluva place to die.



Mug: Bought this bistro mug at either Book People or Waterloo Records, in Austin. It's a beauty. Soft, deep blue glaze with a matte finish. White lettering set in Engraver's Gothic (caps/small caps). Nice big handle, wide mouth, stable (if narrow) base. I'm sure the mug comes from China, but I can't confirm that. The company that markets these is based in College Station (and has a humorous Aggie-centric version of this mug).

Contents: Mexican hot cocoa for my sore throat on this rainy, thunder and lightning, winter day.

Info: The text on the mug comes from Congressman David Crockett's parting words to the electorate of Tennessee upon his defeat for another term in November of 1835. He was just a little bitter. He left his home state in late December of that year, to be immortalized as a Texan for all time, just roughly two month and thirteen days later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sinnerman Hot Chocolatte



Mug: This is a Fiesta Ware mug made right here in the United States. Fiesta Ware is famous for their bright (and revolving/evolving) glaze colors. Very simple lines in a sort of Depression-era American Crafts meets Bauhaus Deco style. The shape of this mug doesn't do a whole lot for me, but the azure color of the glaze is stunning.

Contents: Abuelita brand Mexican Hot Chocolate. The Mexican hot chocolate tablets are my favorite hot chocolate drinks. The texture is always a little grainy, and the cinnamon adds a nice bite to it.

Note: Fiesta Ware almost went of business in the seventies because their beautiful red glaze was rumored to kill people. Makes a meal a little less appetizing if you are worried about radiation poisoning. Following is Wikipedia's version of the story...
Red Fiesta (and indeed the red glazes produced by all US potteries of the era) is known for having a detectable amount of uranium oxide in its glaze to produce the bright orange-red color. During WWII the government took control of uranium. Homer Laughlin and the other potteries had to discontinue the use of uranium-containing glazes. Fiesta red was discontinued before 1944, because all uranium was controlled by the US government while developing the Manhattan Project. Vintage red Fiesta plates are more radioactive (but not necessarily harmful) than other radioactive house wares, such as uranium glass. The amount of radiation is low enough that most dinnerware collectors don't consider it something to worry about. Fiesta red was reintroduced in 1959, when the Atomic Energy Commission released its restrictions on uranium oxide. It is important to note that having an X-ray conducted once causes much greater radiation damage than using such china over a prolonged period. As of current, government and third-party studies have effectively concluded that all widely-distributed, uranium-containing consumer china (Fiesta and others from various companies) is safe for food consumption, but not recommended for food storage due to the possibility of leaching of uranium (and other heavy metals, often present in some colored glazes) to the foods, especially if they are acidic.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Coffee Cantata



Lord, hear us.
Lord, graciously hear us.

(Silence may be kept.)

(The Collect of the day is said)

Almighty God,
you have given us your only-begotten Son
to take our nature upon him
and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin:
grant that we, who have been born again
and made your children by adoption and grace,
may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Mug: A cobalt-blue bistro mug with the Name above all names laser-incised on one side, and all the names that He is known by incised on the other side.

Coffee: Columbian Supremo

Note: Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Santa Paws is Coming to Town.



Mug: Waechtersbach Christmas Mug, made in Germany. "Just how many Waeschtersbach mugs do you have, anyway?"

A bunch of 'em.

Coffee: Guatemalan Antigua from Central Market. A good alternative to my base Colombian.

Info: Happy Advent.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

John 11:35



Mug: Generic Chinese mug. OK functionally, although the walls seem thin. The mug came from the Old Russian Orthodox monastery outside of Blanco, Texas as a souvenir (an ancient tradition for all pilgrimage sites). They used to possess an icon of the Infant Jesus with Mother (the Theotokos). An oil seemed to "weep" from the yes of both Mary and Jesus. I made a couple of trips there, and while I had great suspicion about the authenticity of the icon, there was undoubtedly a strong sense of the Spirit's presence (which I attributed to the gathered pilgrims as much if not more so than to the icon itself).

