The build begins!

Hello,

I finally picked up an old espresso machine to start my modification and rebuild job. I’m not going to be starting just yet, but imagine I will towards the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to it though, there’s a lot of possibilities on what I can do, and as it was a relatively cheap machine there’s less concern from my end on breaking it, or the potential to damage it for certain things.

The machine was bought off of trademe, and in typical fashion, I had it at $28 for a couple of days, right up until the end when in the final ten minutes the price more than doubled. A final price of $57 was more than I had wished to spend, but when I’m honest it’s still very cheap for the potential fun in the rebuilding and modifying process more than anything. So long as the machine is functional I don’t think there’s a ton of bother at the moment.

Will try to remember to post a photo of the machine itself in the next few days, before I start to dismantle it.

Currently there are a few ideas bouncing around in my head as to what I can do with it. Obviously, there will be some modification to the body using lego. I was also thinking about trying to make a temperature control (have seen various spots for this on the internet), and a few other little ideas. We will see what I end up doing in the end though.

Excited

M

I woke up this morning…

….and instantly wished I could teleport to a coffee shop with a notebook in hand to try to figure out some of the things I need to get done in the next while. Two problems, the coffee shops I was thinking about are definitely not in New Zealand (sorry guys, you’re still amazing), and the second being that I’m currently on a pseudo caffeine strike on and off for a few weeks. I go through this every once in a while, where it seems that I decide that I need to cut my caffeine intake drastically and go through a few weeks before jumping back on the bandwagon and questioning why I was ever silly enough to stop drinking coffee.

This is not to say that I drink too much coffee, but that I drink it quite frequently. I remember when I was 17 and working at a department store I had definitely developed a caffeine dependency, through coffee and energy drinks. When I cut off of those I found I felt much better in the longer term getting back on track. Now, I maybe drink four cups of coffee a day, and maybe a tea thrown in there as well. There’s something so soothing about trying to work through a research paper, and then taking a break to make a cup of coffee, and poring over some articles, with the scent in the air, the taste on your lips and maybe (depends if it does truly impact) a bit of a jolt to wake you up.

Now, as I work on a paper I’m thinking already that I need a cup of coffee. Thankfully there’s none in the house, but I’m sure I can’t go without it for too long. It’s part of my essence.

Anyone else try to do this occasionally? Other than perhaps in January?

-M

Tea & Coffee

A while ago I was talking to a friend of mine from Toronto, and she told me that mixed her morning cup of coffee with a herbal tea while it steeped so that she would infuse some of the tea flavour into her coffee. This actually baffled me at first, as it seemed a bit out there, but almost an ingenius way to try to infuse your coffee as opposed to going the flavoured syrup route that so many people take.

If I remember correctly she would steep it with a nut tea with her normal coffee in a french press. Now I didn’t ask any questions like how long, or the ratios, and am now wishing I had done just that. There are obviously many different experiments I will have to try on this in the future. A nut tea would be great place to start, it would just blend so well a nice earthy taste to the tea. I can’t imagine it being that great if I tried something simple like orange pekoe, but maybe if I used a ginger tea, or maybe a chai tea, that could make for some interesting mixes for a hot summer day when all you want is something cold and refreshing.

Then it gets into so many different combinations on how to make the drink, times, ratios, cold, hot, immersion, pressure, etc… this could get really fun.

Has anyone tried this before? Or am I alone in thinking this would be a great albeit a bit odd idea at times depending on what coffee and what tea you use, as well as the brewing techniques. It’s like creating frankenstein in your kitchen and trying to blend the best of both worlds into some kind of monster drink that will satisfy your every desire.

-M

Notes on: The Stopover Cafe

There are so many different coffee shops in Auckland I feel like it will take me forever to cover them, but that’s alright. Let’s be honest, I love coffee, and wandering around to discover new places is a fabulous past time.

One of the most surprising coffee shops for me so far in Auckland has been the Stopover on Symonds street, just in between the University of Auckland & AUT. While I would expect that most young people have some preference on coffee, and are invested in a roaster, it’s also a place that I would expect to have bulk serving of coffee, focused on putting out as much as possible with not much flair. How more wrong could I be – the Stopover is one of SEVERAL great spots just along Symonds Street.

