Friday, December 27, 2013

All the best.

MUG: Waechtersbach mug made in 'W Germany' (to give you an idea of how long I've had this particular implement). It doesn't get any better than this.

COFFEE: Ethiopian Sidama, full city roast, roasted a few days ago in a Rube Goldberg roaster by Doctor Smith's Copy and Coffee Emporium in southwest Austin. Pressed in a Bodum French Press coffee maker. Sampson would be envious.

COMMENTS: All the best; mug, coffee, conversation... and music. Thanks Dr. Smith! Good Yule!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sur la Tabla Rasa

MUG: A new eleven ounce 'barrel mug' made in China, designed and sold by Gibson Home accessories. Coarse black finish, with a smooth white interior and blue lip. Nice drinker, with great tactile qualities. It came with a piece of chalk.

COFFEE: A 'Fair-Trade' washed Sidamo Nura Korate from Ethiopia, roasted at the Central Market Westgate store.

NOTES: This mug was a Christmas gift from my daughter Catherine LaGrone... who, like her elder sister Anna, never ever needs to give me anything, having gifted me with so much in my life I would never else have known. They have written their names on the previously too-often-erased blank slate of my heart.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips.

MUG: A stainless steel 12 ounce travel mug marketed by Savor.  It fits the cupholders in my MINI without blocking some of the control buttons like a standard 16 ounce travel mug does (nor does it inadvertently activate the heated seats control, either).

COFFEE: A Starbuck's "Tribute" coffee pod as made in a Keurig Coffee Maker. The machine (and the coffee pod) is in the break-alcove where I have a seasonal mall job. The result is remarkably similar to the drip coffee served in a genuine Starbuck's.

NOTES: I put a wrist band around the travel mug, to aid in grip and to aid in mission., it says. Do.

Oh, and Isaiah 6:5.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Coffee not burned, in more ways than one.

MUG: A plasti-feely-foamy cup thingie from Dixie Cup, the Perfect Touch cup. Soft to the touch, with a harder rolled edge to give decent lip feel. No polystyrene foam is used in its manufacture.

COFFEE: A "100% ORGANIC, 100% FAIR TRADE CERTIFIED, 100% ARABICA" coffee of unspecified origin, roasted and brewed by Summermoon Coffee in Austin.  The roaster says, "NO FOSSIL FUELS, 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY, NO ELECTRICITY. We roast by hand in a brick oven, over a mesquite fire, using sight, sound, and smell to consistently offer our customers a unique and superior coffee experience." I've been told they use bicycles to rotate the roasting drums.

NOTES: Without a doubt, the absolute best 'church-coffee' I've ever been served (as served at The Well in Buda, Texas... which also 'served up' something entirely different and far less tasty yesterday).

As a great bonus, and no small thing to me, no human babies were burned to death in the fire of Moloch to make this coffee.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The daily grind changes. Conehead's revenge.

MUG: Not a mug, but a new grinder. It's a Breville Smart Grinder.

COFFEE: A Santa Inez from Brazil, by way of the Central Market at Westgate.

NOTES: I replaced my well-used Cuisinart burr grinder a few months ago (when it disintegrated internally) with a Krups conical burr grinder. I tried to like it, but while it had some great advantages over the Cuisinart (it didn't make a huge mess), it also didn't grind the coffee consistently, resulting in 'muddy' coffee from my cone filter drip maker (drip filter grind had too much finely powdered coffee).

The Breville is a true conical grinder (the Krups was a hybrid, with concave/convex disc burrs). I asked it some questions, and it remains mute, so I guess it isn't really very smart. We'll see what its learning curve is.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


MUG: 0,25L German stoneware beer stein. Made by Franz Stöber. There's an Augustiner logo imprinted on the side not seen. This is the ceramic glaze color (salt glaze?) that my favorite Waechtersbach mugs come in, and probably related.

COFFEE: Guatemalan Antigua coffee from/by Central Market Westgate. Roasted by Frank.

NOTES: Guten Morgen!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

'Tis the season.