What bothered me about the icon was: A) It was crudely "written" (seems like a tacky criticism, I know, but it pointed to a more serious problem); B) the icon was presented on a stand that concealed it's back side (so that doubters couldn't inspect it for tubing).

I said that the monastery (Christ in the Hills) used to possess it, because the Blanco County Sheriff confiscated it earlier this year when a couple of the "monks" were arrested on charges of indecency with a minor. I don't know, but I suspect the worse.

The weeping of Jesus and Mary is real, even if the icon is fake.


Coffee: Drinking Central Market's Colombian Supremo again. Linden bought a pound and a half to help get our bill over $50 (excluding beer and wine). By hitting that magic number, she got a very nice German-made Wusthoff butcher knife.

I'll be roasting green beans again tonight.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cute-jacked.


Mug:
Crate & Barrel demitasse cup set. Made in Poland. Cute. Functional. Good finger placement (
to indicate scale, I have employed a "hand-model" for this shot).

Coffee: A generic "French Roast" bean from Central Market. The remnants of last year's supply (I only drink this stuff in the winter months... a low of 36ºs last night makes today qualify). I make espresso in my Estro Vapore pressure-pump espresso machine my girls got me for Father's Day a few years ago. It's a nice one.

Confession: I usually make lattes with this machine.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wake up and smell the coffee.



Mug: A replacement for the mug I lost at City Hall. Oddly shaped mug and handle, to be expected for a mug designed by reknowned architect/industrial designer Michael Graves. Good-drinking mug, lousy travel mug because it won't fit any any cup holder I'm aware of (doesn't show in the picture, but the base is twice as wide as the mouth) .

Coffee: Still drinking the organic Columbian I roasted myself in the hot-air popcorn popper.

Note: The mug I lost at Dallas City Hall was replaced by this Michael Graves designed mug. When I.M. Pei was designing Dallas City Hall, Michael Graves was designing Portland, Oregon's new Municipal Building. The two designs were seen to be in a kind of competition with each other: Ultra-Modernist Pei vs. Post-Modernist Graves. Whereas Dallas' city hall looks like the coastal defences along Normandy prior to D-Day, the Graves design looks like a big wrapped gift-box awaitng a child's birthday party.

I have my favorite, but I like them both.

P.S. I awoke to discover it's dawn in America. Thank God.

Friday, November 03, 2006

AhhhSCHILO!



Content: Constant Comment Green Tea. Snifffles, sneezing, sore throat, allergies gone wild. Seeking some comfort (local honey added).

Mug: Got this at Schilo's Deli in San Antonio (right above the RiverWalk, and relatively tourist-free). The Alamo, the Menger Hotel, and Schilo's are the reasons I still go to San Antonio. I used to go for the Pearl Brewery, but General Brewing Corporation (ne: Pabst) put a stop to that. Schilo's is a great place for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is only served on Friday and saturday nights. Used to see Henry Cisneros there (it was one of his getaway offices), maybe still do, I don't know. Rustic.

My only real complaint about the mug (a Chinese product) is that the glaze is too shiny, almost like a clearcoat (which it probably is: a clear glaze over ceramic base).

BTW: 1917 was a brave time to open a German deli. But, German was San Antonio's third (or FIRST) language back then.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Off topic, but topical.



Plate: (or paten) "HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM ... With these words spoken by the priest, the Catholic is taught the wafer of bread turns into the true body of Jesus. HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI ... and with these words of the priest, the Catholic is taught that the wine turns into the true blood of Jesus Christ. So Catholics are actually taught that the priest has it in his power to transform bread and wine into God!" ...copied off the internets.

From that (hoc est: this is), the Protestants, Calvinists, and Puritans coined the term "Hocus Pocus" to refer to witchcrat and magic, and to denigrate Roman Catholic sacramental theology... ignoring thereby the words of Christ, "This is (hoc est) my body."

