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PSY foam-art


Redditor DivineBaboon posted an unattributed photo of an espresso drink with a beautiful PSY (of Gangnam Style fame) portrait in the foam.

My friend ordered a cappuccino and this is what he got.. (i.imgur.com)

Mug appears to be stuck in table

Treasuremmm The Treasure Mug is a delightful illusion cup available directly from Japan via Plywood or Amazon JP. (via Spoon & Tamago)

English seaside town with no chain coffee shops fights off Costa Coffee incursion

The Guardian's John Harris looks at the battle taking place in the Devon town of Totnes, a kind of counterculture/hippie haven on the "English Riviera," where residents are furious at the plan to open an outlet of the Costa Coffee chain. Harris paints a picture of Totnes as the kind of place that would be pretty nice to live in: they issue their own currency that only works with local businesses, have a record store that puts the best music shops in Manhattan to shame, and have dozens of nice coffee shops where skilled baristas ply their trade -- like Portland, OR crossed with an English seaside village.

For Harris (and the Totnes residents with whom he speaks), the fight to keep Costa out of town is a microcosm for the fight against global capitalism, and the triumph of profits and shareholder value over local community and mutual aid.

Totnes's local economy looks to be in reasonable health, which is surely down to the fact that it is about as far from being what we now call a "clone town" as could be imagined. The local record shop, Drift, is mind-bogglingly great: the kind of place that you'd think was amazing if you found it in New York. The quality and diversity of restaurants is amazing. Most pertinently, the town has 42 independently run outlets that serve coffee, and – so far – not a single branch of any of the big caffeine-selling multiples.

Now, though, Costa – whose most visible slogan remains "Saving the world from mediocre coffee" – is on its way, as part of programme of expansion that will look either worryingly aggressive or admirably ambitious, depending on your point of view. Certainly, it seems to be bucking the prevailing trend of our flatlining economy, opening scores of new outlets while independent coffee shops are truly feeling the pinch.

A fully owned subsidiary of the food and hospitality conglomerate Whitbread, it currently operates 1,400 British outlets, and recently announced plans for 350 more. Thanks also to a snowballing presence in petrol stations, pubs and motorway services, its logo is becoming inescapable, which is exactly the point: the chief executive, Andy Harrison, has talked about increasing the number of branches to 2,000, and thus making them ubiquitous. "People really don't want to walk very far for a coffee," he has said. "We can have them a couple of hundred yards apart on a really busy high street, then another at a retail park and another at the station."

Totnes: the town that declared war on global capitalism

Coffee ad from the 1650s


This handbill -- which can be seen in the British Museum -- dates back to the 1650s, and was produced by the first coffee shop in London, in St. Michael's Alley, Cornhill.

It is a simple innocent thing, composed into a drink, by being dryed in an Oven, and ground to Powder, and boiled up with Spring water, and about half a pint of it to be drunk, fasting an hour before and not Eating an hour after, and to be taken as hot as possibly can be endured; the which will never fetch the skin off the mouth, or raise any Blisters, by reason of that Heat.

The Turks drink at meals and other times, is usually Water, and their Dyet consists much of Fruit, the Crudities whereof are very much corrected by this Drink.

The quality of this Drink is cold and Dry; and though it be a Dryer, yet it neither heats, nor inflames more than hot Posset.

It forcloseth the Orifice of the Stomack, and fortifies the heat with- [missing text] its very good to help digestion, and therefore of great use to be [missing text] bout 3 or 4 a Clock afternoon, as well as in the morning.

The Vertue of the COFFEE Drink.

3D printed rocket-ship espresso cup


Shapeways contributor Isohedral came up with this awesome design for a two ounce stubby rocketship/espresso cup, which is available as a 3D print in ceramic:

Rocket Espresso Cup 3D Printed in Ceramics All Systems Are Go!!!!

How to make Vietnamese coffee (video)


[Video Link] My friend Andrea James sent me this video. She said, " I thought it was nicely shot, and I like the music!" I agree. The song is called "Ding Ding Dong," and it is by Waipod Phetsuphan (Thailad). It's on a compilation album called "The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam from Thailand 1964 -1975."

Coffee associated with the opposite of death, according to new scientific study

"Sexy girl in coffee beans," by Marcel Jancovic, via Shutterstock.


A large prospective study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that "coffee consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality."

In other words, data showed that there is a connection between drinking coffee and not necessarily dying. Sort of.

"Whether this was a causal or associational finding cannot be determined from our data," the summary concludes.

Boing Boing science editor Maggie Koerth-Baker is on the road today, so I can't enlist her science-fu in interpreting the details of this study. But I think what they're trying to tell us is that while drinking coffee does not necessarily cause you to live longer, it is associated with the opposite of dying sooner. I'm going to have a cup while you all argue it out in the comments.

Thermos-Nissan 61-oz Insulated Bottle

Three times a week I get up early to go lift weights with a colleague. One of the main motivations for getting out of bed is the knowledge that I'll have ample coffee throughout the day to keep me going post-workout. In the past I've carried the previously reviewed Contigo (which is still the best travel cup around) but found it held too little, especially if I share coffee with my work out partner. I've also used my fiancee's grandfather's old Thermos built around an insulated glass bottle which, while larger, is too fragile for daily use that involves rolling around in the trunk of my car. I realized I needed a replacement.

