September 2008

I really can’t say it any better than this right now. I seldom agree with Newt Gingrich. He’s a sloppy academic, a disgusting, reprehensible human being, and it’s stunning that he is not incarcerated. But he’s right on the money today.

My “desktop” machine has been a problem of late. I do most of my home computing on a Mac laptop and like it a great deal. My desktop machine is a tougher call, though. I like the Mac OS well enough to use it there, too, but Apple doesn’t sell the desktop I want. They offer either the all-in-one iMac, the underpowered mini, or the insane Mac Pro workstation. I want a machine in between the iMac and the Pro. Its purpose is to run server applications that I want to use on my LAN (along with serving as a development sandbox for my own stuff) and to be a virtual machine host so that I have a beefy and convenient place to try out new software that I don’t trust yet.

This is available locally from Murky Coffee. Besides being relatively easy to work with, it’s what they use in house. This gives me a decent way to benchmark my equipment and technique against the best I can find around here. The batch I got was roasted 9/2. The first shot of the morning was one for the sink, but the second was really, really sweet.

What’s a little mystifying to me is that I liked my shot slightly better than the same shot at Murky yesterday. I have no explanation for this. It’s the same coffee. Their machine is much better. Their grinder is better. Anyone in that shop has much more trained, more consistent technique than I do. But somehow this morning’s shot was more to my taste than yesterday’s. Go figure. (To be clear, just in case this turns up in search results or something… theirs was excellent. Mine today just suited my palate a bit better and I’m not sure why.)

I really, really wanted to like this one. I picked it up at Rappahannock coffee on Columbia Pike. They roast in house, and it was very fresh. It was also way over-roasted for my taste. Near the end of the bag, I learned that dialing down the temperature on the machine might help salvage it, but I didn’t have enough left at that point to really experiment. I did not manage to get anything that didn’t taste burnt. Furthermore, it was so oily that it was hard to work with in the grinder.

I will probably go back to Rappahannock, but not on the strength of this batch. It would be very nice to find a good locally roasted espresso blend.