Our coffee maker has decided to not make coffee

Actually, the element has crapped out. It happened a while ago. I put the grounds and water in it, hit the switch, and it wasn’t doing anything nearly thirty minutes later. We had a french press, so I decided to worry about it later and default onto our other alternative.

Notice that I said “had” in referring to the french press. Doing dishes the other morning, it fell out of the strainer where I had put it to dry. I heard it hit the counter when I turned away. It was nice to pretend that I didn’t hear it crack, but it was neatly held together in three various pieces by the metal bindings around it.

This morning, I got a screw driver and pulled apart the coffee maker to see what I could find out. Aside from being amazed at how very little goes into the technology of our particular maker, some burnt spots on the wiring under the element was enough to alert me to potential problems. Still, I tried it out to see if it worked anyway. Sure enough, the element didn’t even get lukewarm. I could try to replace the part, but it’s much easier to just say, “it broke!”

Rebecca took the ghetto engineering up a notch after that. Boiled water, a strainer, and a coffee filter stuffed inside of that, we had some tediously made, delicious coffee. It worked fairly well, but the waiting is a little painful.

A second attempt proved a little better. Take away the paper filter from before and the process was much quicker. There was a little bit of grit, but not too bad. A second straining proved to make it just right in terms of consistency.

We just have to replace either of the two broken appliances, but this works when in a pinch. I Googled various other possibilities, but Rebecca took to the experiment undaunted. We could just have done tea instead, but that would have been boring.

And the U.S. won the bronze

Very Canadian
I like to add that tidbit about the U.S. winning the bronze medal round against Sweden this morning because neither of their countries seem to care(World Junior Ice Hockey Championships[wiki]). There was probably a very slim chance of catching the game in the states, and there wasn’t much of a crowd supporting team Sweden in their home country. Lack of U.S. coverage and support is one thing, but Sweden? Come on. The core of the Canucks is made of guys from there.

Watching the young guys play is amazing. Truly the future of hockey to come. You just know that with the new rules in the NHL and the way these guys play in this tournament, the game will just keep getting faster and faster.

The other thing is, there is this new dynasty of hockey brothers in the game. I don’t think there are anymore Staals left, and little Tom Pyatt certainly shows some promise. I can’t be too sure about the boys from the states, but only three of those players don’t have pro statuses with the NHL listed yet. Still, not too many people there care.

Canada 4, Russia 2. Good game. I was hoping for a battle, and Russia fought hard to come back. Just wasn’t enough gas left in the tank to combat Canada’s onslaught. Combine this with Tim Ho coffee in my hand at 10:30 in the morning. Doesn’t get much more north of the 49th than that.

Hello Oscar

OscarThis is Oscar. He’s a yucca[wiki] plant, and the closest thing we have to a pet. Our building frowns upon anything other than bipeds of the human variety. He and I hang out a lot during the day. I wish I could say that I talk to him and stuff, but that’s simply not true. Over the past few months, his health kind of went downhill.

I’ve been feeding him coffee grounds lately, and he seems to really like it. Either the grounds are good for his root system or else he’s become addicted to caffeine. I’m hardly a botanist, but you can’t argue with the results. Three new leaves all started sprouting around the same time that we made the change. Being the middle of winter in Vancouver, that’s pretty good for a plant that thrives in arid climates.

What I do know is that as a kid, my dad always had me put coffee grounds out in the lawn to feed the worms. Then we’d go out at night, harvest a bunch, and take them fishing with us. It would be creepy is we suddenly had huge earth worms growing in Oscar’s pot.

Starbucks is going to podcast

I kind of understand the angle they are going for, but for the love of god, why?

Regardless of whether you regard Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX)as an icon of everything good in the corporate world or a harbringer of the apocolaypse, we all have to agree that the coffee company is quite innovative. It comes as no surprise, then, that Starbucks is set to launch a podcast series.

The coffee retailer is rolling out a new “Coffee Conversations” program where the company will provide downloadbable audio on its web site. Starbucks said that the podcasts will cover coffee topics, including home-brewing, specialty coffee, and pairing coffee with foods. [bizpodcasting]

I can’t even joke to say that I’m excited for this. Yes, the idea is innovative. More businesses should consider doing ventures like this to help promote themselves and/or their product.

