Re: K-cups

1

It doesn't solve the problem of it being more troublesome, but is there better coffee that's in the Folgers price range? I'm moderately fussy about coffee, and I'd be unhappy with Maxwell House or Folgers, but El Pico is supermarket-available non-luxury brand coffee that makes me perfectly happy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:31 AM
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Why don't you just get a cafetiere for, like, $10?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:36 AM
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I don't know what a "cafetiere" is, but it's probably some effete British affectation.

The K-cups are indeed totally stupid in a setting where more than 1 cup per 6 hours is going to be drunk. We inherited one from an ex-lab member who moved away, and I have been actively encouraging people not to use it, because if more than than the current 1 person (my boss) starts using it we may reach a tipping point where not enough people use the pot anymore, and community spirit will plummet.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:42 AM
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I think you guys call it a French press.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:42 AM
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We have free, crappy coffee where I work, and people still get Starbucks, which I will never understand. Surely the marginal value of good vs. crappy coffee is much less than the cost of a Starbucks. I mean, maybe not to Bill Gates, but ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:43 AM
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A french press is slower and more hassle than a pot of drip coffee. With a drip maker, one person has to set it up and wait for the coffee to be ready, and then there are ten(ish) cups available for everyone else that aren't too burnt to drink for an hour or two. French press, each cup requires boiling water, waiting a couple of minutes, and cleaning out the press.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:45 AM
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Yeah, the boiling water is the hard part. We don't have a stove with kettles at an office. The electric machines heat up the water for you.

French press would certainly be better than the K-cups if we had boiling water.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:49 AM
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5: Hell no. We have free crappy Folgers where I work, and I make my own drip coffee in my office in my little pot. Folgers tastes like damp cardboard smells.

My former employer had an espresso machine, but faculty who wanted to use it had to purchase their own pods. Seemed to work out for all involved.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:49 AM
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See if you can sell the machine while it's still new-ish.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:51 AM
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I'm moderately fussy about coffee

I'm not much fussy about coffee, but my wife is and left to her devices will buy the expensive boutique stuff. But then I watch her pour a metric ton of half-and-half and sugar into it and can't figure out how she could possibly taste a difference underneath it all. Or even taste the coffee at all, for that matter.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:56 AM
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5: Part of what I buy with the price of a Starbucks coffee is an easy justification for 5 minutes out of the office, to clear my head.

Once I figured this out, I gave myself permission to just take a 5 minute break instead.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:57 AM
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Also, people often would rather pay $15 for a good meal than $10 for a mediocre one, so why wouldn't you pay $2 for a good cup of coffee rather than $0 for a mediocre one? The marginal cost is lower, and the experience lasts about the same amount of time.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 8:59 AM
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The following system has served me well for over a decade:

Step 1: Make your own coffee in the morning before you leave for work.
Step 2: Bring your coffee to work.
Step 3: Everyone else can fend for themselves.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:00 AM
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We could probably afford moderately better coffee, which is probably what I would have recommended, with the old coffee pot.

I could bring my own k-cups or my own coffee pot or whatever, but we brew nice coffee at home, and I just have some now and then at work as a pick-me-up.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:00 AM
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Oh, right, I keep forgetting you guys don't have electric kettles. Crazy.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:00 AM
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Also, people often would rather pay $15 for a good meal than $10 for a mediocre one, so why wouldn't you pay $2 for a good cup of coffee rather than $0 for a mediocre one?

I would not pay $15 for any meal several times a day, every day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:01 AM
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<obligatory> K-cups! Hooray! </obligatory>


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:05 AM
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A lot of people here and there don't have kettles at work. I believe it's an insurance issue. Therefore 13 is the answer. Or making your own coffee at work with water that isn't quite hot enough, which is at least better than doing that with tea.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:06 AM
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15, 18: We have proliferating weird and surely very expensive coffee machines at my job that also allegedly make tea. As a tea drinker the challenge is to find one with water that is both (i) hot enough and (2) not tainted with a coffee taste.

Bringing in my own electric kettle would make eminent sense except for my basic cheapness.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:08 AM
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Now that I drink coffee, I need to find inexpensive ways to make coffee. I guess it's inevitable that I'll get a coffee-making device of some sort.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:10 AM
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One of the departments I'm associated with has a Japanese hot-water-maker, which is superb. (I am also a tea drinker.) They've worked out a flowchart for filling it and turning it on and off to save energy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:11 AM
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13 is the answer until you want your second cup of coffee.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:17 AM
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20: The single best investment you can make is a coffee grinder. Regardless of whether you end up making your coffee with a drip coffee maker, a French press, or what have you, buying whole bean coffee and grinding it right before you brew it will result in markedly better coffee than if you buy your coffee pre-ground. Yeah, the grinder will be an up-front cost, but they last forever--I've had the same Braun coffee grinder for over 20 years, during which time I've used it at least once a day.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:18 AM
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22 - The solution to that is a giant travel mug that will hold enough coffee for the entire day.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:19 AM
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I have an electric kettle in my office, but since I like to take milk in my tea and have no refrigerator, I mostly end up using it for instant soup. This is silly! I need to take up a kind of tea I like without milk and just go with it.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:19 AM
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16: Obviously not everyone has the same preferences. Substitute in some decision you make where the bare minimum would save you more than $2 and you don't choose the bare minimum.

