Friday, June 14, 2013

Vacuum Brewing Rules the Coffee World

I have a personal blog that I've kept for many years, and as I was going through old posts this morning, I found all of my "ode to coffee" posts I've made while experimenting with various brewing methods.  I thought I'd repost a couple here:

Ok, fine. I admit it. I'm a coffee junky. One of my driving passions in life is to collect every odd method of roasting and brewing coffee in existence. One of my more recent acquisitions was a Silex vacuum brewing pot from the mid 1950's. Sure, they make modern versions, but what's the fun in brewing without wondering if shoddy wiring will burn your house down?

Here's how I spent my Sunday morning. Please forgive the shaky photography - this was pre-caffeination after all...

The silex in all its glory:

Coffee goes on top, water goes on the bottom. Antiquarian plug goes out the side into my wall...

One of my favorite bits is how the heating element can be seen through the bottom of the pot. It comes up looking like a warm orange glow of happiness that will soon bring life giving coffee:

And just when your head is screaming in agony from coffee withdrawal and you can barely muster up the energy to revel in this most marvelous of experiences, the water finally reaches the ideal temperature and is sucked via vacuum to the top chamber where the grounds are waiting...waiting...

At this point I tossed the camera aside in favor of a large mug. You'll just have to trust me when I tell you that the resulting dark elixir was full bodied, lacking bitterness, and much smoother than brew from a french press. It is indeed a spectacular cup of coffee. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

When You Hit a Wall, Climb It

Money.  Perhaps my least favorite topic and my least favorite anxiety trigger.  I hate thinking about it, I hate worrying about it, and I hate tracking it.  But we all know it's a necessary evil, so I'm facing it head on.  Making a living as an artisan is HARD.  No joke.  I end up pouring most of what I make in sales right back into materials for new work or paying the bills needed to keep me alive and housed.  Most months, it's totally fine.  But slow months come along, and that's when I panic. 

May was slow for me.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  It was just a slow sales month.  March and April were fantastic, so I did have my sights set a bit high, but I definitely didn't reach my sales goals or do much more than break even.  It's demoralizing.  I work my behind off and barely scrape by.  In the past, this has been the moment when I break and go back to a day job.  But not this time, kids.  Not this time.

Instead of looking at this situation as a big ol' brick wall of failure, I'm looking at it like it's a window and I can see through to the other side.  I'm not sure whether I can just open the window or have to smash the glass out to get there, but I'm going to do it.  I've signed up to teach two workshops in July and will most likely teach in August through October as well, and I've started dabbling in event consultation for people who want to have a DIY wedding or other special event, but need a little help either in design, material sourcing, or creation.  I'm also looking into making larger pieces (furniture, perhaps?  My beloved restored furniture passion?) and consigning them to overcome the lack of storage space here in my tiny home.  And the brainstorming is just beginning!

Instead of getting depressed, I'm getting creative.  I'm not giving up this time.