Friday, October 31, 2008

Espresso, Brother Baba Budan, City

I just overheard a conversation involving the following question:
"What are you on?"
It clicked straight away that they were talking about mobile phone plans. Not hard drugs. Phones. But hey, which is really more addictive? Crack or Crackberry? Ice or Icephone? H or...er...the HTC Touch 3G? Who knows, maybe they'll all be illegal in a few years too...
Wow, that makes it 88 coffees for October. Not bad.

Latte, home

OMG. My sister texted me last night to say she was in a really hard-to-find cafe in Iceland, and Bjork was sitting at the next table. Woah!! You would expect that to be statistically more likely to happen in Iceland, but you would never expect it to actually happen the first time you go to Iceland. I'm not sure what she was drinking (she seems like a white hot chocolate girl to me) but she had some sort of big breakfast in front of her. I can't imagine Bjork eating breakfast. Just look how complicated it gets when she goes to the dentist:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Latte, Julio, Fitzroy North

You know those times when you order a coffee, maybe with a portuguese tart on the side, read the paper, start eating, and then realise you only have 20 cents in your wallet? Yeah, I had one of those today at Julio, which happens to be located nowhere near an ATM, and only takes cash. I left my credit card as ransom and went around the corner to the Caltex on St Georges Rd, came back, and paid for everything. On the way out the door, I realised that this place is called "Julio" and not "Me and Julio" as I first thought, and therefore isn't really named after a Paul Simon song. Damn. And the coffee wasn't great either. It was all a bit annoying really...

Espresso, Brother Baba Budan, City

This is pretty far from home and late in the morning for the first coffee of the day. Brother Baba Budan's gonna work it out. Oh that reminds me. I think I'm going to see Public Enemy on January 1. Raaaad. Last time I saw them they were on for about three hours. A festival slot might be a different story, but I'm sure they'll still pull out the hits:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Long Black, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Yeah, we'll need more coffee to sort this out. Read previous post for details of the conundrum.

Flat White, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Here's one for you to chew on:
Girl A is throwing guy X a surprise birthday party tonight. They'll go out for dinner, then girl A will steer them both to the Venue where all guy X's friends will be mysteriously hanging out and saying, "Happy Birthday man!" Girl A has informed her friend girl B about the plan. Girl B said, "No shit, that's a great idea. It's my boyfriend guy Y's birthday on Sunday too." Girl A suggests they have a combined surprise/nonsurprise birthday drinks event. All agree. Guy Y is in on it too now. Girl B starts texting all of guy Y's friends (making sure to not tell guy X and spoil the surprise) to tell them to come join my party and move it 'til the break of dawn.
Another guy (let's call him V for now) has been invited to guy Y's party by girl B and he realises that guy Y is friends with guy Z, who broke it off with girl A pretty recently. Girl B doesn't realise this, and probably texted guy Z about guy Y's birthday drinks tonight. She didn't mention girl A or guy X. Guy V is pretty sure guy Z doesn't even know what's going on between girl A and guy X yet. He most wouldn't want to find out by accident when he turns up to what he thinks are guy Y's birthday drinks.
Hypothetical: is V supposed to let Z know that A is going to be there tonight, and if so, should he also warn him of the existence of X?

Latte, home

In the news at the moment: rich 85 year-old woman in Mornington left her $15million fortune to three of her neighbours, and one of her few living (vague) relatives claims it should have been hers, and that the neighbours and their lawyers influenced the contents of the will. Yikes. I don't know who to trust there. Watch the papers and see how this thing works out...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Latte, Tre Bicchieri, Carlton North

They're listening to Screamadelica today. They must have known I was coming.

"Who picks the music here?"
"Oh, everyone, really. Is it okay?"
"Yeah! It's awesome!"
That video is awesome. It's got everything: a guy miming acoustic guitar on electric guitar, gospel choir miming, a guy hitting congas with sticks, a guy miming real piano on a keyboard, a band with all 60s hair except for one of the guitarists who has 80s hair, a band miming everything except the drum machine...

Latte, home

Woah. I realised how far behind I am on the coffee blog. The only way I'm going to catch up is by drinking less coffee. That's why I'm only having two today...
Well, that's the plan.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Latte, Batch, St Kilda East

After a serious Glick's mission, I still thought it worth heading down to Batch for a coffee. I realised I still haven't tried Midali (or whatever it's called - the place across the road from Batch).
A word of warning: if you buy a garlic bagel from Glick's, and leave it in your car for a few hours, that car will smell exactly like garlic for about three days.

Qantas, Adelaide to Melbourne

Ah. Back to Qantas. I'm not sure why we flew Virgin over here. It clearly wasn't a coffee-related choice.

Flat White, Cibo (King William St), Adelaide

Wow, a lot of people in this town seem to be eating cannoli.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Short Mac, Cibo (Rundle Mall), Adelaide

One of these is a short macchiato, one is a long macchiato. Hmm.
As far as chains go, Cibo is pretty rad. The coffee is spot on, and they further the authenticity by giving all the sandwiches intimidating Italian names that are impossible for white guys to pronounce.
"Can I get the...er...fior...fiordi...er...that one up the front."

Latte with extra shot, Hudsons, Melbourne Airport

We're not flying Qantas. Bummer. No Qantas coffee for me. I guess Hudsons is okay though, even though they insist on using the phrase "aromatic aroma" when describing their beans.