MUG: The Ghost of Waechtersbach Past. Unknown make, unknown location of manufacture, but I presume China. General design is similar to the Waechtersbach design.

COFFEE: A Colombian coffee, made from organic beans grown on a small estate. City roast by Central Market, roasted onsite at their Westgate store in southern Austin. My new preferred source.

NOTES: After missing out on a Día de Muertos coffee mug at HEB before the day, I found this one at Superfly's Records records in San Marcos... where I also found an old Augie Meyer LP that wasn't already in my collection. Over-payed for the LP, but I paid a more than reasonable $6 for the cool mug. 

There is much I dislike about the commercial-holiday-season (October through December). Dead holiday walking. This mug seems appropriate.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy "Steal a Child's Candy" day!

MUG: My happy mug. Made by, "Guess who?" Hint, it was made in Germany. Perfect shape and volume.

COFFEE: Still the "organic" Colombian from Central Market's in-house roastery. Still good.

COMMENTS: After "Trick-or-Treating" and "Trunk-and-Treating" last night night, my grandkids came by to display their costumes and booty. I got the Milk Duds. Today I'm having some of the leftovers for breakfast.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ben Franklin was right, but misquoted.

MUG: Diner-style novelty mug, made for the 90th Anniversary of Neiman-Marcus.  This is a mug of weapons-grade heft, a home-defense mug.

COFFEE: Wow! The best cup of coffee I have had in ages! It's a City roast Brazilian coffee, Fazenda Santa Ines from Carmo de Minas coffees. It was roasted and sold by Central Market at their Westgate store. It is outrageously good.

NOTES: The mug (as featured before) was made in Thailand and designed by High-Wave Good-Bi. It has a contrasting inner color (tan exterior, pale avocado green interior). Good handle, good lip, good heat-retention properties, and a good vibe (I grew up in the Neiman-Marcus culture). I have a matching mug that my wife uses. It has a green exterior and a rose interior. We only use these mugs on Sunday. If I use a different mug (or bring her coffee in her usual Polish-made coffee cup), I hear about it. It's our Sunday Morning Tradition/Ritual.

Now, about today's blog-post headline. Beer aficionados like to quote Ben Franklin as saying, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Great quote, but that's not what he said. What he really said was that rain is proof that God loves us, and because the rain causes the grapes to grow and they can be made into wine, that's proof that God wants us to be happy. It has rained over 4" so far this morning. I'm happy. God loves us. I have seen the proof.

Coffee mug in the rain.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Red dawn.

MUG: The second best coffee mug in the entire world.* A fire-red Waechtersbach.

COFFEE: A Guatemalan Antigua organic estate-grown coffee. City roast, from Central Market's Westgate in-house roastery. Very good stuff.

NOTES: *The only reason this is the "second best" coffee mug is because the "best" mug is PMS Mud colored (also a Waechtersbach). The mud/natural slip color has been unavailable for so long, the USA importer says it never existed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Burn baby, burn!

MUG: A tin cup. Handmade in the U.S.A. since 1819 without electricity.

COFFEE: Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

NOTES: Saw this in an Austin richie-hipster "Artisanal" hardware store yesterday. It epitomizes so many of the things I find intolerable about the faux-sustainable "creative class."

I've drunk coffee twice from an enameled steel cup. They were made in Mexico and cost about fifty cents. It's a horrible way to drink coffee. Nice for a sip of cool water, though, as I'm sure the featured $25 cup is as well.

The Green Party

MUG: Waechtersbach mug from Germany by way of Die Kuchen Laden in Fredericksburg. Not much else to say about this example of crockery perfection that I haven't already said.

COFFEE: Guatemalan Antigua, sourced from Central Market Westgate's in-house roastery. A perfection in coffee that damn near matches the mug's.