Contents: Snickers.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Untruth in Advertising



Mug: This is a mug I got when I was the Principal/Creative Director of a now defunct small ad agency. Untruer words were never set in type.

It's a bad mug, too. More like a soup mug than a coffee mug. The wide and shallow design allows the heat to dissipate too rapidly. The mug handle is too small: I can just barely get two fingers through there, which (combined with the width spreading the fully loaded weight horizontally) causes the mug to have an unbalanced feel.

I haven't used it in almost 18 years, but I saw it recently in a box of stuff I was throwing away and pulled it out for a laugh.

"P.M. Summer: Marketing Genius." A genuine laugh riot.

Coffee: Continuing with the home-roasted Columbian. It's even better today.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And now for something slightly different.




before


after

Utensil: I've long wanted to try roasting my own beans at home, but the coffee roasters I saw cost between $150 and $400. Out of the question for my use. But I recently read on the internets that you could roast your own coffee beans using certain types of hot-air popcorn poppers. The air-popper I've used for the last twenty-odd years is one of those. Four ounces at a time. So yesterday afternoon, I took the plunge.

Coffee: There is a coffee-shop/beanery/roasting house near me called White Rock Coffee. They happily sold me (but not without some confusion) a pound of Columbia - Valle del Cauca Supremo unroasted green beans. The coffee ended up quite nice, but I'll reserve comment until I get this roasting thing down a little better.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Blessed Mug.



Mug: I brought this mug back from my summer studies at Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary in Deerfield, Wisconsin. I spent my time in an old cinder-block dorm pretty much to myself (which considering the history of Nashotah, wasn't all bad... I think the showers are haunted). I found this old mug from the Refectory in a cupboard in the dorm commons, along with a bunch of other abandoned mugs and utensils. I purchased a new mug and performed a swap.

That's Nashotah's seal in gold foil on the mug. Very handsome. This is an American-made mug from the W.C. Bunting Ceramics Company (still in business), and probably dates to the late 1950s. A very nice mug. Good shape, nice tactile experience, holds enough coffee to call it a mug (and not just a cup).

Coffee: Back to the remnants of the Columbian today (finished it off).

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bottoms up.



Mug: The favorite, again. The standard by which all others are compared. The champ. The best. The no longer available Waechtersbach natural slip glaze coffee mug. I once painted the interior of my duplex this color. I jokingly called it PMS-MUD (Pantone Matching System - Mud color). I am this color.

Coffee:
A change. Picked up a pound of locally roasted Certified Organic, Fair-Trade (as opposed to Free Trade), Nicaraguan coffee beans at Central Market. It's a nice "change up" from the standard, although it remains within the same spectrum of coffee types.

OT: I watched "V for Vendetta" last night, the movie adaptation of the graphic novel. It has its moments, and is worth a watch.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Don't worry. Be happy. Drink lots of coffee.



Coffee: The usual Columbian. Today is coffee-buying day, so maybe I'll try something different when I'm at Central Market this afternoon.

BTW: There was a report released yesterday that de-caf coffees still have some caffeine in them (I knew this), and if you drink 15 to 20 cups of de-caf coffee a day, you'll get as much caffeine as if you drank one cup of regular. Danger!

Mug: A new one. It's another German-made Waechtersbach, but it has this just down-right goofy, caffeine-jacked, happy face on it. WAKE UP and smell the coffee, apparently.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The day after yesterday.



Mug: Another morning on the deck. This mug is from a set of dinnerware that Catherine and Riley got as a wedding gift (on their registry) from Crate & Barrel. Very nice shape, with great tactile qualities. Japan or China, I'm not sure which. The exposure's dark due to my wanting to use natural lighting.

Coffee:
Columbian Bucaramanga Supremo, that I picked up at the H.E.B. yesterday. The Base holds firm. Good stuff. I had to drink it fast because the kid's coffee maker uses a heating element to keep the coffee warm. This results in burned coffee pretty quickly.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Coffee flower pot.



