Fluff, courtesy of the magic bean

I am torn. I aspire to be a coffee snob, but I’m finding that some of the equipment is a little too pricey. My first steps to snobbery weren’t too expensive… whole bean instead of ground, a once forgotten coffee (blade) grinder received as a wedding gift, and a French press.

I’ve come a long way from coffee flavored, instant chocolate milk (General Foods International Coffees).

The next step is perfecting the grind… and that’s the problem. Good grinders cost a mint. I’ve read that the key to a good, consistent brew is a good, consistent grind – something that isn’t possible with those food processors masquerading as coffee grinders. I see the results every morning. No matter what I do, the grind is a mixed bag… some beans chopped up to the consistency of flour, other beans untouched. Burr grinders are supposed to be much better… with opposing surfaces which pulverize the beans instead of chopping them up. You can set the distance between the surfaces in order to control the kind of grind you want (coarse for the french press, fine for the auto-drip). I’m toying with picking up a cheap hand crank model, but I hear it takes more effort than I’m willing to spend (at six in the morning) to produce just one cup of coffee. I’ve found lots of less expensive burr grinders (re: less than three significant digits to the left of the decimal point on the price), but the reviews are consistently mixed.

I’ve got my eye on an inexpensive Cuisinart at Amazon, whose reviews are a little less mixed, but I’m still a little leery. Tearing open the long awaited box from Amazon, grinding up some coffee, and getting another bad grind would be more disappointment than I could handle right now.

It’s a good thing I haven’t acquired a taste for espresso. Those things look more complicated than the main engines on the space shuttle.

One of the must see stops on any trip to Florida is The Kennedy Space Center. We’re lucky enough that it’s only a quick trip to the other coast…. This is one of the main engines that flew on the maiden flight of Challenger in 1983. Among it’s 15 flights was the mission that launched the Hubble Space Telescope. I only wish I could have gotten a less obstructed shot.


Give the gift of words.