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Coffee and Coffee Snobbery are recurring themes on this site.  As you know, I work for the nice guys at Prima Coffee.  Naturally, I have a fair amount to say about coffee equipment.  Many coffee snobs find themselves (to their chagrin) receiving Starbucks cards for Christmas.  While I am thankful for such gifts, because Jen really likes their hot apple cider, I think it helpful to provide a list of good gift ideas for your favorite coffee snobs. So, here’s my list of great Coffee gifts divided under: $0-$25, $25-$50, $50-$100, and $100+.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS $0-$25

DCILY KeepCup$14.50

DCILY Keepcup

(http://dearcoffeeiloveyou.merchmo.com/products/detail/oz_DCILY_Mission_KeepCup_6087)

This is a sweet reusable travel cup featuring one of my favorite coffee blogs – DCILY.

Clever Coffee Brewer$16

Clever Coffee Brewer

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/clever-coffee-dripper-abid)

I have said multiple times before that the Clever is the best entry-level manual brewer on the market.  I absolutely love this brewer.  It is a great gift.

Intelligentsia Gift Card$25

Intelligentsia Coffee Gift Card

(http://www.intelligentsiacoffee.com/product/merchandise/intelligentsia-gift-card)

Intelligentsia is one of my absolute favorite roasters.  Their coffee subscription service on their website, however, is confusing. Thus, I recommend a gift card.  Intelli ships all over the place, and you can find great coffee (and sweet mugs) on their site.

Sweet Maria’s Green Coffee – $$$

Sweet Maria's

(http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.greencoffee.mvc.php?source=side)

These vary in price, but if you know someone that does their own roasting, Sweet Maria’s is a great resource.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $25-$50

Aeropress$25.95

Aerobie Aeropress Coffeemaker

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/aerobie-aeropress-coffee-maker)

The AeroPress is a great little brewer.  A little more effort than a Clever, but it makes a great cup of coffee.  Mind you, it only makes one cup, but it does it well.

Hario Metal Coffee Press$27.75

Hario Metal Coffee Press

(http://prima-coffee.com/hario/coffee-press)

If you’re into French Press coffee, this is a good little brewer for you.  Prima is also selling it dirt cheap for Black Friday.

Hario Mini Mill Manual Coffee Grinder$31.95

Hario Mini Mill Grinder MSS-1B

(http://prima-coffee.com/grinder/hario-coffee-grinder-mini-mill-slim)

The best little hand grinder out there.  Gives you a good workout while grinding your coffee.  Functional for espresso to French Press, which is quite versatile…trust me.

Jennings CJ4000 Scale$38.75

Jennings Coffee Scale

(http://prima-coffee.com/catalog/jennings-cj4000-scale-29075)

I find that I brew coffee best when I am exact with the weights of both the grounds and the water.  The Jennings scale is precise.  It also has an AC adapter so you don’t have to buy batteries every six weeks.

Hario V60 Pour-Over Set-Up$43

Hario V60 Coffee Brewing Set-up

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/hario-v60-pour-over-set)

I have this set-up at home (except with a ceramic brewer).  I love this system. Although you will need to purchase a pouring kettle as well (see below).

Bonavita Electric Pouring Kettle$49.99

Bonavita Electric Pouring Kettle

(http://prima-coffee.com/bonavita/electric-pouring-kettle)

This is the kettle I rock at home.  It is also helpful for warming up my daughter’s bottles.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $50-$100

AeroPress and Mini Mill Combo$57

Aeropress Mini Mill Travel Combo

(http://prima-coffee.com/catalog/coffee-travel-kit-aeropress-and-mini-mill-17033)

Put two items from the list above and get ’em for cheaper. Enough said.

Hario Buono Pouring Kettle$53

Hario Buono Pourover Kettle

(http://prima-coffee.com/hario/buono)

Pours better than the Bonavita kettle, but it costs a bit more and doesn’t heat up water automatically. Your call as to which is better.

Counter Culture 3-month Coffee Subscription$64.95

Counter Culture Subscription

(http://my.counterculturecoffee.com/coffee/subscriptions/)

I love Counter Culture Coffee. They have a good subscription service for varying durations.

