I'm BACK, and now to review some coffee!

Yes, I'm a terrible person. Its been almost exactly 6 months since I've posted an update. Life gets in the way alright?? I've been busy!!! Busy with......things....

SO ANYWAY,  to bring this blog back with some style, I thought I'd review one of my favorite coffees from a roaster out of Wisconsin called Ruby Coffee. If you've never heard of them, I HIGHLY recommend you give them a try. I've yet to have anything bad from them. 

Now, I could go into everything that they are currently roasting, but google can do that for you without my extra effort. What I'm going to talk about is their year round blend called Creamery. 

Now to give you a little back story, coffees are dictated by season more rigorously than some other food items. Similar to wine grapes, there are only certain times of year that the coffee cherry will grow, dependent on region. For example, most African coffees are usually available beginning in late fall, ending in early spring, which corresponds with the growing season being 3-4 months prior to them being roasted (give or take). Asian coffees (such as New Guinea or Indonesia) fall in about the same time frame, as the seasons fall along the same general times. Central American coffees tend to be opposite to those regions, There is overlap too, which is my favorite time, because there are SOOOOO many yummy coffees around. Now with that in mind...

Creamery, as a year round coffee, will contain different beans depending on what time of year it is. The down side is that blends can sometimes be inconsistent with flavors. Its hard to replicate a flavor profile when your ingredients change almost monthly. However, Ruby definitely does it. I've yet to detect a difference between each seasonal variant, and I've seen 4 different varieties to date. Currently, the blend is a Columbia, Guatemala and Ethiopia. 

In terms of flavor, Creamery is very smooth. Ethiopian coffees tend to be very acidic but fruity, and Colombian very heavy but sweet, so the combination in Creamery works really well. The packaging claims you get hints of Chocolate and of Raspberry, and I can see where they are coming from. Guatemalan coffees do tend to give a very chocolaty note to coffees, but that's not the over riding flavor I get. Personally, I feel like the berry is a lot more subtle. Less razz, and more blackberry, and the chocolate profile is of such a dark chocolate, i'd call it more cocoa powder. Neither of which is a bad thing. On the nose, its a very bright smelling coffee, retaining some of the coffee cherry's natural smell, so quite fruity. 

I've brewed this coffee a few different ways and I've noticed that different flavors are more prevalent depending on the method. In a traditional drip coffee maker, you'll get a fair mix of berry and chocolate notes, with a syrupy sweetness that overlays everything. Its a great coffee black, or with a touch of cream. On French Press, you'll be tasting a mouthful of berries. Blueberry, cherry and raspberry come through REALLY strongly. As an espresso, its like hershey's syrup. Super chocolaty and sweet, perfect in an americano. Pourover lends to more of the acids in the coffee coming through, so you'll get a slightly more bitter (tho pleasantly bitter) cocoa powder with a bit of citrus in there. I wouldn't recommend this coffee as an aeropress, I tried several different amounts and grinds, and it always ended up muddy, even with milk and sugar to remove some of that flavor. 

Now that I've gone on forever, go find some Ruby at your local grocers. My store carries it (but I shan't reveal where I ACTUALLY work) and its one of my absolute favorite coffees. You can also order online at http://rubycoffeeroasters.com/. They usually roast fresh on monday, and you'll get your order 2-3 days later. Happy coffee lovin!

At Home Iced coffee: Weirdest way ever

For those that are unaware, aside from being a technophile of the highest degree, I'm also a rabid coffee addict. This has manifested itself more and more, now especially because I work at a coffee place. On the plus side, I'm not just a barista, I'm a coffee purchaser, meaning the stuff on the shelves is hand picked by me. I'm kinda a big deal. Another perk is that I learn all sorts of new and fun ways to brew coffee. Pourover, Chemex, Aeropress, Filtron, to name just a few.

In that vein, I was sent something by a fellow barista that, although odd, I just had to try. You can actually find the instructions on it here: http://instructables.com/id/DIY-Cold-Brew-Coffee/?ALLSTEPS. Because there's already an instruction list, I won't go into the how to, just my results and reactions. I'll also mention, I did a slightly different variation on my second attempt, where the felt was replaced with a polishing cloth, and the filter bag was left open. That yielded better results

Now the method listed above is really simple. Cut a bottle, grind your coffee and throw it in. Let it sit over night. VOILA! Iced goodness! Sorta....

So the crux of this brewing method is going to be the coffee that you pick. As a general rule, darker roast coffees will make a better cold brew. Without getting overly technical, they just hold up better and the syrupiness you get from a coffee concentrate (which this method makes) goes better with the flavors. The problem is that not a lot of people are into dark roasts. More and more people are gravitating towards light roasts. I call those people pussies.

Now I did this two different times with two different coffees. The first batch I made was from Metropolis Coffee, with their La Cordillera Blend. La Cordi is more of a medium roast, but has more chocolatey and sweet flavors (graham cracker being the strongest), which are more what you're looking for in a cold brew (usually anyway). I allowed for a longer brew time, 14 hours, and gave it a shot. What I got was just kinda.......meh. The concentrate by itself was actually quite tasty, but diluting it like you're supposed to caused a lot of the flavors to just disappear. It wasn't bad, tho I'd probably brew that one for longer if I did that particular blend again. I also would have drank it straight, if I didn't know that I'd potentially have a heart attack. Side story: my husband totally drank 2 16oz glasses of it straight in a 4 hour period, cleaned the whole house like a madman and then slept for 14 hours. Score 6 / 10

