Thursday, August 11, 2005

Poor excuse..

Its been 8 days since I last posted anything here, and I am sorry, but I have an excuse...

I have been working on a new blog called Found Blogging,
and have been trying to get it up to speed as quickly as possible so I can continue posting both here and there. However there have been a few design problems and what not, but everything is a go at the moment. The new blog does not have much content but it will get there, and I will have something for here shortly... I hope

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

coffee in the office...

I consider my self quite lucky that I work at a restaurant with a respectable commercial coffee machine and grinder, however I am sure there a plenty of coffee lovers out there who are not as fortunate as me, and who mix their ‘coffee’ with hot water in a mug (evil!) while they are on their break at work. Due to the distress this thought was causing me, I went on a search for an answer to this predicament, and among a number of alternatives I found OfficeCoffee.com

Officecoffee is essentially a directory of multiple vendors who provide coffee and various other food and beverage services in your selected area. The service provided by Officecoffee is very detailed and constantly updated, and best of all it is free. In a matter of seconds you can request a free quote tailored to the specific needs of your workplace.

For shit and giggles I tried to request a quote, unfortunetly you actually require the details of a 'real' business, ridiculous isn't it. All in all, the site is very well structured and user friendly, and ultimately provides you with the cheapest option for quality coffee at your own workplace.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Baby Gaggia

To tell you the truth I don’t often make coffee at home, mainly because

1) I’m too lazy, and prefer to sleep in
2) When drinking coffee I’d rather be at an establishment with some atmosphere, an ashtray and some eye-candy
3) A good Barista with a commercial grade coffee machine, a grinder, and some nice beans beats what I can afford at home.

However, says the indolent bastard, I do occasionally use one of my Italian made pressure percolator’s or my Baby Gaggia. Consequently, today’s ramble will be about my one and only coffee machine – the Baby Gaggia.

The Baby is a relatively cheap and homely looking machine, however it produces consistently good espressos and is dead easy to use for a number of reasons; Firstly, due to the commercially sized portafilter (measuring 58mm in diameter), secondly the Gaggia’s unique boiling system allows the machine to heat up quite quickly, and finally the 3-way solenoid valve stops dripping and dries the used coffee grounds which makes the filter easier to clean.

" Portafilter – handle and filter holder, which is locked into the brewing group
3-way solenoid valve – reduces water pressure from the coffee grounds after coffee is made "

Conversely, there are some obvious shortcomings, for example, the drip tray is definitely too shallow and difficult to empty. Similarly, while the steaming power is adequate, the positioning and fixed nature of the steam wand can be a pain in the arse to maneuver around (however I just make espressos and the occasional short macchiato so meh).

Final ponderings: easy to use and consistent entry-level machine, which produces high-quality espressos.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Coffee Quotes

"Decaffeinated coffee is kind of like kissing your sister." - Bob Irwin

Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love. - Turkish proverb

"Way too much coffee. But if it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever." - David Letterman

"Last comes the beverage of the Orient shore, Mocha, far off, the fragrant berries bore. Taste the dark fluid with a dainty lip, Digestion waits on pleasure as you sip." - Pope Leo XII

"I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless." - Napoleon Bonaparte

"Compared to Clinton, I feel like a loser. I can't even get the intern to make me coffee!" - David Letterman

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

In order to invigorate your libido, have a cappuccino!

(I crack myself up sometimes)...

During my Internet travels I stumbled across an interesting ‘fact’, that coffee is an aphrodisiac. Apparently Turkish people first discovered this, and in turn they placed such an emphasis on coffee that if the husband did not provide coffee for the wife it was legitimate grounds for her to divorce him.

In case you’re still interested in whatever I am rambling on about, here are some links:

‘A Cup of the Erotic’ - Great reading, especially the second last paragraph

'Aphrodisiac foods'
'Aphrodisiac: Caffeine'

I also went a bit further and found some legitimate coffee inspired aphrodisiacs:
Coffee Amore for Him & Her - Third down the page

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Lavazza & illy

Before I get up on my high horse and lay judgement upon these two prominent coffee blends; I forewarn you that I am neither a coffee expert nor a literary scholar. Similarly, these are only my opinions etc bla bla…

Today boys and girls I will give an impromptu review of two coffee blends from two Italian coffee giants, Lavazza and Illy, more specifically, Lavazza Qualita Oro (brick) and Illy Café Espresso Regular (tin). Both are pre-ground (I prefer the taste having ground the beans personally, but I’ll save that speech for another day) and are %100 Arabica. The exact location of the coffee beans is not fully disclosed, the companies just say they are a selected blend form Central America and some African varieties.

Lavazza
The Qualita Oro is a very fine and lightly roasted espresso blend, which creates a well-balanced and clean coffee, rich in flavour but lacking any bitterness.

Illy
The Illy Café Espresso blend is also very fine, however it has a more elegant flavour, and also has a more noticeable bitter/sweet taste.

In conclusion, both blends (as expected) are clean and consistent, and function well in the home as they are finely ground and do not have highly bitter/acidic/strong qualities. However, Lavazza is a better all round performer as it makes a good espresso and café latte / cappuccino, while Illy stands to impress only espresso fans.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Coffee Dictionary

Barista: the Italian word for bartender, has been used in English to refer to a qualified coffee maker

Caffeine: is an alkaloid found naturally in coffee and other foods. Caffeine stimulates both the central nervous system and respiratory system

Cappuccino: is a combination of espresso and milk, usually served in a ceramic coffee cup. Specifically, a cappuccino is commonly defined as ⅓ espresso and ⅔ milk (⅓ steamed & ⅓ frothed)

Café, Coffee house/shop: are places that serve coffee and tea type beverages, and share characteristics from both bars and restaurants

Coffee: seeds cultivated from various tropical plants/shrubs, that are then dried and roasted and usually served as a hot beverage

Decaf: is decaffeinated coffee, where at least 97% of the caffeine has been removed from the coffee beans.

Drip brew: method of brewing coffee, utilising gravity to pull water down through

Espresso: an Italian word for quick, Espresso is brewed by hot water being forced through ground-roasted coffee beans, resulting in a strong and potent coffee beverage. Espresso is served straight in a shot glass or small cup, without any milk.

French Press (plunger/press pot): repeatedly rotates hot water through the ground coffee until the plunger is used to extract the beverage from the pot.

Latte: the Italian word for milk, made of ⅓ espresso and ⅔ steamed milk

Macchiato: usually made of ½ espresso ½ steamed/frothed milk, and served in a smaller glass/ceramic cup

Mocha: is both a type of coffee and a type of beverage, the coffee originates near the port of Mocha, and the beverage is a mixture of coffee and cocoa.

Percolator: is a type of pot used to prepare coffee, which forces boiling water up through the finely ground coffee into a second chamber