Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Better Way to Brew

You just have to love an invention that excels in its simplicity of form and excellence in function. The invention I refer to is the Aeropress Coffee and Expresso Maker. The inventor is Alan Adler, maker of the Aerobie; the flying Frisbee-like ring that holds world records for distance and accuracy. It must have been his love of coffee that caused him switch gears and engineer an ingenuous new method for brewing a single cup of coffee or expresso. I had been looking for a good system for brewing single cups that wasn't one of those K-cup type machines that I really don't care for. I was gifted an Aeropress over Xmas and I am very pleased with this gadget.

So, if you happen to run into me, and I seem a little more hyped up than usual, its probably this caffeine buzz that I have perpetually been on since receiving this gift.

The Aeropress Coffee and Expresso Maker has a cult following among geeks and baristas. Variations on brewing methods for the Aeropress are all over the Internet in coffee forums, blogs and videos. The device uses pressure to force heated water through ground coffee beans infusing it full of satisfying flavor without the bitterness or particulate matter that often accompanies traditional expresso or French Press methods.

The product, which sells for a street price of under $30 has few parts; a tube like vessel (for water and grinds), a plunger and a filter cap. Also included are a scoop, a stirrer and a supply of small round filters. The process for brewing coffee takes only 30 seconds. I prefer the Inverted Aeropress Method as shown below, over the one prescribed in the product instruction sheet.

Inverted aeropress from Abi Porter on Vimeo.

Monday, December 23, 2013

When the Duck Quacks...

The debate over comments made by Duck Dynasty's patriarch, Phil Robertson is raging. Yes, he has every right to speak his opinion, and yes A&E as a private enterprise has every right to suspend or fire him at will.

My bet is that the two sides will kiss and make up. Its all about the money, and DD has the highest rated show on the network and likely brings in the highest ad revenues. All first amendment rights and protecting A&E's brand will be thrown by the wayside as both sides find a way to keep the profits flowing.

For me, what is most revealing about this incident is the clash of cultures. I am talking about modern urban professionals versus the southern rural redneck cultures. I have been alarmed over the last few years at the glorification and elevation of the Rednecks in our popular culture. We've seen it not only on TV shows, but in country music and Tea Party politics.

While most of the time these rednecks seem like harmless fun lovin' good ole' boys, its always been apparent to me what makes up the foundation of that culture. Phil Robertson's remarks brought those values to the surface. His comments regarding gay equality, race relations, and Christian fundamentalism speak volumes about the redneck value system. You can laugh with them, sing songs about them or glorify their lifestyle. But you can't escape the bigotry and intolerance that pervades that culture. Phil Robertson has reminded us what Rednecks are really all about.