Round Two: This time I decided to go with a single origin coffee. The flavors in single origins tend to be more consistent so there is a lot less guesswork and fiddling. I grabbed a bag of MadCap Luis Reinoso from Guatemala. This one is between a medium and dark, tends to be quite sweet on its own with some honey notes, and a little bit of fruitiness (kinda apple / pear). Now since I did a slightly different method with the second batch, I'm not completely sure it was ONLY the coffee that made a difference,  but DAMN this one was good. This one brewed for 14 hours as well, and was just about perfect. The concentrate was too strong, but diluted it was great. I don't sweeten my coffee in general, and I didn't need to with this one, but with a little sugar and cream it still held up on flavors. Score 9/10

Overall this is a fun and easy method of cold brewing at home that doesn't involve a lot of hassle. Once your concentrate is done, throw it into a pitcher, and everything else goes in the trash. I highly recommend it, just pick your coffee wisely

The Macbook - Then VS Now

Macbook. You know them, you love them, they are so pretty and sexual. Pro, air, whatever. Since it's inception, its been a definitive item in Apple's arsenal. So so history, and then my thoughts on the New Macbook, versus the Old Macbook. 

Now I'm not talking about the Pro's or the Airs in this little post. They are, at least to me, completely separate groups of machines when you break it down. 

Apple introduced the MacBook and the MacBook Pro in 2006, replacing the iBook and PowerBook lines they'd had for years. Both computers maintained the basic form factor of their predecessors, but jumped ship on Apple's proprietary PPC Processors. Here were shiny new computers using the nearly universal Intel Core, allowing for all sorts of new options with the OS and graphics and even games (if you were brave enough to dual boot in those days). It was cool and exciting for Mac laptops. The base model Macbook was awesome for the average home user, or the student. The price was still steep, but you got that back in longevity and dependability. 

Fast forward 4 years. The Macbook went through 3 incarnations in that time, and then out of no where, Apple killed it. The last Macbook on the market was the 2010 White Unibody Macbook with 2.4ghz processor. They left the student and home computer market to the base model Macbook Pro (which was similarly speced, tho $200 more) and the new Macbook Airs. 

Now I was never super jazzed about the Macbook Air, to be honest. Its cool looking, but frankly, it just falls short of what I really want it to do. And external storage is a pain in the dick, so lets move on....

Now just this year, Apple decided it was time to bring back the Macbook line. 3 new colors, sexier slim form factor, and only one port......... Wait WHAT?

OK, so I will admit, at first, I was star struck by these new little machines. The internals are nice, and its beautiful to look at. I played with one at my local Apple store, and its incredibly zippy, very responsive, and the new "force click" feature works just as described. But for all that, I really just don't like them that much. What Apple did with this new laptop, is try what they did with the MacBook Air, which is compete in a market they haven't been in before. With the Air, they were competing for space against the Netbook's of the time. But it seems to me what apple is trying to compete with is products like the Surface Pro, or assorted Dell tablets that are half laptop half tablet hybrids. The problem is, they are already in this market, with the iPad. So they're competing with themselves as well. 

As it stands though, my heart still belongs to the unibody White MacBooks. I know it sounds stupid, especially with so many advances since then, but hear me out. In the same way the MacBook pro transitioned to the unibody design, the white unibody MacBook's were a game changer. Not before or since, has anyone really been able to replicate the design "wow" factor of those devices. They were really beautiful computers. Its the same reason why I still prefer the traditional MacBook Pro over the Retina display ones. In all honesty, I feel like I'm going to break the retina and airs. My brain knows they are solid computers, but I feel like I'm holding delicate assed crystal when using them. The rational part of my brain knows that plastic scratches, breaks and warps WAY more easily than the ALOOMINIUM of the current ones, but the heft and weight of previous models makes them seem safer and more solid to me. 

At the end of the day, the new Macbook is a great little computer, with some cool features and some weird drawbacks (Seriously, that USB-C thing is just friggin bizarre). If you love it, get it. Its a Mac, and just like most of the Mac line, it will last you a good long time. But for this little technophile, someone find me a good price on a white Unibody. Momma wants somethin to tinker with :P

The Introduction - What is this and why?

Many moons ago, I promised Atom that I would start this blog. So now I am. And in the only way I know how, I am going to go for it. So let me tell you what we're going to talk about here...

My two passions in life (aside from podcasting, but you know this) are technology and coffee. And thankfully, those two things have made up a large part of my career choices. I won't go in depth as to where i've worked, but you can figure that shit out if you listen to the show. But how in the world, you may be asking, can I devote an entire blog to those two topics? Well sit back my lovlies and I will tell you. 

Now with tech, that can be pretty easy. Technology is ever changing and evolving. In addition, I absolutely LOOOOOVE old tech, so I'll be talking about and reviewing tech both new and old. From the NES onward, I love them all. But not Microsoft, only good thing they ever made was the xBox, and even thats just OK. Fuck you, ITS MY OPINION AND I WILL EXPRESS IT AND YOU WILL ACCEPT IT!!!!

*ahem*

For most people, coffee is that stuff you drink in the morning that makes the *stand up and do shit.exe* happen. You can get Folgers, or starbucks and just be done with it. But for me its kind of a way of life. I'm a coffee purchaser, meaning I know what the difference between an Ethiopian and Guatemalan coffee really is. For most, that really just makes me a coffee snob. Either way, I know my shit, and I love it. So for this part of the blog, I'll talk about what's in season, what's new and exciting, and really what I just like at the moment. Who knows, you may love what I tell you about. Or not.........

And so onward we go. I'll be updating the blog at least once a week. Enjoy my caffeinated chronies!