Latte, home

I am running VERY early for the airport. Ahh. There's nothing like it. Driving out on the Tulla is so much more relaxing when you're not sweating and swearing because you're cutting it too fine time-wise. I should do it more often.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Latte, Gertrude St Enoteca, Fitzroy

I just found out that they don't do skinny here. Respect.
Meg said, "I'm never coming here again. I'll explain later."
I looked around frantically for a sign. Unrefrigerated cheese? Would that put her off coming here again?
It turned out she thought the staff came across a little condescending.
"Sorry we don't do skinny, but I can still do a take away flat white for you."
Read that in your best kindergarten teacher voice, and you're close.
It didn't bother me though. Most things bother me, but I didn't notice the pre-school voice at all.

Latte, home

Two.

See previous post.

At times like this I often think I should only write about my interesting coffee experiences on the blog. But that wouldn't necessarily make it a less-updated blog. Take a look at Thursday. Five coffees, all of them noteworthy!
This one is, however, not.

Latte, home

One...

(apologies...I'm posting this one five days later, and I can't remember anything about this coffee, other than the fact that I had another one shortly after...)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Espresso, Hairy Canary, City

Solid. If you can tolerate the extreme cafe jazz/house soundtrack (hasn't the 4/4 kick drum with rhodes and harmon mute trumpet solos territory been a bit over-mined yet?) the coffee is pretty good.

Latte, Carlton Espresso, Carlton

Remember a few days ago when I decided to have an espresso face-off between these guys and the guys over the road? Well, these guys don't even come close. I bet the bookies stopped taking bets on these guys. Just like McCain.
(Topical!)
Maybe being the very last coffee of the day isn't the best conditions for a face-off, but they should still serve me something pretty good with a name like Carlton Espresso. Unfortunately, it tasted more like milk that has something wrong with it, rather than coffee that has something right with it. Lea put it another way.
"QANTAS!"
I've made it pretty clear in the blog that I like Qantas coffee. But only at 35,000 feet. At sea level in front of an espresso machine, I expect a bit more.

Latte, home

Woah. I had five coffees yesterday. I'm glad I don't do that every day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Short Macchiato, Gypsy Bar, Fitzroy

I can usually depend on Gypsy Bar for great coffee so I won't hold it against them, but this was pretty weird tonight. We ordered a short mac and two lattes. The guy worked on the latte for a while, and then called over the other guy working at the bar. There then appeared to be some lesson on how to steam milk and make a latte. As a result the two lattes (made by the instructing guy ) were pretty good, but I don't think it was the right time to train staff. Like I said, Gypsy has an unblemished record up until now, so I think they can still be trusted. That machine is the oldest-looking coffee machine I've ever seen too. It's like a moped, with neon attached.

Espresso, GPO, Bendigo

Christ. Four coffees already, and it's only just gone lunchtime. A few weeks ago I did some quick calculations and realised how dangerously close October was going to come to beating my March record: ninety-two coffees in one month. Days like this are only going to make it dangerously closer.

Short Mac, The Go, Bendigo

This is pretty early to be having the third coffee of the day, but I had to make up for the lacklustre performance at Coffeeselect. The Go is not only a nickname for Bendigo in the tradition of The Wood (Elwood), The Wick (Elsternwick, Brunswick) and The Point (er...Crib Point?) but also a quite good cafe in Bendigo. About a block away from Roundabout, where I just bought a copy of Harvest by Neil Young for $10. Harvest is one of those albums I probably should have started listening to about ten years ago. But back to the Go: the short mac was excellent. If you want to find the Go, I have no idea what the address is. But if you're coming from Melbourne, turn right at Mitchell St, and go up the first little street on the right. It's in there. Behind the offensively modern Bendigo Bank building. It's actually called Green Olive, and some of the signage says GO as an abbreviation, but I'm going to keep calling it The Go.

Latte, Coffeeselect, Bendigo

Coffeeselect seems to have changed owners recently. There used to be a Bernard Black-style list of rules for customers on a chalkboard. No meetings. No mobile phones. No talking about Facebook. Etc. But the chalkboard is gone, and the whole place seems a little less comical. The toasties are still killer (and filling) and the turkish delight is still good. They still use the groovy Bodum thermo glasses, but this is a double-edged sword.
The Bodum Pavina Double Wall Thermo Glass is a great invention. The glass on the outside and the glass on the inside are insulated from each other by some sort of miraculous Swiss kitchenware technology that seems like it should be a vacuum, but common sense tells me that the glass would just shatter under the pressure. So it's some sort of insulative gas in there. It's like a thermos, but doesn't make you look like a trainspotter. Check out the movie Aliens. See what they're drinking out of? Bodum. I swear they're from the future. But back to the thermo-glass. It's great for cold drinks, eliminating cold-hands syndrome altogether, but it really excels with hot drinks. When the coffee comes out, it's going to stay at that temperature a hell of a lot longer than any other container. If the coffee is at the right temperature, it will stay there. This is great for people who want to sit around drinking coffee for five hours looking like they're in a sci-fi movie.



However; if, as I experienced at Coffeeselect today, the milk has been blasted to smithereens and is undrinkably (and therefore unpalatably (and therefore dishwatery-looking)) hot, it will stay that way. In the time it took to eat the quite large toastie, the coffee still hadn't cooled down enough. And I'm almost certain they gave me skinny milk too. Yeah, this place has gone downhill. They might have to go in the Don't Trust Them With Milk category. But the toastie was still amazing, and it was good to read the store copy of the Melbourne Coffee Guide. Most of my faves were rated favourably (Pushka, Switchboard, Batch, Brother Baba Budan, St Ali) and I also got a few new ideas of places to check out. Anywhere named after a Paul Simon song is alright by me.

