short and black

Posted in random,reviews on August 11, 2006 @ 3:01pm

Please, for the love of all things good, noble and right, do not deign to venture near Nestle’s Short Black – their recent [lack-of-]effort at bringing instant coffee to those who know better. Ignominious rubbish.

Here’s what Alan Frew of Coffee for Connoisseurs said on the topic this month in his newsletter:

Nestle has recently released a new instant coffee called “Short Black”. In the spirit of adventure I bought a sample jar and tried it out. It does indeed foam up and produce a pale yellowish faux-crema when you pour boiling water on it, but the product in the cup bears little relationship to a real short black.

Even at the much higher concentration (for instant) than normal, one and a half heaped teaspoons in a 100ml cup, it lacks the body and mouthfeel of a real espresso. While there is real coffee taste (very much like bland Brazil) it is mouth puckeringly acidic, like sucking a lemon. This may be an artefact of whatever processing is used to produce the crema effect, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d drink for fun.

I agree with Alan. Rather than buy the stuff I had the unfortunate opportunity of trying it out at work. I dumped the correct amount of fine light-brown powder (think half-size International Roast granules) into an oversize cup and sloshed the appropriate amount of boiling water on top. I was surprised – it does actually foam up, and the top of the coffee looks like crema-oozing goodness.

That, however, is where the similarity with real espresso ends, much in the same way as forward movement of a car ends when it meets a solid concrete wall at speed.

The stuff tastes like I performed as perfect a 23-second extraction of a single roast bean as possible… and then removed my espresso cup for safekeeping, substituted another and extracted for 30 seconds more with the already dead coffee grounds still in the portafilter. Add a dash of lemon juice and some fake frothy stuff on top, and voila! Nestle Short Black.

Do not let the world foist bad coffee upon you. Resist the temptation – you don’t know the power of the Short Black side.

unending possibility returns

Posted in random on August 9, 2006 @ 12:50pm

I have just determined why being in London seemed such a challenge at times. Listening to Jamie Cullum (a Brit, for sure) I was musing that he’d “succeeded” and had become someone (something?) famous. But given the sheer multitude of people in London alone, it seemed that the desire to be something different was held down by the impossibility of standing out. I felt like my surroundings were sucking the desire for being more right out of me.

Here in Adelaide again, though, I feel like there should be nothing to prevent us from striving for more and better. Why not be unique, better in maybe just one way than everyone else, and shine brighter in that respect, with abandon?

life is smiling

Posted in random on August 9, 2006 @ 12:45pm

Noticed anything particularly interesting about your petrol service cashier, or your Subway sandwich artist, or your librarian? Maybe not. But what if they’re smiling while they provide you with their special service – apparently enjoying tedious and mundane work?

In a flash of realisation, I have determined why I think this is such a pleasing and inspiring occurrence. For it is not that they are smiling at their work. No, it’s much better than that! They smile because they enjoy life, and can see fit to display their enjoyment through all of their circumstances.

Good on you for smiling.


Posted in random on August 9, 2006 @ 12:42pm

I watched a sharply-dressed old[er] man riffle through his pouch of SA Lotto tickets on the bus today, and my heart sunk deep into my stomach while I considered the possible extent of this action. What kind of life is it if all it becomes is the hope for something that is impossibly valuable and equally improbable?

No, I would much rather devote hard work, late nights and well-thought investment into the preservation and security of my future. Surely more can be earnt by calculated outcome rather than unlikely gambled results?

world class

Posted in random on August 8, 2006 @ 11:37pm

There comes a time in our meandering lives when the activities we pursue become as “world class” as any other or any other’s. We seem to live out our formative years and then begin to reach (or perhaps approach) a life-stage when all of our happenings become part of a set of normal actions that each of us as grown human beings might come across. At this stage, none of these events is better or worse than any other, from the viewpoint of worldly significance.

Payrise. Graduation. Employment. Weekend. Movie. Girlfriend. Travel. Wife. Kids. Mortgage. Car. In-laws. Dog. Christmas.


At a time not too far removed from the aforementioned world class “initiation”, we also take a step out into a wider world of freedom, responsibility and personal significance. Some would take this for granted, whereas I’ve become keenly aware of the quaint stillness of being “in-between”. Nearly all of my possessions are within ten metres, and most of them are right in this very [bed/study/lounge/media]-room. Oddly enough, this room is taking on another nounal descriptor: holding. Occasionally I feel as if I am being held here, even if only in a self-perpetuated manner, with no other place to venture which doesn’t involve some level of undesirability.

So here I make my home, largely, and await the day of making the same with more than just one room.

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