Coffee / 2023 Edition

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the ability to lean into several of my hobbies. I bought Jame Hoffman’s book How to make the best coffee at home, which is essential reading for anyone making coffee at home. Very well written, the photos throughout remind me of something I usually get when reading The Monocle. It does a great job of educating you and making you get excited about coffee. The only part I am not keen on, is the cover. Great buy and one that I hope to use regularly as I expand my knowledge of this hobby.

I was able to buy a non brand tamper (that I hope works) for my CoffeeJack. Finally got my CoffeeJack this year, tried a couple of times to make coffee without the tamper and lost the will to live and made a right mess of my kitchen. A tamper is an essential part of the kit of making coffee with that contraption. The stand is also pretty important, but will wait until they have their shit together over there before I send them any more money. Also I want to be sure that I like making and drinking coffee this way.

Finally, I got a Timemore Basic Pro scale. This is another major upgrade in my coffee accessories. The gooseneck kettle was pretty key for me and this is another one that just makes life a lot easier. The built in timer is a game changer for me. Yes I know I have a smartphone and a clock on the wall, but honestly this is that much more convenient.

The final piece of the puzzle for me is a machine grinder, I have my eye on the Varia VS3. This appears to be one of the better small amount grinders out there. Might even go for the white version.

Once I have this, then it’s just paraphernalia (a cupping spoon here, a funky mug or two there). Still need to see if I want to invest in an espresso machine, but that can wait for a while I think.

My overall health has stagnated, so I’m trying something a little different with my diet.

No snacking, no sweets, no seconds remains a thing - as always it is in the evenings that I sometimes falter. My mornings however will have no breakfast, just water and a cup (or two) of coffee. First meal of the day is lunch. Break-fast?

Also, I’m getting onto the exercise bike for 10-15min in the morning for some cardio, followed by a 30min walk to work (and back again in the evening).

☕️ I hate running out of coffee. My issue is that I now have access to good quality stuff from Latin America, only a few clicks away. I just need to be organised enough to order in advance. Otherwise I am stuck with ok-ish stuff from the supermarket (for nearly the same price).

On my way to work I occasionally walk past a young woman with a Tim’s cup of coffee. It’s always on the same strip of road at around the same time. Today I saw her baby bump for the first time and wanted to say, ‘Hey, congratulations’, but stopped shy of being the weirdo in the big city.

What’s this? I got a message in my inbox this week that my Coffeejack is making its way from China? Damn. I’ll believe it when I see it, but it will be good to draw a line under this project, turn off notifications and maybe enjoy a different method of coffee making.

☕️ Oh man I was not wrong. I’ve always felt that Costa Rica had something special when it comes to coffee beans. What an incredible cup of homemade coffee.

☕ Damn that’s a good cup of coffee. Every once in a while you nail it.

I am soo done with Kickstarter.

My biggest gripe isn’t the wait. It’s poor communication from the project makers. For years I have been getting one direction communication with the CoffeeJack creators. They inundate my inbox with emails about progress (or lack of it), delays, additional costs - all of which is fine.

What is not fine is the fact that I want confirmation of something, send an email months and months ago and no response. I follow up a few times. Crickets. They basically don’t respond to email.

☕️ Definitely didn’t get my quota of coffee today.

Falling In & Out of Habits

Falling out of habits is very easy. Falling back into the habit is harder.

  1. Micro habits are the start of establishing macro habits.
  2. Stacking these habits is an important trick to use at the start.
  3. Making habits discoverable to carry out the habit is the last piece of the domino.
  4. Establishing a time and a place.

Journaling and Writing

This is an important way of settling my mind. In 2022 I fell out of the habit, jumping back sporadically. So I’ve decided to stack, time and place. Stack the habit when I make my coffee in the morning and tea in the evening. My journal and pen are located in my kitchen drawer.


I completely fell off the wagon. Part of this is the habit, but equally part of this was having a stack of books that I could jump into. I made a list of books that I have bought that I would like to get stuck into at some point this year. 9 -12 I own and about 3 would be new.

Kindle is now located next to my bed. The aim is to read for 30 minutes a day.


Writing for Stet.Build every day is the other activity that settles my mind. This break I was able to map out Season 5 of In Abeyance while also looking to starting work on volume 2 of the Built Environment Compendium.

The writing will be a daily morning activity, with the achievable aim of writing 100 words. This is the most productive hour of my day.


I’ve found that what little energy I have in the evenings has generally been squandered on aimless internet-ing and the occasional show. The one activity that I have been able to carry out (on those occasions where I could yank myself away from the internet), has been designing. Books. Websites. Whatever.

☕️ I first experienced this tiny little creamer on a visit to Micheal Graves architects over a decade ago. The part that blew my mind is the way it works, no milk drips unlike typical ceramic versions which suck at their only job.