Plunger, motel, Bendigo

My line of work frequently lands me in a motel in the country, but surprisingly this is the first time I've ever had the tick-the-boxes-and-we'll-deliver-it breakfast. The plunger wasn't bad, but possibly unnecessary considering I'm going to spend most of the morning exploring Bendigo's coffee landscape.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flat White, McDonald's, Calder Park

Yes, I know what you're thinking. "Ryan, this is going to be a BOMB. No doubt about it. Why did you even bother?"
"Hesitation is the main reason," I answer quite unhesitantly, "for I was at home about to switch the coffee machine on before I drove to Bendigo, but then decided I didn't need a coffee. I switched the machine off. Then I thought there would be no harm in having a coffee, so I switched it on. Then I thought getting one somewhere else to take away would be quicker, so I turned it off again. Then I decided I didn't need one and started driving."
All that time I spent switching the coffee machine on and off and talking to myself could have been spent actually making or buying a coffee. But I persevered with just driving. Somewhere near the Keilor turn-off I realised I was on my way to a microsleep. And then I saw the sign. The Golden ArchesTM in the distance. I thought, "Ah what the fuck, how bad can it be? They boast pretty hard about their freetrade organic guilt-free rainforestTM bullshit blend, maybe the coffee's okay. I should at least try it. Just this once. And besides, this is probably the last coffee I'm going to see before Malmsbury. Let's do it."
Okay. First of all, you need to know your McDonald's before you go in. There was nobody at the McCafe counter, so I went to the normal-ass McDonald's counter. What I didn't know is that the realTM coffee actually isn't on the menu. You can only order it from McCafe. What confused the shit out of me was the existence of EspressoProntoTM on the menu. I thought that must have been what I was after.
"One small Flat WhiteTM thanks."
She tapped into the register. I noticed that the register registered "White Coffee $1.80".
"Oh, actually I meant a small Flat WhiteTM. The EspressoProntoTM thing."
"Umm," she turned around and looked up at the menu. Then she asked somebody else what to do. I'm glad she did. After all those Don't Be Afraid To Ask work safety ads on TV, I had nightmarish images of the poor girl impaled on the steam wand because she didn't ask somebody what to do.
So the order went through. I paid for it. I went over to the other side of the coffee machine; the customary place where you collect fast food coffee.
"Can I help you?"
"Oh, I've already ordered."
"What did you order?" she asked, looking up at the orderscreen confusedly.
"It's not on the screen?"
"No, hang on." She went and asked back at the register.
"You ordered the EspressoPronto, that's drive-through only."
"Oh."
"I can make it here."
"Oh. Okay."
I expected her to ask me for the extra $1.00 required for the flat white I had sort of just ordered, but she did a few things at the coffee machine, and then went over to the sink and started rinsing some glasses. For a long time. Just when I was starting to wonder why she wasn't making my coffee, she went back to the machine, picked up a cup that had a flat white in it, put on the lid, and handed it over. It seems the machine required no operator. This was not going to be good. Here's what I ended up with.
Vomit.
The only explanation can be that she still made the (cheaper, faster) EspressoProntoTM drink in the machine next to the real coffee machine. I wasn't about to drink it. But it's in a McCafeTM cup. McDonald's wouldn't serve you something in the wrong cup would they? So was this actually a bona fide flat whiteTM? Is this what all that rainforest alliance blend ads are spruiking? Is this lukewarm drivel in the cup in front of me what the coffee is supposed to look like? Or did my lack of McDonald's coffee experience just make me order the wrong thing? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm not curious enough to go back for a second visit to find out. I'm happy to leave this one unsolved.
And what about the coffee itself? How did it taste? I have no idea. I left it on the table and bought a can of V from the servo next door.

Latte, North Island, Fitzroy North

Awesome. This place is going straight to the top five.
I was in the 'hood to buy a Badass bridge for my bass from Manny's. Very few things in this world with a name like "Badass Bridge" actually live up to their name. These bridges have that much in common with L'Azure de la badasse:

Badasse!

Latte, home

This is the first run with the Killimanjaro/Tanzanian (sic) beans. The guy said something involving the word "fruity", and I had no idea what he meant at the time. But now I think I know where he's coming from. My Quicksilver Messenger Service addiction is in full swing (check my post a few days ago for a video). I'm pretty sure I'm going to listen to it all day. My new bass just turned up too (those Australia Post guys sure get up early) so this could be a good day. Quicksilver Messenger Service, messing around with my bass, and drinking coffee, I assume. Rad.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Espresso, Lygon Food Store, Carlton

I've been meaning to check out this place and Carlton Espresso for quite a while, but I didn't realise they are almost exactly opposite each other on Lygon St. The espresso face off. Who will win?
In the red corner we have Lygon Food Store. There's a real old-school Lygon St vibe here, with all the cheese and sausage hanging everywhere; these guys mean business. I'm expecting the coffee to be just as serious.

QED. Damn, I should have had lunch here too. I imagine this could be a good chaser for something involving tomatoes and basil. We'll cross the road tomorrow and see what it's like on the sunny (in the afternoon) side.

Latte, Tre Bicchieri, Carlton North

On the cover of Guitarist magazine this month: Seasick Steve! Check him out. He's lived in 54 different places, plays a shitty guitar with three strings and a pickup gaffa-taped to it. The ultimate hobo blues man. Let's hope he doesn't ever shave off the beard or get a new guitar, that will be a sign that success has changed him.
I'm pretty impressed with Tre Bicchieri. It's one of those places where the walls look like you're in a deli, but you never see anyone buy any groceries. They were also listening to Just Keep Walking when I walked in. They sure know the way to my heart: early INXS and rad coffee. The guy from the Swop Shop came in on the way to work too. Anybody who spends that much time around that many guitars would have to know where the good coffee is.