23: YES. Second most important is finding recently roasted coffee. A distant third and fourth are the brewing method and underlying quality of the coffee beans.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:22 AM
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We had a system similar to k-cups at an old employer, and I thought the coffee tasted faintly of plastic and other nasty chemicals. I lobbied for a drip machine, which made sense because everybody there drinks coffee all the time.

For one cup at a time, I love the Clever coffee maker and use it every morning at home. (We must have discussed this before.) It works sort of like a pour-over coffee cone except you don't have to be patient about pouring the hot water. And it cleans up much easier than a French press; you basically just rinse it out for ten seconds.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:23 AM
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23: Everyone says this, and maybe I'm just insensitive, but I don't taste a big difference between freshly ground coffee and a brand I like of pre-ground coffee. Maxwell House tastes filthy, of course, but I would challenge anyone hassle-averse to shop around brands of preground coffee and see if they can find something that meets their personal standards.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:23 AM
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22. A decent flask will keep it hot till mid afternoon.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:24 AM
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A lot of people here and there don't have kettles at work. I believe it's an insurance issue.

I haven't worked anywhere without a kettle or what amounts to a samovar. Even at uni, where we weren't allowed any cooking equipment when living in-college, we were allowed kettles. But I guess it could be an issue some places - though I'd be surprised if those places allowed coffee machines instead.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:24 AM
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I think of K-cup systems as only being sensible if the users have wildly varying desires as to the type of coffee you want (regular, decaf, hazelnut [shudder], etc.). Otherwise a regular pot is a much better idea. Given K-cups, though, having a fillable pod is worthwhile. But all together, only having fillable pods is silly.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:25 AM
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28: I guess I should actually try buying the same type pre-ground and see if it makes a difference before telling people how to do coffee.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:27 AM
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Re coffee at work: twice I've had job-type thingies in federal office buildings, and neither had any kind of coffee maker for employees. You could go buy gross coffee at the in-building cafe, which required elevators and a long walk, or you could leave the building and go to Starbucks or whatever. Nobody seemed bothered by this, but I think the world's greatest democracy should be able to provide its employees with free coffee.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:29 AM
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A lot of people here and there don't have kettles at work. I believe it's a non-tea-drinking issue.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:31 AM
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33: When my wife worked in a federal office building (as a contractor), there was a per-floor, employee-organized pool to pay for the water cooler (with the big 5-gallon bottles, which seems extra silly since local water is fine and tasty). God only knows what the coffee situation was, but surely no better.

In extreme contrast, over here in the spoiled-rotten-entitled corner of the private sector, we have a machine that has a hopper of beans and grinds fresh for each cup requested (plus some scary cocoa and milk options I stay away from), as well as a real espresso machine and grinder/tamper (not pods) for the true fanatics.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:34 AM
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33: This, except about NYS.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:34 AM
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When we had a communal pot provided by our employer the stuff was undrinkable, and everybody went out and bought Starbucks, or brought in their own french presses and coffee, which I was much too lazy to do. Now we have a keurig machine, and I'm saving a fortune on Starbucks and drinking... acceptable coffee.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:40 AM
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We have an espresso pod doohickey at the lab, and then the building has free shitty coffee every day at 3. It seems like an okay combo given that the PIs aren't interested in buying coffee for a bunch of grad students. If you just want caffeine at a key point in the day, get the free stuff. If you're picky, buy pods. If you're a caffeine addict, do both and maybe get some iced coffee across the street with lunch and also bring a cup from home. What?

Anyhow, at home we have just (or almost just; as of tomorrow morning) switched from a french press, which is fantastic, to a drip machine, which will probably be just about as good and will be a shitload less work to clean and prepare. There goes that Zardoz, ruining things again. We did get a moderately fancy and highly low maintenance drip machine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:43 AM
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When I worked in the financial industry in the 1990s, we just got those generic gold foil-packaged mini-bags from SYSCO or wherever. There was one fellow who absolutely could NOT be convinced to drink that coffee, so he had a special stash of fancy coffee baggies that he set aside in a drawer. You were WELL advised not to try making his coffee for all and sundry.

Personally, not being a coffee drinker myself, I've never seen the appeal of (a) fancy DIY coffee or (b) Starbucks/Caribou concoctions. I mean, I drink too much pop, for sure, but I don't go around insisting that people serve me Jones Soda or some kind of fancy birch beer you can only get in Newfoundland or something, and complaining all day if people don't have it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:43 AM
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You addicts should quit fooling yourselves and just buy No-Doz.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:48 AM
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I think the world's greatest democracy should be able to provide its employees with free coffee.

