French Press Kit For At Work

Today I decided to put together a small kit of coffee gear to keep in my office at work. Since my taste buds seem to be changing more and more over time as it relates to coffee, I’ve found it necessary to prepare my own if I want to enjoy a cup while at work.

Previously when I was getting into this coffee thing a few years ago I found that I liked the coffee that franchise chain Tim Horton’s offered, both in their brew at the store and their whole bean bags I could buy and take home. It’s been quiet a while since I’ve had any of their coffee, probably since at least last winter.

Last week I I bought a medium black cup from them and began to sip on it. After about the second sip I couldn’t take it as the taste was just horrible to me. Horrible. I dumped the drink down the drain and finally committed to building my own brewing kit to keep at the office.

Fortunately I had everything I needed already at home on the shelf and in the cupboards. Here is what I am using:

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The nice thing for me is that I have my own office so I don’t need to keep the gear in the common area break room. Instead it will stay locked up in my office where no one should be messing with it.

Now I can enjoy proper and fresh coffee when I want it.

Tossing away plastic bottles and trapping water

A couple of months ago I was visiting a local Harley-Davidson store in town called Ray C’s, which now has a BBQ trailer from another business in the county, called the Country Smokehouse, with which they’ve partnered with for the summer.

I’m not into motorcycles or anything to do with them really, but I wanted to eat at the BBQ trailer since I love their store and visit it whenever I’m on that side of the county.

If I remember properly, I ordered some pulled pork taco’s and a bottle of water. It was quite the hot summer day and water was the most appropriate drink of choice for the weather conditions, and more importantly, the best choice for a diabetic like me; soda pop is not an option.

The motorcycle dealership is newly built in a better location and is very beautiful with a lot of showroom space and a shop for working on bikes. They’ve also included an outdoor waiting area which is covered and protected from the sun with picnic tables to sit on. This is where I sat down to eat my taco’s and drink my water.

The food was absolutely delicious and I really wanted to place a second order, but I restrained my gluttony and and only had the one serving. I also finished my water and I got up from the table to put my trash into the trash bin. When I approached the receptacle I was screwing the cap back onto the bottle and one of the Ray C’s employees standing nearby, maybe even on guard, politely shouted at me not to throw that bottle away. I stopped, stunned for a second, as if I may have been about to do something criminal and wondering why I shouldn’t do what I was about to do.

In Michigan, we have a 10 cent bottle return recycling program but it only applies to soda pop and beer bottles, and not to water bottles. That’s quite unfortunate really that the laws haven’t been updated to include more forms of recyclable materials that are commonly sold.

I care about the environment, but I’m not overly zealous about it either. You won’t find me chained to a tree in an old forest or laying down in front of a bulldozer protesting a new development. But I do try to do what I can in certain areas to help preserve the environment and reduce my carbon footprint. It’s all relative of course and other people do a whole lot more than I do, but for me, I’m making progress one step at a time.

So I hate to admit this, but I do toss out plastic water bottles in the trash and don’t recycle them. I don’t drink soda pop or drink beer so there is nothing to recycle there. But when I find one on the ground or elsewhere, I will take it to a recycle bin.

While I was standing there, stunned as it were, the Ray C’s employee began to educate me me about the water that is locked up in the landfills across the planet that can never get out. By placing the cap back on the bottle I was trapping a very insignificant amount of water inside the bottle. Not much to really make a difference to anything, much less the environment. But when he began to talk about it, I realized that one bottle alone won’t make a difference, but when I consider how many bottles I’ve tossed out with a little bit of water in them and the cap securely locked on it, and all the bottles other people have tossed out in similar fashion, that insignificant amount of water per bottle can turn up to be quite a significant amount in totality.

It can take between 450 to 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to decompose and thus let out the water trapped inside of it.

Each day in the United States more than 60 million water bottles are thrown away. That’s 21, 900, 000, 000 bottles of water thrown out each year in the U.S. That 22 billion water bottles per year is just one country on our planet. The total amount of water bottles thrown out worldwide must be staggering if we don’t consider 22 billion to be staggering enough.