Long Black, home

I tried to watch the Australian version of Top Gear last night, but couldn't get through it. Some of the stories were fun (playing lawn bowls with Holden Astras, GPS vs Aboriginal tracker) but it just didn't grab my attention-span-handle. It must be because the UK version is funnier, and the only reason it's funnier is because of their accents. Oh, and the comic timing and delivery that seems to be bundled with that accent.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Latte, Wall 280, St Kilda East

I bought the first Quicksilver Messenger Service album. OMG. That puts an end to the slow news day. Thirty-one minutes of gold. All the tracks are great, but I just can't wait to get back to track three. I think I played it about eight times in a row in the car. Here they are playing it at Monterey:



I came to the Wall because I liked the idea of sitting in the sun, reading the paper, and having another (unnecessary) coffee, but I was too late. The sun had already gone down too far and the Wall was in shadow. Great coffee though.

Latte, Brother Baba Budan, City

Well, they've run out of Blue Horse. The guy recommended Tanzanian, but I couldn't muster up the courage to pronounce it to rhyme with Tasmanian.

Hmm. It's a bit of a slow news day here at the blog.

Latte, home

I'm reading Freakonomics. I had no idea economics could be applied to interesting things. I.e. not the economy. Getting pretty close to running out of beans, I might have to pay Brother Baba Budan a visit today.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Latte, Porgy and Mr Jones, Hawthorn

"4:10? They might be shut..."
"The coffee isn't usually as good on Sunday, I think they get a bit lazy."

Sorry man, you were wrong on both counts. Open for business, and rad coffee.

Latte, home

Sopranos. Yep.

3/4 Latte, home

I'm watching Montreux Jazz Festival 2003 on ABC2. I know that a jazz festival doesn't really have to be entirely jazz any more, and you can call a festival whatever you want and book whoever you want and still get a crowd, but there's no rule saying a jazz festival should be entirely devoid of jazz. The closest this thing got to jazz was Van Morrison, and I only say that because he played saxophone. The rest of the lineup looked a bit weird next to the word "jazz". The Pretenders. Bonnie Raitt. Wtf? Mind you, I missed the first twenty minutes of this program. Maybe all the jazz was sandwiched up the front somewhere. But it seems like it has always been pretty diverse. In 1971 Deep Purple set up to record in The Rolling Stones's mobile studio, and a fire broke out at the casino (or "gambling house") during a Frank Zappa and the Mothers gig. The rest of the story writes itself, as did the lyrics to Smoke on the Water...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flat White, Great Britain Hotel, Richmond

A flat white. It always seems to be exactly the same as a latte, in a big flat cup. Should there be any other difference? Can anyone help me out with this? I wonder if there is any difference at all between a takeaway latte and a takeaway flat white. That could be an interesting experiment for the blog...
Okay kids, you've got some homework. Next time you order two coffees to take away, get a latte and a flat white and let me know if there is ANY difference.

QANTAS, Brisbane to Melbourne

I just did some homework. The QANTAS coffee is made in a dripulator (which appears to be rack-mounted - I wonder if I can install one in my bass amp?) and they just chuck in a pillow-shaped filter-bag already filled with ground coffee, and switch it on. The machine does the rest. That's why it always tastes the same!

QANTAS, Brisbane to Melbourne

Fly out at 12:50pm, land in Melbourne at 3:15PM. Minus one hour for the time zone difference. That leaves 1 hour and 25 minutes, including taxiing and taking off and landing and taxiing. That's pretty bloody quick. This rang some alarm bells with us for a while, but we justified it by saying, "If you drive from Melbourne to Brisbane, it's about nine hours quicker if you don't go through Sydney. You can fly from Melbourne to Sydney in one hour, and Sydney to Brisbane in about one hour, so it must take less than two hours to go from Melbourne to Brisbane." More alarm bells rang when we weren't actually booked on the flight. We later found out that we'd been booked on SEPTEMBER 18 instead of October. But it wasn't until we were almost home that I realised, "Oh yeah, on September 18 there was no daylight saving in Victoria. So there was no time zone difference. So the flight takes 2 hours 25 minutes. So we'll actually get home at 4:15PM. Oh."

Strong Flat White, Mahalo Beach Cafe, Caloundra

You head down the sand towards the water. Not wishing to look like one of those dudes who wear shoes at the beach, you find a suitable unoccupied area of sand and take off your shoes. You then stuff your dorky argyle socks into the shoes, and continue again towards the water. Just as your feet start to get wet, you notice something sticking out of the sand. On closer inspection, it is a keyring with two keys on it and one of those plastic label window things. On even closer inspection, it is full of sand. You rinse it out and realise, that on even closer inspection again, that there is both a room number and a phone number written on a piece of torn-off paper inside. As you head back up to your shoes you dial the number.
"Good afternoon, Hagrid's Real Estate."
"Hi, I just found some of your keys on the beach in the water. It says 'Edgy', room 10."
"Okay which, umm. Oh, did you say you
found some keys?"
"Yes."
"Oh great, could you drop them off at our office?"
"Where is that?"
"Bulldust Rd."
"Is that near the beach?"
"Yes, it's just over the hill. In the CBD. Across the road from the Goldstar Bakery."
"I'm not from here. I don't know where that is."
"Okay. Can I get your name and number, and I'll call you back after we contact the owner?"