Go back to Russia!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:49 AM
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For an office, the key is to get a drip pot that pours into a thermos, not a burner. Keeps the coffee warm enough for people to drink all day without that disgusting burnt feeling. Moderately better than Folgers coffee+a grinder+thermos is an infinitely better and cheaper and easier office solution than the K-Cup. I guess you could also use a very large French Press and pour the whole thing into a thermos, if you have a way to boil water.

For daily home use, I am totally baffled as to why anyone would ever uses anything other than a French Press. So much easier to use and clean than a home drip machine, tastes better.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:51 AM
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42.1 is exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:52 AM
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42.2: Unless you have a very precise grinder, you end up with tiny gritty coffee grounds in your cup. Still better than a drip machine, though.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 9:57 AM
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For daily home use, I am totally baffled as to why anyone would ever uses anything other than a French Press.

Or an espresso machine, of course.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:02 AM
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Someone (I think here) explained that you need a burr grinder rather than a spinning-blades grinder, to get reliably sized grounds of the right coarseness.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:02 AM
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For daily home use, I am totally baffled as to why anyone would ever uses anything other than a French Press.

There was a health scare about them a while ago. Supposed to fuck up your liver. Not much to it, but it put a lot of people off.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:03 AM
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46. Someone should get a life if they're bothered at that level.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:06 AM
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So much easier to use and clean than a home drip machine, tastes better.

Nuh uh!

Seriously, our new drip machine is basically a super high powered steamer, a filter basket, and a carafe. Basically only the filter basket ever needs to be really cleaned as long as we let the water reservoir dry (you can just rinse out the carafe). And the coffee is arguably better than french press coffee because the water temperature is exactly perfect (and it has a little showerhead nozzle thing to guarantee the right saturation of coffee with water, allegedly, but anyhow). With the french press we had to clean: Press container, the press itself and a carafe. And then the next morning there were, like several steps. Now we will hit a button whenever, and then will have a thermal carafe of coffee without any of the other bullshit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:07 AM
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Ours is not remotely as fancy/expensive as this coffee maker, but same premise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:09 AM
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French presses are really irritating to clean. You have to unscrew the round mesh+spring combination from the shaft to separate the layers and get the grounds out.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:11 AM
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I grind our coffee using two bricks I stole from my neighbor's patio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:13 AM
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So much easier to use and clean than a home drip machine, tastes better.

Even if the first part of this were true (I remain unconvinced), for us right now with an infant, the ability to do the prep work when we have the time (i.e., the night before) and then just press a button to produce the coffee at the desired moment is pretty important.

I do like the taste of French press coffee and the way it's a bit thicker than the paper filtered kind. Someday we'll have it again!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:20 AM
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Press container, the press itself and a carafe.

Huh? The press container is the carafe.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:23 AM
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Though don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing drip machines. Super convenient, and for my purposes the coffee tastes fine. Certainly better than pod machines.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:24 AM
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Everyone says this, and maybe I'm just insensitive, but I don't taste a big difference between freshly ground coffee and a brand I like of pre-ground coffee.

I can taste the difference, but it's not large enough to make the hassle and mess of grinding coffee daily worth it to me. At the couple of places we might buy coffee (coffeeshop, co-op, TJs) you get the beans ground upon purchase, which is fresh enough for me.


Huh? The press container is the carafe.

Not if you want to 1. keep the coffee hot and 2. remove the coffee from the grounds after its steeping period.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:29 AM
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You just drink the coffee from the press over breakfast, rinse out and done. No need to put in a separate container unless you're going to be drinking coffee at home for more than like 3 hours from the same pot. Prep work is pouring boiling water over pre-ground coffee (I also find that store bought ground is OK for my taste for daily use). To clean, you just fill the press with water, swirl it around, and dump the grounds in the trash, and rinse. I don't think you have to unscrew the mechanism to clean it more than once or twice a week, and that takes like 30 seconds total over a sink. What could be easier? I guess you can't pre-time it (but I find that more burdensome than just boiling some water quickly on a stove) and maybe there are newfangled machines that are easier still, but way easier than the process of cleaning just the carafe alone from a regular drip pot machine after daily use, not to mention the various filter parts, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:41 AM
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What Halford said about the cleaning. It takes next to no time.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:47 AM
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You dump water in your trash?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:48 AM
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Prep work is pouring boiling water over pre-ground coffee

The pouring part is after you've put the water in the kettle and gotten it boiling. You need to pour the water before it all boils off, of course. After your steeping period you have a relatively short window in which to press the coffee, if you want it to taste as good as it can.

