Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Mac, Atomica, Fitzroy

"I'm gonna get a chai. Want anything?"
"Nahh. Umm. Yeah."

Surprisingly, today was the first appearance in the blog for Atomica and Marios. I rank them pretty damn highly in my Favourite Coffee Locations in the Universe, but for some reason I haven't been to either this year until today. Atomica are badass. They roast their own beans on site, they play hardcore music all day, they have no problems with people who like bananas and bacon on pancakes, and they always have somebody behind the machine who knows what they're doing. You can feel the love when you have coffee at Atomica.

Wow, today's been a bit of a love fest hasn't it. You'd think I was getting paid to heap all this praise on Marios and Atomica. But they really are that good. If you're only in Melbourne for a day, I highly recommend getting on a 112 tram and go to Marios for breakfast, then walk around a bit, then hit Atomica.

End of month note: I had 92 coffees in March. Yikes.

Latte, Marios, Fitzroy

It's not all about appearances. This latte came out looking a bit weird (you know, that sudsy-looking foam on top) but, as is always with Marios, it tasted perfect. You can always depend on Marios for coffee that tastes like coffee, and breakfast all day and night.

Aeropress

I made a thermos full of aeropress coffee to take to the studio today. Steam wand, two scoops, fill up to number three. It was damn good. The thermos idea didn't really pay off though; I drank most of it in one sitting. But at least it was still hot.

Halftte, home

It's good to have the machine back on again. Nothing went wrong with it, I was just persisting with the Aeropress for the last few days.
Back on it now though.
Off to the studio.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Aeropress, home

One scoop, water from steam wand filled up to number one. Rad.
It sure ain't an espresso though. I may have to leave the Aeropress to long black-esque duties, or for when I have less than a minute in which to make coffee.

Aeropress, home

Power outage from 7AM until 2:30PM. This is Earth Hour made real. Thank christ my kettle is gas-powered.
One scoop of Jasper Colombian Excelsior, boiled the kettle until it sounded like it was going to boil soon. Really gotta get that thermometer.
The numbers 1 to 4 written on the side of the chamber suggest there may be scope for using that to get the temperature right. I.e. fill up to number 2 with boiling water, then up to number 4 with tap water. It might work.
Finished reading Microserfs. Jpod was a great book about geeks, but serfs is a great geeky book about humans.
Purple Sneakers is on the radio. Nostalgia.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Espresso, Great Britain Hotel, Richmond

Wow.
Coffee at a pub need not be this good. Especially when the making of the coffee takes valuable bar staff away from the task of serving alcohol.
Thumbs up, GB!

Latte, Galleon, St Kilda

Solid.
Order anything with meatballs.
Ye be not disappointed, yarr!

Aeropress, home

This time, I tried the grinder in my espresso machine (with the same grind I use with that machine), and the water from the steam wand.
Yeah! Even better. Less bitter again. One scoop, water filled up to number two. It took a bit longer for the water to get through (always a good sign), and there was less drippage before I put the plunger in. You're never going to get crema with this machine, so I'm reluctant to try making a latte, but I guess it's worth a try. If I fill the water up to number one, I should get something about the same size as an espresso. I should also get that thermometer happening. If the frisbee guy says 80 degrees is the way to go, I think it's worth trying.
This thing is rad though. Looking forward to making a four-cup thermos-load on Monday to take to the studio. Yeah!
Ok I'm gonna download either Super Turrican or Mega Turrican on Wii. As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same game that was released on SNES and Mega Drive under slightly different names. Actually, after some Wikipediaing, I now know that they are totally different games. The SNES version had a Bionic Commando-esque grappling arm. I played far more SNES as a kid than I did Mega Drive, so I might go for that one first. Rad.

Aeropress, home

It seems kind of early for Operator Please to be doing a video where they're beating each other up. I thought it should take most bands at least a few years to reach that level of aggression towards each other and then take it out in a video. But these guys are still in high school! The drummer looks about 14! Don't pick on him, pick on someone in your own campus!
I like the band though. Front-girl-singer sounds like she comes from that whole Patti Smith/PJ Harvey/Adalita/Karen O lineage. Rad.

Aeropress. Water out of the steam wand of my espresso machine. One scoop of Jasper's ground-for-anything Fairtrade Colombian Excelsior. Filled the water up to number 2.
Sadly I don't have many adjectives for this kind of thing. It's not as strong as yesterday. Obviously.

Just saw that "la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la" song that's in the Macbook Air ads. I swear I saw the video for this months ago, but I guess the song has a new lease of life. Ah, Apple. Without them we wouldn't have Jet.

Delta Goodrem is freakin laaaaaaaaaaame. And I don't know who keeps letting her go on TV with shag-hair.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Aeropress, Fitzroy

Well it finally turned up. Say hello to the Aeropress.
I've described it to people as "a coffee maker invented by some guy who invented a frisbee with a hole in it or something." Nearly everybody has said straight away, "Oh, the Aerobie?"
Yes. The Aerobie. It seems like it has quite a following among the frisbeeist/aviation enthusiast community. Well, the Aeropress is the latest invention from that guy. Similarly, it has a hole in the middle. The best way to see what it does is to watch the thrilling demonstration video on the Aeropress website, but I'll attempt to do it justice in the next paragraph.

You put your coffee in, pour some water in, and then started pushing the plunger in. The air pressure forces the water out through the coffee and the filter at the bottom, into the cup underneath.