You don't have a car. You don't have a map. You're only in town for one day. You don't know your way around here very well. You think "CBD" is the wrong word for a town the size of Caloundra.

To hang up and throw the keys back in the ocean, turn to page 83.
To stay on the line, turn to page 17.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Short Mac, Mahalo Beach Cafe, Caloundra

It was one of those times where somebody in the kitchen yells out instructions for making a short mac, and I start to think I should have just ordered a flat white. But it turned out okay. A few stray grounds in the bottom of the cup made the last sip kinda funky, but other than that pretty good.
I'm trying to figure out how to chart this song I just wrote. It's kinda complicated. Lots of numbers. Either the whole thing is in 1/8, or there are no barlines, or each instrument is a different time signature. Will's solution was, "Don't write a chart, we'll just remember it." Easy.

Latte, Gunshop Cafe, West End, Brisbane

It became clear pretty quickly that it was a cafe, and not a gun shop. But that's okay. I was hungry. The coffee was brilliant. It seems the west end is a volatile caffeine vein waiting to be mined. Just be aware that you will get at least one Pet Shop Boys song stuck in your head while in the area.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Espresso, Cafe Dockside, Brisbane

Everybody else in the band just turned up for breakfast. I'd better have some more coffee.

Remember how yesterday I said I was trying to figure out why XP was taking so long to hibernate? I figured it out. Go into Device Manager and open up Properties for your hard disk. Is "Enable Write Caching" unticked? Tick it. I can hibernate in 10 seconds now, rather than 5 minutes. Awesome. The reason it was unticked was because Digidesign recommend you disable write caching, for better audio recording performance. Hmm. I think being able to turn my laptop on and off quicker is more important right now.

Flat White, Cafe Dockside, Brisbane

"In a mug or a cup?"
Hmm. I thought the only defining feature of the flat white was the cup that it came in. If it came in a glass, it would be called a caffe latte. And if it comes in a mug? I don't really know what to call that. The word mug occasionally gets sandwiched into the Italian coffee-related words that we massacre with our accents every day, resulting in abhorrations like "mugaccino". But without the 'cino part I guess you could call it a flat mug. Or a mug white. Or a mugtte? Mugspresso?
Brisbane is currently in the middle of a spate of torrential rain. I was surprised on Tuesday when Sydney had worse weather than Melbourne. It's even more surprising that Brisbane was worse again. Don't get me wrong, rain is a great thing and we need more of it now more than ever, but it just makes it difficult to get anywhere on foot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

QANTAS, Sydney to Brisbane

Exit row. Awesome. There is enough lap room to get out the laptop and fart around with the Amen break in Ableton for 30 minutes. That "slice to new MIDI track" function sure speeds up the process.
My phone started ringing as we taxied onto the runway. Oops.

Espresso, Watermark, Sydney Airport

With my wireless broadband in full swing, this is one of the first posts I've been able to do as I'm drinking the coffee. The only thing missing is a photo, mainly because of the 130MB driver I need to download to get the camera on my laptop working. Christ knows why a driver needs to be that big. I hope it doesn't have 124MB of, er, background templates or something annoying like that.
But anywhow, I'd better not make too much of a habit of this. Considering how little I actually talk about the coffee, the blog could soon degenerate into a series of laptop-related posts. E.g:

Man, my laptop is taking sooo long to hibernate these days. Then again, I'm sure it's still quicker than getting a grizzly bear to hibernate. The startup time on my laptop is probably streets ahead of the grizzly too.

In other news, I'm starting to regret that Krispy Kreme visit. I'm sure I wouldn't have regretted not going there quite as much. I only had one, but since then my stomach has been saying, "C'mon man, that was uncalled-for."

Latte, Rushcutters Bay...?

I've been to this cafe in the middle of the park in Rushcutters Bay at least a dozen times before, but this is the first time since I started the blog. It is also the first time I've wondered what the place is actually called, as I needed a title for the accompanying blog entry.
They appear to not have a name. There are no menus. The blackboard doesn't have a name. There's no blackboard out the front. There's no signage. There are no business cards. The Bar With No Name in Fitzroy purported to have no name, but at least they had a sign out the front boasting about it. But these guys don't have a sign. That's such a Sydney thing to do.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Espresso, A Love Supreme, Sydney

A Love Supreme. It's a downright silly name for a pizza restaurant, but the food is nothing short of amazing. The espresso was good, eventually. The first one came out stone cold. Oops. The second one was slightly more inspiring, if a little too voluminous.
But the pizza is out of control. Good god. Rad mozzarella/tomatoes/basil salad too.

Latte, Forbes and Burton, Sydney

"What are you doing?"
"Oh. I write a coffee blog."
I often forget that not everybody takes a photo of the coffee when it comes out.

I'm not sure where this is. Darlinghurst? Surry Hills? The apostrophe-barren Kings Cross? I have no idea where they all begin and end. Let's just stick with the "sydney" tag for now. Forbes and Burton was described to me as the "best coffee in Sydney", which is a very Sydney thing to proclaim, but I figured it was worth seeing. It was damn good. An awkward conversation with the waitress with the out-there haircut (think Duane Dibbley with half an undercut) led to us being introduced to a guy from Single Origin, the people who provide Forbes and Burton with their organic free-trade beans. He knew all sorts of things. The beans are roasted with their single origin brethren, as each origin requires different roasting. They are then blended with other beans post-roast. Rad. I don't quite understand what difference any of that makes, but it makes sense. I think I'll have to visit Single Origin next time I'm in Sydney. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure somebody else told me Single Origin was the best coffee in Sydney a few weeks ago.