It's been a while since you had an infant in the house, eh?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:48 AM
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Also, are you one of those people who thinks coffee contraptions can just be rinsed out all the time, and don't have to be washed with soap? Grody gross gross. Coffee is oily.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:49 AM
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I saw "K-cups" and "maternity leave" and was hoping this would be another post about boobs.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:50 AM
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I do like the taste of French press coffee and the way it's a bit thicker than the paper filtered kind

IME the drip machines with the gold mesh filters like the Cuisinarts are better than the paper filters.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:53 AM
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We have a single-cup-maker at the office as well as a normal drip machine. The main use for the single-cup-maker is when the pot made in the morning has been used up and people don't want to make another.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:53 AM
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59 -- sure, just a bit with the wet coffee grounds. Works great, assuming you have a convenience known as the "plastic trash bag."

I'm not disputing your own experience with 60, but I really for real honestly didn't find the FP even a little bit of a burden to use with an infant, as long as you have some place to put the infant down for a second when you turn on the stove or pour the boiling water (but you have to put the infant down for a second anyway pretty much no matter what kitchen thing you're doing, right, so not any more burdensome than anything else you're doing to make or eat breakfast?)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:54 AM
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Blume is right on all points.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:55 AM
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FWIW, people have worked out you can _develop film_ with Folger's. Normally that requires some fairly nasty chemicals, but you can get into some guerilla darkroom action with Folger's and washing soda.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:56 AM
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61 -- No, I do a swipe with a soap-injected wet sponge and then a rinse. Still takes like 30 seconds max for both pot and filter. I guess I don't unscrew the entire mechanism and wash it with soap and laboriously scrub it after every use, but that seems really unnecessary.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 10:57 AM
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re: coffee. I either use a French press or an Aeropress. The latter my wife mocked when I first bought, but now she's a total convert. I also have a little Japanese hand ceramic burr-grinder. That's a bit of a pain in the arse first thing in the morning, though, so I tend to just use pre-ground.

I'm not particularly precious about the brand of coffee, though. Just about any Italian-style coffee or beans that hasn't been sitting about open for weeks is fine.

re: 48

It does make a difference with some coffee making methods. Not in a 'I'm so precious my coffee has to be exactly the same size because I can taste the difference' but if you use a blade grinder with a French press you quite often get a load of cruddy grounds finding their way into the coffee.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:01 AM
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65.1: They still leak from time to time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:02 AM
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70 to 62.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:07 AM
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Discussions of how to make the very best coffee make me incredibly defensive. I don't drink it, but as the morning person in the house, I make it for the boyfriend every morning. There are limits to what I'm willing to do, and he never complains, but every time I see the words burr grinder and French press, I feel so guilty for not doing it right.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:16 AM
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re: 72

To be honest, I don't think there's a right way. It's just whatever works for you. I'm not snobbish about it. People who like instant aren't wrong to do so. I just happen to prefer coffee in a particular way, and since I can't afford a proper big fancy Italian machine, I try to get as close as I can on the cheap.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:21 AM
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I really for real honestly didn't find the FP even a little bit of a burden to use with an infant

I guess there's a really big difference here, in that I'm feeding Zardoz first thing when I get up. (Otherwise I usually wouldn't be up yet.) By the time I get done with that I want coffee NOW. There's no way to get the French press coffee going before I feed her and have it done when she's done.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:32 AM
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74 makes perfect sense to me!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:37 AM
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46: More than that, you need a particularly good burr grinder, which gets really expensive. The usual recommendations for cheap "good" hand-operated burr grinders are okay for find ground coffee, but wiggle way to much for press coffee.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:40 AM
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72: Dude! I know! Any my boyfriend would never complain, but I know he enjoys a heated mug, which strikes me as entirely silly (primarily because I don't like scalding beverages and I'm waiting for it to cool enough for me to drink anyway and a heated mug just prolongs the wait).

You can get infinitely fancy with coffee-making and I'd hate to think most of that matters.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:44 AM
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You need to pour the water before it all boils off, of course.

Electric kettle, just saying.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 11:52 AM
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We have an electric kettle actually (because we don't have a gas stove), but not a fancy one. So it heats fast, but doesn't turn itself off.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:06 PM
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Fancy? They cost a tenner. I don't think you can even buy one that doesn't turn off here.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:13 PM
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I first encountered electric kettles in Chile, and I thought they were neat. The Chileans keep them around for Nescafé, which is unfortunate, since for the same amount of counter space and electrical-outlet usage, you could be drinking not-shitty coffee from a drip machine.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:15 PM
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Isn't this a different voltage thing? Electric kettles work better in the UK because 220V makes it easier to make a useful heating element than 110V? Admittedly, I'm not sure why it makes such a big difference, I'd think you'd just need an extra transformer in the US models, but I thought that was the reason they're not common here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:16 PM
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N.B.: Electric kettles in England are like twice as fast as the ones in the US.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:19 PM
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Goddammit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:19 PM
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If I could change one thing about my current (conventional) kettle, it's the whistle. Waaaaaay too harsh for a time in the morning before I've had any coffee.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:19 PM
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72: I am so, so glad I bought Lee one of those stupid Keurig machines in question and let her take over her own damn coffee.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:24 PM
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but as the morning person in the house, I make it for the boyfriend every morning.

