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Mark P. (CoffeeGeek)
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My dog, the moving subject. +Beata Siwinski :)
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Woot - more new content at CoffeeGeek!
 
New content up at CoffeeGeek again - the QuickShot Review of the new steam pitchers from Espro - the Toroid, Version 2!
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Mmmmm I do love a good siphon brew. 
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Brewing coffees with the Hario Sommelier. I wrote a super tiny review of it in the Coffee Community. 

https://plus.google.com/u/0/100909546646242432417/posts/eQgAvSnXAdY
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10 years' aged? Let's do this! One dammed fine cigar!
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You are welcome to share.... :-) 
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The great Canadian author Pierre Berton, on the difference between Canadians and Americans (from his book "Klondike" published in early 1970s)

It has often been said (usually by Americans) that there is no great difference between those who live south of the forty-ninth parallel and those of us who live on the Canadian side; but the Klondike experience supplies a good deal of evidence to support the theory that our history and our geography have helped to make us a distinct people – not better and not worse – but different in style, background, attitude, and temperament from our neighbours.

Our national character has not been tempered in the crucible of violence, and our attitudes during the stampede underline this historic truth. In all the Americas ours is the only country that did not separate violently from its European parents. We remained loyal and obedient, safe and relatively dispassionate, and we welcomed to our shores those other loyalists who opted for the status quo. If this lack of revolutionary passion has given us a reasonably tranquil history, it has also, no doubt, contributed to our well-known lack of daring. It is almost a Canadian axiom that we would rather be safe than sorry; alas, we are sometimes sorry that we are so safe.

Happily, we have had very little bloodshed in our history. Our rare insurrections have been fought on tiny stages blown up out of all proportion by the horrifying fact that they have occurred at all. Lynchings are foreign to us and so is gangsterism. The concept of barroom shoot-outs and duels in the sun have no part in our tradition either, possibly because we have had so few barrooms and so little sun. (It is awkward to reach efficiently for a six-gun while wearing a parka and two pairs of mittens.) When sudden, unreasoning violence does occur, as it did when Pierre Laporte was murdered in October, 1970, we tend to over-react. That was, after all, our first political assassination in more than a century and only the second in our history.

If Canadians are a moderate people, as the whiskey advertisements used to say, it is also because of the presence at our back door of a vast and brooding wilderness. The Klondike was and is a part of a wilderness experience that we all share. For the Americans who rushed north in 1897 and 1898, it was a last frontier; for them there were no more wilderness worlds to conquer or even to know. But the frontier is with us still and it shapes us in its own fashion. The experience of naked rock and brooding forest, of slate-coloured lakes and empty valleys, of skeletal birches and gaunt pines, of the wolf’s haunting howl and the loon’s ghostly call is one that is still shared by a majority of Canadians but only a minority of Americans.

There are few of us who do not live within a few hours’ drive of nature. It has bestowed upon us what one American observer, William Henry Chamberlain, has called “a sensation of tranquillity.” The North, still almost as empty as it was in the days before the great stampede, hangs over the country like an immense backdrop, providing, in the words of André Siegfried, “a window out onto the infinite.” A great Canadian editor, Arthur Irwin, once summed it up in a single sentence to a group of Americans. “Nearly every Canadian,” he said, “at some time in his life has felt a shiver of awe and loneliness which comes to a man when he stands alone in the face of untamed nature; and that is why we are a sober and essentially religious people.”

We have been lucky with our history. The American frontier was wrested violently from the Indians and that violence continued until the frontier was tamed. Our own experience came later. The Hudson’s Bay Company, which held the hinterland in thrall for generations, and the Canadian Shield, which retarded the settlement of the plains in the days before the railroad, have been seen as drawbacks to progress. And yet this tardy exploitation of the North West is one of the reasons why we have no Wild West tradition. There was a time when we might have welcomed a more violent kind of frontier mythology, but that time is past.

