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Posts from the ‘Coffee & Beer’ Category

Reluctant Compromise

Much like a sommelier enjoys a fine glass of wine, I very much enjoy a nice coffee.  To be specific, I find there is little I savor more than a well-pulled extraction of espresso.  I love it actually.

What I believe to be connoisseur-like affection for coffee, many of my friends and family tell me is simple snobbery.

Whatever.

My incessant whining for decent coffee reached climax a few years ago.  So much so, that my beloved wife bought me a fabulous home set-up as a birthday gift.  I’m still not sure if she was looking to further my addiction, or simple wanted me to stop complaining.  No matter, the gift was perfect.

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My previous espresso set-up

Like any devoted barista, I learned to appreciate the variables involved in pulling a quality shot:

  • freshly roasted espresso beans
  • good water and specific control to brew temperature
  • meticulous attention to the grind
  • mastering a manual tamp of the port-filter

Over time, I got good at this process.  Really good.  In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say my shots were better than the pulls you’d find at most coffee houses.

Yes, there is no denying I was a full-fledged snob.

You’ll appreciate then, my concern moving into the Airstream.  The lack of counter-space posing a huge dilemma for me — attempt to justify keeping the espresso machinery despite our very limited counter-space, or acquiesce to the cruel reality of surrendering my beloved equipment to the storage locker.

I caved.  Doing so was painful, but necessary.

Consequently, over the past few months I’ve been drinking mostly coffee, brewed via a press pot.  While this simple brew method is stellar, I continue to find myself yearning for a morning espresso … a long-standing, two-sip ritual.

Yesterday, in what can only be described as an impulse purchase, I bought myself a Nespresso Pixi, something many of my fellow tiny house peers describe as being a ‘must have’ espresso maker.  Skeptical, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked at these machines, only to walk away – the connoisseur snob in me unconvinced such a tiny, super-automatic device would meet my expectations.

Wandering throughout a Williams-Sonoma in search of a chocolate bar, I unexpectedly found myself with the opportunity to sample what so many others describe as great coffee.  Obviously, I had no choice but to accept the offer and take the sample.

With a bit of egg on my face, I must confess that the shot was pretty good.  Not great, but certainly exceeding my expectations, and absolutely better than the swill most chain coffee shops will recklessly refer to as espresso.

It seems I’ve found a good compromise given the circumstances.  The Pixie consumes very little of our precious counter-space and provides a decent pull.  Most certainly, I’d prefer my previous set-up, but I simply don’t have the space required.

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Nespresso offers a huge variety of coffee selections and I’ll need to sample many before I land upon any preference.  I’m a single origin guy, and as most of the options are — gasp — blends (how blasphemous), I suspect I’ll quickly find something fit for purpose.

And so it is, I will go forth doing my best to make the most of my new Pixie.

Pleasant Suprise

I am a big fan of Portland, Oregon. One reason is the coffee culture and the ease of finding exceptional coffee. One of my favorites is Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find this bag of beans awaiting my arrival at work today. A colleague of mine was in Portland last week and brought them back for me.

I must be talking about coffee more often than I realize.

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Exploring Ashland

Once again Kelly and I were in no rush to get ourselves ready today – it is a holiday after all.  Lilly was the first to get started this morning and was anxious to get outside.  After a quick walk we did a bit of laundry while we ate breakfast.

We have only booked two nights at our current location and Kelly suggested that we move to a state park just down the road.  After a bit of reconnaissance to check out the state park, we made our way into downtown.  As mentioned yesterday, I was keen to get myself some decent coffee – especially a nice shot of espresso.  Thank goodness Noble Coffee Roasters was open today.

Kelly and I each had a drink (actually, I had two) and pastry.  Everything was delicious.

Once we finished fooling around with coffee, it was time to venture into the foothills surrounding Ashland.  There are a plethora of trails to choose from in the area and we opted for something relatively close and with plenty of shade.  The hike was nothing too strenuous, but it’s always nice to walk trails and in this case, Lilly decided this particular hike was all about exploring the adjoining stream.

Sometimes Lilly has no interest in water, sometimes she does.  Today she wanted play in the water.

After a few hours in the trails, it was time for a late lunch.  One of our preferred eateries is Martolli’s, a downtown pizzeria.  Stopping here was a no brainer.

Kelly and I each had one slice and also shared a salad.  The food is really tasty, but today our salad was made incorrectly (the dressing was not on the side – I hate that), but all in all, good eating as is usually the case here.

The weather is great today which afforded us ample opportunity to enjoy ourselves.  Once we finished lunch, Kelly and I wandered around town a bit more before heading home.

As you can see below, Lilly was also ready for a little late afternoon relaxation.