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Friday, October 8, 2010

Retro Auto Museum: Russian Style


From the man who brought you the video on the Russian Museum Of Video Games comes this rather interesting viddy.

This is a tour of the Retro Auto Museum in Russia. Some of the cars are really interesting...they weren't all rip-offs of American or UK cars.Some were pretty unique and highly original.

If you have a few moments, take a look. If you have any interest in vintage autos, you'll like this viddy:

The coolest parts:  the limos.  And...making your own car.  Yeah.  Make your own car.

Of course, the baking pan steering wheel is pretty cool, too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

My new Bodum French Press coffee maker


I'm not a French Press neophyte.

I owned a French Press many, many years ago. But I then purchased a nice (and rather expensive) Cuisinart coffee maker. I figured "Heck, it's a good name, it works great. I'll love it much more than my dinky French Press."

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I used that coffee maker for about 6 months then gave up on it. It worked fine, but the coffee never tasted the same.

So last week, I converted back. I got a new French Press.

I just made my first cup about 10 minutes ago.  It's about 90% gone and I'm ready to make my second.

From the moment before I even took my first sip and just got a whiff of that cup of coffee, I thought: "God, this is how coffee should be."

So you can keep your expensive coffee brewers with their fancy timers and gold filters and promises of brewing a pot in 3 minutes (YIKES!).  I've got my press back, and I love it.

The one I got, though, is considerably smaller than my first (a sensible purchase, since I am really the only coffee drinker in the house) and at 12 ounces it's perfect for a decent-sized cup of coffee.  But I had no idea how much grounds to use.

So I, of course, went to that bottomless source of all information, help and guidance:  YouTube.

Not the Food Network, not Cooking.com, not even the venerable wikipedia.  Yeah, YouTube.

Just search "french press coffee" and you will be amazed...no, astounded...no...positively shocked and awed by how many people did videos on using the simple French Press.

But...that's the trick.  It's not really that simple.  The mechanism itself is a model of simplicity.  Everything else, though, has its requirements and guidelines:
  • The water temp should be between 195 and 200 degrees.  Water boils that 212, so a rolling boil is way too hot.  A serious simmer, probably not hot enough.
  • You want to use 1/4 cup of coffee for about every 10 ounces of water.
  • The coffee must be allowed to brew for 2-4 minutes.  Any less, you get coffee-flavored water; any more and you might as well chew on the wet grounds.
  • Once brewed, your cup of coffee is good for about 20 minutes.
  • The coffee must be "coarse ground", otherwise they'll clog the plunger's filter.  If you go to a coffee house, don't ask for "coarse ground", tell them it's for a French Press and they'll understand. Pre-ground coffee is asking for trouble and disappointment.
The best viddy I found for using the French Press was from Alton Brown:

The best part is that he cut through the conversion stuff (I don't do "grams"..."3 ounces", "1/4 cup", "3 pinches"...that I can understand).  He also explained how not to push the plunger down...very important.

So, what coffee did I use on my latest French Press maiden voyage?

Yum...just yum...

I was so excited about getting this thing, the first (and only) coffee I could think of was Mocha Java, and I remembered that Caribou had a pretty nice one.  So I got a pound, and it was...well...blissful.  Tasty, nice chocolately undertones, full-bodied, rich, high-octane flavor.

OK, enough typing.  Time to make another cup.
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