NOTES: Made the 40 mile round-trip to South-est Austin yesterday to buy coffee. The previous two times I've purchased Central Market's in-house roasted beans, they have been excellent, but there has never been anyone manning the roastery to speak with. Yesterday they were staffed up. There was a snooty hipster making drip samples in a precious Japanese imitation of the Melitta system, an "Old Austin Hippie" dispensing sample cups of Colombian Supremo coffee from a large pot (appropriately), who was also dispensing coffee idiocy. "Yeah, man, you know they don't really grow coffee in Colombia. It's just a distribution and processing center." He looked like he needed a job, so I kept my mouth shut (as should of he).

The Chief Roaster was on duty. A likeable fellow. I called him over to complement him on CM's not over-roasting their beans like the vast majority of coffee roasters in the area do. I was scooping the Guatemalan, and he asked me what I liked. "Mainly Guatemalan and Colombian, for their fruity flavor and general consistency," said I. "Ah, Colombian. The perfect coffee." he replied "You should try some of our Organic Colombian that I roasted the other day. I've been drinking a lot of it!"

So I bought about 20 ounces of each.

I did ask if they sold green beans, and I got an emphatic "No."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Creeping Darkness.

MUG: Oh look. It's another German-made Waechtersbach novelty mug. A pink death-head (as shown before).

COFFEE: An organic Colombian from Central Market's in-house roastery. A fairly light roast, which seems to be the style of the chief roaster at the Westgate CM.

NOTES: For years, I brewed coffee from beans sourced from What's Brewing in San Antonio (as sold by Central Market in Dallas). I liked them because they didn't over-roast their coffee. I thought I noticed a change a few years ago, but then we moved and I had to find a new source. After some trial (and much error), I discovered a micro-roastery in South Austin that didn't over-roast everything. Their Colombian and Guatemalan beans were old-school 'Full City' (before "full" meant oily). But lately, they have tended to produce by default a slightly darker roast than my preference. I buy my coffee from them in five pound shipments (three week supply), but I have neglected to request a return to the lighter style they used to employ.

Putting off ordering, I found myself out of coffee. I asked my dear wife to pick up some Colombian or Guatemalan at Central Market when she made a trip recently (40 mile round-trip... we don't go needlessly). She came back with the What's Brewing Colombian. The beans were dark and slightly oily, with the flavor many associate with good coffee, but which I find to mask the subtle flavors of a good varietal coffee.

On a return trip to Central Market this week (for the disappointing "Brewniversity" paid event), I picked up a pound of their in-house roasted Colombian. Not shiny. Not oily. Not burnt. Perhaps even a bit too light, but easily adjustable by adding to the coffee amount for a given pot.

Let there be light.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Let's have a sustainable party!

CUP: Insulated drinking cup, modeled after the infamous Red Solo Cup of redneck party fame. Unlike an authentic Solo Cup, this one keeps your beverage of choice cold, is rigid (a big plus when your are dancing) and is non-disposable. An environmentally sustainable alternative, one would have to go through about 25 of the genuine cups to cover the cost of this one ($3), but then again, that's 25 fewer cups in the landfill.

TEA: Luzianne Iced Tea, a blend of Orange Pekoe and Pekoe Cut black teas. Brewed using thermonuclear energy, one gallon at a time, on my side porch next to the smoker.

NOTES: I haven't yet monogrammed my cup with a black marker, but I will. I first heard/learned about Toby Kieth's hit "Red Solo Cup" at a NASCAR-sanctioned short track race here in Hays County. Doubling-down on my red-neckedness.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A hot cup of barth to start the day.

MUG: Chinese-made specialty mug, imprinted by Vistaprint (my new supplier of short-run irritants). Yet another imitation Waechtersbach-style barrel mug. Perfectly fine, almost invisible in design and function. The handle has a slightly trapezoidal shape, bulging out at the bottom in an attempt to afford an improved grip.

COFFEE: Guatemalan Antigua beans, roasted (on my birthday) at the Central Market store in the West Gate Shopping Center (roastery picture shown at bottom) on the south side of my demarcation line (Hwy 281). Tasty coffee. The bin describes the roast as Full City - Medium, and I have to agree, but it is considerably lighter than what most roasters consider a medium (Full City) roast. I think it's roasted correctly, but what do I know. I prefer the subtleties of lager beer, too.