Every television addict knows that the two mythologies differ markedly. The Americans elected their lawmen – county sheriffs and town marshals – whose gun-slinging exploits helped forge their western legends. Summary justice by groups of vigilantes or hastily deputized posses was part of that legend. If the American frontier was not as violent as the media suggest, it was certainly violent compared with the Canadian frontier. There were no boot hills or hanging trees in our North West, and the idea that a community could take the law into its own hands or that a policeman might be elected by popular suffrage did not enter the heads of a people whose roots were stubbornly colonial and loyalist and whose heritage did not include anything as inflammatory as a Boston Tea Party. A variety of incidents on the Klondike trails bears this out, but the Klondike stampede was not the first occasion when the two traditions clashed on the soil of British North America.
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New Content  - 
 
New content up at CoffeeGeek again - the QuickShot Review of the new steam pitchers from Espro - the Toroid, Version 2!
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Sensitivity to steel taste

Some people don't like the taste of coffee in a steel cup. They can be very sensitive to the way the taste is altered. I get that (though personally I don't have a positive or negative feeling on drinking from steel - I can taste the difference, but it doesn't bother me).

Recently, someone asked me "how can you be sensitive to steel in your drinking cup, but brew using steel, as in a steel filter basket for your espresso machine, steel kettle, steel innards to an espresso machine or drip machine etc". It got me thinking about that. All of this is a totally non-science-background based assumption. I'd love to hear from real scientists or engineers on this.

I am assuming that steel's reactive nature to coffee is a slow one (steel is a reactive alloy metal - all metals, except gold, are reactive, IIRC). The reaction speed (plus the seasoning) of steel in filters, in espresso machines, in grinders, etc, (all the steel that touches coffee before it gets into a cup) is low.

Also to remember, all these bits of steel are seasoned - they've been in touch with coffee for a long time, and have not have soap and other things rinse that contact away. Just water + heat takes care of things like bacteria, etc. Seasoning is a real thing.

Coffee sitting in a steel cup, one that's faced soapy suds many times, will see a reaction to a bare metal, that coffee going through a portafilter and grouphead made out of steel will not. Just a guess, but I think it's probably accurate.

What do you think?
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I have no problem using my Bubba stainless steel travel mug daily for my Americanos, lattes, and cappuccinos. I don't doubt there's some kind of reaction going on, but I still can't taste it. Maybe I have something going on that makes me much less sensitive to the taste dereference. Thanks to you, Mark, and CoffeeGeek forums, I have learned a great deal about tasting differences in coffee.
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Siphon Coffee  - 
 
Brewing coffee with the handmade and uniquely shaped Hario Sommelier coffee siphon.

Absolutely beautiful to look at, it's not the most usable siphon in the world

a) constant worry you're going to break it - there's no sense of confidence when using it, since there's a lot of big, thin glass.

b) inserting the top part into the bottom seems fragile, wobbly; if you do it while the siphon is in its stand, you worry that you'll push too hard and spread the arms out too far on the stand and crash, break everything

c) pouring coffee from this is a mess - the spout doesn't work. Coffee dribbles, back splashes, sprays.

d) coffee left in bottom of the wide carafe base even at extreme pouring angles

e) silicone middle sleeve still can get too hot.

But it sure is gorgeous to look at and makes a statement.
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really nice sommelier!
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First review posted to CG in a while... ;) 
 
