"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2018 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So... Where Have I Been?
Thursday, June 6, 2019
D-Day and my 48th Wedding Anniversary
all text and photos ©2019 - All rights reserved
|Did you miss me? Reminds me of the Emo Philips joke:
A young man is going off to college. He looks back, and his dad, from the front porch, says to him, “I will miss you son.”
His son replies, “I know, Dad. I broke the sights off your gun.”
If you like that one, here is more Emo for your enjoyment.
Admittedly, it has been months since I have posted anything to my website, but I do have a good excuse. My house and attached workshop/garage were destroyed in the Camp Fire in California last November. We left with very little as there was a fire engine parked at the house and we had a good 100 feet and more of clearance. 200 feet would not have been enough as this fire was a perfect storm of low humidity, dry brush at the end of the summer, very high winds, and smoke so heavy that they could not get aircraft in the air.
If I listed all we lost it would bring tears to your eyes. I had around $10,000 in gas power equipment alone. Four Hottops, my Kony, and so much more coffee equipment that I would not know where to start listing it here. A 1948 Chrysler and a 28-foot Rexhall motorhome- all lost. But we do have excellent home and vehicle insurance so we will eventually be fine. We have already signed contracts with a builder and hopefully will get started on construction in about four months or so.
We stayed at a friend's home (who is not as much of a friend now as they use to be, but you know how that goes). Once we settled in, they invited us to share in the coffee. After about a week or so I poured a cup. We call the coffee they drink “The F word” for a reason. Yes, it was Folger's. Honestly, it wasn't terrible, it just “wasn't.” It was the most nondescript and flat cup I have ever had. Just brown enough and hot enough and just enough of a hint of flavor that it would remind you of coffee. It is the coffee equivalent of “Velveeta,” which states on the label, “Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread.” And, God help me, I had a cup the next day as well. It was enough to keep from coffee for a good four or five months. It was that long before I had a decent cup again. Let's not jump ahead too far.
After about two months in their home I found a deal on a 2004, 34 foot Winnebago motorhome with only 20,000 miles on it. Cat diesel pusher, 330 HP, 820 ft/lbs of torque on a Freightliner chassis, with ducted air conditioning and two slideouts. While it does not compare to the home we lost, it is keeping us comfortable and dry and cool and warm as needed.
I had mentioned our loss to a close Home-Barista.com member and the word got around and I was told that more people than I could likely thank reached out and offered assistance. One member offered the loan of an espresso machine, and Paul Pratt even offered me a Cafelat Robot. A fine and generous offer indeed. I thanked him but had to turn him down. We just don't have the kitchen room in the RV to be able to make espresso. And even if I could make space I just do not have the ability to work “clean” enough for that space.
And as heartwarming and poignant as all the offers were, there is one to which I need to give special thanks. Back in January of this year, in a thread on HB discussing conical grinders, I had mentioned that I had lost my Kony in the fire and that, while it did a great job, I had never recommended it to anyone for home use. I added that when I recover I hoped to be able to get a Monolith Conical. Not long after I received a message from Denis Basaric, the owner of KafaTek. He offered his condolences about the fire and gave thanks that my wife and I along with our pets were all safe. He went on to tell me that he would be sending me one of the new MC3 KafaTek Monolith Conical grinders. He said that it might have some blemishes but would meet all the specifications and pass all the tests he demands of his grinders. As the first shipment of the MC3 had not even gone out it was a few weeks before the grinder arrived and it is everything you have heard about it!
I wanted to do something in return for his generosity so I offered to write some sort of review or article on this website concerning the grinder. A fairly empty offer, really, since he sells out of every shipment even before production begins. In that message I said, “If you had not been to my website you may not know that I started it back in late 2000 when I first decided to start drinking coffee and making espresso at home.” I went on to talk about the reviews I have done and the “How to Solve Espresso Problems at Home” article.
His response was, “I am aware of your extensive web site, it's a resource. Read it years ago when I was getting into the espresso craze.”
When I started this website I had received information and was educated by the work of so many folks on the “old” alt.coffee, and people like David Bogie (“Bogiesan”) Mark Prince (Coffeekid and Coffeegeek), and so many more. It was Bogiesan's “Espresso FAQ” that initially motivated me to start Espresso! My Espresso! Since I started this website I have received letters of thanks from all over the world and from all levels of home baristas as well as pros. The above comment from Denis is one of my most cherished.
What I can say about all this is that through it all, from my beginnings until today, I have found the world of coffee to be almost 100% filled with decent, honest, and generous people, willing to help as I have shared here as well as happy to discuss and share information, to teach, to assist, and do so across all borders and divides which are all too often found elsewhere. It gives one hope for humanity. Enough of the maudlin sentiment.
So what am I doing for coffee now, and more importantly, what am I doing to make sure Val has a cup before heading off to work? I have the original V1 Behmor Brazen that I had given to a friend when the “+” model came out. But after the fire he told me he didn't use it any more and gave it back. I also bought two Espro Presses, but the amount of water it takes to clean them makes them a luxury at the moment (we have limited space for waste water and it costs us $200 every 4 weeks to have it emptied). So here is the current solution:
On the right is the amazing MC3 Monolith Conical. On the right is the Arzum Okka auto Turkish Coffee Maker. We had often enjoyed the Turkish from the Beko Turkish maker from Kaffette (my review here). The Okka is astounding and I will try to get a review up, but basically, put in fine ground coffee, add sugar if you like, place one or two cups on the drip tray, select the brew strength and one or two cup brew, and it does the rest. When done, it even has a cleaning cycle!
I have been keeping busy around the home, such as it is. About 6 weeks ago P.G.&E. Had some contractors in the area and shortly thereafter one leg of our AC was dropped and we were getting a half-wave 60Hz. It burned out the charger in the Inverter. Without the details, I can now say I have the tools and experience to make battery cables:
So before I get carried away regaling you with sordid tales RV repair and improvement, I will leave you with this and say, that while it may be some time between posts for a while, I am still here, and will continue to be just that.
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