Monday, October 29, 2012

Morning do.

MUG: M-Design Neiman Marcus 90th Anniversary diner-style mug. All around good mug, heavy enough to be used for self defense.

COFFEE: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.

NOTES: One of the great things about my pre-dawn coffee/bible/prayer routine is being able to experience sunrise (while fully awake). To the east, we have a fairly unobstructed view toward the horizon (over a golf course), so we get that morning "horizontal light" that illuminates as no other.

While fetching the newspaper, I set my coffee down in the entrance hall to our house. When I came back in (paper in hand), the light was just striking the place where I had set my mug, having just crested the 9th Hole.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I see the light.

MUG: Plastic and stainless steel cup/cap from a one liter Stanley Industrial Unbreakable Thermos Bottle. Despite its double-walled nature, the cup/cap is too hot to the touch when filled with fresh coffee, making the use of gloves pretty much mandatory (until the coffee cools). That's not entirely inappropriate, considering the intended function of this thermos bottle (dawn's-early-light patrol on work sites, hunting trips, and spiritual retreats). The cup/cap has no redeeming tactile qualities beyond its basic function. The Stanley Thermos itself is a functional and aesthetic delight, from its excellent heat retention qualities to its hammered-green enameled finish.

COFFEE: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Organic coffee from Barrett's Micro Roasters in Sodom-On-The-Colorado, Texas. Medium-light roast, as is my daily preference. Very nice stuff. Easily a daily drinker.

NOTES: I find that my coffee taste buds need a recalibration every so often to maintain my appreciation of a well roasted/brewed drink, but good coffee is required for the process (bad coffee merely screws up my taste buds). Usually, I switch to a Guatemalan from my standard (and all too common) Colombian, but in a nod to my long-ago love for mocha coffees, I went with this Ethiopian that many feel is among the finer beans available.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lilacs on the Pedernales.

MUG: Waechstersbach mug, made in Germany, purchased in Deutschland auf den Pedernales. This discontinued color was a special order by my friend John Lopez at Der Küchen Laden. The man knows his coffee, both the software and the hardware.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo(?) beans. Medium-light roast from one of two roasters in Tyler, Texas (either Country Coffee or Coffee City, I don't remember which). It's good! It's not over-roasted, so at my preferred 8 grams of beans to 5 ounces of water ratio, all the flavors of the Colombian bean are present... without the taste of burned popcorn so popular in coffees today.

NOTES: It's a damn shame either or both of these roasters don't relocate to nearby Coffee City, Texas, on the shores of Lake Palestine. What a great mailing address they would have.

As for the mug, there's really nothing to say that I haven't said before. Design and production perfection. The actual glaze color is described as "Blueberry", but I'm not seeing it. Maybe "Blueberry Stain on a White Shirt" describes the color better.

For reference, the shot below was taken with my Olympus Pen E-PL1 Micro 4/3 camera, while the title picture above (including the Olympus in the frame) was shot with my iPhone 4s and processed with Instagram.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hope springs eternal.

MUG: Not a mug, but an 18 oz. acrylic tumbler made by ThermoServe in Dallas, Texas.

COFFEE: Not coffee, nor another caffeinated beverage, but sparkling spring water with a bit of natural grapefruit flavor. No other additives (other than the half a key lime I pitched in for good measure).

NOTES: My hope for more fall weather have been dashed. A hot wind has blown in out of the southwest, out of the Mexican desert, and it is pulling moisture up from the Gulf as well. This calls for emergency action. Ice water, with carbon dioxide and a twist.

Monday, October 15, 2012

When you Keurig enough to serve the very best.

CUP: Conical-shaped white china. Probably Chinese-made, but I didn't invert the cone to find out. Would have been rude to dump coffee on my host's floor. 10-12 ounce capacity. Nice lip feel, good handle, this mug has a good combination of girly design and manly size.

COFFEE: Polka-Java blend from Buna Bean coffee roasters in Ennis, Texas. It's really a Mocha Java blend, but named with a pun due to Ennis' annual Polka Festival and its Czech heritage.

NOTES: Spent the night with a friend and his wife in their neat American Craftsman style home in old Ennis Texas. Before I left the next morning, he made me a cup of coffee using his Keurig machine, but he fresh grinds his beans and puts them in the Keurig basket, instead of using a Vue-Pak (?). It made by far the best cup of Keurig coffee I've ever had.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Taupe O'Gee, Joe!

MUG: Waechstersbach 2 ounce mug. Made in Western Germany (that should tell you something).

COFFEE: Barrett's Colombian, espressed. Contrary to popular opinion, dark-roasted (burned) "Espresso Roast" coffee is not necessary to made a good cup of espresso.

NOTES: Last month, while cruising ebay, I ran across this taupe/mud miniature mug from Waechtersbach. I am not sure if it was produced as an espresso cup, or as a novelty/souvenir from the Bavarian factory-town of Waechtersbach. How could I resist its charms?

NOTES 2: The title of this post is another painful pun. If you get it, you are probably old.

A little tricky under the espresso machine.

In comparison with a standard-sized Waechtersbach coffee mug.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Big Gulp of Mud.

MUG: 16 ounce hand-glazed, machine made mug from Pottery Barn Outlet (I didn't know they still sold pottery). I picked this up yesterday after crossing the River Styx in San Marcos. The walls are thick, but the mug is lightweight (relatively), indicating lots of air in the clay, and therefore great insulation qualities. By my standards, it is huge, holding in one pour almost my entire current daily consumption of coffee. 

COFFEE: Barrett's Colombian Supremo Estate. I've said enough already. Its excellent flavor cuts through my seasonal (April-October) allergies.

NOTES: This is my color. It's sort of a taupe. We used to call it PMS-MUD around the office and home, referencing both the Pantone Matching System and my initials. For awhile, I used this color on everything that fell into my grasp. Walls, clothes, brochures, paintings, life.

I codified this color as mine when I acquired a set of six West German made Waechtersbach coffee mugs (as extolled here often) in this color in 1976. Later inquiries with WaechstersbachUSA about getting replacement mugs for the ones that had crashed to earth over the years (or rather, tile floor) resulted in a denial that they had ever made (or imported) mugs of that color. More on this, soon.

PMS-407, or PMS Warm Grey 4.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The True Cup

MUG: Chinese-made diner-style mug. I love this mug. Thick walls, great lip feel, good finger handle, and understated decoration all combine to make this an exceptionally enjoyable coffee vehicle. This mug is just slightly smaller than the ten to twelve ounce mugs I normally employ. This mug holds eight ounces, or, one exact measuring cup. The mythical "coffee-maker" cup is closer to five ounces.

COFFEE: Barrett's Colombian Supremo Estate. Rich, full flavor coffee despite my allergies' interference. Last week's stand-in from Taste Wobegon can't hold a candle to this example of the Colombian bean.

NOTES: I think I purchased this coffee at the Café Du Monde on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I doubt chicory root will ever again taint it.