New CoffeeGeek Content - the Cafelat Convertible Portafilter - a review.
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I take photographs and make espresso love.
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Coffee! Espresso! Photography! Cocktails! Vancouver! Occasional Tech Talk!
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I sold my first photograph in 1995. I made my first espresso in 1992! Involved in designing espresso machines way back in 2002!
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Mark P. (CoffeeGeek)'s +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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My first visit there was near their closing time so I didn't really get a chance to really explore the place. That said, I did have a siphon coffee ($6.50, 300ml served) of Rocanini's current Colombian offering (can't remember the specific coffee farm, but I bought a bag afterwards). It was a very pleasing cup of siphon coffee done with cloth filters. Very balanced cup, enough for two to share. Inside, the decor is very modern but comfy, scandinavian modern. We like the window low leather seats, but there's a variety of seating available. Glad we checked it out.
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Food: Very goodDecor: ExcellentService: Very good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
One of Vancouver's great independent cafes, and one of the cafes in town that features a variety of coffees from different roasters (mostly Canadian roasters). This is also one of the few places in town where you can get Social Coffee (from Ontario). The cafe is very coffee forward with almost equal stage time given to espresso and the Clover machine. You'll find many regulars here, so sometimes finding a seat can be hard.
Food: Very goodDecor: Very goodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Just a fantastic venue for our neighbourhood - an eclectic mix of first run movies, live music, burlesque, comedy and more. We never go to the mainstream movie theatres any longer, and are really happy the Rio is showing first run mainstream movies like The Campaign and Batman Rises, along with great cult and second run movies. Prices cannot be beat, either for admission, for the food and beverage offerings, and for the beer and spirits offerings. Staff is ALWAYS friendly, whether you're some hip 20 something or some old fart like me lol. The owner is very sociable and community involved. Really glad this is part of our neighbourhood and community.
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Appeal: ExcellentFacilities: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Great addition to Vancouver's coffee scene, and now that they roast, it is one of the things I've been waiting a very long time for in Vancouver: a roaster/retailer that's doing fantastic specialty coffee. Sure we have a few, but not very many new ones opened in the last five years that both are a cafe and a micro-roaster. I drink a LOT of espresso, and I can honestly say one of the best shots I've had in about six months was from their second variant of "Catalogue", which is their roast for espresso. It was even better in milk. There's a secret, off menu item you should consider ordering. They don't have a name for it, but I call it the "half-and-half". Say you want a double shot, but half straight, half in a macchiato. It's priced great, and you get a nice single espresso and a tight, well formed macchiato to drink. Lastly, I LOVE the way they do water. They have an on-demand carbonated water system, and for $0.25, you get a glass; for $0.50, you get a bottle. 100% of the money goes to a charity. Awesome stuff.
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Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
15 reviews
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Nice addition to the Drive in Vancouver - except for Saki Maki, most of the sushi places on Commercial are pretty substandard fare - so it is good to see another good-ingredients sushi place in this neighbourhood. The selection was across-the-board good or better in quality - and based on the price, I'd give the restaurant a solid B+ / A- on the ingredients quality and presentation. The food is presented in a very inventive way and the sizes of the cuts are very good for the price. The only knocks I have are that the serving staff, though friendly, need a bit more knowledge on the menu and the specials - we stopped in randomly because I saw "red tuna + saki appetizer" offered on special on a sandwich board outside - so I ordered it, but only after ordering and getting my meal did I realise it was a spicy red tuna in sauce and presented with lemon, raspberry and grapes, and the sake was hot. Tasted great, but it would have been good to be more informed about something being spicy when you aren't aware of it. Overall, recommended! And thankful there's another quality driven sushi place on Commercial Drive!
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Food: Very goodDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Probably the best sushi place on Commercial Drive (now that Lime has closed for a while). Friendly service, though things you order can be forgotten some times. Very informal, no order to how the food comes out (like most sushi places) so don't sweat that. The quality of the sushi cuts are consistently very good. I'm pretty picky about tuna (and toro) cuts at sushi places, and I'd rate Saki Maki as being very good, on par with some sushi joints that cost almost double the price. The specialty rolls feature many original ones, as well as "Vancouver specials" that many seem to expect at a Vancouver sushi joint (myself excluded). Favourites include the Alberta Roll (teriyaki beef with cucumber, and tempura tuna on top with roe), and the Asia Dinner Special can't be beat - three items out of a list of dozens for $10 - and it's good portion sizes too. Saki Maki also have someone who has to be the friendliest delivery driver we've ever experienced - the guy is awesome. Takeout sushi is never as good as in-restaurant, fresh cut sushi, but it's still pretty good as a takeout delivery choice.
• • •
Food: ExcellentDecor: Very goodService: Very good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
Fantastic gem added to Vancouver's local culinary scene last year. The restaurant itself is small and quaint but there is usually room for you to sit down and eat your pizza in the shop. They also designed their dough to handle of the rigors of being put in a cardboard box and transported for up to 15 to 20 minutes so that when you get home your pizza isn't soggy - this is no small feat; some of Vancouver's other new "culinary" pizza joints that have opened recently can't match this for takeout. The standard pizzas they offer are really good with a range of tastes. In restaurant, there are bottles of chili infused olive oil, and oregano infused olive oil to dip your crust into. There's free soda water (apparently made on demand at the tap via some kind of magic!). They also do phone in orders for eat in or take out, which I wish more of the new culinary pizza joints would do. Recently they got their license, so you can enjoy a glass of wine with your pizza, you know, all civilized-like, just like in Italy (this is a dig at BC's asinine liquor controls). It's not "cheap", but not expensive either. Two can have a full 'za with glass of wine for under $45; if you're just drinking the free carbonated water, then around $30 or so.
• • •
Food: ExcellentDecor: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago