Sunday, January 28, 2007

Why does everyone overroast?

After a long trip through Starbucks, Peets, local coffee shops and gourmet roasters, I finally found a store that sells 5 ppound bags of Lavazza again. The experience left me wondering why every American roaster overroasts their coffee? At Starbucks it's a given, they use their stuff mostly in highly sugared drinks, so they have to give some bite to average beans. Peets is a bit better, but still deliveres dark, glossy beans that kill most of the taste. And the local roasters--from BlueBottle in SF over Hudson Bay Co. in Rockridge, to Quartermaine and Coyote in DC (and at any stop in between)--are either not far behind, or way worse.

It doesn't have to do with strength, or caffination, or even local differences: every "gourmet" coffee bean in the States is roasted within an inch of its life.

Lily or Lavazza beans make a cup that sits up and barks, but if you look at the beans, they are positively pale, or even slightly greenish compared with the standard US stuff. Might it be that they use pretty much pure Arabica? Or is it just as simple as "Starbucks set the taste of American coffee drinkers and anyone must follow or perish"?

Hey, maybe it's not even Starbuck's fault. NYC diner coffee 25 years ago was thin, black, and bitter.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Insomnia rocks

It's 8:30

-I cleaned the kitchen to Metallica
-I did two loads of laundry
-I rearranged furniture
-I vaccumed to AC/DC

And I annoyed the crap out of the folks downstairs.

Sunday, January 21, 2007



Embarrassing Sport Pundit Nitwits

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Fog free weekend

Something like 30 degrees in the morning and westerly winds for the last week or so. The perfect mix of no fog, no tourists, and awesome waves.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Any given Saturday

Now that three friends and colleagues in as many weeks have accused me of "hating" Notre Dame, I'd like to clarify:

I don't hate Notre Dame, they are one of the 50 best NCAA football teams. I don't hate any players, I just have issues with their fans, their organization, their loudmouthed alumni, and the guys who've only watched them on NBC. Notre Dame is NOT the best team in college football and they are not even a top ten team. Arguably, they are a top 25, but they are always ranked about 10 places higher than they should be because they have two very unique advantages any given Saturday:

-They don't play in a conference. Any given Saturday, players give just the little extra effort when playing conference rivals. Alabama plays just this much harder when they play Florida, Oregon plays just that much harder when playing USC, and even the pathetic Illini get off their asses when playing Ohio State. OK, Michigan and USC bring out their A game when playing the Irish, but a lot of the middling Division A teams don't have a special stake in the Irish games.
-They play the service academies every year, essentially getting three free wins. Now, Vanderbilt, Indiana, and Stanford provide the same service for the SEC, Big Ten, and PAC 10, but that's one game per year; and even they could probably beat Army, Navy and Air Force any given Saturday. So STFU about "strenght of schedule" while at the same time cashing in on three freebies per year because of tradition.

0-9 in bowl games is all you need to know about how ND fares against top ten teams.

I'll start rooting for them once they decide if they want to be on a level playing field and play Division 1-A, or be the Harlem Globertrotters of the NCAA.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

I had a few days off, so I did a 3 day drive along the parts of Highway 1 I hadn't been to. Back for bar crawl and the fireworks on the Embarcadero (no pics, sorry).

Hangover only lasted until early afternoon--there is something to be said for sticking to mojitos and bubbly.