And every morning I'm burning the toast for you
I'm only happy if I'm doing the most I can for you
The coffee's weak, but my love is strong

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 12:55 PM
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We have 440V power in the lab for some equipment, I should try a kettle on there.

I maintain the illusion that I don't drink coffee because I only drink the free K-cups at work. Although I'm also a Starbucks gold member. They used to have hot chocolate too but people were overusing/hoarding them (yes, actually stealing the public box and hiding it in their desk because they would often run out) so I provided a service and bought a bunch of envelopes at Costco where they're 10 cents each instead of 70 cents for the K-cups. Then I asked people to pay 10 cents when they took one an plotted the compliance rate on a chart next to the coffee machine.

In grad school we essentially had free ramen because for our boss' first birthday as a PI we each chipped in $10 and bought as many 10 cent ramens as that would buy (about 1200 I think based on the size of the group at that time) and covered his entire office floor with them and spelled out "Happy Birthday" with the different flavors since they come in different colors (chicken=yellow, beef=red.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 1:10 PM
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Can this really have gone almost 100 comments with no-one blaming neoliberalism? Well, let me be the first.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 1:40 PM
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And tumblr.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 1:50 PM
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You addicts should quit fooling yourselves and just buy No-Doz.

I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a joke, but that's what I've done. Well, off-brand, not No-Doz, because that's how I roll. About 4 cents per 200mg of caffeine, which would be a strong 8oz cup of coffee (this page says a 16oz Starbucks brewed cup is 330mg)--but without the disgusting taste of Folgers!

(I actually rather like coffee, but lately it's been messing with my digestive system.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 1:52 PM
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I had a deadline a couple weeks ago and a cow-orker who quit had left several cans of Monster drinks around so I got acquainted with those. Perhaps coincidentally the next week I felt like I had a hole in my esophagus (although I was also on doxycycline at the time as discussed in the other drug thread.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 2:03 PM
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Coffee from those Bunn makers that keep the water always hot seems to bother my esophagus worse than regular drip coffee.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 2:04 PM
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91: "Easy t' Take (R)"?

What an odd thing to trademark.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 2:05 PM
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No-Doz seems to have disappeared from my local grocery store after they had that little problem with hydrocodone tablets getting in to the mix. It has not reappeared.
I have occasionally gone the caffeine pill route, but I find it too easy and have trouble self-regulating. Expensive, foul-tasting beverages are safer.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 3:05 PM
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For office use either a drip coffee maker if there's a lot of use or an aeropress plus an electric kettle if pots aren't going to be used up within less than an hour. For home French press, stovetop espresso maker (shell out for the steel rather than the traditional aluminum angular thingy unless you like burnt coffee) or, if you can afford it and have the counter space, a proper espresso maker. The latter wouldn't be so expensive if they weren't so fragile. It's one thing to shell out two or three hundred bucks for an appliance you'll use constantly and will last for a decade, another if it's only going to last a year or two before hot steam started flying everywhere. Burr grinders are nice, but they cost as much as an espresso machine and they take up counter space. Whirly grinders are useless - an uneven grind that bakes the coffee, just buy it pre-ground and drink it fast.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 5:38 PM
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77 If you want heated mugs just nuke them empty for thirty seconds. Same goes for heated plates for meals.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 5:40 PM
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I'm just so pleased that they now sell those ceramic travel mugs with the silicone tops. For years I've wanted a microwavable travel mug, and I generally detest all travel mug lids as being impossible to get clean and often have a poor seal. But this one that I have now is covered in darling flowers and the lid is lime green and I couldn't be more pleased.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 5:42 PM
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If you want heated mugs just nuke them empty for thirty seconds. Same goes for heated plates for meals.

I thought that if a dish got hot when you nuked it without food, that meant it wasn't microwave safe? That's the test I learned when we first got a microwave in the 80s, anyway.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:02 PM
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True purists would buy raw coffee and roast it themselves.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:05 PM
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I haven't heard that, nor have I ever had dishes that don't get hot. In any case, no harm seems to have ever come from microwaving dishes unless they had metallic decoration.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:09 PM
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100: in the microwave?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:10 PM
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I thought that dishes got hot because the food in them gets hot. This could be one of those things that is either totally misremembered from my childhood or was totally false information about this new technology.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:13 PM
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No, it only counts if you need a dedicated appliance. Coffee roaster, coffee grinder, coffee maker.
I used to have some blue plastic bowls that would get really hot on their own. Probably not microwave safe. I don't know what physical property made them so. I've certainly melted other thin plastics too but none of my other dishes or plastic containers would heat up like those things.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:17 PM
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103 is what I was taught, but I haven't tried it myself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 6:49 PM
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Those microwaveable steam-in-a-bag packs of vegetables kind of creep me out, because of my feverish belief in leaking toxins.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-20-13 7:08 PM
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Some people on my FB feed are getting freaked out about this story, writing letter in response, etc. My favorite line:

It's actually impossible to have products made without chemicals because nearly every substance contains molecules made through chemical reactions.