My first impressions are that it is WOAH! freakin' strong. I did two scoops, I might just do one next time. Smooth, kind of like having a reaaally good long black that isn't bitter. Not just that, but it seems to smell exactly like coffee beans. Could this be the most efficient and effective way of extracting flavour from coffee beans into a liquid? Only time will tell. Speaking of time, this whole process takes less than a minute. Once your water is hot, pour it in, stir for 10 seconds, press down the plunger for 20 seconds, and it's done. Awesome.

The variables I have to deal with to get this thing to work "right" are:
  • water temperature
  • grind
Temperature is gonna be the difficult one. Aerobie recommend, from extensive taste testing panel testing (man, how can I get a spot on that panel?), 80 degrees celsius for the water. I'll have to get a thermometer.

I really want to get the new Portishead album, but I'm not sure if it's out yet. Harry's one-sentence review was, "I haven't lain on the floor and listened to an album with two dudes for years."
Off to the Conglomerate's album launch tonight. Haven't seen them for, oh, at least a year. I hope they do more shows.

Halftte, home

I'm still pretty sure I don't want to call it a piccolo. However, at the end of the year all of the halfttes, piccolos, returns of the macs, etc will be tabulated in the same column. They're the same thing.
Watching Sudden Death. It's the Van Damme one where he used to be a fireman, and now some guy wants one billion dollars or he'll blow up an ice hockey game. Oh, and they've got his daughter.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stovetop, St Kilda

Stovetop!
This is the first appearance of the humble stovetop. I was a bit worried when steam started coming out of it (never seen that before), but it worked okay. Nice work Z-Dog.

Trying to play jazz. Scary. Haven't really tried to do that for a few years. Gotta learn some more tunes, and re-learn the ones I've forgotten.

Hang on a sec, here we go. Long black, latte, latte, flat white, espresso, latte, plunger, flat white, espresso, espresso, plunger, flat white, piccolo, piccolo, plunger, latte, latte, flat white, espresso, stovetop. That's twenty!

I dunno, should I drink half a long black or something just to keep it up to average?

Espresso, home

Good to see the machine's still working. I think it missed me, over the last week.

I couldn't possibly have had twenty-and-a-half coffees in the last week! That's disgusting! I would really have a problem if that were true.

Flat White, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Hmm. Is it closer to ten or twenty? Well, I have between one and four coffees a day. Not often less than two, and not often more than three. Let's say an average of 2.5. Multiplied by seven days, that makes twenty-and-a-half. Yikes.
This is only adding to it.
Chicas are still on the case. Nice friand too. Shame about the weather. Ah what the hell, we need the rain. Elwood Creek might even have something for the ducks to swim in for a few days.

Latte, Cross, St Kilda

Ahh. Back in St Kilda. Not looking forward to updating the coffee blog. How many coffees did I have in the last week? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Strong Latte, Bay Leaf, Byron Bay

Thanks again Byron and Bay Leaf, we loved it. Best weather we've had over Easter up here in the last six years too. Back to Melbourne.

Plunger, house, Byron Bay

We're moving out of the house today. Will poured the rest of our bag of coffee into the plunger. It turned out to be about half coffee, half water. The plunger wouldn't go down all the way. I watered it down considerably. Thanks again, Will.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Piccolo Latte, Bay Leaf, Byron Bay

"Can I have another one of...those...small...latte...things?"

I just couldn't bring myself to say it. But drink it? Certainly.

Maybe "halftte" is a better word.

Piccolo Latte, Bay Leaf, Byron Bay

"What is that?"
"A bad ass coffee."
"But what's it called?"
"Either a piccolo latte or a double short mac. Same thing, really."
"But what did they order?"
"A piccolo."
This is my first endorsement of the word "piccolo" in the blog. It just sounds silly. I think it's a Sydney thing. It's a latte with less milk. So it tastes stronger. Great for those people who aren't lactose intolerant, but don't want to dairy it up too much. Know what I mean? Have a bowl of cereal, a latte, and a latte, and it feels like you've done nothing but drink milk all day! So I'll only call it a piccolo that's what I ordered.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Strong Flat White, Bluesfest, Byron Bay

This is pretty late in the day to be having my first real coffee. Sorry, the plunger doesn't count. This place is solid. Nicely done again. A nice prelude to going and watching the Black Crowes.

Check out the size of those ear rings! And what the hell is that rollerskating-leapfrog move at 1:39? You'll be glad to know that Chris Robinson looks substantially less like PJ Harvey and more like Jesus these days. Lea thought he was more like St Peter during his letters to the Corinthians. More "disciplical". Less starjumps, more swaying, but still a definite Jaggerite sheen of effeminate fidgetry.
Ok, enough about Chris's moves. The only thing he said during the gig between songs was, "Rock and roll music for your mind!" The band were awesome. We wanted to watch a bit of their set, and then go and see John Fogerty. But Black Crowes were too goddam awesome. I was starting to think maybe I didn't like music anymore, until I saw their set. They're all such badass players, and they really played together. It was like being at some outdoor gig in the early 70s, the ones where they give you free acid at the door. Inspiring stuff.
Saw the last half hour of Fogerty's set, which wasn't as freedom-flight-guitar-exploration-of-the-universe as the Crowes were, but you can't fuck with how many hits he's churned out. Plus, Kenny Aranoff was on drums. He played on Jack and Diane. If you aren't familiar with his work in that song, skip to 2:30 here and listen to the next 35 seconds of drums:

Plunger, house, Byron Bay

Thanks again, Will.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

another Espresso, backstage at Bluesfest, Byron Bay

Nope, that last one didn't work. Maybe the next one will be better.
It wasn't, but I was surprised to see Maceo Parker standing in front of the machine, peering at it curiously. Then he saw the tiny matching fridge next to it.
"Look at this little thing! Ain't it cute, hee hee!"
Maceo Parker. Woah. Last time I saw him was five years ago. He was on stage with Prince. You'll be glad to know he was wearing an ankle-length black leather jacket. He looked like Batman.
With a saxophone.

