Work Wife

I remember at a previous job, there was this woman who always went on about her “work husband”. She was of the opinion that every person needed someone at work that acted as a stand in for their spouse. Someone with whom they had an extra emotional attachment.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is the new Nespresso machine is my work wife.

For only the price of a coffee…

I am just so tired of this argument.

These days, everything is Kickstarter or Indigogo, pledge drives or pleas for donations. “Oh, for only the price of a coffee, you could support this, or donate to that!”

Well first off, Mr. Rockefeller, I don’t know who you pal around with, but I don’t know anybody that drops $5 on coffee and doesn’t think twice about it. Maybe on a special occasion to splurge or something, but I guess if you have the kind of money where you spend $5 a day on coffee without blinking, maybe you should be donating some of it.

Coffee club at work cost $0.20 a cup. Twenty cents. So you’re not asking me to give up one cup of coffee, you’re asking me to give up 25 cups of coffee. Twenty five. You’re basically asking me to give up drinking coffee altogether.

That better be a hell of a magazine.

And that’s just your fundraiser. What about the 15 other people who want me to donate to them, “just the price of a coffee”? I can’t bankroll everybody, and I don’t want to. Donations are no way to run a business. Maybe there isn’t a market for some things. Maybe the market is already over-saturated. Maybe you’re just not that good at running a business. I don’t know.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t mind buying a product to support something that I want to support. I even donate on occasion. Just don’t make it seem so trivial. “Oh, just the price of a coffee! So simple!”

It’s not so simple. It’s money. If it were so simple, you wouldn’t be asking me for it.

The Moka Pot

Ohhhhh you guys. Oh man. I’ve got a long and sordid tale to tell you. It starts, as all good tales do, with coffee, and ends with a wondrous little invention called the moka pot.

I’ve been periodically documenting my decline into a raving coffee addict, and I believe I’ve just entered a new and exciting phase. Although I dearly love espresso, I have been perfectly happy with my regular old 4-cup, standard (drip) coffee pot (unless I can convince my sister-in-law to lug her espresso maker to our house whenever she visits). Sara, however, not so much. The thought of hot water traveling through all that BPA-laden plastic sends shivers down her spine. She has mostly tried to stick her her cold-brewed coffee, but making it is a hassle in the extreme, and often not really worth it. So occasionally she had to resort to regular drip coffee, BPA and all.

It occurred to me that there were many different ways to make coffee, each with their own pros and cons, but surely there had to be a method out there that didn’t have any plastic parts. After some research (yes, I will research anything, even coffee making) we finally settled on a French press. Simple, straight-forward, time honored, and very similar to making cold brewed coffee. Several members of my family are already French press converts.

Finally, one day at Target and we decided enough was enough, and it was time to bite the bullet. We took a look at their fine array of French presses, and there was not a single one that didn’t have plastic. Frustrated, we decided we would look online when we got home. However, down at the end of the row, was a little Bialetti moka pot, with the coffee part made entirely of aluminum.

I had come across the moka pot in my research, but seeing it there in the flesh at Target somehow piqued my interest. However, we didn’t buy it then and there (did I mention I’m a researcher?). Strangely enough, just a few days later Sara had an amazing cup of coffee at a friend’s house, who happened to own a moka pot. The rest, as they say, is history.

This thing is awesome. It’s an espresso maker, but without all the crazy parts or fancy techniques. It’s kind of like one of the old percolator pots, though the brewing mechanism is entirely different. You just put in the water, espresso, and set it on the stove. That’s it. Ours makes enough for Sara and I in just under 7 minutes.

The Internet tells me that it’s not *exactly* espresso. The mechanism is the same, but it produces coffee at a mere 1 bar of pressure, rather than the required 9 bar. I don’t doubt that someone can make better espresso, but for a simple, low-cost, hunk of aluminum, my mouth can’t taste the difference. This thing makes *amazing* coffee.

One hard thing to get used to with drinking espresso is that you’re drinking a lot smaller volume. Think quality, not quantity. It turns out that a lot of my coffee drinking was more just to have something to do. You must not drink the same volume of espresso as I used to drink of coffee (or else there will be a *lot* more blog posts around here!).

So, moka pot. Highly recommended. It will change your life.


Presented without comment:

halfsies 001

Confessions of a newly minted coffee addict

For most of my life, I never drank coffee. My dad drinks the stuff like it was water (or not, because he’d never drink that much water), but I always thought it was vaguely gross. Sure, I’d have a super-triple-caramel-mocchaccino-ice-cream-chocolate-chip-madness from the local coffee shop now and again, but that hardly counts, right?

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Back in 2009 we got a Keurig coffee maker, and that began the long downward slide. I liked the Keurig, but eventually the economies of volume won out: our tiny model only made one cup at a time, and it just wasn’t cutting it anymore, not to mention those little k-cups were getting expensive. Combine that with Sara’s discovery and embracing of cold brewed coffee (she has forsaken regular coffee completely), the little Keurig was sent packing after a few short years in favor of a little 4 cup pot.

Fast forward another couple of months, and I started drinking coffee at work. Just a cup at 2 or so, right when the day kind of hits that afternoon lull. It wasn’t just the caffeine though, “going to get coffee” is the social equivalent of hanging out at the water cooler, where I both find out what’s going on in the world and also get some of my best design ideas. Of course, they don’t have decaff at work or any of the nice coffee I buy myself at home, so it took some getting used to. I got used to it.

De-caffeinated coffee is more expensive than regular, so I started buying some caffeinated stuff for home and mixing it in with my decaff in the morning. I also started going on the regular “ten o’clock coffee run” for a little conversation in the morning, despite the fact that I just finished my travel mug on the way in to work. Did I mention my work coffee mug is a little bigger than a regular cup? I’m still using cream and sugar, but if I didn’t have it, I could now see myself drinking a cup anyway, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago.

Then, the other day I was at home and I just didn’t happen to make any coffee. That night I got a terrible caffeine-withdrawal headache, which caused me to re-examine my life. I’m an addict! How did I turn into a raving coffee lunatic? Didn’t I make an effort to remove caffeine from my life once before (wow, was that really 4 years ago)?

After the day of the headache, I vowed to cut back, maybe drink more tea instead (de-caffeinated tea of course). But I haven’t. Coffee is just too dang good! And short of bringing my own coffee to work (and who wants to be that guy?) I get what I get if I go down to the pot.

So when you see me smashing a store window to steal coffee money, just remember where I started from before I turned into a wretched coffee addict.