GIFTS FOR COFFEE SNOBS – $100+

Tonx Coffee 3-Month Subscription (2 12oz bags per month) – $114 ($38/mo)

Tonx Coffee Subscription

(https://tonx.org/7dd531b4)

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder$129

Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder

(http://prima-coffee.com/grinder/baratza-encore-conical-burr-coffee-grinder)

My favorite entry-level electronic grinder.  It is very flexible and reliable. We use it everyday in the office.

Six-month Craft Coffee Subscription$134.94

Craft Coffee Subscription

(http://www.craftcoffee.com/products/artisan-coffee-tasting-box)

Great subscription service. Craft coffee sends you great coffee from several great roasters.

Prima Tamp$140

Prima Tamp

(http://prima-coffee.com/prima/prima-tamp)

Just talked about this yesterday. It still rocks.

Bonavita Thermal Carafe Automatic Brewer$149.99

Bonavita Automatic Coffee Brewer with Thermal Carafe

(http://prima-coffee.com/brewer/bonavita-automatic-coffee-brewer-thermal-carafe)

The only automatic coffee brewer I recommend.  Great gift for anyone at half the price of a Technivorm (another good automatic brewer).

Until later friends…

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We recently brought a whole heap of new products into our inventory at work.  You know me, I am greatly entertained by new coffee stuff.  One new product I am particularly excited about is this Hario French Press:

Hario Double-Walled French Press

As I have written before, I have mostly disavowed the French Press in honor of the Clever.  This French Press, however, is out to change my mind.  The actual working design has no real difference than a standard French Press, but aesthetically, this thing rocks.  It just looks good.  I was tempted to proclaim this the most aesthetically pleasing home coffee brewer, but then, that made me think of all the other well-designed brewers.  So, lets pit them all against one another and see who wins.  In honor of this contentious election season, we’ll have a vote.

Be sure to read up on the candidates below:

Hario Double-Walled French Press

Hario French Press with Olive Wood

This French Press includes a double-walled design, which aids in temperature stability.  It also makes it look pretty sweet.  The design incorporates glass, olive wood, and leather. I think this is a beautiful brewing apparatus.

The Chemex

Chemex in the MOMA

The Chemex is designed so well that it is exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). I think that puts it in contention for most aesthetically-pleasing home coffee brewer.

Walküre Karlsbad Coffee Brewer

Walküre

The tea-inspired porcelain design of the Walküre Karlsbad is beautiful.  This is the kind of brewer you put in a china cabinet as a conversation piece.

Eva Solo Cafe Solo Brewer

Eva Solo Cafe Solo Coffee Maker

The Eva Solo is hip.  It is the John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever of the coffee brewing world.  It is a force to be reckoned with in coffee style.

The Siphon

The Siphon is the only coffee brewing apparatus with which I am familiar that uses an open flame.  People (and moths) are drawn to the beauty of an open flame.

Happy Voting. Until later friends…

We often wonder what life what have been like if things had gone differently.  What if the Red Sox hadn’t sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees?  What would the world be like if the USSR won the Cold War? And the like.

Babe Ruth Red Sox

We have also all experienced some level of remorse about various choices we have made.  A disproportionate amount of regret in most of our lives’ stems from awkward middle-school years, but we can laugh those off.  Sometimes our regret stems from very serious moral lapses or misjudgments.  All of us have said “If I could do it all over again, I’d  __________.” I have recently had one of those moments of self-reflection and remorse.

If I could do it all over again, I would buy a Clever Coffee Dripper instead of a Bodum French Press.  There, I said it.  It wasn’t something serious.  I never took the wrong turn and ran over a pedestrian, and there are plenty of things I regret in my life, but for right now, the remorse I have in mind is buyer’s remorse.  The Clever Coffee Dripper is just so…well, clever.

Clever Coffee Dripper by Abid

It has all the joys of full immersion coffee brewing one gets with a French Press, but it is 100 times easier to clean.  In order to clean the French Press, you have to dismantle the entire thing, scrape the coffee grounds out of it, wash several pieces, and reassemble.  With the Clever, you simply remove the filter and grounds, throw them away, and rinse out the Clever.  That is…you guessed, clever.