QANTAS, Melbourne to Sydney

I'm flying to Sydney with Qantas, so I'll be in the wrong terminal and won't be able to get a coffee from Quikfix on the way out. Thumbs down.
BUT I'm flying Qantas so I can just drink their coffee on the plane. Thumbs up.
This is the first time I've ever flown to Sydney and the weather is worse than Melbourne. As a Melbournian, it's my duty to rub everyone's nose in that fact for the rest of the day.

Latte, home

I've come up with a new time-waster while on the phone to Optus. Just make a random noise, and see what the computer thinks you just said. For example, I turned on the steam knob on the coffee machine.
"Did you say SMS?"
I poured some water into the sink.
"Did you say mobile bill?"
I discovered this because I usually try to do something else while on hold, so it's not a complete waste of time. But if you make any sound, even while the machine is talking, it tries to interpret that sound as an Optus-related request. And so the machine gets confused and you have to hang up and start again.
"Did you say this is a complete waste of time and you would rather just talk to one of our staff?"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Plunger, Mum's house

I never thought I'd see the day when my mum would want to own a Nintendo. What can I say. Those Nintendo guys are geniuses. They make games that EVERYBODY wants to play. Sony and Microsoft still seem intent on giving you a controller with forty thousand buttons on it, but Nintendo realised that if you give people two buttons and something to wave at the screen, they'll attract and audience who probably would never sit down for a Halo deathmatch. So I'm playing Wii Tennis against my mum. Well done Nintendo.

Latte, Batch, St Kilda East

See? I was right.
Unfortunately, I drank most of this one while queuing up at Optus World in Elsternwick. The Optus guy on St Kilda Road said that there is a shortage "everywhere" of pre-paid wireless broadband. I was willing to bet the time it took to wait in this queue that the next shop I visit would have what I was looking for. I was right.
This is all in aid of the blog, by the way. If I can pull out my laptop and get on the internet anywhere, anytime, I'll be more likely to update the blog on time, and possibly even post something relevant. Let's graph that relevancy over the next few weeks.

Latte, home

I seem to be getting into a Monday routine where I get up, have a coffee, kill some time around the house for a while, and then head to the studio via Batch, where I get another coffee. And so begins the coffee-fuelled occasionally-productive creative process.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Latte, home

It's been a big day of eating, falling asleep, and then attempting to recover from both with coffee. Off to the Spiegeltent again.

Short Mac, North, Carlton North

The double beef burger at the Retreat killed me. I didn't at first realise the part that the word "double" plays in a meal like that. Gonna need more coffee before I operate heavy machinery.

Latte, home

Thousands of people in the Melbourne Marathon ran past me as I walked along drinking this coffee. I even saw a guy collapse and go face-first into the road. I felt kind of lazy next to all these other people who got up early to run five or ten or twenty of forty-point-one-three-five kilometres. Well, at least I was walking I guess.
"At the statue" is not the best place to meet someone at the MCG on marathon day, by the way. It seemed like all the tens of thousands of people in the marathon had told between one and four people to meet them at the statue. Also, there are several statues. The Denis Lillee one is worth seeing. He looks like he was frozen in carbonite in mid-bowl long long ago in a galaxy far far away, and one day he'll thaw out, land on the ground, and send a full toss screaming through the cantina and get Jabba the Hutt out for an LBW. Boba Fett's finger will go up in the air and Denis Lillee won't have to pay his debt back to Jabba, and he can go on to safely get a haircut and star in those Carpet Call ads. That would be a nice line to have on the statue wouldn't it.
DENIS LILLEE - EXPERT IN THE TRADE

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Short Black, Famous Spiegeltent, City

Hmm. The Spiegeltent has resumed its post as the hip muso/circus/theatre weirdo hangout from October to December, and the program looks pretty impressive, but I get the feeling that the coffee side of things isn't quite happening. A long-looking short black with very little crema going on. Maybe that other coffee place about ten metres away (the one that's there all year) is a safer bet.

Latte, Marios, Fitzroy

Wow. Thanks for the side of hash browns Joel! We had no idea that request would be filled...
I'm digging the new menu here too. Always digging the coffee too.

Plunger, rehearsal

Thanks JB. I have no idea what you were doing with the microwave, but damn it tasted good.

Long Black, home

Crikey. Do I really have a 10AM rehearsal on a Saturday?
Er, yes.
Do I really have to go straight to soundcheck from there?
Yes.
Good lord.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flat White, home

Writing this entry a few days later, I can't help but wonder why on earth I needed more coffee after those other two I had.
Oh, that's right. Gig. That's a reason.

