This is the third installment of my ‘Coffee of the month‘ reviews. I’ve decided to go round the coffee making continents in rotation, to start with at least. First we had Kenyan Kirigia from Africa, then Monsoon Malabar from Asia and this month I’m trying beans from the Americas.
Since my last review I’ve purchased an Aeropress coffee maker, which has added another dimension to my brewing. As many others have pointed out, it doesn’t make espresso as no crema is produced. It does, however make something very similar to espresso and in my view it’s strength is as a base for americano or latte. As a plus it is about the least messy way I’ve come across of making coffee.
Brazil Fazenda Cachoeira Canario
I’ve so far been buying my coffee from the Has Bean coffee company and the owner Steve rates this coffee high enough to label it a ‘must have’. Obviously I expected a lot.
I’ve brewed this coffee in the filter machine, the french press and the aeropress and it performs wonderfully in all of them. The taste of this coffee is very rich, warm, chocolaty and generally fantastic.
In my view this was a coffee that was very cosy and comforting and probably best in the afternoon or after a meal rather than a morning brew where I like something lighter.
This was far and away the best coffee that I’ve had so far in these reviews and I would definitely like to keep a packet in the house. Not one for all occasions, but pretty damn nice all the same.
The plane landed in the Midwest city of Indianapolis and my first impressions were not good. The weather was a blanket overcast which muted all the colours making everything look a bit grey. Not a great start.
I was in town for the Museums and the Web conference 2009 for the best part of four days so I wasn’t expecting to have much time to get out and take many photos. Luckily I manged to get a few pictures in between sessions.
I stayed at the Canterbury hotel which is very central and it was only a short walk round most of the downtown ‘attractions’. On the afternoon I arrived there was an anti-Obama demonstration outside the Indiana State House. There was a band playing music, the signs and placards were great but otherwise it seemed a bit muted and generally the mood was ‘quietly angry’.
I woke up very early each morning which gave me the opportunity to go for a walk around the city centre. The light was really low and bright and I enjoyed experimenting with some back lighting. For a city centre and a state capitol I did find Indianapolis relatively empty of people and it never seemed particularly busy.
My top cultural experience of the trip was an encounter with a genuine biker – ‘Bird Dawg’. My colleague and I went for a beer and discovered that there were no tables free and ended up sharing with a couple. The guy looked a bit scary at first, shaven headed and decked out in leather and sun-glasses. He noticed our English accents and started up a bit of conversation and the more things went on the nicer he and his partner seemed. It turns out that when he’s not biking, he was a professional trucker, owning his own rig which was quite interesting to hear about.
Bird Dawg was the very proud owner of a fabulous Harley Davidson motorcycle, which he very generously let us have a sit on. He insisted that I borrow his leather vest so that I at least looked the part for the photo. I declined the offer of the chaps even though he said there was no ‘butt smell’ as they had no butt which I guess made sense.
Before going I had really considered going to a a baseball game and in a way I slightly regret it as ‘Victory field’ was right in the downtown area and looked really homely. I think I may have missed my chance.
We did visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art which turned out to be very good indeed. They hold a very wide selection of art from Turner and Reynolds to Chuck Close and many others. A small criticism would be that the art is crowded very closely on the walls and I would have preferred less but more spread out. Well worth a visit.
On my visit here I was in the closing stages of my marathon training and I had been worrying about where I was going to go for a run. I shouldn’t have worried too much as the quiet and art filled White river park was very close to the city centre. Considering that I’d worried about running around a city, the river path was a welcome surprise.
The conference itself was pretty good and I got quite a lot out of it. I do slightly wish it had been in a slightly more popular city, but on reflection it could have been a whole lot worse.
Don’t go out of your way to come to Indianapolis, but if you find yourself here then there are a few things to do.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a relative who not only lives in a lovely and picturesque part of the country but whom is very happy for us to stay when they are away. This is really fortunate.
About 5km south of Lowestoft is the village of Kessingland. Notably less twee and touristy than Southwold it none the less sits on a wonderful bit of coast with stunning beaches that go on seemingly forever. Facing east, the sun rises over the North Sea, something worth getting up early for.
The chief attraction of this bit of England are the fabulous beaches which are largely pebbles from Lowestoft to just south of Kessingland and then it is sand. The walk from Kessingland to Southwold is something well worth the effort, particularly as you can end it with a cream tea.
At various times on this walk the beach backs onto grassy sand dunes, crumbling cliffs and tidal pools that attract many water fowl and are great for bird watchers.
The sea is inexorably eating into the land, something that is made starkly obvious by the dead trees and in one place a building being devoured slowly by the waves.
Posh, twee and scenic Southwold is a beautiful little place with a genuine old world feel to it. It is famous for its beach huts, lighthouse and wonderful Georgian buildings. It is also very obviously home to Adnams beer who make the most of this imagery in their marketing.
The town boasts a fine pier next to which there is a resident punch and judy booth (you don’t see these much anymore).
Southwold is worth a visit if you want an historic and scenic town with a nice beach and an old world feel.