FRIDAY: Pause to Refresh!


China: Coca Cola Poster, 1948


Punch au Cognac Label, circa 1915

Punch Au Cognac

Punch au Cognac label, circa 1915

[BOOKS] Who Could Go for a Smoothie?

bigsmooveEspecially when it’s free? Okay, the smoothie’s not free, you gotta make your own. In your own blender. And, you know, buy the ingredients to put in the smoothie. But the book is free.

[Smoothies: the most delicious recipes: Vol IV. for Kindle, by B.M. White — Free download from Amazon]

And while you’re there, browsing Amazon, buy a $30,000 eleventy-million inch flat screen LED TV, or something, it helps support this site! Okay, you don’t have to buy a big flat screen TV, but if you get a book, or CD, or some pants, or a ball point pen, or something, it helps support our high-quality news organization.

In the meantime, be like this guy, drink up!

Industrial Pundit Fuel Update

100,000 espressos and still going strong

100,000 espressos and still going strong

Punditfromanotherplanet’s 24-hour news laboratory had a brief crisis this week, when the fuel source was temporarily interrupted. Yes, the espresso supply chain stopped in mid-stream, when the primary caffeine processor was offline. When I flipped it on, it didn’t boot up. With advice from a professional repair consultant, I discovered it’s easy to find the reset button, reset it, and fully restore functionality. Voila! The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is now serving.

Turns out, earlier that day, in a neglectful moment, I’d left the steamer on a bit too long, unattended. It overheated, and it activated an internal breaker. It self-protected. Brilliant.  It reminded me that this machine exceeds my previous model Francis Francis Italian espresso (which also got a lot of mileage) machine’s features. The Silvia protected itself from overheating. And the reset (briefly removing the top panel) was a simple process. Rather than a repair bill, a new boiler, or internal electronics, it just needed a push of a button to reset it.

[Check out Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine, and others, at]

I was originally drawn to the Silvia because it falls neatly into the ‘pro-sumer’ line of home espresso machines. More expensive than the typical home model, but more affordable than the high-end models that are professional enough to use in a a restaurant or bar. I found it’s one of the best-reviewed, most prized, durable and elegant pundit fuel sources in its price range, with a sleek, industrial feel, compared to most lightweight home models.

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How to Make Perfect Coffee

By Michael Haft and Harrison Suarez

Coffee has become recognized as a human necessity. It is no longer a luxury or an indulgence; it is a corollary of human energy and human efficiency.

– William H. Ukers, All About Coffee (1922)

It was November 23, 2010. We were in Surf City, North Carolina, getting ready to fortify ourselves before another grueling day. As the thin, black liquid oozed into the stained carafe, we stood bleary-eyed.

We were roommates, Marine infantry officers, perpetually sleep-deprived from the training, the planning, the preparations for war. Back then coffee was little more than a bitter, caffeine-delivery system. It was just what we needed to stay awake.

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Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters, The Spirit of Invention : Homemade and Seriously Modified!

fr8hotrod = boutell !!!

Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

For some people who roast their own coffee, off-the-shelf home coffee roasting appliances don’t cut it. Either they don’t offer enough control of the roast, are too expensive, or just don’t allow the roaster (uh, the person that is) to express themselves. The homemade or seriously modified commercial roasters on this page are alternately amusing and intimidating in appearance, but whatever the case, they probably work very well. And if they don’t, you can bet they will be reconfigured endlessly until they do by their respective owners. A disclaimer on behalf of every roaster on this page: modifying electric and gas roasting equipment is dangerous. A 120 v shock isn’t half as bad as burning down your house though, and that is a serious possibility. When you build or modify a roaster, you assume a great deal of risk, and should be extremely cautious. You never, ever, ever walk away from a machine when it is in use. And you should unplug electric roasters even when they are off. Be safe, have fun. Most of these people are regulars on the Sweet Maria’s Homeroast List. Also see my pictures of coffee roasters…and of course, our Coffee Library page.

The PHOTOS in this archive of DIY Gizmo Hot-Rod Home-Roasting Madness are not to be missed. This is the most insane coffee-related site I’ve seen all year.

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