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Improvised espresso portafilter handle


The handle on Superstaar's portafilter cracked, and he couldn't get a replacement: "Luckily, my son keeps a good collection of sticks. Sawed one off, drilled a hole, stuck in the portacafe, fixed the crack with tiewraps, et voila. Works better than the original, and is insanely stylish."

Form Follows Function (via Boing Boing Flickr Pool)

Coffee robot!


Behold, the magnificent coffeebot! Sounds like this was a timer-percolator with a thermos bottle or a hotplate, but man, what an illustration!

HOWTO cold-brew coffee, in six seconds

Well, the brewing takes a lot longer, but that's some admirably compact instructional video right there. They skip the filtering step, which can be messy. You can do it one cup at a time in an Aeropress, run it through a paper filter in a pour-over or a sieve, or try cheesecloth.

#howto do #coldbrew

I Love New York people censor I Coffee Cup New York logo, want to send them a bill

Empire State Development, the New York State agency devoted to promoting New York businesses, threatened the (extremely excellent) Everyman Espresso shop with a lawsuit because they used an "I [Coffee Cup] New York" logo (the logo appears on the knuckles of Sam Penix, who co-owns Everyman). After Everyman took the sign down, Empire State Development's lawyers demanded "an accounting of all gross revenues generated during the period when the I ♥ NY® Trademark was used" so that they could figure out how big a bill to send to a small New York business for using it.

“Basically, it’s extortion,” he said. “It’s also ironic because we are being threatened by the entity that has vowed to grow our New York business.”

The mission of Empire State Development, the department’s parent agency, is indeed “to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies.” Empire State Development is also home to the state tourism department, which started an effort last year to revive and reinvent its “I ♥ NY” campaign.

On Monday, Everyman slapped a “Censored” sign over the logo on the door of its second shop, on West Broadway in SoHo, which opened last summer. Everyman’s principals are complying with Ms. Neumann’s request, albeit under protest. “We just think there’s no likelihood of confusion,” Mr. Terrana said.

A Cup Is at the Heart of a Trademark Dispute

3D latte foam art


Brian Ashcraft updates us on the astounding foam-art of Osaka barista Kazuki Yamamoto. Yamamoto has now mastered 3D foam, and is blowing my mind. Ashcraft has a series of posts documenting the journey of Yamamoto to undisputed novelty foam king of the Pacific Rim.

3D Coffee Art Reaches New, Dizzying Heights [Brian Ashcraft/Kotaku] (via Geekologie)

HOWTO spot a counterfeit Aeropress

Adam P sez, "I first found out about the Aeropress on Boing Boing and it has dramatically improved my quality of life as an expat here in China. When purchasing another one online for a colleague, I was well titillated by the shop's 28 point photo guide to the differences between a real and fake Aeropress."

官方金牌授权 美国原装爱乐压Aeropress 便携咖啡压滤器 包顺丰-淘宝网 (Thanks, Adam!)

Short video about latte portrait artist

NYC barista Mike Breach paints milk portraits in lattes.

HOWTO hotel-room upside-down cold-brew coffee


Kent sez, "Here's a travel hack that came to me all at once in a flash at SxSW this year: how to make cold-brewed coffee out of the horrible filter pack and inadequate equipment you often find in hotels in the USA."

Carefully unwrap (don't tear!) one or two of those premeasured filter-packs that came with your coffee service and stuff it gently into the cup. Ideally you want four parts water to one part coffee, but this is tough to estimate with filter packs.

Fill the remaining space in the cup all the way up with water. Tap water works; filtered or bottled is better. Try not to leave any air bubbles.

Don't worry if it seems it will result in a tiny amount of coffee; it will be concentrated, intensely flavored, and—assuming you're not stuck with decaf—highly caffeinated.

Kent's method is clever and upside-down-y, but I still like my method, which involves using your own coffee and a disposable plastic breast-milk bag.

Cold-Brewed Coffee In Your Hotel Room

"Most expensive" Starbucks order ever

Beau Chevassus resolved to order the most expensive coffee drink in the world, so he went to Starbucks and ordered a 48-shot Frappuccino with every single revolting additive, had it blended and drank at least one slurp of it. Total cost was $47.30. I believe that Mr Chevassus could probably have spent more had he visited a Starbucks in Dubai or Moscow, and possibly have availed himself of even more revolting adulterations courtesy of the local variations available in different regions (caviar?).

The Quadriginoctuple Frap. Previous record: $23.60. I used a 52 oz bucke--I mean mug. (it really is a legit mug). The drink had 48 shots. Filmed in Washington State, home of Starbucks.

($47.30) World's Most Expensive Starbucks Drink - "Quadriginoctuple Frap"

How much caffeine is too much caffeine?

To overdose on caffeine, you'd probably have to drink around 75 8oz cups of brewed coffee over the course of just a few hours. The effects vary from person to person, but that's a good estimate for a toxic dose. On the other hand, it doesn't take much caffeine at all to start experiencing negative side-effects, like heart palpitations or mood swings. A review of 200 studies suggests that a safe dose for an adult is only about 3 8oz cups. Maggie

How to Aeropress like a champ

The winning recipes from the 2012 Aeropress championships give me the fear. Clearly I have not been paying enough attention to this.

