Category Archives: coffee sameness


Due to some perverted Hollywood magic and/or karmic what-not, the wonderful folks at CBS asked our little tea company (blush blush) if they could use some of our pots and teaware for an episode of “Unforgettable,” a TV show involving murder, mystery and memory (very appropriate for Aged Pu’er). The tea will be the clue which sparks the protagonist’s memory, leading her to solve the crime. The episode is called Heartbreak, and we think it has something to do with a man being tossed from an airplane. Holy camellia sinensis!

Now we know our air date (this Tuesday. February 21—please check local listings for showtimes) so don’t miss it! But if you do, you can always watch the episode online, and pause the video at the appropriate times to see the clues.

During the process we got to talk to their prop master (and isn’t it a sign of quality that the prop master has an insane Brooklyn accent), insert a little authenticity into exactly how the hell the tea was going to be brewed, and, seeing as how the crime hinged on the tea being a rare Chinese Pu’er, we created a selection of special labels for them. This being a real TV show, however, the Brooklyn-accent told us we weren’t going to get very far with our real logo on the labels. Aw, we said, but you gotta have something on the labels… this being… ahem… rare Chinese Pu’er etc. etc. etc.

So the big hats at CBS had a discussion,

and after they realized how small we were, that we were actually as close to being a fake company as you can get, they agreed to let us use our labels. Yippee!

So here we have the total numbers of viewers of the show:

Separate out the chunk of viewers who are into high end Chinese tea:

Then extract the people that are into aged Pu’er,

Allow for the offshoot of people that have read 1000 Plateaus,

and you’re left with this, our dearly beloved fan base. <3 <3 <3.

love thy neighbor

Our shiny-faced morning friend, the ever-cheerful chrome peacock, coming up on fifteen years, took a big dump the other morning.

This spawned all sorts of discussions (still underway) about getting a roaster PLUS a new espresso machine. In the meantime we discovered our neighbors just down the road had none other than the GS/3 Marzocco, and we actually like these neighbors, so, in the spirit of the right-wing debates going on we decided to covet our neighbor’s appliances.

Guess we’ll be going back and forth as easily as their kitty crosses over shoulders… and yes, I covet that cat.

here’s Joe doing the master technique, and he really is a master, as the whole reason they have a damn GS/3 in the first place is that he happens to be the freaking 2009 winner of “On the Rocks: The Search for America’s Top Bartender.” Like WTF.

The machine’s sort of a beast, and needs a good warm up time, or else you might have to toss the first few shots. we tasted 4, and that was enough to send us around the block a few times. (Sampling a few of his scotches didn’t help either.)

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Canine Sherman’s fentanyl patch…

this week surgery is definitely in the air. the coffee grinder needed fixing…

the WOPR got checked out, and i swapped out my laptop’s old hard drive for a new crazy fast solid state drive. wowee! it’s like driving a Prius. no moving parts. silent. the only thing i will miss is being able to iron the placemats at the same time as using the computer on the dining room table, since the new drives run a lot cooler than the old ones.

as expected, it’s really lovely inside a mac… plus notice how nice and smooth the placemat is.

the screws are really small though…and you need a good goose to keep them all corralled.

but there’s always the Apple to let you know everything is back to normal!

next up, putting this piggie back together.

on time

time is a funny thing, especially “brain time,” which is the clock inside our heads that we rely on as “real,” even though it’s actually dependent on our subjective consciousness and perception rather than fixed increments of seconds, microseconds, etc.

the April 25, 2011 issue of the New Yorker has a fabulous article by Burkhard Bilger on David Eagleman and brain time. David is a fellow New Mexican, which fuels my half-assed theory that kids who grow up in New Mexico develop such a weird sense of space and scale they are bound to have a screwy understanding of time as well.

during grad school David didn’t want to take time away from programming in order to eat so he kept a bag of raw potatoes under his desk. he would cook the potato in the microwave and bite at it while he typed. Impressive!

here’s my version of that, eating the entire bucket of ice cream while waiting for something to process. (definitely a disadvantage to have to use both hands, but it’s homemade salted caramel ice cream and that you cannot possibly manage with one hand).

as everyone knows, our perception of time is context dependent. our contractor told us our garage would take a month to fix up, and now three months later it’s really pretty much, essentially, nearly done. so nearly done that we’ve put up the ropes for the yoga wall, and we’ve hung our contractor up on them. ask him how long he thought we left him hanging there, and he’d say half a minute or more when in reality it was closer to 10 seconds.

which is a long time compared to the couple of seconds it took for me to snap this photo at Lincoln Center, where some guy behind me said “some people think they can stop and hold everyone up for a minute just to take a picture,”

and in the excruciatingly long 80 minutes of opera that followed, my brain drifted to things that take an even longer time (relatively) to happen, like my current writing project, the gentrification of Williamsburg (hello! Blue Bottle coffee!), and the formation of a redwood forest.

after all, for every action there is an equal and opposite abstraction. or in other words, they will make no sticks to chew on, before it’s time.

see yourself in coffee

every once in awhile we take a bullet and agree to work (gratis) for certain non-profits of a spiritual persuasion. we do this, despite what a friend of mine—a non-profit consultant by choice—says about dealing with those kind of non-profits: “RUN!”
this year for their fundraiser they wanted to make t-shirts, and suggested putting a yoga sutra (in Sanskrit) on the front. the one they decided on was 1.33,

which pretty much says: “By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards vice, the mind becomes pure.”
we suggested that it also pretty much says: “See yourself in others,” and that perhaps that snippet could be a nice English counterpart to go on the back of the t-shirt. like most philosophical texts written in old languages, there’s a lot of room for translation and interpretation, but our little idea got taken down hard by the tight-ass end (fundraising chair), who didn’t want people to think that was what it meant. i guess pretty much is pretty much only some of the time.

to compromise, i’ve decided to see myself in pretty much anything.
in turkey wraps (friendliness):

in traffic (compassion):

in coffee ice cream (gladness): (how can you not see the entire universe in this?)

and in shadows (indifference):

the real best coast

my new favorite band, Best Coast, has the sweetest beach-fuzz sound i’ve heard in a long time. and that’s an earbuds-on-fire-i’ll-coo-with-you, long time.

having spent many years on this best coast, one thing i thought i missed from the east coast were these swirly things that came down from the trees every fall. the few that i found in northern california didn’t have the nose adhesive that i remembered from my childhood.
but, two weeks ago at the amazingly fun Tin House Workshop, i discovered that Portland is full of these things. ah!!

Portland is home to many other great things, including a barista that offered me the extra shot of espresso that he was “going to throw out anyway,” my buddy Too Much Coffee Man, the literary duck that came and sat at your feet as you read into the sunset, and a donation-based service that pays for your taxi home if you’re too cocktail-ed out to do otherwise.

why dentists like suction

my teeth are in really great shape (“only floss the ones you want to keep!”) but i do make a point to see my dentist at least three times a year. mostly it’s because my visits include drinking coffee out of his vacuum pot with his freshly roasted beans (kenyan, usually).

there’s a whole rigmarole with the coffee production that assures me that he’s a fabulous dentist, (he even weighs his grind out before putting it into his 3x espresso basket) but my favorite is that when it comes down to cleaning out the coffee roaster, he’s really just performing dentistry with a shop vac. can you open up a little wider?
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