Here is a Clever brewing demo:

Until later friends…

Seriously? Bodum’s latest marketing campaign for their French Press coffee makers are centered on Chimps.  For real.

Bodum Chimp

I don’t know if they are trying to capitalize on the whole Planet of the Apes reboot, or if they are trying to steal the “It’s so easy a caveman can do it” concept.  Either way, this is pretty ridiculous marketing.

I just can’t get over this.  I’m not necessarily opposed to using apes/chimps in advertising for something that has nothing to do with apes/chimps, as is evidenced by my earlier post.  But this campaign seems completely random, without much humor.

Dear Bodum,

If you are going to continue using an ape, chimp, or monkey in advertising, please take a look at a proper use of ape humor in advertising:

Until later friends…
PS – I still love my Bodum French Press, I just wish they used different advertising methods.

Bodum Chambord French Press

Neophyte

1. Novice

2. Beginner

3. A person newly converted to belief.

Example: Coffee snobbery neophytes most often begin their journey into coffee addiction with the purchase of a French Press.

Bodum Chambord French Press

PS – Though a Clever Coffee Dripper is even easier to use.

Clever Coffee Dripper by Abid

Over the past couple of years, I have been exposed more and more to the Third Wave Coffee movement.  I have chronicled my descent journey into coffee snobbery here.  I have been exposed to many types of coffee brewing, and I am coming to understand which coffee origins I prefer.  I can hold my own in a discussion about espresso machines, and I know enough about various brewing methods to not look like a total newbie.  Unlike many coffee-lovers, I do not spend much money on coffee.  It is hard for me to justify, because Jen doesn’t drink coffee.  I’ve considered saving up for a Mypressi Twist, but it is hard to justify spending that much money on something that only I would use – especially when it is almost half the cost of a decent couch, which would benefit both of us.  So, for mainly economical reasons, I am still rocking the Bodum French Press for all my home coffee needs.

I consider the French Press to be the gateway drug of specialty coffee home-brewing.  If you bring home a french press, most people will think, “Oh, that’s cool,” or “that’s a little weird.”  The next in line is the manual pour-over brewers like Chemex and Hario.  If you bring out a manual pourover brewer, people might still think it’s cool, but they are beginning to think you are in need of an intervention.  Your family will begin to have hushed conversations over Folgers, saying things like “He’s blowing all his money on this stuff,” “It’s like he’s obsessed,” and “This seems idolatrous.”  But the black-tar heroin of specialty coffee home-brewing is the legendary siphon brewer:

You have this thing in your house, people are going to think that you are making meth.

I joke about this thing being akin to drugs – and looking like drug paraphernalia – but all of these things are good in moderation – UNLIKE drugs.  I do not mean to make light of drugs, I am using the addictive nature of drugs to satirize the addictive obsession many coffee snobs exhibit in their hoarding of coffee equipment. Drugs will kill you, and if you are struggling with that, seek help.  Coffee obsession may kill your finances and some relationships.  Enjoy coffee in moderation, and don’t become a jerk about it.

I will never own a siphon brewer due to the whole open flame thing, and what I mentioned earlier about not spending a lot of money on coffee stuff that only entertains me. If you, however, are interested in investing in a sweet-looking coffee-brewing conversation piece, by all means, be my guest – I will not judge you.  If you are considering such a purchase I recommend reading this review first.  Coffee is a gift from God.  I am thankful for coffee, and I am thankful for people that make better coffee than I can.  I will continue to enjoy coffee – and blog about it -, but I will not spend on it obsessively and I will not let it rule my life, and neither should you.

Listen to Scruff, and take a bite out of coffee addiction.  Until later friends…

I am a bit tired today.  This weekend seems to have flown by. Friday night we had a lot of fun at the Prima Coffee Barista Bash.  You can see some cool pictures of it here. I always enjoy the free coffee.  I really enjoy espresso, but I rarely buy any because I don’t like to spend $2+ for 2 oz. of anything. So, I especially enjoy getting free espresso (and it is even more enjoyable when I get to pull the shot myself).  After the bash we went and hung out with some friends at their apartment. Somehow the girls got to talking about girly things (i.e., hair and stuff), and Josh and I were able to steal away to his X-Box 360 and play some Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  It was my first time playing that game, and I must say, I do enjoy shooting terrorists.