According to Our Blue Planet:

One twelve ounce bottle of water has 7,200 drops of water in it. If water bottles were thrown out with just one drop of water in it, humans would have prevented 7.4 million gallons of water from returning back into the atmosphere in 2008 alone. To get an image of how much water that is, an Olympic swimming pool contains 660,000 gallons of water. We have wasted 11 Olympic swimming pools worth of water by drinking bottled water. The average hot tub is full at 400 gallons. With the amount of water wasted, you could fill 18,444 hot tubs. These statistics do not take into account the amount of water bottles that are thrown out half full or mostly full such as after a party or if your bottle of water becomes warm. When you include the percentage of bottles in landfills with a substantial amount of water in them, the numbers increase dramatically. The United States alone has wasted at least 8,679,705 Gallons worth of drips from bottled water between 2000 and 2008. We are partially to blame for droughts around the world, by preventing this water from reaching the water cycle and having our reservoirs being replenished.

That is an awful lot of water being trapped in bottles in landfills that may not see the environment again for at least 450 years. If the U.S. wastes about 8.6 million gallons of water each year like this, on average, in 450 years time that will be 3.8 billion gallons of water gone before they theoretically could start getting back into the environment when the first bottles finally decompose enough to release the trapped water.

Once I started thinking about it, the Ray C’s employee was right about the the issue of trapped water in bottles and ever since that day I’ve started not putting the caps on the bottles when I dispose of them. It’s not much for one person, but he made an impact on me and I hope if you’re reading this post, it will make an impact on you as well to help do your part for our planet, the only one we have.

National Coffee Month (2016)

Its August again and that means its National Coffee Month in the United States!


Here are some interesting facts about coffee:

  • Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry which makes them a fruit.
  • Coffee is the world’s second most valuable traded commodity, only behind petroleum.
  • You can bathe in coffee at a spa in Japan.
  • The world consumes close to 2.25 billion cups of coffee every day.
  • Coffee was originally eaten by mixing coffee berries with fat.
  •  The first webcam was created in Cambridge to check the status of a coffee pot.

Caffeine Content

Some people always ask which has more caffeine in it, espresso or a cup of regular coffee. A standard doppio, or double shot espresso, which is the most common way to consume it, has 128 to 160mg of caffeine in it. That’s measuring it at 2 fluid ounces to 2.5 fluid ounces.

An 8 ounce of cup of coffee contains 95mg of caffeine in it which is going to be 65mg less than a double shot of espresso. One would need to consume about 1.75 cups of regular coffee to equal one double shot of espresso for caffeine content.

So for me in the mornings, I usually consume two double shot espresso’s before work which means I’m loaded up with about 320mg of caffeine!

Passion for the Coffee

For some of us, like myself and a few friends on, coffee is more than just a drink to be consumed. To us this is a passion and a hobby. This is about the process of procuring the best beans we can find, ensuring we buy from good farms (or companies that buy from good farms), getting good roasts and flavors that we enjoy.  It’s also about the production process at home once we receive the beans. It’s about the grinder, the measuring, weighing, the tamping, the warming of the machines, the pre-heating of the cups, the extraction time and enjoying the cup of coffee at the end.

There are many different ways to make a cup of coffee and we each find our favorite production method and seek out the best gear we can afford t make it with.

To us, it’s not about the Starbucks franchises of the world and the mass marketing and mass production of something that is supposed to be coffee. No, it’s about getting that quality cup of coffee made with the freshest beans possible. We go out of our way to find them, we go out of our way to roast them, we go out of our way to brew them.

For anyone who wants to taste what a good cup of coffee tastes like, seek out a reputable local coffee roaster and inquire within. I guarantee you’ll find their coffee actually tastes like coffee should and you’ll be amazed at how much better it is than the big chain restaurants “coffee.”

Enjoy National Coffee Month!

The Life & Technology Blog

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