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Saturday, October 04, 2003


yet another coffee party

i'm sure everyone remembers the first time they were confronted with the heavy weight of the mazzer grinder collar, thinking, i have to find a setting for this espresso, what could it be and why is this puppy so hard to turn?

ah, the excitement of the espresso-makin' newbie. and today i had a coffee party for david schoenholt (son o' don) so we could experiment with making different types of coffee.

as is my wont i offered intelligentsia's black cat (i have to say their customer service guy, mason, can't be beat; and there's nothing roast guy geoff watts doesn't know about coffee); josuma coffee's malabar gold; batdorf's staple dancing goats; and two of gillies coffees, the deluxe dark 2 and the italian dark 4.

we blew thru 1/2 pound of the black cat; the full pound of deluxe dark 2; 1/2 lb. of the italian dark; did relatively little damage to the goats or malabar gold; and also kissed nearly a gallon of milk adieu.

for giggles, we used both my passionate italian princess, the rancilio silvia and my steamy latin darling, carlos expobar.

david gamely stepped up to dealing with moving the mazzer about to dial in coffee and saw for himself first hand how finely the gillies grinds in comparison to the others. we also made da vinci white chocolate lattes with all the coffees so he could see how the gillies' coffees compared in a common and popular milk drink.

he also wasn't shy in dealing with my reg barber tamper and only briefly looked at me as if i was crazy when i dragged out the bathroom scale for tamping practice.

whether you're doing an italian-method-grind-finer-tamp-10-lbs. or an american-method-grind-a-tad-less-fine-tamp-30lbs, ya gotta learn what your tamp pressure feels like. thus the bathroom scale to tamp against.

we were supposed to practice until 2pm, when i had a hair appt. we ran a little late and i was calling my salon to explain when i discovered from their answering machine -- oops! they had suddenly and mysteriously vanished, gone belly up, taking my guy from fekkai, glenn, a former merce cunningham dancer, with them.

glenn! where are you? have you gone back to fekkai? i can't live without you! only you have the secret to my blondeness. . . .i may have to go his midweek 2am drag show at barracuda to track him down. . .

thus in a brief fit of despair, i needed my coffee more than ever. but david was a good sport and seemed to understand. then we gossiped like hens and made coffee until 5pm.

i love making coffee and could have done it all night. but david was drooping, so i sent him on his way.

this entire experience shows me that:

  1. yoga is working, because the sudden news that you've lost your long-time hairdresser is a valid reason for suicide in new york and i still managed to have fun, be happy; and
  2. i need to open a coffeeshop, because few things make me as perky as the perfect microfoam for latte art, even if i'm still pouring more so-called "monkey butt" blobs than lovely hearts, tulips, or apples. . .

all in all it was a great time. let me finally recommend a new cookie for your milk drinks: the churchill's chocolate chip shortbread, which comes in a lovely gift box decorated with roses or an equally nice tin with irises!


posted by fortune elkins | 4:13 PM | top | link to this |


Friday, October 03, 2003


double beauty, double humor

well-known sanskrit teacher manorama's new kirtan cd possibly pushes the boundary of beauty into a new dimension. her voice is so lovely; this cd is highly recommended.

when i heard it for the first time during yoga last night i just stopped, nearly frozen with electric delight in bound warrior.

her precise singing doesn't sound schoolmarm-ish or affected, as some others who pride themselves on sanskrit pronounciation do -- rather her perfect syllables seemed like pearly soap bubbles drifting throught the air.

don't miss the record release party coming to jivamukti in 2 weeks.

beauty two: costa rica la minita. today brings a great article on bill mcalpin, who makes this charming coffee possible.

what's up with our otherwise sensible canadian friends?

and finally of course the kind of tale i always take deep personal delight in, that of the slightly-macho baby-boomin' guy who is abashed to discover (whimpering) that yoga is really exercise and really hard exercise at that!

a lot of supposedly "buff" gym-going guys in my office who pooh-poohed yoga didn't last the first class when i used to run the corporate yoga program. they got their egos kicked so hard most never came back. . . which was a shame.

one in particular said: "god this is much harder than a 5k run." you betcha! and we were taking a "foundation"-level vinyasa class, one for absolute beginners. . no bound warrior for 10 or 15 breaths there. . .