NOTES: The inscription reads, Reject Religion / Follow Jesus. I had a few bumper stickers, two t-shirts, and this mug made with this logo-statement on them. The new digital printing industry has made such short runs financially viable, and allows theo-terrorists like myself to prototype products and messages. This particular message plays on a statement made by the Swiss Reformed theologian Karl Barth (friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) that "Christianity is not a religion. It is a revelation from God." To Barth's thinking, religion is Man's attempt to elevate themselves up to their god(s), to win approval through worship, to a god(s) usually in Man's own image. Christianity is God's turning that notion on its head. God came to man in man's image, to reconcile without warrant, by his grace. Religion interferes with the acceptance of that grace.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Would a rrose of a different color taste so sweet?

MUG: Speciality mug made by Waechtersbach in Spain. All the qualities one expects from a Waechtersbach, with the ironic addition of signatures from the Famous Artists school.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo. I'm so boring.

NOTES: Recently acquired as a birthday present for myself. This mug was part of a series, out of production since the 1980s and fairly rare. I know of three color variations: red on white (an example of which I possess, but that is showing its age), blue on yellow, and yellow on blue (this one).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Coffee! Yesh!

MUG: Chinese-made novelty mug from the Mutts Collection. Another Waechtersbach-style mug. Too bad they couldn't patent the design.

COFFEE: The Colombian Supremo of record.

NOTES: Mutts is a cartoon strip by Patrick McDonnell. The primary characters are Earl the dog and Mooch the cat. All animal lovers should read Mutts.

This mug was a birthday present to me some years ago from my daughter Catherine. Today is her birthday, so I honor her by honoring her gift to me, and she's given me far more than a coffee mug. Love 'ya, Cat.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Me kneeling.

MUG: An almost perfect copy (Chinese?) of a genuine Waechtersbach mug. The handle is a tiny bit narrower than what is used by the German company, and the ceramic itself is a bit thinner-walled and denser than what the Germans produce. Is it good to be a high-quality imitation? The orthodoxy of that question (imitation vs. stolen) would be a good discussion between the Menil in Houston and the Kimbell in Fort Worth.

COFFEE: The norm: an estate-grown Colombian Supremo roasted by Barrett's.

NOTES: The Menil Collection in Houston is one of the few museum's I make a point of visiting (I haven't made it up to the Dallas Museum of Art to see a temporary exhibition that one of my own works is in).  I'll even drag a couple of non-art guys I went to a Rangers/Astros baseball game with to this museum. This mug was done for the Menil's 25th Anniversary. The grey body with white trim mimics the color scheme used not only on the museum, but also on all the bungalows the museum owns in a three-square block colony around the museum.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Caution. Joy Ahead.

CUP: Paper cup made in India. Attached ribbed-insulation (semi-effective). Peculiar message, reminiscent of speaking with a customer service rep from the Indian sub-continent ("Hello. My-name-is-Bob. How-can-I-help-you-today? How-are-the-Cowboys-doing-now?").

COFFEE: I did not partake of the coffee that was supplied with this cup. Rather, I took the cup home (and three of its siblings). I am serving the Colombian Supremo from Barrett's.

NOTES: This was one of the in-room coffee cups at the Super 8 Motel in Fredericksburg Texas. Perhaps the best part of our stay there (at the Super 8 Motel... not referring to our delightful quickie visit to Fredericksburg).

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Coffee been Laden-ed.

MUG: Diner-style specialty advertising mug, made in China, distributed by Discount Mugs, sold by Der Küchen Laden. Heavy weight mug, but with a thinner lip than my other diner mugs. Nice handle. Nice hand and lip feel. Nice color. Nice mug.

COFFEE: Estate-grown poly-p.c. Colombian Supremo from Barrett's Microroasters.

NOTES: A good mug, overflowing with great memories.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Coffee catchup

MUG: Promotional diner mug for Neiman-Marcus' 90th Anniversary celebration. A solid drinker with no faults other than fading decoration.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo, organic estate-grown. Sourced from Barrett's.