Short Mac, North, Carlton North

I sat around reading the paper for so long after finishing eating that the girl came over and asked if I wanted another coffee. She must have thought I did, otherwise I wouldn't still be sitting there. I was only still sitting there because I couldn't move after eating so many potatoes and eggs and avocado and bacon on toast, and realised I had spent so much time sitting in their chair reading their paper that I might as well have another coffee. The coffee might coax me out of the chair too.
Considered getting a haircut, but spent that money on records instead. Got a bargain price on picture discs of Def Leppard's Hysteria and Poison's Open Up and Say Ahh, along with a few gems from the $2.00 bin:

Flat White, North, Carlton North

"Potatoes" is always an interesting one to see on the breakfast menu as an available extra. These potatoes were amazing. Crispy, thin slices that really taste like potato, and plenty of them too, with the odd bit of charcoal thrown in. Magic. You have to be a bit of a carb fiend to want fried potatoes on toast with your eggs first thing in the morning, but these are sublime. As are the fried-in-duck-fat ones down the road at Rathdowne Food Store. Mmm. Duck fat. It sure sounds delicious, in a this-can't-possibly-be-good-for-me kind of way. Probably not a good move for breakfast every day though.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Strong Latte, Torino Express, Richmond

Very nice. And kind of late in the day too.
There is a bewildering pricing structure on all their grocery items here. I wonder if anybody really comes in and pays over $5 for a litre of Aqua Panna? They would have to be some seriously thirsty, seriously desperate, seriously low-on-time water connoisseurs.

3/4 Latte, home

There are two versions of Valerie by Steve Winwood on iTunes. The single got to number 70 on the US charts in '82, and five years later Tom Lord-Alge's bombastic 1987 remix (ie. more reverb) got to number 9. Not surprisingly, I know the 1987 one better, it gets more of a spin on Gold 104 these days. But the 1982 one is not to be sneezed at, it's the same song, but less explosive-sounding. Wikipedia also tells me that Winwood liked Eric Prydz's sampling of Valerie that he re-recorded the vocals so it would work with the track better. That's where Steve Winwood and I disagree. I thought the Prydz track was a bit irritating. But Steve probably made a hell of a lot of money from that. In situations like this I usually post something from Youtube. Here's all three.




Hmm. I just decided that if you really want to see Call on Me by Eric Prydz, you'll have to find it yourself. This blog is remaining Prydz-free!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flat White, home

Anyone else trying to get their head around Logic 8? I couldn't figure out how to get Ultrabeat to put kick, snare and hats out into separate mixer channels, so I started searching around online. What I found was SFLogicNinja on Youtube. He's posted up a shitload of tutorials, including other complicated Ultrabeat stuff (using a sidechain as an oscillator and gating it with the sequencer for some serious late 90s trance gated-pad sounds -- great ringtone fodder) and plenty of other things in Logic that I haven't even thought of yet.
Oh, and I found out how to do the multi-channel Ultrabeat thing, but not from SFLogicNinja's videos. It was in the manual. Wow!

Espresso, home

This is Amen, Brother by The Winstons, from 1969.



Hear that at 1:43? Sound familiar? That's the Amen break, one of the most sampled drum breaks ever. If you have a spare eighteen minutes, I highly recommend this documentary on the history of the Amen break.



I did some other Amen research today. I went for a run while listening to Amen Andrews. That's Luke Vibert's project for making nostalgic but rad Amen-exploiting drum and bass.



Amen.

Espresso, home

Buying a slightly larger (and almost the right size) tamper has made a huge difference. Whereas before I used to have to tamp, and then tamp the edges that I missed because the tamper was too narrow, now I can just tamp, and it works. This one took way too long to come through. Maybe a coarser grind will do it. I'm not putting my whole body weight on the tamper though, I don't think I really need to.

Wow, that's easily the most times I've ever used "tamper" as a noun in one paragraph. I'm still not sure if "tamp" is a word.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Espresso, Carlisle Wine Bar, St Kilda East

You can't really go wrong with Carlisle. I had the orecchiette bolognese bianco - rabbit ragu with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, spinach, peas and white wine. Rad.
The whole night I kept on getting the feeling that the radio was on really loud in the background, but that was because Tony Martin was sitting at the next table. We made sign language across the table, trying to say "not with the good scissors". He might have seen us, but I'm sure he gets it alot. Here's some nostalgia:

Espresso, Brother Baba Budan, City

I came here for coffee beans, and then decided it would be a crime to not have a cup while I was here. You gotta see the menu of beans available. If feeling shithouse when you go until 11AM without coffee doesn't make you feel like you're on hard drugs, some of these names sure will:

"Hey man, got any Blue Horse?"
I went for Blue Horse. Not because it was recommended (it wasn't) but I just thought it sounded good. I think it's Ethiopian. It's neither blue, nor a horse (two things I would probably never want from coffee anyway) but I'm sure it's good.

Does anyone else think Tasmanian and Tanzanian should rhyme?

Latte, Baretto, Carlton

Located in the ground floor of the (something) building at Melbourne University (which technically is not Carlton but rather its own postcode), Baretto (if that's how you spell it) just goes to show that I should have done some more research or at least taken a business card so I'd have some more solid facts for the blog.
They deal an extraodinary amount of coffee, and the quality still seems fairly high. I'm not sure how all these people would learn anything if Baretto (sp?) weren't doing their job properly.

Latte, North, Carlton North

Damn. Out of beans.
In the news today: the title of a musical about the Beaconsfield mining accident is to be changed from "Beaconsfield: A Musical in A-Flat Minor", out of respect for the family of the victim of the accident.