Espresso, backstage at Bluesfest, Byron Bay

It was one of those Jura really easy press-the-button-corresponding-to-the-coffee-you-want machines. The espresso came out with the crema a little pale, and kind of weak. Not a good sign. I'm glad I didn't try to add milk to this thing. But it woke me up, a bit.

Strong Flat White, Bluesfest, Byron Bay

It was from the coffee place up the back of the food tent in front of the Crossroads stage. The one with the Byron Bay Organic Donuts. Not the one with fish tacos, that was the tent in front of the Mojo stage.
They seemed eager, asking, "Coffee?" to anybody who got within range. I went for a flat white, because I had a feeling it would be stronger. It was sound:


I also finally found a hat that fits my abnormally large head. They had a vast selection of tea, too.

Plunger, house, Byron Bay

Thanks Will.

Latte, Fresh, Byron Bay

I've been to Fresh quite a few times, and they have always maintained an air of being able to deliver quality even when there are two million tourists ordering breakfast and coffee all day. But they've done much better than this. I guess it's just an off day.
Sadly, "this sucks, bring me a new one", is not a request often agreed with. It's also hard to bring up with the waitress, without becoming "the hairy complainy guy over there". To this day I've never successfully complained about coffee, which is I guess why I started this blog. Anyhow, somehow I sent it back, and they made me another one which was better. It was still a little uncomfortable though.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Espresso, next door to Mongers, Byron Bay

I can't remember what the place is called, but it's the Italian place next door to Mongers, as the subject of this entry has informed you. Mongers is the flippin' excellent fish and chips place behind the Beach Hotel. Get in there. The coffee next door is pretty good too, and they're tolerant of
a) boardies
b) thongs, and
c) eating outside gelato at their tables while you wait for their coffee

Flat White, Bay Leaf, Byron Bay

This year, the festival has moved to Belongil Fields. That made the drive from Suffolk Park to Byron Bay eerily traffic-free, but that just meant all the traffic is now on the other side of town, and our co-breakfasters coming in from Brunswick Heads had to go straight through it. That's one of the refreshing things about Byron: there are no clever traffic maneuvers. There's only about two routes you can take to drive between any two points. Taking these choices out of the equation means that it really is the traffic's fault and not yours. Hence, no road rage. Big cities, with your fancy traffic lights and such, take heed.

I saw somebody else's flat white come out, and it looked damn good. I know it's almost the same as a latte, but sometimes it's nice to have something in a cup with a handle.

Strong Latte, Bay Leaf, Byron Bay

Woah! That's right, I haven't had a coffee for 24 hours. That's why I'm feeling this shaky. Or it could be that mattress back at the house that turns into a horseshoe when you lie in the middle of it. Well, that's better luck than an upside down horseshoe I guess.
I've been coming to Bay Leaf for years, since back when it was called Olivo2Go, or something. They're not open all day, but a good source of breakfast and coffee. There is not a lot of seating, but they seem to have a steady take-away crowd that never hang around for long enough to get a seat. Strong latte. Good stuff. Lea couldn't remember if she said strong or not when she ordered, but it was pretty clear this was a strong one when it came out. I can't imagine what one twice as strong as this would be like.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Strong Latte, Hudsons, Melbourne Airport

Hudsons is successful at the airport for one reason: it's there. It smells good when you walk past, and most people have to kill at least half an hour before they start boarding. You can get a coffee and a squashed toasted sandwich and a friand (or at the very least, a muffin) and it won't cost you an arm or a leg. Their water prices are also not too exorbitant in the scheme of airport things.
I'm generally not a fan of this evolution of coffee retail (I don't know why anybody would want to emulate Starbucks), but you can still get something pretty reliably passable; something you can't say for most of their competitors. Grab a small (I would never order anything other than a small) latte with an extra shot (which you are charged for, bizarrely) and you can't (often) go (very) wrong.
There, I think I've parenthesised that enough. If you want to have a laugh while you're waiting for your coffee at Hudsons, have a read of the tautological marketing copy on their packaged coffee beans. I remember one of them mentioned something about "the aromatic aroma".

Long Black, home

Off to the airport for a weekend of blues and roots at the Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Latte, La Cafe, St Kilda East

The waitress walked past with a latte that looked pretty good.
I got her attention and ordered one, and the conversation that ensued was far more confusing than I could have predicted, and I got a latte.
It was pretty good. Way better than the one I had here a few years ago that made me decide it wasn't worth coming here. But now I know it is. The courtyard is nice too, as long as you can tolerate Flo-Rida featuring T-Pain constantly streaming on Channel V.