☕️ The Alessi Moka Pot, by David Chipperfield, is a wonderful update to a design classic. At the moment only in the market for one based on looks alone.

For the month of November, I wrote a story. This is not the first time I have attempted this, however it is the first time that I used my own story as the basis, rather than something imagined. The closest I have to this exercise is my comic story ‘Coffee Beans’ written and illustrated well over a decade ago.

If you were following along, thank you for your time and interest. Otherwise you can now read the entire thing in one place. The Summer of Disruption.

I expect to tweak and edit it over the coming months, but overall it hit the beats I was looking for.

☕️ Quick follow up on yesterday’s post, this new V60 technique really does provide a pretty damn good cup of coffee.

I totally procrastinated about getting a gooseneck kettle. Big mistake. Along with the scales an essential tool in your coffee making arsenal.

📚 Currently reading Craft Coffee: a Manual by Jessica Easto. I typically hate books on cooking (cooking via YouTube is game changing), but this page on coffee harvest times showed it was going to be an education.

See a guy eating a croissant and carrying a no descript cup. Investigate where he came from and find a cute little coffee joint, Sam Jones Coffee Bar.

Its not every day that two of my favourite interests are combined, watches and coffee. This Brew Watches Metric Retro has so many awesome details (beyond the coffee bean logo on the dial and case back). Only bad thing is the fact you can’t buy one right now.

📚 Just finished reading The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers. Great book that was both a great read and super educational. The history of coffee and how it spread easily being the highlight for me (although the escape from Yemen was also high up there).

I picked up The Monk of Mokha on the back of learning more about coffee. Latest chapter about the history and how it spread across the world is nothing short of amazing and worth the price of admission. If you’re curious about coffee, highly recommended.

Year of Momentum

2021 was the year of learning. What I have learnt is that in fact I want this to be a constant part of my life. Every year should in some form be the year of learning. This year is when I would say that I finally learnt how to cook. Gaining confidence in the kitchen is an amazing superpower and one I hope to share with my boys. I learnt how to ride a cargo bike. I learnt how to juggle. I learnt about coffee beans (the last space in the coffee world that has eluded me while I learnt brewing techniques).

For 2022, I have decided it shall be the year of momentum. I have put several things in place that I need to continue to build more and more momentum around. Things that I started 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 3 years ago are all on the cusp of bearing fruit. I will persevere through these and make sure I give it my very best. Central to all this is the understanding that you can only control your own actions and reactions. The rest is either a direct consequence or outside your control or ability to influence.

My coffee education continues. This time at Impact Roasters, an Ethiopian micro-roaster 10 min from my house…wait what? Kinda annoyed I only found out about this now, but also it is good timing because I can now hopefully appreciate it all the more.

Jul (Christmas in Danish) tea season is upon us. A little early? Sure, but I’m not fussed about that. Definitely need a different drink to coffee, which I have been hitting a little too hard these last few months.

☕️ One of the biggest reasons to avoid going back to the office? The coffee sucks. In every office around the world. Thinking about asking for a bunch of v60s, a burr grinder, some filters and coffee beans. Seriously, would make an infinitely better cup than the horridness we have.

☕ Recently I had not been enjoying my V60 coffee. Then it dawned on me that I have been using a fine grind size (one I use for the Aeropress). It’s impressive how different a cup of coffee tastes depending on grind size - in my case going from a fine 1.5 setting to 3 setting.

Coffee is so difficult to nail consistently, which is down to the number of variables. It starts off with the type of bean; which country did it come from? How was it roasted; dark or light? How did you grind it; what setting and was it a burr grinder? What kind of water did you use; soft or hard? What temperature was the water exactly when you prepared it? What extraction method did you use; pour over, Aeropress, moka pot, other? What method did you use? How many grams did you use? Stacked and in concert it totally changes the outcome.


I always knew there was an entire universe surrounding coffee. A bunch of coffee nerds talking about grind, water quality, grams per litre, percolation, pour over. You needed to have all the gear to make something half decent. You needed beans (sustainably sourced) from Guatemala. And on and on.

Honestly, you can go as deep as you want, like with anything attached to any industry. I’ve had a reasonably varied relationship with my coffee. This year however is when I take it up a little notch. No, not going to be buying an espresso machine any time soon, but will be building my coffee making collection purposefully.

I have been using the v60 almost exclusively over the last year to make pour over filter coffee. The first enhancement has been the introduction of a small kitchen scale and a Bodum milk frother. Its a surprising purchase that actually makes a decent milky based coffee at home. I am going to be (re)buying an Aeropress next (I lost the filter a while back and never bothered to replace it). One of the coffee nerds guiding me on this journey is James Hoffmann. Definitely recommend his videos on the subject. Suitably snooty about what he is doing, but actually comes from a factual and scientific angle.