Mug: This mug came from the gift shop at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin (I've seen the same mug in the gift shop of the Dallas Arboretum, branded appropriately). Obviously, its design is meant to imitate a terra cotta flower pot. The matte finish glaze succeeds in achieving its objective.

I'm using this untensil on the back deck of my daughter and son-in-law's house in Kyle, Texas. We (Linden and I) are here waiting for Catherine, Riley, and new baby June Anne to come home from the hospital (all's well, they just wanted to keep her an extra day for observation).
One of the difficulties in staying in other people's homes is coping with different utensils, or the lack thereof. This mug is my favorite in their collection.

Coffee:
Mystery coffee. It might be a Columbian from H.E.B. (tastes more like the "Breakfast Blend" many stores like to dispense), but it's a little past its prime. I've been told by SWMBO that I am to make a trip into town for groceries. While there, I will pick up a pound of a Columbian Supremo, either from the H.E.B. in Buda, or from a Central Market or Whole Foods in Austin.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Way We Were.



Mug: An early Starbucks travel mug. Remember these? This style of mug arrived on the scene around 1980. It has a keyed lid/splash-guard on top that "screws" in, and a sticky foam-rubber bottom so it won't slide off the dashboard of your Suburban as you wheel into the carpool queue at the local elementary school. This design clearly predates that great American automotive innovation: the cupholder.

Functionally, this design has many drawbacks, but it was a breakthrough. Obviuosly, the possibilities were endless.

Coffee: Guatemalan Antigua, medium roast, medium grind, double strength. This is a coffee that is VERY similar to the Columbian Supremo beans that I enjoy. See, even when I change, I try and resist change.

Monday, October 02, 2006

It's Greek to me.




Mug: This mug was a visitors' gift at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Dallas. Chinese made iron stone. Church-Visitor cups are usually pretty tacky (my own home church is a perfect example...and no, I won't show you an example). These cups are actually quite nicely designed. Good graphic, inspiring mission statement ("Proclaiming our Redeemer with shouts of joy!", if not actually realized in their worship style), and useful information (when, where, what). Very nicely done.

Coffee: Getting low on my "base" coffee. Tasted a little stale this morning. Time to grab some fresh beans.

Monday, September 25, 2006

To go, or not to go... what was the question?



Mug: Stainless steel thermos-type bottle that holds 20 ounces of coffee (I've always wanted to see one that looked like a 76mm armor-piercing artillery shell). Little plastic-lined cup/cap more suitable for taking medicine out of than enjoying coffee from. I've customized this one with a spiral application of the Jesus Prayer sticker. Folks crane their necks to try and figure out what it says, and so I slowly rotate it so the prayer scrolls before their eyes: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." Evangelism effectiveness? God only knows.

Coffee: The Base, 100% Columbian from home, ground this morning and constantly stored in heat-retaining thermal containers (no hot-plates or coffee-warming coffee makers).

Coffee, tea, or something else?



Coffee: Restaurant brew Columbian. This is the kind of coffee that gives 100% Columbian a bad name. Weak and relatively flavorless, but "fresh brewed from freshly ground beans". Far from the worst restaurant/coffee shop coffee I've had, it is nonetheless barely drinkable, relying more on the social aspects of coffee drinking than any motivation by sensory pleasure.

Mug: Standard "food service" mug from the place where I have coffee and breakfast every Monday morning at 6:30 a.m. with my Christian men's accountability group. Piety, Study, Action, grumbling.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Calling a spade a spaten.



Mug: 9 ounce (1/4 litre,) hand-formed ceramic beer stein from Germany. Milky slip glaze. This is a half-scale German beer stein (or really, it's a quarter-scale, as true German beer steins are designed to hold a full litre... tourists prefer the 1/2 litre size). Works pretty well as a coffee mug. The recessed lip tends to encourage dribbling, though. Chunky, with good tactile elements in the handle and rim.

