The ‘bucks top heresy

Pro-tip:  A $4.75 tall cup of Starbucks Reserve Jamaica Blue Mountain brewed by hand in a Clover machine tastes exactly like every other cup of coffee they make.

Kopi Luwak at the Limelight

Have you seen today’s Groupon deal for New York City? Jezalin’s Gifts in the Limelight Marketplace is offering a cup of “rare Kopi Luwak Arabica Coffee” for $10. That’s right. Ten bucks for one cup of coffee that they list as a $29.99 value. Which means, by my powers of extrapolation, that this gift shop I’ve never heard of in one of New York’s most storied drug dens of yore normally offers a $30 cup of coffee on their menu, certainly an enticing proposition for the tourist set. I would go on about the craziness of that price point, but our web host is charging us by the bold tag here at NYC Mugged and I have a few more points to cover.

Now, as any good coffee nerd knows, Kopi Luwak is made from the beans of coffee berries that pass through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet, a small Malaysian animal that is arguably the world’s foremost coffee connoisseur. I’m not sure who first thought it would be a good idea to make coffee out of rodent poop, but, hey, oysters happened, too, and that’s not a bet I would have staked. My question is: where do you draw the line on what you’ll pay for “rare” coffee? I’m seriously considering forking over my lazily-earned scratch to sample what may as well be a cup of unicorn tears for all its verifiability. And why should I buy it from a shop that also sells sports gift baskets? Isn’t this a job for Cafe Grumpy or Stumptown, two esteemed local coffee joints whose beans I will happily pay $15 for 3/4 of a pound? That’s 20-something cups for half the price of one half cup of normally priced Kopi Luwak at Jezalin’s Gifts. So, then — is this a journey worth taking, or do you ignore it on general principle?

Would you pay $30 for one cup of coffee? $10? Will you buy today’s Groupon deal?

Brew are you?

I’m chagrined to report that the Manual Brew Down event at RBC last night was pretty lame, at least for everyone not directly competing in the Brew Down or partaking in the free beer (which, truthfully, might have been just myself, my faithful spouse and one sad-eyed girl sitting near us who left, sensibly, after about half an hour.) My expectations for the evening were something akin to an open tasting, but the only people enjoying coffee (that I saw) were the brewing judges. Good job, judges! You picked the right side of the counter to be on.

Perhaps I expected too much out of this event, but I do think it would have been reasonable to make some coffee available to people at a coffee shop gathering. And FYI, I just exercised all of the self-discipline available to me in not using sarcastic CAPS in that sentence.

In conclusion: RBC, I’m not mad, I’m just…disappointed. P.S., confidential to the sad-eyed girl who left early — you didn’t miss anything — except perhaps a George Lopez-alike barista looking VERY pleased with himself — which is definitely something, but probably not the thing you were looking for.

Enough of the bitter beans, though! (Feel free to use that.) While I was perusing Amazon this morning looking for ways to dispose more income into coffee and coffee-related items, I came across this fantastic product description for the Hario Coffee Grinder Mini-Mill:

Enjoy the taste of freshly ground coffee at home any time! Since ceramic mortar, no odor, metal rust. The coarse powder is adjustable simply by turning the knob and also, you can calibrate the amount of ground through the transparent bottle. When not in use, you can store the ground without handle. Secure design makes women less fatigue and easier grinding. Easy to clean with disassembled parts, Slim design saves space.

Hario:  Secure design make women less fatigue, since 1937.

Bean down so gosh darn long

I’m totally psyched to head over to the Manual Brew Down at RBC later tonight and do some in-depth reporting, so much so that I skipped my usual afternoon coffee in favor of — wait for it — a decaf chai tea latte! What? I know, right! Why didn’t I just go and join some sort of a hemp-based sun cult instead? Well, probably because I intend to drink as much artisanal coffee as I can handle tonight without getting sick. My guess is, everyone’s gonna be totally psyched by the end of this thing. Equal parts psyched and drunk, on account of the beer. It’s going to be like a Four Loko party, except no one’s tongue is going to be purple, except for mine, and I’m not telling you why.

On that note, let’s watch a very sexy French Press video compliments of the folks over at Sprouted Kitchen.

a french press method from hufort on Vimeo.

Wilco (the coffee)

Coffee lovers of a certain age and musical predilection can rejoice, because everyone’s favorite alt-something band is finally offering Wilco-branded coffee in partnership with fellow Chicagoan bean-slingers, Intelligentsia.

Available now for pre-order through the official Wilco store, music nerds and coffee nerds alike can select from two Wilco-endorsed offerings, the caf Organic Ethiopia Sidama Homecho Waeno or decaf Los Inmortales, El Salvador: El Borbollon 2010, which is coincidentally the name of Alfonso Cuaron’s next movie.

Those superfans with a little more scratch (and anyone looking to get me a Christmas gift) can also order the Coffee Lovers Bundle Pack, a best-of that includes 2 pounds of coffee, two Wilco mugs and a “mystery gift” that may or may not be Jeff Tweedy stopping by your place to hang out so that you can finally prove to yourself and anyone who cares to listen that he’s a super-cool guy who would probably really enjoy your company and insights into his music.

A Wilco (and coffee) fan can dream, can’t he?

Buy it up here:

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