Latte, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Hmmm...do I get lunch here too? Or do I go to La Cafe? One of their flat-bread-rolled-around-meat-and-salad-and-hommous things would be great. But their coffee isn't the greatest in my experience. Shit, better just have a coffee here.
Or I could just eat here too! The food is rad! But it's no La Cafe (Hebrew for "The Cafe", I hear) wrap kebab thingy.
Nah, just coffee. Lunch later.
"Dude, the waitresses here must be starting to think we're a gay couple or something."
"Yeah, we should bring girls here."
"That might help."
"Oh, I brought my girlfriend here a few times, but that mightn't have been enough to convince them. It's not like we were, you know, doing it on the table or anything."

Espresso, home

I'm gonna try to watch the rest of Hard Target. Here goes...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Short Macchiato, Jasper, Fitzroy

Today's coffee is brought to you by the letter ETHIOPIA!

Jasper are the undisputed champions. There are about thirty buckets of coffee beans sitting around in the shop, and I bet they're all amazing for different reasons. They have some Kona from Hawaii in there right now, which I think I should try out. I went to Hawaii when I was about 13. My parents and my sister were flipping their lids over how amazing the coffee was (we went to Hawaii (the Big Island) and saw volcanoes and coffee growing on volcanoes) but I couldn't tell because I didn't drink it back then. If only I'd started earlier! What the hell, maybe I should get some of those Kona beans. With the Super Mario 3 and the Reebok Pumps, it's been a pretty fun week of doing things I never got to do when I was a kid. Anyone know where I can get a Snakeboard?

Latte, Red Place, Richmond

Damn, I forgot to find out what this place is actually called. It's on a corner on Victoria St, a few doors down from Ha Long Bay. They can whip you up a latte damn quickly, with year 2000 prices. I was a bit worried about the milk jug wedged under the machine, still steaming, while she went to the register, but it all worked out okay. It could have sent a litre of hot milk flying across the room had it not been so expertly balanced.

Latte, home

Well, I couldn't finish Hard Target last night. Might have to try again in a few days.
Just got past that castle after World 2-2 in Super Mario 3. Those ghosts are freakin' annoying.
Off to rehearsal.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Espresso, home

I mentioned to my cousin last year that I haven't seen any Van Damme movies. He bought me a three-pack DVD for Christmas, containing Universal Soldier, Hard Target, and Sudden Death. I started watching Hard Target tonight (mainly because Lance Henriksen trumps Dolph Lundgren) and quickly realised I was going to need coffee to get through it.
Cracked open a new bag of Java Gunung Ringgit. It has a website too.

Flat White, Cross, St Kilda

A guy walked past while I was drinking this flat white. He is one of the few male multitaskers alive today. Look at the stats:
  • Walking dog
  • Pushing two-seater pram
  • Some sort of huge potted fruit tree in the pram
  • Child sitting backwards (both seats were taken up by the tree)
  • Talking on the phone
Before you ask, yes. He only had two arms.
I guess it's not that unlikely that one would take the kids and the dog for a walk, then decide to buy a tree, and then realise your phone is ringing. But it's still admirable. I can hardly walk and count to ten at the same time.

That reminds me, I've got a multitasking exercise for you.
Rotate your right foot in a clockwise direction.
Keep that going, and try to draw the number 6 in mid-air with your right hand without your foot changing directions.
It's impossible.

The flat white was awesome. Cross do an amazing egg sandwich too.

Latte, home

Just saw the ad for that Lenovo laptop where you can use your face as a password. But does that mean you have can only turn on the laptop in broad daylight? Otherwise the camera wouldn't be able to see you. It's pretty cool technology, but I wouldn't want to rule out laptop use in the dark. What if the power goes out, and you can't find a torch and need to open your laptop to look up a spreadsheet that says which drawer you put it in?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Espresso, home

It's good to know that Super Mario Bros 3 is a skill that can be learned. I'm getting better at it. I was starting to think that if you didn't grow up playing it then you would never be good at it. But I'm starting to get used to it now. Also, if you're playing it on Wii, when you turn off the machine it remembers where you were up to, and you can just resume later and keep continuing from where you were up to. It's like having a NES turned on 24 hours a day with a SMB3 cart in it. I know a dude who did that in primary school with his copy of Zelda. I'm pretty sure he had it turned on for a week once. Eventually the whole thing melted. It was still under warranty too. He got a free replacement. I guess Nintendo don't want to discourage that sort of behaviour.

Latte, 19 Squares, St Kilda

I liked the look of this place because it had fairly-priced toast. That's hard to come across these days. They sell it for $2 a slice. I think that's pretty good. And the bread is from Baker D. Chirico. The bomb.
The coffee was a bit weak but the "World Famous Chicken Sandwich" really deserves its fame. It's hard to describe why, it was just awesome.