NOTES: After a long season of tinkering, I have my new brewing apparatus tuned to my liking. Coffee is such a delicate beverage. Slight variations produce dramatic differences. New brewer and new grinder required some new thinking. The adjustments have been made (less coffee, oddly).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Restoration

MUG: Waechstersbach original, caramel colored, Western Germany.

COFFEE: An estate-grown Colombian Supremo, roasted by Barrett's Micro Roasters in Austin (see P.M., good things can come out of that town).

NOTES: For entertainment (and radical taste bud recalibration), I tried two pounds of coffee from a highly regarded local beanery. In return for my adventure, I got stylishly over-roasted coffees, one of which was a blend I allowed myself to get talked into. I suspended my simple rule that almost all coffee blends are an economic compromise (a bit of the good with much more of the not so good) as a way of maximizing profit. As a result, the Rule has been reinforced.

There is much joy in Mudville today. The King is restored.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It can only be attributable to human error.

MUG: Waechtersbach caramel-colored mug. Not shown.

COFFEE: Kerbey Lane House Blend beans from Third Coast Coffee Roasters in Austin.

NOTES: On a whim (and because I had discovered I could purchase green coffee beans from them), I bought a Google Offers coupon for two pounds of coffee from Third Coast Coffee Roasters. When I dropped by to select/pick-up my coffee, I allowed myself to be talked into a pound of their Kerbey Lane House Blend coffee. It was an error of judgement (they also tried to sell me on a Peruvian coffee that had been dried with cherries). The taste is overwhelmingly stale, with burnt overtones.

I also purchased two pounds of Colombian beans (one each of roasted and green). I hope my error has not been componded.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Mr. Gold and Mr. Mudd

MUG: Bodum™ double-walled glass mug. Eleven ounce capacity. Light weight, but thick feeling. As a temperature-insulator, it's an effective design. As a daily drinker, it's not really totally satisfying due to the tactile experience.

COFFEE: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe organic Fair-Trade coffee, medium-light roasted by Barrett's. A five pound recalibration of taste is underway. Some consider this bean the "gold standard" for drip coffee.

NOTES: My coffee world is in disarray at the moment. Recent changes in brewing/grinding equipment has resulted in this being rather different than the long established norms. The grinder settings with the new Krups burr mill are different (but the grind more uniform than the deceased Cusinart burr grinder achieved). The new Melitta coffee maker (made by Hamilton Beach-Proctor Silex) brews coffee much stronger than the old Hamilton Beach electric maker (Melitta cone style). Eight scoops of beans for eight cups of coffee (48 ounces) has become seven scoops to make ten cups (sixty ounces). But now the coffee is cloudy. The cloudiness increases as the coffee sits. More dinking around with the method is called for.

I have long wanted a set of these Bodum mugs, but never wanted to pay the price. My wife purchased two re-packaged Bodum mugs for use by her 89 year-old mother (who lives with us). Mrs. Baker loves her coffee, especially the coffee I make. "Hot, black and strong" is her daily request. Recently, however, she has begun to let her coffee get cold because she would forget there was any in her cup after it dropped below the 2/3rds full level. This see-through mug is meant to rectify that situation, both visually and thermally. So far, it has been an effective countermeasure.

As for this post's title... see here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Big Red

MUG: Waechtersbach latte mug co-branded Crate & Barrel. Great mug of the type. Thick, easy handle, smooth lip, prodigious capacity, and that fantastic cracked red clearcoat glaze.

COFFEE: Nicaraguan Dark Roast. Four shots espresso. Steamed milk and froth, with a dash of cocoa-chili powder on top... proving that I put hot pepper on everything. First espresso grind with the new Krups burr mill. It passed the test.

NOTES: A cold front blew in last night dropping temperatures 30 degrees.

Special Report: the Krups of the matter.

