Ant Cule Reviews... Being Alive

An Extremely Subjective View of Being A Human

Tag: coffee

Ant Cule Reviews… Discovering All The Things An Aeropress Can Do

Have you ever thought you know a piece of equipment, only to discover its boundaries are far wider than they appeared? That’s exactly what happened to me with the Aeropress.

For those who haven’t read my review on coffee, I suggest you do, just to get a flavour of how much I love the taste of that sweet brown muck. I now own four different methods of getting my sweet coffee fix. The Aeropress, the coffee pod machine, the caffetierre and the Moka express. I have no preferred way of getting my coffee. It all tastes good. Or at least, I had no preferred way. Until now.

It began with me in the kitchen, making a cup of coffee with my Aeropress. For Christmas, my girlfriend and my sister got me coffee bean subscriptions from here. Each of these bean packets comes with a little card- board flap which describes the best way to get maximum flavour from these particular beans. I saw these beans were best made using the Aeropress, so I made them in the usual way, as recommended on the packet of the Aeropress. That is to say, put in the grounds, put in some water, let it sit, stir it, let it sit, press it. And that made a very tasty cup. But something about the instructions as written in the card- board flap gave me pause for thought.

They showed the coffee brewing in the Aeropress… upside-down.

My stomach danced. They couldn’t mean it, could they? And yet it made so much sense. It’s long been a bugbear of mine that as you let the water and coffee grounds mingle in the Aeropress, it starts pouring through into the cup below… but to brew it upside-down… It couldn’t work… Could it?

The very next day I tried. And I took photos. And it worked! My boundaries had been extended! I found a new way to use this remarkable piece of technology to extract yet more delicious flavour from the coffee without prematurely sending it into the cup. And ordinarily that would be where it all ended.

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But then I discovered this. And I have not. Stopped. Experimenting. And the results have been delicious. Like, seriously, some of the best coffee I have ever made.

Overall I highly recommend grabbing something you thought you knew the limits of, and discovering what else it can do. The Internet is a great resource, be- cause other people have done the trial and error for you and you just get the sweet sweet caffeine infused nectar.

Ant Cule Reviews… Sitting in a Coffee Shop

Hi there, Ant here, just apologising for the lateness of this. Normally I post Monday – Wednesday – Friday, as you well know. However, I was out all day yesterday so couldn’t publish it. I promise, though, that I wrote this yesterday, whilst sitting in a coffee shop. Thanks bye!

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I’m sitting in the corner of a well known coffee chain, watching and listening to what’s going on. There are wooden, or at least wood-effect, seats at matching tables. The tables are small and round.

A man with a goatee and a bald man with a stubble-beard shake hands. I don’t know if they’ve just concluded a business deal or a meeting, or if they’re just good friends. The man with the goatee has walked out, and the bald man with the beard is now wearing headphones.

A man and a woman sit at a table by the toilet door reading something off their phones and noting it on paper. A marriage of the modern and the timeless, bound by two silent parties across a table strewn with white paper cups. He is wearing a baseball cap indoors. I don’t mind that.

Two Asian men sit at right angles to them, chatting and relaxed. Any silences between them are comfortable and well-worn. I can’t hear what they’re saying over the jazz coming from the speaker in the corner.

I know I shouldn’t come to this coffee-chain, and I know I should support independent coffee shops, but I have a soft spot for this place. It was where I first defined myself as a coffee drinker. In my teenage years, I got impossibly sweet and milky coffee from here. Gradually I grew to like the underlying taste of the coffee more and more. This place was my gateway into actually enjoying coffee for the taste and experience of coffee. I don’t think that’s to be knocked. I know they don’t pay their taxes, and I know that they should. But I’m a sucker for a nostalgia trip.

There’s an ever-changing cast of characters rotating on and off the empty tables around me. There’s an endless stream of people wandering in and out of the toilets. Certainly not all life is here. In fact, only a very thin sliver of life is here. Yet, I can’t help but feel like wherever some life is present, then in some way all life is present. All life is held in some life. In the specific things they do, and the specific ways they hold themselves, and interact with where they are, and with each other. Connected by the space we share, and separated by social spheres we inhabit.

Overall, I recommend just sitting and watching people in a coffee shop to feel that stomach churning excitement that all of these people will never again be in the same space at the same time, and that that’s what makes life so magical.

Ant Cule Reviews… Needing The Toilet on a Long Bus Journey

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A NEW SERIES! 

The series is ‘Requested Reviews’ whereby I review an experience (that I have been through) as requested by YOU, the reader. In order to request a review, either send me a ‘Holochat’ or, if technology hasn’t yet advanced that far, leave a comment! On any of my articles! And it will be added to the list!