Long Black, home

I'm still pretty shagged from the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix yesterday. Sitting in a tent in 38 degree heat with fucking loud cars hooning past you every one and a half minutes really takes it out of you. For caffeine-related laughs, check out this description of Jolt Endurance Shots. I love how they can cram 150mg of caffeine in there, but still reassure you that it's not bad for you by saying, "no sugar!" Actually, the rest of that description is so good I might steal it for the sidebar of this blog.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Latte, Mart 130, Middle Park

This place is called "Mart". It's "Tram" backwards. That makes sense because it is built in an old tram stop (Middle Park station), but "Mart" is still a pretty crap name for a cafe I reckon. I'm not sure about the 130 either, other than it being the only integer that is the sum of the squares of its first four divisors.
12 + 22 + 52 + 102 = 130
Wow.
They surprisingly had an unflux (opposite of influx I guess) of people during the Grand Prix, gate one of which they are located right next to. Rather than being swamped by Grand Prix-goers, they found all their regular Sunday crowd had decided, "Fuck that, let's not go to Mart today, it'll be packed with fuckwits going to the Grand Prix!" But it wasn't. And it was one of the few air-conditioned solaces we could find that day. Plus they had coffee. Nowhere else seemed to. It was quite good. The breakfast menu looks nice too. I wasn't real impressed with the apple juice though. The menu said "fresh organic OJ or AJ". Our waiter warned us that the apple juice wasn't freshly squeezed. That's not fresh. Fresh out of the bottle maybe, but that's about it. The jury is out on whether cloudy apple juice is automatically better than that urine-sample-looking clear stuff (which we were served today).

Latte, home

Off to the Grand Prix. Pretty hung over too. I can remember the words "Tappeto Volante" from last night for some reason.
It's gonna be a hot one today.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Espresso, home

Nope, it didn't work. This one oughtta do it!

Espresso, home

That outta kick me over the threshold of creativity.
Or doing stupid things quickly with more energy.

Latte, home

Wow, I can't believe I missed Pi Day yesterday. 3/14. More precisely, 1:59:26 AM. I've never understood why Americans write their dates in month/day/year format. Surely day/month/year makes more sense, putting them in order of size? In that case, I'm declaring the 31st of the 4th Pi Day.
Oh shit. There is no 31st of April. Damn.
If you want to see more nerds talking about this, head over to the Pi Day discussion at Slashdot.
It was also Talk Like a Physicist Day.
Watching Robot Chicken. Funny stuff. I love that bit where Santa Claus is walking down the street ringing a bell and yelling, "Bring out your dead!" That's my kind of humour right there.
I can hear Formula One engines and a four-on-the-floor kick drum from my house. It sums up the whole day really.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Return of the Mac, home

Writing. Getting some workflow happening (until I took a break to update the coffee blog - hmmm). Better go keep it up. Or resume keeping it up.
Almost out of these Java beans! Damn.

Latte, Wall 280, St Kilda East

Flippin' hell it's hot today. Forty ish. Yikes.
There weren't too many people at the Wall, I guess they all thought it was too hot for sitting outside drinking coffee. They would be right. It was also too hot for insisting on sitting really close to complete strangers, but that didn't seem to bother the woman next to us, who preferred that to sitting in the sun.
Got the Steinberger back off Ev. Awesome.

Latte, Batch, St Kilda East

I went to let Adam into the office to pick up the microphone kit for the gig on Sunday, but when I got there Loretta was there too, so it turned out I didn't need to drive there. Or leave the house. Or get out of bed. But it's okay, it gave me an excuse to go via Batch.
In the news today: Brisbane woman stabs husband over argument about Bruce Springsteen.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Espresso, Carlisle Wine Bar, St Kilda East

Well I always thought this was in St Kilda East, but according to my GPS, it's actually St Kilda. Odd. I always thought the eastside started at Chapel St. I guess not. Maybe it starts at the station. But where does Balaclava start? Does St Kilda East even exist? Who knows.
Carlisle are onto it again. That guy who DJs there came in and put on Bo Diddley just as I finished my coffee.

Espresso, home

Aha! I'm determined to be the first website that uses those two words. Technically it doesn't count as a Googlewhack because they're not words from the dictionary, but it's still nice to know. Here goes.

The milk bar on Wellington St is selling these weird electric motorbikes, and they're only $790. You plug them into the wall to recharge them, they can go about 50km on one charge, they're cheap, and they look pretty rad. I wanted to know more about them, so I made note of the words TZGM and Baimawangzi written on the side. Sadly, googling those words yielded no results.

Espresso. Home. Blogging.

Return of the Mac, home

Watching extra bits from "Bender's Big Score". Not bad. I hear they're making more of them too. I thought the movie was pretty good, up to par with old school Futurama episodes. It kind of felt like the story was going to end about 20 minutes in, but that's just because I'm used to Futurama lasting for that long. A whole movie is something totally different.
I'm off to post stuff I sold on eBay.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Espresso, Switchboard, City

I've heard Switchboard is the smallest coffee place in the city. Now that I've been there, I don't see how you could possibly make one smaller. It's located in the Manchester Unity building (the one opposite Melbourne Town Hall that looks like Gotham City) and I'm pretty sure that room used to be a switchboard. The guy at the coffee machine barely has enough room to stand up, and the roof slopes steadily downward from there. I think they have to kneel on the floor over the sink to wash the glasses. As a matter of fact, I've got no idea where they wash the glasses.
The seating is actually in a slightly larger room on the other side of the arcade. My espresso came out short and strong. Like Oddjob, but without the hat.
That's about two minutes after it came out. The crema is hanging in there. I was impressed enough, and then when I took my glass back I was even more impressed when the guy asked, "How's it tasting today?"
Nice. Not many people care enough to ask.
Thumbs up, Switchboard. Keep on switchin'. Or maybe "Don't go switchin'" would be more relevant here.