"We called the musical A Musical in A-Flat Minor because we actually wrote the whole thing in A-flat minor. We didn't realise the pun until it was too late...you have no idea how hard it is to sing in A-flat minor - it's really difficult."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Long Black, home

Most people blame coffee if they can't get to sleep at night.
However, I fell asleep yesterday, somewhere around where late afternoon ends and early evening begins. I was probably out for two hours. Okay, it was a lengthy snooze for that time of day, but hey, it was Sunday. Why not. As a result, I couldn't get to sleep until about 3 or 4AM.
Hmm. Let's look at this a bit closer. I couldn't sleep at night because I fell asleep during the day? Well we all know what prevents falling asleep during the day.
COFFEE!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Latte, Brunetti, City

I found myself dancing at the tram stop on the way here. Be careful taking the new Al Green album out in public, people! ?uestlove was such a good choice to produce this album. Goddam. It sounds so good. It sounds like Al Green used to sound back in the day, but it doesn't feel like I'm standing in a museum. It's still a new album, but it sounds good and there aren't any wack collaborations that are so often shoved onto new albums by rad old school guys. There are a few guests, but they all sound pretty tasteful. Radness. And Al's voice still sounds smoooooth as a well-worn church pew. Here's track two.

3/4 Latte, home

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Long Black, home

Based on the Empress's success with the "pay no heed to the rules" approach this afternoon, I threw my ritual out the window and just turned on the coffee machine and went for it. No tedious cup-warming. No anal tamp-checking regiment. Just grind it, squash it, pull it, drink it. Aside from the lukewarm temperature, it was probably only about 10% worse than when I try really hard to make a good one. Hmm. It makes you wonder.

Polishing off season one of Dexter. OMG OMG OMG OMG how good does it get in the last three episodes! I'm so hooked. Can't wait to start season two, even though almost all the loose ends were tied up in season one.

Flat White, Empress Hotel, Fitzroy North

The Empress have a coffee machine. Interesting.
No grinder. Scooped out of a jar. Interesting.
Milk jug has a saucer over it. Removing the saucer reveals there is milk in there. Dude tops up the milk and starts heating it. Worrying.
The espresso still seemed to take the right amount of time to come out. Promising.
The milk looks right. No saucer. Oops, he spilled it all over the bar.
"Sorry mate, I'm not good with not spilling flat whites."

It tasted like coffee. That is surprisingly rare. I can't tell you how many times the coffee guy looked like they were doing everything right and violating no health regulations and the presentation was 10/10, BUT it ended up tasting like a glass of hot milk. This guy today seemed to do everything wrong, but it worked. I ordered coffee, and that's what I got. I'm just glad I planned ahead and brought a yo-yo with me.

Latte, home

I'm watching Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii again. It's the director's cut, which I've seen before. I can remember thinking, "What's with all this CGI planets stuff and shoddy CGI re-enactments of the volcano exploding and swallowing the city? Isn't this just taking valuable screen time away from Pink Floyd?"
Yes it is. I just noticed one of the special features on the disc is "Film: Original Concert". Sans-CGI, I assume. I'd better watch that next time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Short Mac, North, Carlton North

Two.
We're off to see Wall•E. I'm not sure why they chose to put that vertically-centered black dot in the title of the movie, but I'm impressed with how many people are sticking to it. A hyphen would be much easier, but it wouldn't be right.
Good lord. That dot is called an interpunct, I just found out via Wikipedia. Amazing.

Strong Flat White, North, Carlton North

One.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Latte, New York Tomato, Richmond

Somehow we were twenty-five minutes early for rehearsal. Coffee is great for these situations.
All the staff at NYT had red tooth enamel on their teeth. It's a theme day. Red Tooth Day. It promotes awareness of vampire-related deaths, I guess.

Latte, home

Still catching up on a week of coffee. Crikey. I can't remember if this one was particularly eventful. Other than Nash chaining his bike to the front fence and then forgetting it was there until he got home. Also, I had no idea whose bike it was when I got home. That would be an interesting pointlessly annoying petty crime: chaining a bike to a stranger's fence so they have to get bolt cutters.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Espresso, home

Don't go to Northside Records on Gertrude St unless you really want to spend more money than you want to. I went in to get the new Bamboos album, and just kept on finding more and more stuff I wanted to get.
  • Bad Brains are on the cover of this month's Wax Poetic. That's a no-brainer.
  • Five-sided (?!) vinyl compilation of (Fela Kuti's drummer) Tony Allen's good good stuff. Essential afrobeat/disco listening. The guy in the shop described it as an "easy buy". It comes on five sides of three discs. I'm trying to think of something clever to do with the remaining blank side.
  • Soundtrack to a French movie called "Cannabis", composed by Serge Gainsbourg. Wtf? My Serge phase was about four years ago, but I never knew about this one. It was recorded around the time of Histoire De Melody Nelson, which I still put in my top ten. I didn't listen to much of it in the shop, but it's like Melody Nelson but slower and with more distortion.
  • The Bamboos album I came in for.
Very very very much kudos goes out to the Bamboos or their label or whoever had the idea to put a CD of the album in there with the vinyl. I've now got it on vinyl (complete with Brady-Bunch-meets-Hanna-Barbera cover art) but I can also put the CD on in the car. All bases covered.

Flat White, Las Chicas, St Kilda East

Can you feel the love?

Halftte, home

My Kaoss Pad turned up from some guy on eBay. Awesome. It's the KP Mini, which is small enough for people to take on the train and plug into their iPod. It also happens to be small enough to gaffa-tape to a guitar so you can pretend to be the guy from Muse. There are countless examples of both on Youtube. This guy shows how the KP-Mini makes it really easy to make annoying house music slightly more annoying:



It's a great little box and has shitloads of effects available, and the tap-tempo button is handy, but only two savable presets?! I guess if you really need more you would buy a normal-size Kaoss Pad, but it would be nice to have a halfway point where there is a useful amount of presets but you can still Velcro it to your guitar. It's still fun though. The delay effects also seem to work on some kind of audio buffer, so you can catch something you played half a second ago and hear it again. It's not quite a time machine, but it's close.