(for those who find bound warrior pure pie, try my favorite variation -- pick that back foot up off the floor to transition to a bound half-moon pose!)

posted by fortune elkins | 9:04 AM | top | link to this |


Thursday, October 02, 2003


all that controversy for nothing

unseasonably cool weather today had me reaching for some gillies kenya aa.

again, long-time readers know that i'm not a fan normally of african coffees, but don schoenholt does seem to have very good ones, ones that can appeal to us low-brightness people, us sumatra lovers. . .

and so in a better frame of mind, i was happy to see this article pop up about the beginnings of success for aspen, colo.'s yoga-in-the-schools program.

the conservative christian element in aspen went ballistic over this idea, for some reason equating yoga to pagan satan worship or something. odd. readers may recall that i wrote in puzzlement about the controversy over this.

if there's one, there's one: what would the name (nama) or form (rupa) matter? wait, am i plugging eddie stern's awesome magazine again?

but no matter. what's important to mark on your calendar: awesome kirtan singer krishna das appears in new york city on oct. 25 at 8pm at the church of sts. paul & andrew.

get your tickets now! his new album is great. now playing in yoga classes everywhere.

posted by fortune elkins | 8:15 AM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, October 01, 2003


i heart trash talk

and today sees a nice article on angela holder of mercanta coffee hunters, a british pro coffee taster.

oh, and for those you waiting with baited breath on how bikram's glorious afore-mentioned yoga competition went, well, reports are in.

the best thing about bikram is his all-american trash talk. when asked how he responds to criticism that yoga shouldn't be competitive, he replies with his standard modest discretion and tolerance.

his critics, he says, "believe yoga means sit and eat, meditate, look like a hippie and smell bad." i mean, this is as good as you used to get from sir charles barkley.

the 411's right here.

what strikes me about the report is the nonchalance of the yoga journal editor. but then, why would they do anything to endanger their advertising revenues or conference attendance fees?

what else should i expect? of course they do it in india. they also are reported to do lots of things in india that aren't so cool.

but hey, if it happens in india, well! that's enough for me. . .i'm gonna end up a student of eddie stern's any day now at this rate, like it or not!

posted by fortune elkins | 9:25 AM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, September 30, 2003


all about coffee

"the intelligent man who empties these foaming cups/he alone knows truth" as the arabic poem says.

one of the most important and interesting books about coffee is the famed ukers. this 847-page tome was compiled by willam ukers and it justifies its name. it is all about coffee!

and it's surely the reason they invented broadband. thanks to a fellow coffee fanatic, this expensive masterpiece is now downloadable in adobe acrobat format.

let me warn you however that it's super-large: 80 mgs. for those of you with broadband, that's 10 mins. for dial-up people, it's an overnight endeavor.

but boy is it worth it -- not only for the great antique style, but the hilarious old-fashioned illustrations and reproductions. even tho' it's only about 75 years old, it reads like something from the turn of the century, for the most part.

it doesn't have a modern sensibility at all, which is somewhat charming. my favorite section is of course book vi, artistic aspects.

so brace yourself, turn off your screensaver, get all your business outta the way, and do it.

"come and enjoy the company of coffee in its habitations; for divine goodness envelops those who partake of its feast."

download ukers here.

news flash: coffee cleared in court of all charges. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 8:29 AM | top | link to this |


Monday, September 29, 2003


swiss water googles

and today brings a great article on a friend of mine, frank dennis of swiss water decaf.

he serves on the same scaa consumer member marketing committee that i do. he's a thoughtful and intense guy.

i'm not a big decaf fan myself, but i understand some people -- like mr. right -- say they are sensitive to caffeine. and some people do apparently have a gene type that makes caffeine problematic for them.

i was surprised to learn that only 2.5% of coffee in the u.s.a. is swiss water process (swp) because basically that's all i see advertised in my local bean stores. . .

about 20-25% of all coffee sold is decaf, i'm told, so it's an important player in the contemporary coffee market, as is flavored coffees.

coffee is your passion: yes indeed!

posted by fortune elkins | 5:21 PM | top | link to this |


Sunday, September 28, 2003


saying goodbye to yoga journal

today yoga journal called me -- telemarketing on a sunday afternoon, ugh! -- to urge me to renew my subscription.

and i declined. actually, i hadn't noticed it had lapsed. yoga journal's weird 7-month publishing schedule and irregular issuance just got me to the point where i was surprised to ever see it in my mailbox.

and when i did, it seemed like the same 12 people were in it all the time. i guess yoga journal's fine, but it never told me anything i didn't already know.

i never felt challenged or excited by it, which i suppose is why it is so popular. in constrast, the more intense namarupa floats my boat even tho' i actually don't always agree with its point of view.

maybe i never agree with its point of view, since it's very devotional in a hindu-oriented way. but i'm complex in this regard, so it interests me and repels me at the same time. . .

whatever it is, it's challenging, engaging, thought-provoking, and a little learned. i suppose it's the new york review of books of yoga in a way?

a rainy day, so the coffee ground a little fine, and the pizza dough needed a touch less water. it's definitely fall now and to celebrate i'm doing the unthinkable: going out for some quality pepperoni for mr. right's personal pizza.

long-time readers know that i myself, unimaginative stick in the mud that i am, eat only margheritas. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 11:04 AM | top | link to this |

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