17 grams of coffee (light roasted fresh crop washed Sidamo from Heart roasters)

fine filter grind on a Mahlkönig Tanzania

paper filter rinsed with hot water

water from Maridalsvannet (brought in glass bottles from my flat in Oslo, Norway)

inverted brewing method

preheat aeropress for 10 sec

96 Celcius pour temp (gives ca 90 C actual brew temp)

260 grams of water

no stiring

50 sec steep time

20 sec press time – slow enough to get a clean brew but also some fines (yuck) and oils (yum)

stop pressing before air comes out

wait for the fines to sink and temp to cool, then pour but hold back the last part with the fines (taste sample for yourself!)

The cup: a clean brew with floral notes and taste of sweet lemons.

Aeropress remains my all time favorite cup of joe, and my go-to method when I'm on the road.

Recipes

Breville variable-temperature kettle


After I converted my parents from drinking filter coffee to making their morning brew with an Aeropress (something I do with missionary zeal wherever I go), the next step was to replace their antiquated electric kettle with something smarter. Living in the UK has accustomed me to the wonder of electric kettles (240V AC FTW!) but even in Canada, where my folks live, the weedy 110V mains can still produce a decent boil in reasonable time.

I shopped around a lot, and hit on the Breville BKE820XL Variable-Temperature 1.8-Liter Kettle, based both the online reviews and the feature-set, which allows you to set a specific temperature and tell the kettle to keep it there, much like the ubiquitous water-heaters you find in Asian hotels.

It's been more than a year, and the Breville is a winner. The lowest setting ("Green tea") heats water to perfect Aeropress temperature, and the thermostat makes the kettle perfect for making multiple cups (when I stay at my folks' place, my nickname is "coffee slave" and I often make three or four cups in a row). The additional temperatures are great for oatmeal, hot water bottles, black tea, etc.

I'm presently on a family holiday at a winter resort in Ontario with my folks and my brother and his family, and we brought the Breville, Aeropress, a small grinder, and some very nice beans (thank you, Sam James Coffee!) along, and as I marvelled anew at the kettle's usefulness and quiet design flourishes (in addition to being rather handsome, it has lots of grace-notes, like a pull-ring integrated into the AC plug to make it easy to unplug without stressing the cord), my mom said, "Why don't you blog it?"

So there you are. Happy, Mom?

Breville BKE820XL Variable-Temperature 1.8-Liter Kettle

Beautiful art from used glasses of Scotch (Plus some nifty fluid mechanics)

After you drink some Scotch, there's usually a thin film of the liquor left clinging to the bottom and sides of the glass. If you leave it out overnight, it'll dry and be a pain to wash off in the morning. But the same dried booze leavings can also be the beginnings of some really lovely art.

Ernie Button takes photos of the waving, swirling patterns left behind on Scotch glasses. This one — part of a series called Vanishing Spirits — is a picture of glass that once held a nice measure of Balvenie.

The idea for this project occurred while putting a used Scotch glass into the dishwasher. I noted a film on the bottom of a glass and when I inspected closer, I noted these fine, lacey lines filling the bottom. What I found through some experimentation is that these patterns and images that can be seen are created with the small amount of Single-Malt Scotch left in a glass after most of it has been consumed. It only takes a very thin layer of Scotch to create; the alcohol dries and leaves the sediment in various patterns. It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results. I have used different colored lights to add 'life' to the bottom of the glass, creating the illusion of landscape, terrestrial or extraterrestrial.

Interestingly, there was a recent article that was published in the Journal of Nature (I think) by Dr. Peter Yunker on the Suppression of the Coffee-Ring Effect by Shape-Dependent Capillary Interactions i.e. how are coffee rings made. I contacted him to see if he could see any obvious connection between the two liquids and the rings / patterns they create. He got back to me and unfortunately could not explain what was happening with the Scotch.

That paper Button mentioned was published in 2011. It explores the physics of particles suspended in liquid — not just coffee, but lots of things. Turns out, if you put a drop of liquid on a solid surface, it will tend to dry in a circular shape. As it dries, anything suspended in the liquid will migrate to the outside of the circle. If you put a drop of coffee on a table and leave it to dry, what you'll get is a round spot ringed by a narrow band of dark coffee gunk.

Why does the gunk form a ring, instead of evenly covering the whole circle? Yunker's research showed that it has to do with the shape of the particles that make up the gunk.

Read the rest

English town wins its war against chain coffee

Totnes, the English town with no chain coffee shops, has won its fight to keep Costa Coffee out of town. Although Costa was given approval to open its shop, they have voluntarily agreed not to: "Chris Rogers, managing director of Costa, said the company had 'recognised the strength of feeling' against national brands in the town." Cory

La Colombe Cold Brew: jet fuel in a beer bottle

My hosts at last night's signing at Philadelphia's Indy Hall co-working space did a lot to make me welcome, but most of all, they supplied me with rocket-fuel. The fuel took the form of a bottle of La Colombe Pure Black Cold Brew, a deceptively smooth, dark, chocolately cold-brew coffee that comes in a 12oz beer bottle. Deceptively smooth because this stuff is, as noted, pure rocket-fuel. They gave me a bottle for the road that I cracked in my hotel room this morning before heading to DC, and it practically had me plastered to the ceiling, despite its mellow flavor, and in a very good way.

I drink a lot of cold-brew on the road (I use the radical hotel-room coffee independence method to make cold-brew in breast-milk bags that I put in the minibar fridge overnight) but La Colombe was a cut above even the excellent stuff I make myself.

Pure Black Cold Brew