DEVICE: A Krups burr coffee mill has replaced the Cuisinart coffee grinder that broke last week. It is of German design, and is vaugely reminiscent of something from Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.

I did perform 'plastic surgery' on the Cuisinart using super-glue, and while that allowed it to grind coffee beans for the preceding week, it only allowed for a medium grind (the rotating sleeve seized as a result of glue creep). Plastic surgery often reduces range of motion and expression, i.e., Joan Rivers.

FUNCTION: Too early to tell, as I have yet to figure out the nuances of this device (what settings produce what results). I can report that it is quieter under load than the burr grinder it replaced, but that it is also lighter weight. Grind capacity appears roughly equal, although storage capacity is halved (which is a good thing, as a coffee grinder should not do double duty as a coffee bean canister). The first batch was mistakenly ground too coarse, but the flavor result was satisfactory.

NOTES: One of the reasons I chose the Krups (beyond my love-of-things-German) is my past experience with a Krups drip coffee maker, a cleverly-designed device that I passed on due to my dislike of its stainless steel lined carafe (before I discovered that oxy-clean powder solves the problem of keeping said carafes perfectly clean).

The German kitchen appliance firm Krups is often confused with the German armament firm Krupps. They are not related. Krups competes with Braun, while Krupps competes with Browning.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Special Report: What's new is old.

POT: Melitta™ 10-cup coffee maker.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo sourced from the usual.

NOTES: As I mentioned below, there have been some major coffee-making changes here at Das Sommergarten. Our faithful Melitta-filter system Hamilton Beach™ coffee maker went away. It didn't die, but an identical unit we had given to one our daughters did die (internal water/electrical damage to the control IC), and so we gave her ours... and got a new maker for ourselves.

The new maker is a Melitta-branded maker with a couple of unique features. It's hot (I measured the brew-temp at 200F), and it has a variable brew-strength control that mimics the proper way to brew coffee with a Melitta filter system. By using the 'Robust' setting, the basket of grounds are soaked in water just below boiling point, and then the water-flow stops. Melitta used to say this was to allow the flavor to "burst," and I'd say that's accurate. After the initial wetting drains, the maker starts up again. This combination of properly hot water and seeping makes a better cup of coffee than most coffee makers are capable of.

The downside to this maker is the carafe. The old Hamilton Beach maker used a glass-vacuum lined thermal carafe (like an old-style Thermos™ vacuum bottle). The new one, like almost everyone I have seen on the market, uses a stainless-steel vacuum carafe. While far more rugged, the stainless steel carafes do not retain heat as well, and the carafe tends to retain old coffee oils and is much more difficult to keep clean. Brushed steel has far for surface irregularities that can trap coffee oils than does smooth glass.

FINAL NOTE: I should mention that Melitta is still a closely-held company from Germany who distributes their filters and drip manual coffee makers in the USA themselves, but their electric coffee makers are manufactured and distributed here by... Hamilton Beach.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Special Report: Death becomes burr.

DEATH: Our cheap and messy (but perfectly functional) Cuisinart conical burr coffee bean grinder died this morning, after a mere 2,500 uses (approximate count, based upon entering service in late 2006 and grinding coffee approximately 1.1 times a day). The internal body/skeleton/core, which both houses the grinders and funnels the beans, broke into two parts.  Upper and lower pieces.

RENEWAL: I can make it work (as I did this morning) by pressing down on the lid forcefully, while touching my nose and ear simultaneously. I have looked into using super-glue to reattached the pieces, but I believe that would be a futile exercise in thumbly repair.

Tomorrow's remedy will be to either use my old blade grinder (if I can find it), or to use the Bodum blade grinder I have in reserve for either gifting, or just such an emergency.

Blade grinders are perfectly acceptable for drip coffee (as I usually make), a bit trickier for French Press coffee (which I make on rare occasion), and unsuitable for espresso (which I make about once a week when it's not summertime). I need a new burr grinder, and I know which one I want, one that balances design, function, and price. I'm not going to spend $300 for a grinder (or $200, or $150, but maybe $120).