What originally drew me to the Stopover is obviously the name, and the logo. I love travel, and above all I love to fly places. There has, and always will be something so soothing about airports, sitting there and sipping on a cup of coffee, watching people go by. Now that I’m writing about it I even feel that itch to go somewhere, I’m getting jittery, hmm, maybe I’ll have to go out of town soon. I’m getting off topic a bit here aren’t I.

The loyalty card has a little logo on it, and makes me think of a passport. It’s well crafted, but there’s quite a lot of different approaches they could have taken for this one. Everyone will be a critic and have a different perspective.

I bet you want a trip here now don't you?
I bet you want a trip here now don’t you?

They serve allpress coffee, and have quite the array of sandwiches, muffins, and whatnot.

The interior design is quite pretty. With suitcases, maps, and just overall it feels cozy. It’s a bit sad as I never see it too full, though it definitely deserves the attention. I expect more people to be flushing through the doors, but with close proximity to several other coffee shops there is a high level of competition. Just within a hundred or so metres south along Symonds is Brickhouse, another great coffee shop, and then if you head towards the University of Auckland you can head to graduate cafe, Strata and enjoy Atomic (same as Brickhouse), so really it must be hard to draw in people.

That said, when I’m taking the bus in to University, it stops right outside and more often than not I will find myself stepping in for a long black to go, setting me up for a great day.

The staff is great, very friendly and efficient at what they’re doing. The food looks quite nice, thought I must admit I have yet to sample from many of the treats (I can’t have one every day, that would just not bode well for my future), and I do enjoy the decor. It’s not too much, or too trendy as is the case with so many coffee shops, but it sticks to a theme, is simple and is something that I think everyone can appreciate without being overwhelmed. I love this place, and if you’re up on Symonds Street and keen for a nice coffee, and to be able to watch all the University students (myself included) pass by then you should drop it.

Should you go? If you love travel themes, good service and not overly pretentious coffee. The coffee price is reasonable, and has always been prepared excellently for me. If you want some soft brew methods, this is not the place, and I would head down towards high street, or Britomart to two of the best coffee shops in town @Chuffed Coffee & @EspressoWorkshop.

Take a look, you might love it.

Cheers,

-M

A modular coffee maker?

Did everyone play with lego as a kid? Or maybe the hot wheels race tracks where you could build your own race track and jumps for the cars to go over? Or better yet, maybe you played with the marble track sets where you would build a giant maze for the marble to traverse?

Just imagine if that could be done with coffee. There are so many interesting brewing methods for coffee, but imagine if you could combine different ones, and put them together like a set. I keep imagining how utterly amazing it would be to have a modular coffee machine design where you could take out pieces or add them to try to change the final taste of your coffee. Maybe a steeping chamber, maybe one to agitate, maybe a pressure chamber….all built together in different ways.

If only.

-M

Where in the world is your favourite coffee?

It’s a simple premise isn’t it, where in the world is your favourite coffee? This could mean where are the beans sourced from, your favourite roaster, personality, or even your favourite experience. I’m going to give a brief note on my favourite coffee experience.

When I was living in the United Kingdom, I would read one of the free coffee magazines called “Caffeine” (http://www.caffeinemag.com) and loved the articles they would do about different personalities in coffee around Europe. They would highlight some of the prominent people who had won competitions and had an impact on the local scene of where they were from. One of these people was Tim Wendelboe, from Oslo, Norway (https://timwendelboe.no/). I loved the spread they did on him, and decided when I was in Oslo to take a look at his coffee shop.

Lucky for me that it only cost fifteen pounds one way from the UK to Oslo, so I was off before I knew it. And I was not let down at all. I was blown away.

Tim Wendelboe is located on an off street in Oslo, and looks utterly majestic from the outside. It’s unassuming but beautiful.

Need I say more? (Don’t worry, I will soon).

-M

Contributors Wanted

Hello guys,

I’m looking from anyone throughout New Zealand who would be interested in putting together some reviews, or little stories about coffee, to tell us about the hidden (and not so hidden) gems to grab a coffee in this lovely nation.

Let me know.

Best,

-M