Nearly every substance! What, did the editor think saying "all substances" wasn't balanced enough?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 4:36 AM
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What, did the editor think saying "all substances" wasn't balanced enough?

Composition of the universe? Experts disagree! Tonight at 10.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:07 AM
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To be fair, plasma doesn't contain molecules.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:10 AM
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Most of the "substance" in our universe is dark matter, most of which is unlikely to form molecules.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:12 AM
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And dishes made from dark matter reliably stay cool in the microwave.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:13 AM
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No dark molecules?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:14 AM
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I keep salting my food with dark matter, but it won't interact with the food on my plate.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:26 AM
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110: thanks for making that explicit


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:30 AM
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Nobody seemed bothered by this, but I think the world's greatest democracy should be able to provide its employees with free coffee.

It's not just government which is that cheap. IBM in the Netherlands makes you pay for the shitty, shitty coffee they have in their machines. Which was one reason why all the IBM programmers on my project were so happy to come to us to do their job...


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 5:56 AM
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On the subject of heating plates in the microwave, my parents use these.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:04 AM
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Not if you want to 1. keep the coffee hot

That's what tea cozies are for.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:05 AM
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Meanwhile, those in the developing world are drinking Nescafe. (Where is my Sally Struthers commercial?) I have discovered though, that a local coffee shop makes decent lattes for not too expensive, though it may just be that any sort of coffee tastes great after months of Nescafe?

For how the other side lives, my university has a very swanky Beijing Center, paid for by the blood of orphans Business School, and they have several $8,000 coffee machines. This is possibly one of the biggest perks of living in Beijing, although ultimately doesn't outweigh the high rents, inhumane scale, and cancer-causing air.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:34 AM
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Seriously though, if the matter is dark, why do science people think it isn't in molecules? Maybe it's all dark worlds full of dark bakeries and gazelle and such.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:38 AM
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True purists would buy raw coffee and roast it themselves.

Confession: I've been temped to do exactly this.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:43 AM
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Roasting your own is apparently a bad idea, says this guy, because it's incredibly difficult to get all the beans in a small batch at the same temperature, so some are always over- or underdone. Apparently coffee became a lot nicer to drink at home once people started roasting it in industrial quantities and selling it ready to grind.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:02 AM
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119: photino birds, Moby. Squatting in the heart of our sun, gradually ageing it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeelee_Sequence_species


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:06 AM
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Seriously though, if the matter is dark, why do science people think it isn't in molecules?

Simply put, because it doesn't appear to interact with things the way molecules do, other than gravitationally. Though essear will no doubt give a better answer.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:26 AM
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IIRC some of it might be dark blobs of normal matter -failed stars or something - and most of it is probably some weird undiscovered particle that doesn't get involved in electromagnetism or the strong nuclear force. If it doesn't do strong nuclear force, it won't form atoms, and if it doesn't do EM then it's not absorbing energy to form bonds with.
Assuming, of course, that there isn't a completely separate set of forces that only affect dark-matter particles.

But, yes, essear on this one, I think.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:29 AM
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121 - Thankfully my tendency to come up with crazy, obsessive schemes ("I'll roast my own coffee! It will be the best coffee ever!") is more than compensated for by my inherent laziness and endless capacity for procrastination, so most of these schemes never make it past the idea stage.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:44 AM
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Yglesias headline -- "The Case for Getting Drunk at Work" Finally a #slatepitch I can endorse.

Not going to link, since the actual post is of no interest.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:52 AM
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if the matter is dark, why do science people think it isn't in molecules?

Because (atoms and) molecules aren't dark: they absorb and emit electromagnetic radiation.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:19 AM
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Nearly every substance! What, did the editor think saying "all substances" wasn't balanced enough?

Not elemental substances like helium. (Although most terrestrial helium originated through radioactive decay, according to Wikipedia.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:49 AM
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115.2: The surviving parts of IBM seem to have adopted, or kept, or soaked up governmental style. Anyone know if Ma Bell was the same? The blander bits of aerospace?

I once made my own coffee starting from berries on the bush -- straight through to little dense cuppas in reasonably well attested Bedouin style. (Bedouin equipment, kept by my oil-geoengineer grandfather, and his best memory of its use. Arabica bushes sent by an Aramco colleague to flourish in Florida.) Pretty good, despite being unevenly roasted. *Incredibly* time-consuming, except that you can do the worst parts sitting around talking; Bob Black would probably claim it as leisure.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 9:01 AM
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129, my impression is that the Almaden site isn't like that; am I wrong? Bell Labs doesn't really exist anymore; the folks I know who were there all say it was great and a damn shame it got shuttered.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 9:33 AM
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There are bits of the gummint that are great, too!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 9:48 AM
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My great-grandfather worked for Ma Bell all his life, but the only story I heard was how much he enjoyed the multi-week trips on cross-country skis to repair the telephone lines in the mountains.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 9:54 AM
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Nobody is addressing 122 directly, so I'm going to assume it's basically right and science is prejudiced against it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 9:56 AM
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Maybe I'm not following what you mean by governmental style, then. I was thinking of the little perks like free, good coffee (or food) and occasional blue sky projects with little or no supervision that used to characterize both facilities you referenced. Those are things that I think of as pretty far outside government style management (which is very attuned to taxpayers who want accountability).