COINCIDENCE: Interestingly, this coincides with the departure of our faithful Hamilton Beach coffee maker. It didn't break, but our daughter's identical machine did (a gift from us), so off it went to keep them jacked up. The new coffee maker we purchased (of interesting hybrid lineage) has now been in use for a week. A review of said maker was forthcoming when this calamity struck.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Watts of power

MUG: Six ounce double-walled travel cup from REI (lid not shown).

COFFEE: Guatemalan Rio Azul, roasted by my friend Carter Smith, green beans sourced from Third Coast Coffee in south Austin.

NOTES: This little travel coffee cup actually fits in my MINI Cooper without obscuring controls or activating the heated seats. Six ounces is actually a nice volume as a second cup, and it won't outlast its heat retention.

The Guatemalan coffee is excellent. Looks like a true "full city" roast, not burned. Full of delicate flavors. Thanks, Herr Doktor Smith!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A vestigial need to mark or slash

MUG: Chinese-made 14 ounce ceramic souvenir mug from the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine, Texas. Over-sized, with a trapezoidal handle (slants in at the top), it is decorated with pictographs from a nearby prehistoric Amerind stone shelter (dating to approximately 2000 B.C.).

COFFEE: While we were away in Alpine, we had house guests. They left us with 12 ounces of Carmo de Minas peaberry coffee beans from Brazil. The beans were roasted correctly (not burned) on February 15th by Ristretto Roasters in Portland, Oregon (where our house-guests live).  Thankfully, the flavors of "butterscotch, toffee, and roasted cashews," as promised by the tasting notes, were not to be found in this very pleasant coffee.

NOTES: Thank you Katie, for a most welcome and unexpected and generous gift!

Friday, March 01, 2013

Dark water

MUG: Imitation Waechtersbach mug from China, part of a Toastess single-cup drip coffee hotel in-room coffeemaker.

COFFEE: Melitta "Buzzworthy" Coffee Pod. It also says "European Indulgence" and "100% High Grown Arabica Coffee". This resulted in a thin, stale tasting, lightly colored, warm dark-water beverage. No redeeming qualities whatsoever.

NOTES: I have a high opinion of the Melitta brand historically, even though there is a clear difference between Melitta EU and Melitta NA. I have been using Melitta brewing system variations (always the drip cone system they invented, almost always their filters) for almost forty years. The stale-tasting liquid that was produced by this coffee pod threatens that respect. IMO, this is a brand-damaging product. But then, some of the fault may also lie with the Toastess, which certainly doesn't heat water to a proper temperature. Nor is it designed for this coffee tampon product.

French, Holland, Alpine

MUG: Dixie "PerfecTouch" coffee tumbler. Soft to the touch, heat retaining, non-plastic coffee container. Sort of a paper mâché product.

COFFEE: French roast, made in a Bunn, served from a Bunn airpot. Way down my list of best coffees I have had. Way down. Has that burned, metallic taste so appealing to many coffee trendies.

NOTES: This is the morning breakfast buffet coffee at the Holland Hotel in Alpine, Texas. It's the first disappointment of an otherwise truly delightful stay.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 18, 2013

Green fire

MUG: Waechstersbach "green fire" glazed 10 ounce, made-in-Germany, perfect mug.

COFFEE: Not coffee, but Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup, with a healthy dose of Tabasco Sauce.

NOTES: Soup out of a coffee mug is an oddly satisfying experience... especially if it's Tomato soup with Tabasco pepper sauce.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mini Sipper

MUG: Not a mug, but a cup... and a demitasse cup at that. Porcelain espresso cup from Crate & Barrel, made in Viet Nam.

COFFEE: French Roast (no bean specified) from What's Brewing Coffee Roasters in San Antonio. This roaster was my standard supplier, purchased from Central Market, for several years before moving to Hays County. So even though I am 220 miles closer than I used to be, I'm actually too far away now (Central Market was convenient to me in Dallas, whereas Austin's isn't).

NOTES: The cup was a Christmas present from my lovely wife. No saucers.