Read the rest

Barista plunges three Aeropresses at once

Johanna writes, "Carlos Aguirre, a trainer at Academia Barista Pro, stunned audiences worldwide when he pushed not 1, not 2 but 3 aeropresses at the same time for his signature drink during National Salvadoran Barista Competition."

That's a lot of aeropressin'. The key scene starts at 20:41.

SUBCAMPEON de Baristas en El Salvador GANA Mejor Espresso del País - Entrenador Carlos Aguirre (Thanks, Johanna!) h

Ambiguously ironic superfluous grocer's apo'strophe


Alice spotted this coffee cart from the (above average) London coffee chain Apostrophe, which includes a superfluous apostrophe. It's either ironic or too clever by far.

Oh the irony.

Japan's high-detail coffee, booze, food, and fashion simulacra

Writing in the WSJ, Tom Downey describes what he perceives as a new shift in the way that Japanese food, coffee, cocktails and fashion relates to the outside world; according to Downey, the ideal now combines the much-vaunted Japanese attention to detail and precise copying with a kind of remaking that produces a "replica" Brooklyn coffee that's better than the best coffee in Brooklyn, a "replica" vintage pair of jeans that look more vintage than the actual item, and so on. It's Baudrilliard's simulacra, with more denim and espresso.

"It's not so difficult to make something that's 100 percent the same as the original," he says. He holds up a heavy, metal zipper, American-made new old stock. "I've got 500,000 of these. Enough for the next 40 years.

"But the key isn't just getting the details right—it's knowing when to change things," Tsujimoto continues. "My style has to be an improvement: With 1 percent more here, 2 percent less there, we create something that looks better. You have to change the fit because all these classic garments were designed with extra room to carry tools or weapons."

He takes a deerskin-lined flight jacket off the rack and points out the colorful American military design stitched onto the back. He passes me what appears to be a standard-issue '50s-style gray cotton sweatshirt until I actually touch the thing. The heft of the loop-wheeled cotton makes it the thickest, heaviest sweatshirt I've ever felt.

Made Better in Japan (via Kottke)

(Image: downsized crop from a photograph by Tung Walsh)

Cat-butt coffee: A critical review


Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. At my local specialty coffee bean store, it sells for $420 per pound—or $10 for a 10 oz.

Read the rest

HOWTO make a home-made pocket-sized espresso machine with tiny alcohol stove


Instructables user Urant decided to create a pocket-sized espresso machine that could be built using simple tools and parts from a local home-improvement store. He came up with a tiny, soldered contraption with its own tinsy winsy alcohol stove that uses a filed-down syringe to deliver a very slow drip of fuel for a boil that goes long enough to extract a single shot. It's a great design.

Design constraints are some of the most important points of any product design; they tell us what the limits are. The tighter the constraints, the more limited the design, and we have to be more creative to be able to meet them.

On this project, I set the following ones.
1- The product had to fit in the pocket of my jeans.
2- The product had to be made out with common, cheap and easily obtainable materials from any home improvement store or corner hardware store.
3- The product had to be made using simple tools that most makers would probably already have, or could easily borrow or buy cheaply.
4- The product had to be self-contained.
5- The budget was maximum 30 dollars.

Pocket size Espresso Machine with integrated alcohol stove. (via Make)

HOWTO attain radical hotel-room coffee independence

I travel a lot — book tours, sf conventions, paid lectures, activist visits — and I am no stranger to jet-lag (I even wrote a novel about it).

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Great old letters: 19th-c. Smithsonian Institution Secty. on "superior excellence" of a good cup of coffee

Samuel P. Langley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Photograph by R. H. Lord.

Boing Boing pal Isabel Lara of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum sends along a fantastic little gem from the museum's Archives Division, unearthed during their ongoing epic move to the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Within their collection of the aeronautical papers of Samuel Pierpont Langley (1834-1906), the third Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, a letter of note to coffee lovers.

This intellectually curious man, whose interests ranged from "astronomy, astrophysics, aeronautics, and bird flight, mathematics, and the reckoning of standard time," was also really into "observing and describing all sorts of processes — and then suggesting improvements."

One of those processes, which he describes in loving detail here, is the preparation of of a really good cup of coffee at the Posthof café in the spa town of Carlsbad in Bohemia, then part of Austria-Hungary (now Karolvy Vary in the Czech Republic). The letter is addressed to his niece Mary.

Dear Mary, I hope this will interest you.

Affectionately,
Your Uncle Samuel

The best coffee in Carlsbad is at the Posthof, and is as good as I know of anywhere. I have been looking into the kitchen this morning and seeing it prepared. The statement that figs or anything of the kind are employed is legendary. There is absolutely nothing but coffee, and it owes its superior excellence to the freshness and the pains taken in its making.

1. The coffee in the berry.

There are four kinds of coffee bean employed: the Menado, Ceylon, Java and Preanger. I do not know the English equivalents for the first and last. They are of very different sizes indeed, and this difference in size of the berry must make it difficult to burn them equally.

2. Roasting.

The roasting is done in a rotary wire mesh over a slow fire. The coffee is renewed three times daily. Each time 10 to 20 pounds of coffee is roasted, a girl turning the handle, and the process occupying in each case nearly an hour. In spite of this care, when the beans come out some of them are very dark and these are picked out.

Read the rest here.