Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The coffee machine here at The House in Izegem is an abomination to all that love to enjoy a cup (or two) of good coffee in the morning. The Douwe Egberts Dessert coffee that is continuously restocked in the cabinet above the coffee machine is just slightly more appealing than ground dirt and the machine itself cannot decide whether it wants to make the coffee too strong or too weak. On more than one cold summer morning, I have put in less grinds to try and eliminate the overpowering bitterness of the Douwe Egberts, only to find that the bitterness remains with no more semblance to coffee.
As cyclists, the consumption of coffee is a ritual we cherish and to regress to the level of Douwe Egberts is like Barry Bonds only taking vitamin pills. So to solve this inconvenience, I coordinated with Jacob Rathe and brought the necessary tools for excellent coffee making:
1. French Press
2. Coffee Bean Grinder
3. Whole Coffee Beans from artisan coffee roasters
4. The talent and finesse to create beautiful cups of coffee
The coffee bean grinder posed the largest problem. I lacked the foresight to realize that European outlets use 220V outlets whereas American outlets use 110V, so the innocent grinder that I bought at the Williams-Sonoma home appliance store in the Stanford Shopping center turned into an industrial level whole tree chipper. It didn't take long for the fuse to blow in my grinder, so Rathe went and bought another one that was, to say the least, far less interesting.
The "talent and finesse" chapter of excellent coffee making has managed to create both friendly competitions and intense internal tensions. For example, just this morning, Larry Warbasse decided to foray into the world of French Press making. His nervousness permeated through the room as he awaited the verdict of his brew (Rathe and I are the presiding experts, and therefore critics). Luckily for his pride, the coffee wasn't half bad, but if it had been as awful as both Rathe and I expected it to be, Larry would have been ostracized from any further events related to coffee. Yes, the stakes are that high.
Some may ask why we struggle so much for good house coffee when there are two dozen coffee shops within 5 minutes of walking. The answer is laziness. Asking a cyclist to walk five minutes is like asking a baseball player to run a mile.
And mother and father, if you are reading this, do not fret for I do not abuse my coffee drinking privileges. I do not drink coffee after noon (most of the time). Besides, my 6'2" frame is not really worried about stunted growth.

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