Coffee: Staying with my preferred Columbian.


Mugged.



Mug: Gone.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy camper.



Coffee: Ahhhh. Back to my preferred coffee, a Columbian Supremo that I am currently getting from the bulk bin at Central Market. Just an all-around, fully satisfying brew. Ahhhhh, I'm a happy camper!

Mug: Another Starbucks travel mug, but one that more suitable for home/office/camp use. The nice wide mouth provides sufficient olfactory stimulus (you can wake up and smell the coffee). The lid (not shown) allows the coffee to slosh out, and the shape is not car cup-holder friendly. But for around the house, outdoors, or at the office, the lid helps keep the coffee warm, and keeps foriegn objects out (sugar, milk, creamer at home...bugs outdoors...drugs and/or poison at the office).

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shiny beast.



Mug: Insulated double-walled stainless steel OXO mug. Meant for camping, I use it for sitting on the front porch enjoying my coffee on cool mornings. I got it out today for two reasons: 1) It was about 69 degrees outside when I got up, so cool mornings are on the way, 2) I've been admiring a double-walled titanium coffee mug for no good reason.

Functionally, this mug works pretty well. It does keep coffee hot longer, and the rubberized grip has a very nice feel to it. The downside is the lip-to-lips interface: it isn't all that pleasant. The metal can be too hot, and it can impart it's metallic composition to the taste buds.

Coffee: I ditched the Columbian blend I have been fighting with for the last two weeks. It has been replaced with an organic from Mexico's Chiapas region. It's not a Fair Trade Coffee, but it is from a "socially responsible" cooperative (or so the distributor claims). It's a medium-dark roast that is just a bit darker than I prefer. But it IS an upgrade from the error of my last few weeks.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Desk Top mug.


Mug: Another variation of the American Diner mug. Functional. Heavy. Not very appealing for some unknown reason. I only have it because it came from the White Castle. It has a goofy charm, and it touches the hearts of Yankees (yes, Yankees have hearts).

Coffee: I brought my coffee in this morning in a thermos bottle (rather than a travel mug). Still drinking that Columbian blend I don't like. I'm making eight-cup pots every morning (as opposed to my usual six-cup pots) in hopes of using it up faster.

Special Note: Today is Linden's birthday. It's a good day.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Drink from this cup.




Mug: These cups were a birthday gift to Linden and I from our dear friend and sister in Christ, Noreene Hurst. Noreene moved to Dallas last year, fleeing her native New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, along with her three grandsons (who are with her while her daughter Kimtreece serves in Iraq...keep her and all our troops in your prayers). In her trials, Noreene has managed to be a blessing to others. Thank you, Noreene.

The shape of this mug is actually quite satisfactory. It's a "China" mug (made in and of), but the handle and lip are both pleasing to the touch, and the base isn't too narrow to effect stability.

Coffee: I'm still drinking the "blend". I'm ready to move past my error, but I have about half a pound of error yet to consume. The "Love" cup is shown as prepared for Linden's consumption (con leche).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

R. Mutt



Mug: Spanish Waestersbach (less desirable than the German ones...lighter weight) from the Art Institute of Chicago. This mug has the signatures of artists from the Institute's museum collection. My Man's name is in the lower left corner.
Coffee: I blended the Columbian and the dark roast Columbian. Better than the dark roast alone, but not as enjoyable as the norm. I'll be drinking this blend for two to three weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Diner soar.



Mug: A birthday present from Catherine and Riley. They picked it up in Schulenberg, Texas at a cafe/gift shop. An excellent example of the "American Diner" coffee mug styling. While most mugs of this design are an off-white color, this variety uses a dark brown glaze. Easier to wash. If the coffee stains don't come out, no one will notice. I believe The Kettle and Terry's restaurant chains both used this type of mug. It's a "keeper".