This was requested by Kate. And the subject is ‘Needing the toilet on a long bus journey’.

It’s raining. A Sunday.

Yesterday was the worst day of travel of my life (which, okay, isn’t that much of a hardship). I ended up having to fly to Gatwick, when my car was parked at Stanstead. It was either that or fly to Southend. I didn’t even know Southend had an airport. I didn’t even know Southend had running water.

Which leaves me, the next day, to make a weird Ouroboros of a journey, and get a bus out to Stanstead in order to pick up my car and drive it back home.

So I get the tube out to Stratford, and buy a coffee to keep me warm. It’s raining, by the way. Maybe I didn’t set the scene well enough. It’s raining miserably. The sky is heavy with rain, and also, rain is coming down from the sky. It… Well, yeah, it’s raining.

I arrive at the bus terminal in time to see a bus-conductor sell the last of his tickets, meaning ar wait for the next shuttle-bus to Stanstead.

This is similar to the bugger I was waiting for. Imagine it’s raining for full effect.

Now, what I didn’t mention on Monday is that coffee goes through me like water through a sieve. Not literally. That would be WEIRD. I mean it seems to travel through my system very quickly. So by the time the bus  arrives, my bladder is tingling with the early tickles of needing a wee.

Push it to the side, think I. You’ll be at the car soon enough.

It’s raining. Like in Inception when they need a wee. It’s like this is my dream, and I need a wee, so it’s raining.

The bus journey takes about 1hr 20mins. Not excessive for a bus journey, but as the coffee sets to work on my bladder, the pressure grows. After half an hour, I’m crossing my legs. After an hour, I’m crossing them both ways at regular intervals. After an hour and twenty I’m sure I’m more water than man, and more urine than water.

And then the bus drops us off in the middle of a car park some way away from the airport.

It’s okay, I’ll just walk to the car, think I.

Big mistake. It’s raining. I need a wee. There are too many people coming and going to their cars, to and from their holidays, to successfully pass water without prying eyes.

Eventually I stagger to a bus-stop and get on a bus to the terminal. I’ll have to go right the way round.

But at least there’s a damned toilet.

HALLELUJAH!

I’ll spare you the grizzly details. Needless to say, the rest of the journey was a breeze, tired and damp though I was – I was free! Free from the oppressive chains of bladder-pain!

Overall, I would not recommend needing the toilet on a long bus journey. To mitigate the likelihood of such an event, always carry two water bottles with you. One for drinking (hydration is important!) and one for urination. Just don’t get them confused!

Ant Cule Reviews… Drinking Hot Coffee

It’s Monday guys. Just in case you hadn’t noticed. But I bet most of you had! I know I did. And how did I come to realise it was Monday?

Because I drank a glorious cup of HOT COFFEE!

And suddenly, my day-telling prowess increased by around about three-fold. No longer did I have a head weighed down by work-a-day worries; I had a head SPINNING with WONDERFUL COFFEE FEEL! I also was able to function like a normal human being (finally AM I RIGHT?!) – to answer emails, to pace around frantically, to wonder if there is a god, to rub my temples seriously, to gawp at a frog, JUST LIKE ANY MEMBER OF THE HUMAN RACE!! All because of a simple hot cup of coffee!

The drinking process I prefer is thus:

  • Make the coffee.
  • Sniff the coffee.
  • Drink the coffee.

Let’s unpack that a bit.

Make the coffee. You can do this however you prefer. I prefer to use coffee beans and smash them into a fine powder and then douse them in scalding hot water. I find this makes for a great mug o’ the brown stuff.

Sniff the coffee. 90% of coffee is consumed in the smell. The rest is just a thin brown gruel. It’s a widely accepted fact that coffee smells great and kick starts your brain like a great jolt of electricity kick starts your nether regions.

Drink the coffee. Gulp down the bitter nectar with a grimace.

Not convinced?

Okay. So let’s go back to that Monday feeling shall we?

How we all look on a Monday morning. Every. Single. One of us.

That’s how we all look on a Monday. Every single one of us souls. Without exception. But with the simple addition of one cup o’ steaming joe, we can all feel like this:

Me, after a glorious cup of coffee. And you, also. And everyone.

So join me in raising a steaming hot cup of coffee a little too high in the air and declaring “We love this stuff, it makes us feel like normal folks!”

Overall, I highly recommend drinking hot coffee on a Monday, or indeed any day of the week. For a similar feeling, boil up some grit and tar and gulp that down! All hail coffee!