Archive for espresso

Old Grind Gag

Posted in abnormal, Coffee, Comedy, music, rant, roasting, Sociology with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2008 by howsoonis08

I just thought I’d share a really shitty situation that I found myself in this morning. As many of you who read this know, it’s essay season… I’ve been bombarded, and now am overjoyed to say that I have ONE left! Anyway, continuing with my story…

I stayed up all last night finishing up an essay that was to be handed in at 4:00pm today. The writing was going great…I really enjoy writing essays of sociological theory class…. however, I ran out of coffee beans around 4:00am. I guess I could have started drinking tea… but I decided to instead try to make a shot of espresso from the coffee grinds that don’t quite make it into the portafiliter. I didn’t know how long they had been there for, and knew that it would most likely taste like shit because of the oxidation that would occur quickly after the grinding was done, but I decided to go through with it. This is a bad idea…

Don’t try this… it was disgusting… it literally made me gag. Needless to say, I battled the night with the help of tea instead of coffee.

So I guess…. don’t make shitty espresso from really old grinds… and …. don’t be a jackass and do something you know you shouldn’t…. just drink tea instead.

All in all It’s just another _ _ _ in the wall?

Posted in Coffee, connoisseur, Indie rock, music, video with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2008 by howsoonis08

Sometimes having an espresso machine and grinder on your counter at all times is a big pain in the ass. I’ve often wondered where else I could put my espresso machine, which would enable me more counter space for my cooking endeavors, but it’s hard to say goodbye to the big goof.

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Well… I’ve kind of found a solution… This is an espresso machine that is built into your wall… good idea…. too bad it makes shitty coffee. I guess personally haven’t tried the shots it produces, but every review I’ve seen has leaned to a not-so-good review. None the less, it’s a really interesting concept, and a design that I think will be worked on more and more in the future for home espresso users. As for this espresso machine… I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for.

However, this machine built into a wall got me thinking about something….Pink Floyd!! The good psychedelic Floyd! So for this post, I’m going to put up some neat videos of Pink Floyd at their finest; Syd Barrett and all!

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This also brings to mind last October when I saw the Sadies play in Calgary.It wasn’t the first time, and definitely won’t be my last! What a phenomenal show! They played for 2 hours, and played a double encore! This band is Toronto-based, and creates a distinct sound which draws on traditional country, surf rock, and garage rock as influences. If you like psychedelic and/or country-alternative, check this band out, they’re a fantastic listen! The show was for their ‘New Seasons’ tour, so they cranked out nearly all of their new songs, and blasted through random jewels from their other albums. What made me remember this show was that at the end of their second encore, they tuned to the key of ‘Barrett’ and played a tribute to a fallen hero. We were already floored by their performance, and to top it all off with a Syd Barrett tribute was amazing! So to end the post, I’m going to throw in a video made by east coast rock legend Rick White which features one of the new tracks off of The Sadies new album. Enjoy…or Die…

That no good, Blondie haired, Angel Eyed, Son of a Tuco!

Posted in cinematography, Coffee, composer, connoisseur, Film, music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2008 by howsoonis08

Spaghetti Western films tore into the film scene around the middle of the swinging sixties. What was significant to this genre of western film was that it was low budged, violent, and usually had a minimalist cinematography style. The term Spaghetti was introduced because they were produced by Italian studios, and usually filmed in Italy as well.

Although the history is highly interesting, the matter of concern with this post has to due to the composer who did the musical score for (in my opinion) the greatest spaghetti western film ever; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). In fact, he did the musical scores for all of the ‘Man with No Name’ films. The composer is the great Ennio Morricone.

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Below I’ve posted three videos. The first one up for your viewing pleasure is the opening titles for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly which features the theme song for the movie. The second film clip is the graveyard seen which features the composition entitles “The Ecstasy of Gold.” And finally, the third clip is of the final duel scene from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly which features some of the finest displays of cinematography I have ever witnessed; so simple, yet so affective. Please indulge!

What I wanted to tie this into was ordering European coffee and enjoying it! Specifically I wanted to look at ordering coffee in an Italian coffee bar (see the ties? Spaghetti westerns to Italian coffee? It’s a meal in itself!), and what I guess you could call…etiquette. First thing you will want to keep in mind is that ordering a drink at the bar, and ordering it to sit and enjoy, has two different prices. Because most of the tourists sit down and drink their coffee, they can exploit this (in a way) and charge more to use the seating capabilities.

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If you were wanting to order an espresso in Italy, all you would have to do is simply ask for a “caffe,” however, you must remember to drink it quickly. Espresso is made to be enjoyed quickly, not a casual sip and bullshit drink. Also, any coffee after breakfast or 11am should not contain milk. You’ll be a laughing stock if you order a cappuccino after 11am. This is really too bad… because I really enjoy a good cappuccino… and I guess I hate to admit it?? In a later post I will go over proper drink terminology. Cappuccinos from most places in our little city are not cappuccinos at all…

Sometimes Less is More – Dynamical music and coffee

Posted in Coffee, connoisseur, music, percussion, rant, unique with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2008 by howsoonis08

Just recently I acquired the opportunity to take part in breaking in a new espresso machine! The parents of one of my friends decided to indulge their inner-kid and buy themselves a late Christmas present. Knowing that I would be very interested, my friend invited me over for the virgin voyage of the machine. What really interested me in this instance was that fact that the machine was a super automatic espresso machine; something I had never seen in action, nor tasted the coffee it produced.

Because this machine was new to them, I wanted to make sure that they had good beans to test the machine. They took my advice and chose to go with Cupper’s Espresso Zilla espresso blend (this is an amazing coffee shop in Lethbridge, and we are very privileged to have the opportunity to access such high quality coffee and high quality knowledge from owner and staff. Please visit their site!), what this also provided me was a good background for how the coffee should taste. I’ve been running Cupper’s coffee for a long time, experimented with different blends, done tastings with the owners, so I know how the coffee should turn out.

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When the time came down to tasting the coffee (something I will be mentioning in a later post), the shot just was not up to par… We did a number of runs with the machine (we had to! they just got it! it’s exciting!), adjusted the grind settings, and we got it to produce a reallly good shot, but still fell short. The shot was bitter, and a bit weak… I thought that it was due to a build up of excess coffee left in the machine between the shots (I’ve read about things like that happening before).

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that sometimes less is more. Having the ability to change little variables such as the tamp pressure, amount of coffee in the portafilter, warming the system, and really nailing down the grind for the roast can add such a difference in the espresso shot. Of course, you must take into consideration that economically the super automatic is fantastic! and produces a very substantial shot of espresso! This is perfect for many individuals, but for the purpose of linking this to music, I’m going to maintain my point by elaborating on the fact that less is more.

Being a percussionist, and constantly listening and applauding/criticizing others work, a pretty hard thing to not notice is the fact that a lot of the time…less is definitely more. A local jazz musician, and a very good friend, would always emphasis the dynamics of music and notion of musical time by saying “it’s not always the notes themselves that count, but the spaces in between the notes that you have to pay attention to.” I’ve always took this to heart, and after you take the time to consider it, and reeaaally start to pay attention to it, it’s a very powerful idea. I’ve listened to many drum solo’s, and I find myself noticing more and more that the ones that I really enjoy, ones that make you smile, are the ones where the drummer has total control over every dynamic point during the solo. I’ll post some good examples, and I hope you’ll enjoy them!

This guys got the best facial expressions ever!

So ‘in the pocket’ it’s not even funny!

Dave Weckl looks like a dink. But fabulous dynamics!