Latte, Little Peninsula, City

Walking in here today, I realised how much harder it is for tertiary students now than it was nine years ago when I started. Back then, if you parked out the front of the VCA, you had to go and move it once an hour to avoid getting a ticket. That was a pain in the arse, but at least it was free. These days, you have to pay for parking AND move your car. I guess that is some sort of deterrent to driving to uni. But dudes with drumkits and vibraphones and hammer dulcimers can't really get the tram.
Little Peninsula. Fish and chips. Solid.
Oh, and coffee.

Return of the Mac, home

Watching extra bits from "Bender's Big Score". Not bad. I hear they're making more of them too. I thought the movie was pretty good, up to par with old school Futurama episodes. It kind of felt like the story was going to end about 20 minutes in, but that's just because I'm used to Futurama lasting for that long. A whole movie is something totally different.
I'm off to post stuff I sold on eBay.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Latte, Porgy and Mr Jones, Hawthorn

When I've had too much coffee, I often point out really obvious things that could remain in my internal monologue, and sometimes offend complete strangers.
"Wow, you're lopsided!" said I, to the (complete stranger in the queue in front of us) woman who got hit by a car on her bike and now has some quite visible postural issues.
Great coffee, though.

Long Black, home

Wow. This stuff is serious. My caffeine addiction is such that nothing seems to be able to give me a high anymore. But...
Woah!
If Mya wrote a song about it, it would be "My coffee's like woah."
But I put it in the cup holder in my car. The cup holder situated directly in front of the air conditioner vent. This is often good news if you have a bottle of water or a Solo or a Slurpee, but today it meant my long black was well on its way to freezing point before I even got onto Dandenong Rd.

Espresso, home

Just cracked open the new beans I got from Jasper the other day.
"Java 250g"
It doesn't get any more specific than that.
My grinder made the "I'm running low" sound, so I tipped the bag of Java in, to which the grinder made a Cookie Monster sound as it finally had something to grind.
Woah! It's not just strong, it's...er...thick! Obviously it is not any less viscous than water, but it tastes like it is. Also, it did that thing where it came out and about half of it was crema. And the crema stayed there for ages too. Damn good. Might have to bust out another one of these before I go out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Latte, Retro Cafe, Fitzroy

Okay I'm really starting to like this place now. We decided to come here because there are surprisingly few places that have good tea on Brunswick St and are open this late. Mario's only does tea bags. A shame. But Retro are loose leaf T2 and bring out the whole thing on a tray with another pot of hot water even if you don't ask for it. So we went to Retro. We checked out the cake display for apple crumble, but they were out of it.
Then the guy behind the bar offered to make us an apple and pear crumble from scratch. You can't really say no to that.

Espresso, home

All my eBay auctions are ending today. It's exciting that I'm getting free money from people I don't know, and I'm getting rid of stuff I don't need, but it's also a bit annoying that I'm going to have to go to the post office a few times.

Long black, home

Well, that's the end of that. I woke up thinking, "I'm going to die if I don't eat toast in the next 20 minutes."
I'm not sure how this Bodum vacuum glass works. It's hollow, and it seems to work like thermos. No matter how hot the liquid inside is, you never feel it on the outside. This can be disastrous for coffee; I treat, "Can I pick up the glass?" as one of the first tests of whether the coffee is okay.
It's made of glass. If it was a vacuum in there, wouldn't the glass just shatter under the pressure? So it must be filled with something. But if it's filled with something, that would conduct the heat. I'll have to Google this one.
Ah, Amazon has the answers.
They say the glasses "cleverly feature a two glass walls, trapping air between the walls to provide insulation". Air? Well I guess that's better than glass, but not better than nothing. I also like the bit about how the two walls prevent condensation, and therefore you don't need a coaster.
But if they're air-filled, this mustn't work as well as a thermos, which should have a vacuum between the two layers. But how much longer would the thermos stay hot? A lot bloody longer, I think. Maybe Bodum thought it wasn't a factor, given how much heat is lost out the top of the glass anyway. If I had a thermometer, I'd Mythbust this one.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Can, Fitzroy

I got quite seriously hooked on canned coffee in Japan in the summer of 2006. There were about two thousand of them to choose from in the fridge at 7-Eleven, and that was how I started, continued, prolonged, and concluded each day. It's fake-as-fake-titties refrigerated caffeinated coffee-flavoured sugar-loaded skim-milk-powder-containing water in a can, yet somehow they were all slightly different, and some of them were amazing. I just found a photo of them:

From memory, line two position nine was my favourite. I haven't found it in Australia yet though. I've been half-arsedly scouring Asian supermarkets since then. Today I came across a Nescafe something something something at Korea Kimchi. It was pretty good, it certainly smelt the right business when I opened the can, but it was a bit too sweet for my liking. The search plods on...

Latte, Leroys, St Kilda

Awesome awesome awesome.
Leroy (I presume, quite presumptiously, that's the girl-behind-the-machine's name) is not only clever, with a tendency to make things strong, but s/he is also consistent. I like having the "strong" bit of the bell curve this far to the right, I guess people can order a "weak" if they don't like it.
That makes their "strong" off-the-planet-ly strong, too. I learnt this the hard way when I had a strong latte here back in January, about a week before I started this blog.
Chicken tortilla was pretty good too, part of my experimental "don't eat bread!" diet. As I said to a dude last night, experimenting with not eating bread is the kind of thing I have time for these days. Awesome.

