Public Safety Announcement: Don’t put fireworks in your grinder

Here at we’re big on repurposing and hacking bits and pieces in your house. For many years I roasted my coffee in a breadmaker with a heatgun. But don’t even think about using your grinder to mix up fireworks. That’s a bad idea.

Why am I telling you this? It doesn’t seem like the kind of mistake many people would make. Well, somebody in Colorado made this very mistake.

“A Colorado teen is recovering from serious burns he suffered when the fireworks he was attempting to mix in a coffee grinder exploded.
Police say the incident happened Monday when 19-year-old Sean Michael Ogden of Durango was trying to break down fireworks he had purchased so he could turn them into larger fireworks. The blast shook the house of a fire inspector who lives about a quarter-mile away.
Fire marshal Tom Kaufman told The Durango Herald that the friction from the electric grinder could have ignited the mixture.”

So there you go. Just don’t do it. You’ve been warned.

Got game: fun with coffee beans

The humble coffee bean. Back when I was a boy we had to play with rocks. If we were lucky.

BoingBoing suggests a series of games to play with any beans you’ve got lying around the place.

“1. Nim. (We didn’t invent this one.) To play Nim, you arrange coffee beans (or other small counters) into piles. On your turn, you can take as many beans as you wish from any one pile. The object is to take the last bean from the table. We played lots of variations of this basic game.

2. Guess the Total. Each player puts between zero and four beans in his/her hand. Then each player guesses the total number of beans being held by all the players. Whoever is closest wins.

3. Tower of Beans (as seen above). Everyone starts with three beans. On “go” everyone tries to be the first to stack all three beans. Variation: who can make the highest stack of beans? (We couldn’t make a stack higher than three.)”

They don’t sound that fun. I like the idea of a game I just thought up. Called coffee bean assassin. It’s very similar to the assassin game you play using socks, but you throw beans at people instead. But you use a peashooter. Or beanshooter.

Have you got a game to play with coffee beans? I have a batch of burnt beans I can try it out with.

Coffee Video Friday: Magical Crema

Please be warned, it was watching this that led me to upgrading my coffee equipment a few years back. I wanted Crema that looked like this.

A question of crema from James Hoffmann on Vimeo.

Crema is important, but not the be all and end all of coffee making. It is quite bitter. Try scooping some off the top of your next shot, but it also contributes so much to a well rounded cup.

Enlightenment Drinking: The geo-historio-political-economic significance of coffee

Coffee. It makes the world go around. Not literally, but probably metaphorically. Some interesting tidbits in these videos.

The video above claims that the Enlightenment was fuelled by caffeine. Don’t believe it? But wait, there’s more…

Coffee Infographic: Caffeine at work

Nice little infographic from life in the office. My coffee in the office solution is an aeropress. It significantly cuts down on time spent preparing coffee at work, so it’s less of a cost for your employer. Which is socially responsible.

Getting your caffeine fix in the office
Produced by Consultant Services Group and Life In The Office Blog.

Coffee Infographic: 50 ways to drink your java

There are many ways to enjoy a coffee, and many ways to ruin good coffee by trying to enjoy it… while this infographic struggles with some basic english, it provides a bunch of new drink varieties for you to google.

 50 types of Italian coffee: espresso, cappuccino and many more
50 types of Italian coffee: espresso, cappuccino and many more by Charming Italy

Gold Coast Cafe Review: Barefoot Barista

It’s important, possibly essential, when picking a coastal holiday spot, to find somewhere with good coffee by the beach. Coffee makes holidays go around. Barefoot Barista in Palm Beach is one to add to the map. And if you’ve got some days booked on the sunny Gold Coast you could do worse than make it your “local.”

The decor is stunningly beachy, laid back, and comfortable. The staff are friendly. The baristas wear shoes (at least they were when we were there) and the crowds sitting around tables inside and out are a testimony to their ability on their beautiful blue La Marzocco Linea.

The latte art was photogenic. The coffee was typical Campos. Tasty. Tasty and well made. My double shot flat white had great texture and was the ideal temperature.

Their banana bread and bacon frittatas were just top drawer. A great start to the morning, and I’m told the white chocolate and raspberry muffins are just amazing.

Find them on Facebook.

Gold Coast Cafe Review: Blackboard Specialty Coffee

There are cafes that are hyped up for no apparent reason, and there are cafes that live up to the hype. Blackboard Specialty Coffee is a rare gem – it exceeds even the most hyped up expectations. Part of me didn’t believe some of the stuff being said about these guys on Twitter. I was prepared to be let down. But when a group of us rocked up on Friday afternoon, just before closing time, we were all left more than satisfied.

As it was late in the day, and we’d already been to a couple of cafes already, the four of us ordered piccolo lattes. And they were amazing. From the latte art to the cup. Succulent. Creamy. Delicious. And the best bit, this was a freshly delivered blend from Cup Specialty Coffee, who supply all their beans (well, just about all of them), and the barista behind the shiny Synesso told me he’d only been dialling it in for an hour. It’s possible the sweet and chocolaty blend of Brazilian and Colombian beans was going to get better over time.

My only regret was that we didn’t get there in time to sample the previous blend – a ripper featuring the coffee that Australian Barista Champion Matt Perger took to the World Barista Championships (you can watch his routine, which featured the wonders of this bean pretty heavily, here), a Tanzanian bean that is proving pretty elusive.

Using quality beans is the mark of a quality cafe, and these guys were quality. Well worth a stop if you’re in the Varsity Lakes district. It almost had me enrolling in some sort of degree at Bond University.

The coffees were so good that we pretty much unanimously went for a second round.

These guys are serious about coffee, and they’re seriously good. Worth a trip from Brisbane. The food is meant to be pretty good too.

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