Tag Archives: Coffee

Signal boost

Vibenna has put up his annual post. It’s about bureaucracy vs private business, exemplified by NASA and space exploration. Bureaucracy

My prediction – governments will be left behind. There will be private a moonbase by 2020. And the US will roar back into global pre-eminence.

Click through and read the whole thing.

It just shows that he is presently failing in his duty of making me another cup of coffee.

Seen at the Royal Adelaide Show

Sign on a coffee stand, offering "grownd" coffee

Grownd coffee

“Grownd” coffee.

I didn’t have any.

Get it the old-fashioned way

Time magazine ran an article about caffeine a few weeks ago, detailing the products in which caffeine is found.

Red Bull energy drink may have the highest profile of the new caffeine-spiked products, but at every turn there are others: caffeine-infused gum, lip balm, mints, beer, candy, sunflower seeds, even soap–which is supposed to provide its caffeine boost through the skin. Then too there is a product called Blow, a white caffeine-based powder appallingly marketed in vials. It’s meant to be stirred into water or other drinks, not snorted, but what it evokes is unmistakable.

That’s without mentioning more ‘traditional’ caffeinated products, like Pepsi. So there’s lots of ways you can get your caffeine hit.

But why bother? Why do without the ritual of heading to a local cafe, ordering a flat white or a latte or a short black, or whatever your favourite variation is, having it served in a nice cup, inhaling the aroma, and taking that first, lovely sip? I love the whole coffee performance, and I love the taste of real coffee. Now that I’m not in paid employment, I don’t enjoy it so often any more, which makes it all the more precious when I do.

Caffeinated mints? Yeuch. Give me a lovely cup of coffee any day.


Things I never knew # 1

I’m not even sure I wanted to know this.

Stephen Pinker, the great philosopher of mind, has a new book out, The Stuff of Thought. It’s reviewed here (link from Arts and Letters Daily). One of the topics Professor Pinker addresses is the way we use language to mean something other than the exact words that we speak. Hence:

“Would you like to come up for coffee,” has become an indirect request for sex.

I suppose it’s the word “up” that does the work. I always thought the classic pick-up line was an invitation to come up to see some etchings, but in either case, it’s “up” that makes the difference.

I hope that’s the case. If it isn’t, I will never again be able to have an innocent coffee with a friend.

Best barista

The top barista in the country works not in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch or Dunedin, not in an up-and-coming provincial city like New Plymouth or Napier, not even in a tourist town like Rotorua or Queenstown. No, he works in a pokey little village that only exists because it’s at the intersection of state highways 3 and 1, just north of Palmerston North. And it’s not even Bulls, one end of the 7km of road where the highways are contiguous. No, it’s Sanson, a tiny little collection of houses, antique shops (for some reason two or three of them have gathered there) and petrol stations, with a few cafes to cater to passing motorists.

Even worse (or better), he runs a coffee cart. Congratulations to Andrew Feldon of the Sanson coffee cart, winner of the Latte Art Championships at the National Coffee Festival.

Air New Zealand should give that man a job.

Coffee, but not as we know it

We flew on Air New Zealand yesterday, on the 7am flight from Wellington to Auckland. The inflight service is practically non-existent these days, but they do serve coffee and tea.

I have a well-developed coffee habit, and my day is not right until I have had a cup or two. I’m happy enough with plunger, especially if it’s freshly ground, but a pinch, brewed will do. In some cafes, given the age of the equipment, and the apparent skill of the staff, brewed is a better bet than espresso. At least it isn’t pretending to be something that it isn’t.

I needed my cup of coffee to start the day. But, Air New Zealand served INSTANT coffee hot brown coloured stuff. Or if it wasn’t instant, then it was the worst brewed abomination I had ever tasted.

Don’t drink the not-coffee on Air New Zealand.