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ISSpresso

If the only thing holding you back from joining the space program was the lack of a morning capp, well they’re solving that problem:

ISS Espresso Maker

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Dirty cafés

There is something about coffee cafés. I like exploring and discovering cafés while I travel. You usually can walk in and “know” before you even order if the coffee is going to be good. But even “good” cafés have a tendency to fall into a trap.

Cafe owners seem to relish creating run down dirty places. Not all of them do that, I’ve been into some spotless cafés when I travel and those are always a treat. Say what you want about Starbucks, but at least they invest in their facilities.

My family and I recently visited the “best” coffee shop in a town while on vacation. The coffee was great. I ordered some sort of fru-fru Capp/mocha drink (don’t mock me, I’m on vacation) and my wife ordered a special mocha drink. The drink was great, really good micro-foam, everything about the drink prep was great. We sat next to the roaster and I spent time trying to convince my kids that this was a roaster-they must have thought all roasters looked like my BBQ drum.

So the shop knows espresso. They care about quality ingredients. They can have lines that go out the door. But the place was a dump. I don’t mind the bohemian look, but you know, fix the stuff.

I continue to gravitate towards Starbucks. The coffee and drinks there are consistent. The facilities always are kept up. And the wifi almost always works.

Ed

Focus on what you can do

Hello again:

One of the reasons why I ‘play’ with coffee is it provides an alternate to the culinary experience of alcohol. I began to go to a church that discouraged the use of alcohol. Rather than worry about what is discouraged, I chose to focus more intently on what is allowed.

When you join any organization, you should follow the ‘rules’ of that organization as long as it doesn’t conflict with higher priority rules (I.e. Bible ‘rules’ trump other ‘rules’). The Bible says that if you disagree with important doctrine, your job is not to change the organization, your job is to avoid that organization (Romans 16:17).

At the time, I was not persuaded in the Biblical requirement of no-alcohol that my Church taught. However, there was nothing biblically wrong with abstaining. I had no problem eliminating the consumption of alcohol from my life to comply with that ‘rule’. Where it got tricky was the fact that I sold alcohol in my family’s business. It was one thing for me to stop drinking to following a rule, its entirely different to limit my long term career path because I wanted to follow a particular leader.

To evaluate the doctrine, I searched for every reference of wine in the Bible. My initial search didn’t seem to indicate there was a Biblical prohibition on alcohol. People who disagree with this doctrine commonly point to Jesus turning water into wine. If Jesus gave people wine, how could selling wine be bad? It is a compelling counter-argument.

You can use your own google-kung-fu to evaluate both sides of the argument, here are the facts that helped me make a decision:

There are unambiguous verses that state that strong drink is bad. (Proverbs 31:4)

When Jesus turned water into wine, it does not specifically state that the wine was fermented. As we are conditioned to believe the alcohol is good, when they bring out the ‘good wine’ in the story, you are pre-conditioned to think about alcohol.

I believe other passages that seem to advocate alcohol use, are misunderstood. There is one Law for everyone, however different people have greater responsibilities within the Law. For example 1 Timothy 3:3 is not a code of conduct for existing deacons, rather I see this as a “pre-employment background check” that should be given to Church officers. After “employment”, a deacon should more closely follow God’s Law.

There are other examples that I can point to, but the bottom line is I was persuaded. I like to be passionate in what I do. If I don’t think a product is good and beneficial, I am not going to do a good job promoting it – in fact I don’t want to promote it. So why do something I don’t want to do?

It’s hard to strip something out of your life without filling that void with something else (Luke 11:24-26). Coffee was the answer. Rather than seek out micro-brews, I seek out independent coffee bars when I travel. I experiment with the preparation and serving of Coffee and Espresso drinks at home. And of course I began to roast coffee.

One of the best things I’ve learned is: Focus on what you can do, don’t worry about what you can’t do.

Drum roasting

Drum Roasting:

I used my dog bowl setup for years. However this method limits the volume of beans you can roast in one session. And it isn’t very fun to roast during the winter months. I previously read about BBQ roasting, but at the time I didn’t want to build or invest in the necessary equipment. But after a particularly crummy day I decided that it was time to take my roasting to the next level.

I used my google-Kung-fu and I found a drum roaster for my grill that was inexpensive (http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/presta/).

My first few months with this roaster were very disappointing. The setup of the equipment was unreliable and worse, the drum lid wouldn’t seal properly allowing my beans to escape into the grill. These problem were largely self-inflicted.

I couldn’t get the spit to work right, it would fall off the motor or the handle would come lose. I couldn’t get the drum off the fire hot spit at the end of the roasting session. I was so familiar with dog bowl roasting that I could do everything with my eyes closed. I was excited about having a new toy to play with so I was rushing through all of the set up. This problem had a simple solution: slow down. I now progress through these steps methodically and have much better results.

I was having some success doing 1-2 cups of beans. But when I put in 3-4 cups into the drum, the beans would force their way out of the drum during the roasting cycle. My expensive CoE beans from sweetmarias.com would catch fire in the grill. Not good. Fortunately, Len from coffeeroasterclub.com was quick to respond to my frustrated emails. He suggested that I make a slight modification to the lid, which I of course ignored. However, after burning another few batches of expensive beans I repented and got out my drill.

With the modification to the drum in place and a steady methodical approach, I’m now having a consistently good product. And I am looking forward to a more comfortable winter roasting season.

Thanks,

Ed