Latte, home

Thank the lord for
a) coffee, and
b) ABC2's tendency to screen the Classic Albums series on Sunday morning.
Today was Paul Simon's Graceland. It makes me want to listen to that album again. I've bought it twice on the strength of that doco, but I always realise that I don't dig it that much. It's much more fun watching Paul Simon dissect his own lyrics and how they relate to what he was going through in the mid-eighties than it is to just listen to the record. I do like how he didn't go to Africa and make an album that was a statement about Africa. He just made a Paul Simon album, with musicians and music from there.
Coffee not the greatest though, it's grinding a bit too fine for these beans I think.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Latte, home

I have cured my lack of unwatched TV-on-DVD by borrowing Curb Your Enthusiasm series one from Lea. I've seen this once, but years ago. I forgot that "Porno Gil" was so near the start. I love that episode, the one where Larry doesn't pick up the guy's golf ball at the driving range, and then is looking for this party later on and asks for directions from that same guy from the driving range, and I just realised it's hard to sum up in one sentence. See it.

Espresso, Jasper, Fitzroy

Yeah! From their fancy limited edition $4.00 per cup grinder. I came here in December and had some of the Blue Mountain gear they only get in once a year, $6.00 a cup. Mighty fine.
This one was a mouthful. Erm, something...rainforest...something or other. I can't remember what it was, but damn good.

Latte, Madame Sousou, Fitzroy

Thumbs down, Madame.
It was still drinkable, but giving somebody skinny milk when they didn't ask for it? Not cool. Thumbs down...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Espresso, De Los Santos, Fitzroy

Hmm. Not real good. Pretty watery for an espresso.
It's a shame, the tapas bits were amazing.

Latte, Izzi, Elsternwick

Messagebank.
"Hey man, just wondering what was that coffee place you told me about near Elsternwick station? Can't remember the directions you gave me."
I decided "Izzi" might have been the one. I walked in and ordered a latte. Then my phone rang. It was Jan calling back. He said he never told me about coffee in Elsternwick. Then he told me about a good one in Richmond. I was pretty sure he'd said Elsternwick. Yeah. Walk past Elsternwick station, and it's on the right. Well, maybe he just didn't remember telling me.
Not bad, a bit weak. Enjoyable though.
Michael Veitch walked in. He didn't do anything funny, but it was still funny.
Just as I was finishing my coffee, I remembered it wasn't Jan who told me about this place.

Latte, home

The carrot cake I just got from the bakery had a weevil in it. Ew.
Well, it had a weevil near it anyway. Let's take a look at the facts:
1. The bench had nothing on it.
2. I put a plate on the bench.
3. I put the cake on the plate.
4. I put the bag in the bin, walked back, and there was a weevil near the plate.
Whether it came from the cake or not, there was no way I was eating that cake.
The coffee worked though.

Espresso, home

Well I've watched every TV series I have on DVD. I think that means it's time to do some actual work. I'm sure I'll find another way to procrastinate though.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Strong Latte, Postal Hall, City

It's the place across the road from the Portland Hotel, with the big arty barcode on the side of the building. Sam works here I know, but I've never seen him here. The coffee is tops.
Friand was pretty good.
Lunch looks interesting.
Have a rehearsal today with the big fuckoff organ at Melbourne Town Hall. It's gonna be loud.

Ristretto, home

That oughtta keep me going.
Yep, it is.

Latte, Newtown S.C, Fitzroy

Tick...tick...tick...tick...
No, not quite a bomb. But not real impressive. Just a bit weak. It didn't taste like milk. Somehow the blandity sucked up even the taste of the milk like some sort of black hole.
S.C. What does that stand for, secondary college? Social club? Who knows. I usually refer to this place as "the one with no eggs on the menu", but there's some sort of baked eggs on the specials board now. It's a surprisingly interesting brekky menu, even sans-eggs. Avocado on toast, hommous and tomatoes on toast, Coco Pops, Vegemite, yeah there's plenty of things to keep me amused here.
But the coffee. Meh. I'll have to remember to order a strongy from now on.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Latte, Retro Cafe, Fitzroy

I haven't been here for years. It brings back memories.
Of playing gigs every Tuesday with Natalie Gauci (yes, the Natalie Gauci!) back in year twelve, partying like it was 1999. It was 1999. Oh hang on, maybe that was 2000.
Of hanging out here when I was living on Newry St (not far north of here), and it being the closest I've ever come to being able to get away with saying, "Just the usual," when ordering breakfast.
Of that breakfast-on-pancakes thing that is still on the menu.
Of the TV-fishtank they used to have.
Of the NGV-esque water-wall that used to be in operation up the back.
Of their daaaaaamn good hollandaise back in the day (or back in many of the days). Crap hollandaise is a dealbreaker.
Anyway, it's been a while. I'm sure they don't do jazz gigs now. They have $6.00 pasta/salad nights, and it is written so on the window. It didn't used to be a written-on-the-window sort of place back then.
It's good to know the coffee is still the bomb. Some things don't change. In the event that I introduce a star rating, I award this one four-and-a-half stars.
New couches since 1999, too.

Latte, home

Ahh. That's more like it. I'm not sure what went wrong. It may be because the coffee was packed too hard and the water took too long to get through, but I didn't know it would make it taste that bad.

Secondly, should this count as two entries? Is it more important to register the 'bomb', or keep in line with the fact that I only had one coffee? Is it more important that I had two coffees, of which one was bad, or just that I had one good one? Let's stick with the bomb rating, I think.