Please notice the nice halo-effect in the photo. "The heavenly blend!" was Chock Full O'Nuts' motto, as I recall. We won't be saying that about this cup of coffee (see comments below).

Coffee: While in Houston, Riley and I went to the Spec's Liquor Sore and Deli Warehouse near downtown. Fascinating place. They even had their own coffee roaster, and roasted coffee on the premises (or so they said).

I bought a pound of dark roast Columbian Supremo because I like mine roasted a little darker than the "light" roast most coffee roasters use. I began having my concerns about the coffee when I put it in the car and the car didn't begin to smell like coffee. Not very aromatic, and that's not a good sign for coffee beans.

Made a pot this morning, and wasn't too impressed. It's a true "dark roast", which means it's too burnt tasting for me, although Linden prefers dark roast. I'll blend it with the pound of light roast Columbian we have in the house and see if it strike a happy balance.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Redux in Styrofoam.



Coffee: The Brazos Restaurant coffee for takeout Sunday morning. No charge, $5 tip.

Mug: Styrofoam at its best (if this is indeed styrofoam...it's some kind of foam material that I might have heard to be made of cellulose). It was against the rules to put it in my travel mug. On the road fully caffinated.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Break Fast.



Coffee: No clue. Downtown Houston Crowne Plaza Hotel breakfast buffet coffee in the Brazos Restaurant. Pretty good stuff (probably Columbian), not as strong as I like, but stronger than diner coffee. Better tasting than the Starbucks I had earlier in the morning (bad water). Great cilantro salsa on my eggs, and Hero Bitter Orange Marmalade for my biscuit. Yum.

Mug: A black Chinese made mug in the Waechtersbach mold. OK.

Over used.



Mug: I've over used the word "ubiquitous" in this series. But this thing, this cardboard and plastic parasite of our culture, meets the definition. I see them everywhere, attached to the hands of all kinds of people. The shot was taken in the Starbucks at Clay and Smith streets in Houston, Texas. I even saw ceramic and insulated plastic versions of the Vente cup ($12.99 each), so you can have that throw-away chic look in a permanent cup.

Coffee: Starbucks Breakfast Blend. I can not report anything good about the coffee, or the Verona I had my travel mug filled with. Linden and I both think it's the water (a negative spin on the old Olympia Brewing Company motto).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Cat dish.



Coffee: The usual...fresh ground Columbian.

Mug: Although perfectly acceptable, I usually don't prefer these ubiquitous Chinese "novelty mugs". While this one
fairly well imitates the design of the Waechstersbach mugs I love so much (see below), the walls are thinner and don't have the tactile pleasure (and insulation qualities) of the German brand. Picky, I know, but thick lips seem to prefer thick rims. On it's own merits as a plain mug, this would fall well above average, but there would be nothing "special" about it.

However, this mug is indeed "something special". It comes from Patrick McDonnell's Mutts comic site, and features Earl the dog and Mooch the cat. Mooch has something of a speech impediment. He charmingly expresses his approval of things and events by saying "Yesh!".

The Mutts comic strip is one of the most intelligent strips in the newspapers. The Sunday Morning versions always contain a reference to Art History in it's name block panel (often sadly dropped by newspapers in the ongoing comic pages "space-wars"). I've seen homages to Classical Japanese Block Prints, the Mona Lisa, Katzenjammer Kids, Van Gogh, Duchamp, and Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" all presented as part of the strip. I hope somebody is using these for an Introduction to Art History course somewhere.

Another great thing about this mug, and why it is today's feature, is the fact that it was a Father's Day gift from my daughter Catherine. Today is Catherine's 27th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Catherine! Yesh!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Needless markings.



Mug: Another variation of the "American Diner Mug", this one was done as a commemorative mug for Neiman Marcus' 90th anniversary in 1997. Bigger than the traditional diner mug, probably 12 ounces, this version isn't as successful a design as the Cabelas mug below, but I got this mainly due to my emotional attachment to Neiman Marcus.