Saturday was marked by errands and homework. I read a whole heap of material for my classes, and then Jen and I finished off the day by watching The Count of Monte Cristo.

Yesterday was my last Sunday morning teaching a 12-week study on Church History for the youth at North Oldham Baptist Church.  Then, in the afternoon I did more homework, while watching Joe Flacco bring down my Fantasy Football score, but I have faith he’ll redeem himself next week. Then, last night we had a youth event at church, which went well.  We got home around 9:30 or so, and then I got back to homework.

This morning I got to work around 7:00am. I am tired, and I wanted to make coffee this morning in my Bodum French Press, but I was running a little late and did not have time to clean it.  So, I am really looking forward to one of my co-workers coming in with his brand new Mypressi Twist V2.

Mypressi TWIST

The thought of some fresh espresso from a quality portable espresso machine sounds great right now. Well, until he gets here, I will do my best to soldier on. Until later friends.

I love Fridays.  I love Fridays for many reasons, including:

1. Friday means doughnuts in the office from Nords Bakery.

2. Friday means I wear jeans and a t-shirt. Today I honor the Chicago Cubs with my t-shirt, which chronicles the different Cub jerseys through the years…Next year will be the year.3.  Friday means everyone in the office acts a little bit more like The Office.

4.  Friday night means I will hang out with Jennifer (and sometimes, other friends as well) instead of doing homework. This is my favorite part about Fridays, because we all need rest and I love hanging out with my wife – and on occasion, other people too.

Those are some reasons for my affection for Fridays in general.  I am especially excited about the Friday that is today.  It has been a crazy week between my Hebrew and German classes, and I am excited about relaxing. Also, I am very excited about tonight.  We are going to the Prima Coffee Barista Bash tonight at Java Northfield.

Prima Coffee Bash 003

If you are in Louisville, I encourage you to come.  These Barista Bashes are always fun as you can see in the blogs from Bash 001 and Bash 002.  Whether you are a full-fledged coffee snob, or just someone that likes coffee, these bashes are a lot of fun.  I promise you won’t feel out of place just because you’re not wearing holey-jeans and hipster glasses.  You will get to see some really cool Latte Art, and if you have never seen Latte Art before, I really encourage you to come tonight, because you can learn about it in an informal setting.  The coolest thing about it is the FREE COFFEE. So, if you have any inkling to get coffee tonight in Louisville, come to Java Northfield and get a bunch of free coffee.  You will also be able to learn about -and partake of the goodness of – three brewing processes: Siphon Brewing, Pourover Brewing, and French Press Brewing. Plus, the Latte Art competition is really fun to watch. So, have a happy Friday, and join us at the Bash tonight. Until next time, peace out.

This post will cover two things: The name of this Blog, and a general post of what is going on my life.

For Aslan…and the Volunteer State?

This name is full of meaning.

First, if you have ever seen Disney’s Prince Caspian movie you probably remember this inspiring scene.

Second, I am from Tennessee – the Volunteer State – and I believe it is the best state in the country. I am proud of being a Southerner, and being exiled in Kentucky has only grown my love for Tennessee.

Third, on a serious note, Aslan is a literary character that is representative of Christ, and Tennessee is an earthly government/state. So, this title also stands for my priorities of citizenship: first and foremost I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Christ, after that (and because of that) I am a responsible citizen of my country (and Tennessee represents the best of what the USA has to offer).

What’s Going on in my Life?

Right now, my life is marked by work and school.  Most of my non-work time is focusing on Hebrew. Hebrew is difficult, and it takes many hours of study.  My late hours of study have been running on coffee — specifically Ehiopian Coffee that I bought from Quills.  I really enjoy this coffee, I prefer Ethiopian origin coffee to almost any other kind of bean. I have been using my Bodum French Press a lot this week.  Bodum Chambord

Some people do not like the French Press because they think they get too “dirty” of a cup (i.e., too much coffee sediment), but  I find that this can mostly be eliminated by adjusting the grind on my Hario Skerton. My friend Josh actually just wrote an informative blog on French Press brewing at alldaycoffee. Well that’s it for now.

I guess the highlight of this post  is: full-time job + full-time classes + studying Hebrew = mucho coffee.

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