Trusting GPS

I was recently driving to an appointment and I was running exactly on time. I was a bit stressed about not having any buffer because the office I was going to runs like clockwork. I really didn’t want to be late. Suddenly the highway came to complete stop.  People started making u-turns in the median. But I had data. I knew I was fine. This traffic was already factored into my ETA. I charged ahead into the traffic and I made my appointment. Maybe there was a little luck involved, but I will continue to believe the data was on my side.

(Also I didn’t know any other way to get there, so either way I had to keep going that way.)

Brew, Rinse, Repeat

For my third installment of Adventures in Cold Brewing I offer a quick note on repetition. For this experiment I started with my usual Mason jar cold brewing routine. After my standard 12 hours I filtered the coffee, reset the mason jar with fresh coffee grinds, and poured the coffee back in instead of fresh water. I repeated this process every 12 hours for 3 days.

To prepare a cup I boiled some water and diluted the concentrate about 4:1. This was probably the best coffee I’ve made yet. I’m not sure it was worth the time and trouble, but it was very good. Once I figure out how to improve my filtering process so it’s not so time consuming I think I’ll try this again.

Improving GPS

Every time I get in my car I ask my smartphone to use precise measurements of time beamed from several points in space to quickly triangulate my location, then wirelessly connect to the internet, find my destination, map a route avoiding traffic, then read the directions to me as I drive. And yet I will complain it’s not doing enough.

Here’s a short list of features I’d like to see added to GPS:

  • If my next turn is the next traffic signal tell me that! Say, “turn left at the light,” the way a person would.
  • Show me the speed limit. Alert me when I’m speeding.
  • Search for things along my route. I used to be able to do this – I don’t know where that feature went.
  • Give me an ETA/trip time factoring in projected traffic based on a later start time.
  • Suggest a lane based on the next turn.
  • Show me the current weather radar, like the Radar Now app.
  • Route around high crime areas.
  • Allow me to set the height of my vehicle and warn me if I’m going to drive under something too low.

More on Coffee Brewing

I’ve been playing with cold brewing and changing the technique and recipe slightly with each batch. Here are some of the things you can control when brewing coffee:

  • Grind (Turkish – Coarse)
  • Grinding Method (Burr, Chop, Pound, Roller Grind)
  • Roast (Cinnamon – Spanish)
  • Species (Arabica vs. Robusta)
  • Bean Source and Freshness
  • Water Quality (Hardness, Purification Method, etc)
  • Method (Drip, Pressurized Percolation, Boiling, Steeping)
  • Pressure (Drip – Espresso)
  • Brew Temperature (Ice Cold – Boiling)
  • Water to Grind ratio
  • Equipment quality, cleanliness
  • Brewing Duration
  • Agitation During Brewing
  • Repetition (Brew, Filter, Replace Coffee, Repeat)
  • Filtering
  • Dilution
  • Preparation (Milk, Sugar, etc)

I’ve been changing one or two with each batch and recording the results. Some of these factors, especially Roast, Species, and Grind will make a big, noticeable change to your cup of coffee with any of the traditional hot brewing methods. What I’ve found with cold brewing is that almost none of them matter! I can’t tell the difference between the cheapest store brand crap and single-estate Kona once it’s been cold brewed. Duration is one of the few exceptions – if your goal is to brew coffee without extracting the bitter flavor I don’t recommend going past 12 hours.

Next I’ll be looking at Repetition, inspired by Black Blood of the Earth.