Year of Learning

Having released a number of projects in 2019 (it was after all the year of release), the focus of 2020 was the year of consolidation. The intent was to focus my mind on these projects and make them better - implicit was the fact that I was not to add any new projects.

What I didn’t expect was that in 2020, I would also start my personal learning journey.

  1. I learnt how to draw trees, which really laid the foundation for my artwork to take a step forward.
  2. I had never made sweet potato buns, now these have become a regular staple in the house and have seriously elevated my burger-fu. I have become ever better at making eggs in a number of ways (omelettes were conquered early on, but now boiled and Korean-style egg sandwiches are normal for us).
  3. I finally understood how to make a better cup of coffee (I was 80% of the way there, that last 20% really makes all the difference).
  4. I dove deeper than I care to admitt into the world of watches, which I hope to expand upon one a year until I have my collection where I want it to be.
  5. I spent hours working out my clothing style (and working out where to buy what), which I hope will come together more in 2021.
  6. I discovered digital minimalism and time block planning. I still suck at both, but at least I know what I need to do.
  7. I finally consolidated my notes into a Zettelkasten built around Obsidian and 1Writer.
  8. I was able to loose about 10kg using the No-S diet. I fell off the wagon a little bit in the last few months (mainly due to work pressures and just being a little bit mentally exhausted).

For 2021, the year of learning I want more of the above. I’m not sure what exactly I want to learn specifically, but I know that I really have enjoyed the process of getting better personally at certain things and understanding the reasons why.

My coffee has been weak sauce for about 2 weeks now. I chalked this up to the coffee beans themselves. Nope. Turns out my handground setting was on 8 (coarse) when it usually is at 3. Incredible how fiddly a simple cup of coffee can be. In other news, my other fiddly piece of coffee gear from Kickstarter doesn’t arrive until May/June of next year which is a major bummer.

Nutmeg. Red leaves. Colder weather. Longer nights. Gloves. Falling leaves. Rainy days. Mugs of coffee. Scarves. Brisk autumn walks. Pumpkin pie. Scary ghosts. Orange leaves. Witches. Warm jumpers. Woolly socks. Apple pie. Hot tea. Cinnamon buns. Warm blankets.

If you’re into coffee and want something that can really bring some more flavour to your brew, you have 8 hours left to back the Coffeejack on Kickstarter.

I think I may have found my new favourite website on the internet. It’s called Our World in Data. Honestly, I am likely going to get lost on this site for days. Send food. And coffee.

Finally tried oat milk. Happy to report it not only tastes pretty good, but all the gunky stuff stays at the bottom of the mug, so it looks much better than using almond milk in coffee. Next stop is trying to cut out the bread in my life…soo hard, but actually necessary.

☕ Almond milk in coffee looks disgusting …but it tastes pretty good. Ran out of normal milk…could this be a trend?

Drove for 5min this morning and a dreaded yellow warning signal comes up that oil is low. On the long drive down, a quick visit to the lube-me-up section of the petrol station and before coffee had been brewed, oil is topped up. Sometimes things come together.

Sun has just come up. The city is starting to fully wake up. I’m on my second cup of coffee and I’ve managed to read a decent amount from Ryan Holiday’s Perennial Seller. The one thing I’m lamenting this summer is not reading enough. Time to change that.

Kickstarter & Me

I thought it would be interesting to run some numbers on all the Kickstarter projects that I have backed over the years.

I started contributing to crowd funded projects back in October 2014. I’ve spent around $1300 over 3½ years and 19 Kickstarter projects.

Breaking all the projects down by loose categories, it’s clear I go through waves of interest. Currently I’m in a book and software buying phase and over the stationary phase.

Category No.
Accessory 7
Stationary 5
Books 4
Software 2
Video 1

Diving a little deeper into each project:

No. Project Name Type Notes Usefulness
1 Bullet Journal Stationary Still in the plastic bag. I’m happy to have helped Ryder on his journey and own a piece of ‘stationary history’ in the meantime.
2 Takumi Pen Stationary This was the first version of this pen. I was disappointed. It was too light and overall the execution was flawed. Some of these flaws were rectified in the new version.
3 A leather belt to last a lifetime Accessory I grew fatter and never wore the belt. It’s not the product’s fault, I’ve just never used it…yet.
4 Memobottle Accessory I live in the Middle East. I need cold water. This is a plastic bottle, doesn’t keep the water cool enough. Maybe I will get some use out of it in the future. Well executed project.
5 Bomber Duffle Bag Accessory Use it when necessary. Excellent product. Highly recommended.
6 Precision Coffee Grinder Accessory Took years to get to me. Then I learnt how to make cold brew and this was too much effort. Useful to have in the house, but not essential.
7 PENXO Stationary Love the design. Doesn’t get as much use as I’d like.
8 TIO Accessory Nice concept. Too difficult to re-order in the UAE. Used for 6 months and that was it.
9 Tactile Turn Slider & Glider Stationary Loved the design. Totally disappointed by the fact that it’s too thick and the nipple falls off regularly.
10 Sento Towel Accessory Does what it says on the tin. I love these towels and use the every day.
11 The Pen Addict Live 2017 Video Video was fine, except it didn’t really add very much to the overall experience. I would have wanted more stuff around the actual convention itself, and maybe some interviews. Alas the boys limit it to the actual show itself only.
12 Indie Microblogging Software Can’t believe how little I paid for this initially, but it’s been great value for money, as all of my writing is being filtered through
13 Illustrated Classics by Pope, Shimizu & Sienkiewicz Book Still waiting. -
14 Single Edge Razor 2.0 Accessory Use this every other day. It’s not transformed the way I shave, but it’s provided me with a nice alternative.
15 The Electric State Book Great looking book, but I’ve not read it yet.
16 Change Is Good Book Still waiting. -
17 Krama Pens & Pencil Stationary The metal version arrived, and it’s excellent. Still waiting for the plastic version.
18 Inspire Book Still waiting. -
19 iA Writer for Windows Software Very useful. Use it in work nearly every day.

What’s not on this list is the plethora of projects that I did not end up backing and a couple of projects that I ended up buying things directly after the kickstarter project was already over.

Taking the last column and summarising it a little shows me that it’s generally been a positive experience and I’m either using the products or aim to use them in the future:

No Regret Some Regret Jury’s Out
10 6 3

Going forward my plan is, with regards to Kickstarter, to be a lot more discerning and selective in the projects that I back. Where I see something truly unique and special, that is where I should concentrate my efforts.

First day of waking up at 5am again since January. Get some coffee made and get down to it before the rest of the family wakes up.

Amazon Comment

How often do you read a comment to a review on Amazon and can’t stop laugh? This comment for the Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug is one of those.

I bought the 20-ounce Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA the week after I got married so that I could keep my coffee warm on the commute to and from my new job downtown. It is literally the world’s best travel mug. I could put steaming hot coffee in it in the morning, and if I forgot it in my truck I would still have steaming hot coffee for the drive home. No kidding! It’s incredible. This was an exciting time for me. My time with Jennifer was limited but boundless in its glory. When I wasn’t working, Jennifer and I would go hiking at the park, take road trips, sit up late and watch the stars. And, of course, have long nights of passionate love making. And through it all, my 20-ounce Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA provided me with hot, fresh coffee and a sleek, ergonomic feel. It’s amazingly well designed and made to last.That was seven years ago.

He then follows it up with this:

These days, Jennifer is as cold and emotionally distant as an uncharted asteroid. Now the most passionate conversations we have involve either our fiberoptic internet bandwidth or Your Damn Mother. At work, I am merely a shadow defined by once-authentic ambition. Original thought at my office is as pointless as a Libertarian vote, and my commute is like a scene from Walking Dead. I’m writing this on my iPhone as I sit behind a third-world chicken truck on I-35. I’m numbing myself to waste another eight hours at The Bad Place and fantasizing about replacing the painful vacuum of affection from She Who Cannot Read Oil Change Reminder Stickers with that new girl from logistics.

And ends strongly:

But now that I think about it, the one constant source of warmth and comfort in my life is still the 20-ounce Zojirushi SM-SA60-BA. Buy one. Buy one now, or feel only the chill yearning for an early grave that poor life decisions and emotional complacency can reap.

Also bonus, read the followup comments which give the actual truth, which is a lot more heartwarming.

A Lesson

It’s not every day that you get a lesson handed down to you via the internet, while you’re still drinking your morning coffee.

Yesterday was a reasonably tough day for me. We finally took Zane out of the house and into the big bad world. We got all the gear, took the nursing cover with us in case he needed to eat while we were out and off we went to the mall (yeah it’s August in Qatar, there’s precious little else you can do at 2pm in the afternoon).

Everything was fine, until we went into Mamas & Papas. After being nursed in the changing rooms for 20min I was tasked with burping and holding him, and he went MENTAL. Usually pretty good at sorting the boy out, yesterday was not meant to be. After having walked back to the car TWICE, I had to go back a third time to return something. Baby continued crying and I was just tired at this stage.

Come home and my arm was seriously aching because I’ve been holding him looking outwards and my arm is his seat. Mentally, I was tired of this for today. I needed a bit of break, thankfully sleep came easily to both of us.

This morning I saw the trailer of the Theory of Everything and it just completely smacked me in the face that I should be genuinely thankful for every single moment I have with the boy and never take it for granted. Ever.

To be clear, I have many examples in my life where fathers cannot be there for their children in one capacity or reason or another - this trailer just gave another example, but reminded me clearly of this fact.