The contrasting exterior and interior glaze colors is a nice designer touch (after all, we are talking about Neiman's!). I have a companion mug to this in a beige exterior and a darker green interior. I usually serve these mugs on Sunday morning while Linden and I read the paper before church.

Coffee: 100% Columbian Supremo yet again.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Spare a Quarter for a cup of coffee, Buda?



Mug: This mug is a good one. Thick rim naturally shaped to wrap your lips around. Thick handle to get a good grip. Nuclear powerplant cooling tower concave-cylinder shape makes for a stable base. Thick ceramic maintains heat. Great cup.

The graphics tell the story: I picked it up at the grand-opening of the Cabela's store in Buda, Texas (near my daughter's home in Kyle).

Coffee: Columbian Supremo, freshly ground this morning (as usual).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Remember the coffee.



Mug: This is a big mug, just below one of those magnum latte mugs. This baby holds 16 ounces of coffee. My normal mug holds 12 ounces, and a standard "coffee cup" holds about 8 ounces. Not for amateurs. This particular mug has a pretty trendy look juxtaposed with the graphic. A satin cobalt exterior glaze with a gloss off-white interior. Very attractive. Nicely shaped handle, but I don't really like these conical shaped mugs because of a slight wobblliness when I set the cup down.

Background:
The text on the mug comes from the last official words of Congressman David Crockett as he left Tennessee (following his electoral defeat) to meet his destiny in Texas. 50+ years in Tennessee and 50 days (+/-) in Texas made him a Texan for all eternity. Following
the Episcopal Church General Convention's confirmation of Eugene Robinson as the denomination's first openly gay "bishop", the Rev'd David Roseberry resigned from the Diocese of Dallas' Convention Deputation and returned to Texas. I sent him a coffee mug with this same inscription (although a mug of a more "manly" rustic style than this slightly "metro-sexual" mug) as a thank-you gift.

Coffee:
The standard Columbian Supremo brew, with 2 tablespoons (7 grams) of coffee beans per 8 ounces of water. Strong, but not too strong.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shy of perfection.



Mug:
Yet another Waechtersbach mug (I have several different ones). It's only flaw is that it is too pretty. Deep red glaze, almost a salt-glaze finish with a clear overglaze.


Coffee: Columbian Supremo, my base coffee. The most reliable coffee I have found, if fresh. We now get ours from Central Market's bulk bin. It moves quick enough that it stays fresh.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Movin' and a shakin'.



Mug:
The ubiquitous Starbucks Travel Mug (made in Korea).

Coffee: Continuing the Guatemalan. 16 more ounces to make the morning complete.

Bwana Cup of coffee?



Coffee: Guatemalan Free-Trade coffee. Medium roast. Good stuff.

Cup: Another Waechtersbach mug, with a Dymo label on it. Dates back to when I was the Creative Director/Principal of an advertising agency. "Me Bwana...you Jane."

The agency floundered, but the cup lives on.

Perfection




Mug: As near to perfection as anything man-made I have ever owned or seen.


This is a coffee mug made by Waechtersbach in Germany. I've had a set of these since about 1978 (as you should be able to tell from the W-Germany imprint on the bottom). The size, shape, color, heft, and texture are all perfect. The glaze has developed a beautiful Raku-like crazing on the inside from years of having piping hot coffee poured into them in the cool of the morning. The color (an almost natural clay slip glaze) is reminiscent of the Bavarian beer mugs this company has undoubtedly made at some point. They have held coffee, tea, hot cocoa, bourbon, cognac, scotch whiskey, and even beer. They have been my companions in prayer and conversation, in solitude and in marriage.

But, they are no longer available.

The mug is still made in some very attractive colors and some very tacky designs, but this simple, natural color that compliments a strong, rich, black serving of Columbian coffee is history. I had eight of them in 1978, but twenty-eight years later I am down to four.

All attempts at human perfection are fleeting.