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:06 AM
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125, 129: I find that we do the elaborate schemes one time and that's enough. We want to make harissa, so we started in February by planting piri piri peppers. Which are still oddly small. (The size of starts, basically, here at the end of August.) I am puzzled whether the plants are expecting a long equatorial growing season and think they have all the time in the world? At this point, should we be thinking of overwintering them in our living room? Harissa better be some good stuff, after all this.

Tiramisu was probably a one-time-only affair as well.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:19 AM
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The next thing on my mind is a very small scale challah. One egg, couple cups of flour. Enough for two or three people to finish without leftovers. But I haven't found a recipe for small-batch challah. I'll have to experiment with scaling down.

Also, soft pretzels.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:20 AM
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You mean making it or eating it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:21 AM
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137 to 138.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:22 AM
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Making first, then eating.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:24 AM
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Regarding the burr grinder comments: a decent electric burr grinder can be had for under $100. The Capresso Infinity is recommended by a lot of coffee geeks. I have one and it's been great.

Also, I looove my Aeropress.


Posted by: Count Fosco | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:27 AM
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Bread dough freezes well -- if you make a standard recipe and divide it into half loaf portions, you can bake one a week for as many as you have. That Artisan bread on 5 Mins a day book has a decent challah -- I can email when I'm home if you like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:30 AM
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Bread dough freezes well

Just remember to take it out of the freezer well in advance to thaw, 'cause you ain't no challah-brick girl.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:37 AM
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I'm shocked that Megan, who's energy for many things including baking seems boundless, would classify making challah as an elaborate scheme. Also, forget scaling down; leftover challah is fantastic for french toast.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:37 AM
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142 is a terrible awesomeness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:39 AM
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Hmmmm. Freezing. I could do Smitten Kitchen's giant-ass recipe, in that case.

I don't necessarily think challah is elaborate. But trying out lots of small recipes seems finicky.

I can't even look at 142.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:44 AM
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142. oh wow.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:45 AM
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Teo's sister pwned 142 years ago ("challah-bag girl").


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:49 AM
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147: I didn't realize Teo's sister was that old.
142.continued: My name is Ozystanleyas, king of kings. Look upon my puns, ye mighty, and despair!


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:52 AM
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148.2 If I was one of you fancy people who knows stuff, I would cross out "mighty" and substitute "Megan".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:54 AM
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142 was really something, pwnage or not.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 11:44 AM
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149: Good point.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 12:36 PM
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145:

I could do Smitten Kitchen's giant-ass recipe

Gotta eat right if you want to build up your glutes, huh?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 2:31 PM
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Did I tell you I added 10lbs to my bench a couple months back? I was very pleased.

I don't think large batches of challah are gonna make me stronger, but I would like them nevertheless.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 2:40 PM
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I never know which to feel more smug about: not drinking coffee, or not working in an office with other people.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 6:09 PM
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154: Ditch your television, too, and it's a hat trick.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:22 PM
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It is a rare smugness that can be shared by billions of the world's poor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:31 PM
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147: I love that you remember that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:37 PM
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AEROPRESS


Posted by: OPINIONATED COFFEE NUT | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:42 PM
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158: Coffee is a bean.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:49 PM
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I think what the author of 158 means to impersonate, heebie, is someone who is a nut for coffee, i.e. nutty about coffee or a great fan of coffee.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:55 PM
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You're such a literal bean.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 7:58 PM
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I just looked up the aeropress because people are on about 'em and they're made by Aerobie??. Like, the frisbee people? Weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:02 PM
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Challah is easy. We make it every week, prepare the dough in a bread machine, then braid it and bake. I even did a 12 strand loaf once but when you get to too many strands it isn't as fluffy. 3 or 4 strand are the best patterns.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:10 PM
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One time when I was on tour, we were hanging out at a coffeeshop (near Apoville, actually), and they were having a re-naming contest. Submit a new name for the place, and if yours is picked, free coffee for a year or something.