Latte, home

Eurggh. Gross. Something didn't work. Let's try that again.

Long Black, home

Getting into Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law series two.  I thought the Jetsons episode was a bit weak, but all the others have been awesome so far.  The way this show is edited, it seems like there is enough material there for each episode to go for 25 minutes, but they chop it down to about 13.  You need coffee to make any sense of it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Espresso, Brunetti, Carlton

Off to see Juno.
Interestingly, they called it a short black. So I guess a short black is the same as an espresso according to Brunetti. I trust them with this. Look how Italian they are.
Even more interestingly, the take away Green Sencha tea that Lea got was FLAWLESS. Ten out of ten.
Maybe it's because the girl put so much time into it, and maybe you wouldn't get that kind of treatment were it busier (we saw the barista actually step back from the machine and look around the room for a few seconds - never seen that happen at Brunetti before), but it was the pinnacle of takeaway tea service.
Firstly, she pointed out that it wasn't a tea bag, and so it would take longer because she had to make it in a pot. Of course, it's loose leaf. But I'm still glad she told us how long it would take.
Then she stood there waiting for it to brew. Then she did some spinny maneuver - turning the pot around a few times on the bench - possibly to kill time.
Then she poured a bit (double-cupped), swirled the pot a bit, poured a bit more, swirled a bit more, and so on until the whole pot was in the (large) cup.
Now THAT is worth $3.30. The standard against which all other takeaway tea should be judged. It makes $3.00 for a tea bag in a cup of hot water seem like a joke. I was so impressed I wanted to write a letter to Brunetti and say, "Well done." But I guess a blog will do.

Espresso, Porgy and Mr Jones, Hawthorn

Nice place. Nice coffee. Hmm, that almost makes it three in one hour. Yikes. It's gonna be a creative day.
Listened to the new Pnau on the way over here. Rad shit. Good clean fun. I'm just making my contribution to fulfilling bigstereo's prediction that they will be 2008's most blogged-about band.

Latte, Batch, St Kilda East

Got a call from Eden straight after I ordered. Looks like I'll be having another coffee pretty soon.
The JB Hi-Fi mission was successful. Got Harvey Birdman series two also. And both Hotchip albums. Clearly, I haven't had time to listen to them all yet.
No Eagles, either. Actually, I forgot to look.
Kudos to Batch for the take-away lunch (before midday) options too. Not many places give you a roll for $4.50 these days.

Return of the Mac, home

I'm starting to wish I hadn't come up with such a stupid name for this drink, because it will be making far more appearances on the blog than I thought.  The list of posts is starting to look like the recently-played songs list of somebody who has only bought one song on iTunes.
Drunk.
In the 90s.
Speaking of which, does coffee really cure sobriety?  I've heard time is the only medicine for that, but Christopher Moltisanti went over to that writer guy's house drunk off his ass and the guy said straight away, "Alright Christopher, we need to get you some coffee."  There must be at least some truth to it.  That whole story took place in the Sopranos, by the way.
Okay I'm off to JB Hi-Fi.  Here's the list:
Pnau's new album
Hotchip's new album
Battles - anything, not sure what they've put out
Eagles Greatest Hits (if it's <$20)
The Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come
Unfortunately JB Brighton almost ALWAYS don't have what I'm looking for.  We'll see.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Return of the Mac, home

Ahh. Selling stuff on eBay. Watching more Sopranos. Not much to report here...

Return of the Return of the Mac, home

It worked. I might just call this Return of the Mac from now on to avoid confusion.
Sopranos series six part ii is damn good. I'm up to episode four. It's not as EXPLOSIVE as the first half of series six - goddam those first three episodes were intense - but I like where it's going. I'm just not really looking forward to it finishing. I can remember how many dudes changed their Facebook status to "is disappointed with the end of The Sopranos" back when it originally aired. I have no idea why, yet.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Return of the Mac, home

Less tamping, and the shot took about 20 seconds. Pretty good.
I'm going to try a variation on this tomorrow: start with a ristretto and then do return of the mac. I think I'll call it Return of the Return of the Mac.
I got five stars on Kool Thing on hard mode in Guitar Hero III. Nice. But Even Flow is just freakin' hard.

Latte, home

The situation is getting dire. We couldn't even go out for breakfast. Everywhere had a queue. I guess during the week, when everyone with a job is at work, is a better time to do that.
The espresso shot took waaaay too long, maybe the grind's too fine for these beans.
Up the the Puerto Rican parade episode of Seinfeld, the last one before the clip show and weird finale.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Latte, Ici, Fitzroy

I've been meaning to come here for years. Pretty solid. Rad coffee. Insane tea selection. I think the tea blackboard is the same size as the breakfast menu blackboard. $3 for a quarter of an avocado on the side is a bit much though.

Latte, Birdman Eating, Fitzroy

It's dangerous having Northside Records next door. Didn't get anything though. But the shop TITLE across the road and up the hill a bit on the corner of George St is the business. I've never been there before, but they pretty well stocked. I got Jonny Greenwood is The Controller. He's so cool that he can put out his own compilations with stuff he likes on it. There's some good stuff on there. I was expecting some more weird stuff without drums on there, along the lines of Flash Gordon Meets Luke Skywalker (track 5 or 6 maybe?) but it's a good listen. Jonny Greenwood is a busy man.

Long Black, home

Seinfeld series nine. Still going.
These new beans are rad too. Ethiopian...er...something.