On the other hand, “coffee topics” by the largest, coffee corporation in the world is another thing. They’ll be able to tell you the best thing you can buy from the display case full of pastries that go along with their menu of drinks. That’s called a “target-cast”; a podcast that is intended to sell you a product.

You can’t throw a brick in downtown Vancouver without hitting a Starbucks. Now you can listen to the podcast while you do it.

What Is It About TimHo Coffee?

I’m on a mission to figure something out.  What makes Tim Horton’s coffee so good?  Sure, it’s all a matter of personal preference, but I’ve found that it’s some of the better coffee that you can get compared to the other, bigger chain alternatives.

Is it the beans?  The way they brew it?  Something they put in it?  I don’t add anything to the coffee I drink, so I know it’s not about the cream or sugar either.

I’m looking to experiment in the near future.  I’ll bring some of their coffee home and brew it a couple different ways.  First I’ll try the straight up coffee pot.  The other thing I’ll try is via french press as well.  I have to find out if it’s something they do or just the coffee being good coffee.


Coffee Bean MachineWe finally made it through the award winning coffee from the Clubside Breakfast Time folks this week. When you’re out, you need more.

We wandered over to Capers on Robson St. last night, thinking that we’d go for more organic stuff because we really loved the one pound of Olympia Coffee Roasting Co. beans, fair trade and organic goodness. Although, the beans were a slight issue, but I found that a blender works for grinding them. I also found that I might have ruined the blender.

Anyway, we hunted down the coffee section and found that they pretty much had only whole bean coffee, aside from one brand that we couldn’t tell much about other than it was just coffee. Dark, medium, or what? These things matter.

Finally, after a half hour of looking at various, organic brands and almost giving up to head to the grocery store to buy already ground coffee, we watched some random woman go throught the process of grinding beans with the machine in the store. After learning what we could through the corners of our eyes, we gave it a shot.

Capers Coffee GrinderLow and behold, it freaking worked! For so long I have feared making a complete idiot of myself using the in store coffee grinder, worrying that I would send beans everywhere or a big pile of grounds on the floor. That’s not to say that we didn’t have some issues, but once we actually got the machine to give us our beans, the grinding was pretty easy after that.

Vancouverites love their coffee. I’m slowly becoming one of them, but it all works out in the end. I’m getting more and more Vancouverites to love margaritas. Poncho’s ain’t half bad either.

Thank You, Clubside Breakfast Time!

Coffee Award!Much apologies to Cosmo for not letting him know sooner, but the humega special award that I won from the Clubside Breakfast Time Podcast came to us about a week ago. Very sweet!

Thanks so much, guys!

Now I wonder if Bill can find me something I can ghetto together to grind these coffee beans down. Maybe a computer hard drive cobbled together with a rock tumbler or… something.

there ain’t no control of things you take for granted

UBC Museum of AntropologyWe’ve been out of coffee for the past couple of days, and I felt it something fierce. In the midst of the budgeting that we’re doing these days, we take care to not over spend and do our grocery shopping in moderation. Add to the fact that the Clubside Breakfast Time Podcast is sending us a pound of dark roast coffee that I won soon, it doesn’t make too much sense to go out and buy some. Those guys down in Olympia, WA are pretty alright to me. All it took for me to win was to email them within two days after they published one of their episodes. Pretty freaking cool, eh?

Still, being out of coffee in the past few days, it hit me hard. I started to get a headache and attributed that to a lack of water intake from all the running that I do through the week. Then I felt tired and sluggish. It wasn’t until we were sitting on the couch two nights ago, waiting till Laura called to meet her from some Hon’s goodness, that it hit me. Six o’clock and I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. Took a little nap and felt better, but it makes me feel bad that such a craving can leave me so dependent on something so tasty.

Had to run a few errands this morning in preparation for the wedding and picked up a coffee from Blenz with Rebecca. Combine that with a couple of cookies this morning and I totally have the shakes. I’m on overload now.