We submitted a few, but after the fact it occurred to me that it would have been good fodder for a thread, à la the band-name threads.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:11 PM
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I was amazingly, almost hilariously panicked the first time I was asked to braid challah dough, midway through college. I was saved that time when someone else arrived in the kosher kitchen, and managed to avoid anxiety when the task recurred months later.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 8:40 PM
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164: Black Like Me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-21-13 10:23 PM
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164: java the hut.
135.2: just buy the lady-fingers pre-made? surely that was the only challenging bit. italian people, who actually don't eat all that much tiramis├╣ ime, never remotely think of making those. that also reminds me that italian people have a special category of not-totally-sweet cookies, which they have stipulated to be appropriate as breakfast. on their own, with some espresso, and maybe some fruit. cookies, hooray!!

I'm pretty sure they sell them here at the expensive white people grocery store; maybe I could change breakfasts. I've always only ever eaten one thing for breakfast for year-plus stretches. otoh it clashes with my apparent choice of orthorexia as a new mental problem. I've had way worse, seriously, I'm not hating it at all. I can see how people trip out, though. [apologies to readers who don't like to hear about specific weights; please remember I'm not judging you at all, only me, and I probably think you're totally hot.] I just made it into the 12X set of digits for the first time in...13 years? and I experienced really grim triumphant satisfaction this morning.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:30 AM
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167

I am pretty sure the Italian non-sweet cookie is a dud in their cuisine. It's alright as a carb form with coffee, but there are other better carb forms that are tasty on their own that are equally good with coffee, like pastries or well-made muffins or quick breads. I feel like the Italians figured they got pasta down, and gave up on developing their other carbs. I am having a long-term fight with my boyfriend about this, which started when I asked him why French bread is much better than Italian bread. It reached a low point when I told him I preferred German whole-grain bread to Italian bread. It turns out comparing Italian cuisine unfavorably to German cuisine is a mortal offense and very likely carries a prison sentence* if done on Italian national boundaries, at least south of South Tyrol.

*It might even rank as more serious than insulting the Azzurri, or, God Forbid, hoping the Spanish win the World Cup.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:46 AM
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167

Also, to appease your orthorexia: A Finnish study done shows that coffee consumption cuts risk of diabetes, with results being inversely proportional. As long as you're balancing sugar consumption with the right amount of coffee, you should be fine. Or at least that's how I choose to interpret the study, and I am not interesting in hearing other interpretations.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:55 AM
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java the hut.

It's been done.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:20 AM
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I routinely eat the same thing for breakfast for months at a time. I'm not a morning person, unlike my children*, so brainless routine mornings help me cope with the rest of the day.

*And this proves they're really the mailman's children, right? Surely if anyone is a morning person, it's the mailman, right?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:38 AM
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Dunno, my mailman shows up around noon.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:07 AM
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My mail delivery person is a woman. And shows up in the late afternoon.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:14 AM
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... when she's done with her route.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:17 AM
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Since retiring, my father's been working a couple days a week as a mailman. He is indeed up at dawn to go sort the mail.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:21 AM
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I think I've mentioned it before, but my grandma really did run off with the mailman, my grandpa, who later became postmaster, which is a bad-ass job title.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:29 AM
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174: Shh!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 7:45 AM
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Mental health professionals in my life keep saying that I should take vitamins, and supplements such as fish oil. I am dubious. What say ye all?


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:12 AM
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I support you in your dubiety -- as far as I know, dietary supplements mostly have no effect. On the other hand, they're mostly harmless. Do what you like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:15 AM
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I saw mild improvement in my mood from taking supplements that claimed to help (can't for the life of me remember which they were, though). It was enough of an improvement to get me of my ass and in to see a professional, which was a big deal to me since it's basically turned everything around.

I know fish oil was not on the list, but St John's Wort was, along with a few other things. Basically I took everything that claimed it might help.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:17 AM
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Whatever works for you is great, but I suspect that in populations, there isn't much benefit unless you think expensive urine is beneficial.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:26 AM
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174: Alternatively, "when she's ready for the root. "


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 9:29 AM
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If you can believe something will work, then it will likely work as well as it would have anyway, plus the effects of your belief. So pick something plausible, look up a science-y looking write-up for why it works and take it for three weeks, lovingly dwelling on every slight improvement. What you need is the supplement and the plausibility and there's stuff with a good enough reputation for that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 10:14 AM
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Megan, that is helpful. Fish oil and vitamin D, here I come!


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 11:52 AM
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I have friends who swear by Vitamin D.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 12:32 PM
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Fish oil was marginally good for my hair (or so I thought, without any scientific measurement), and people have been feeding it to children for centuries, so I'd go with that one.

Downside: occasional cod-liver-flavored burps.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 1:23 PM
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Vitamins: it's all Pauling's fault (by the same author as 181).


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:08 PM
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Sweet Jesus, don't get me started. I have a rant. Someone just published that Vitamin C may cure a serious infectious disease we normally treat with actual antibiotics. So many wasted hours based on one genius' late life obsession.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 08-22-13 2:14 PM
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188 comments on a post titled "K-cups", and the word "handful" never appears. No wonder Ogged left us.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:50 AM
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17 and 62 to 189. The blog can never fail, you can only fail the blog.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-23-13 11:58 AM
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