Archive for January 22nd, 2007

A Cinnamon Dolce Week

I think I have an addiction to coffee. Not so much the substance itself, although I have my issues with it, but with Starbucks and all the trappings that comes along with the experience.

I laugh at people who pay a hundred dollars for a HDMI cable, or who are convinced that they need a $2,500 dollar Viiv PC to send e-mail to grandma, but show me a $4 Cinnamon Dolce Latte and I’m tempted to upgrade to Venti size.  Speaking of,  here’s the bucks scoop on the calorie content.

NUTRITION FACTS (venti size):
Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Sugar Free Syrup – no whip
Total fat….14g
Cholesterol …45mg
Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Sugar Free Syrup – with whip
Total fat….23g

NOTE TO DIABETICS OR SUGAR WATCHERS: The CDL with sugar free syrup still has as much as 24g of sugar!

So yesterday I ordered up a CDL, added a new Five-fruit Banana Muffin treat (it contains whole grains), picked up a new winter-themed mug, a Starbucks thank-you Card and a CD…paid $37 with the VISA which wasn’t max’ed out from the holidays and smiled out the door.

In the past 15 years I’ve gone from drinking whatever is in the break room — with cream-imitation, dairy dust — to grinding beans and speculating about how much better it would be if I brewed them in a Japanese/French press for exactly four and half minutes.

What I’m trying to say here is that it all started when I first sampled the Indonesian Archipelago Sumatra at a Singapore coffee shop in the Ex Pat district.  I give up. I am a slave to the premium coffee industry, paying for the privilege of waiting for my Arabica lover to come and have its way with me. Clearly I’m going to be buying whatever they sell me, so here’s what I think my coffee ritual needs to be:

Step One: Roasting

Buying beans from Starbucks is so last year.  Now I must experience the pleasure and satisfaction of selecting the best coffee beans online from all around the world and roasting them myself. I’ve ordered a commercial home roaster to set the beans on an appropriate journey.

Step Two: Grinding

Current coffee grinders dice coffee beans the same, without acknowledging the specialness of each individual bean. The Indi-Bean 3000 allows me to insert one bean at a time, then analyzes the surface of the bean with blu-laser technology and uses a diamond blade to carefully carve it into symmetrical chunks. The chunks slide down a Teflon coated chute, and it’s ready for the next bean. It takes 30 minutes to grind enough coffee for a 12-ounce cup, but wow, can you taste it in every sip.

Step Three: Water

For this I’ll need the perfect spray-mist for each morning’s cup, based on the bean, the outside temperature, the barometric pressure, and a host of other environmental factors. Some days I might be drinking melted arctic glacier water; the next, slightly filtered river water from the mouth of the Columbia. I’ll be in coffee heaven.

Step Four: Brewing

There are lots of ways to gently inject the water mist into coffee, but they all relate to time and temperature without giving much thought to setting a proper mood. The JavaStar 2200sx not only combines the grounds with the mist at a perfect 210 degrees Fahrenheit, but it provides the perfect romantic mood to get the coffee and the water ready to mingle in a most intimate manner. Sade plays directly into the mixing chamber and no coffee can resist the seductive power of this outrageously expensive device.

Step Five: The Cup

I don’t know about you, but I think coffee tastes best when served in a new winter-themed mug.

You’re likely asking about the beans themselves? You’ve probably heard about kopi luwak, the coffee beans that have passed through the digestive tract of a civet cat. Rest assured, I’m not going so far as to purchase cat excretions. Yet!


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Los Angeles area Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have a new way to earn an activity patch — there’s a new “Respect Copyrights” activity patch offered by the LA area Boy Scouts and the MPAA.

I find this industry intervention creepy. I have no problem with Scouts being instructed in copyright law, but I’d bet a paycheck that the MPAA won’t be giving them an accurate description of the doctrine of fair use. So their badge isn’t going to signify a knowledge of copyright law so much as a knowledge of what the MPAA thinks copyright law should be.

This is about the money!  The motion picture industry is a major economic engine.  It contributes about $38 billion in revenue to the state of California alone.  $34 billion of that revenue goes directly to Los Angeles County where the movie industry is the third largest job producer having created more than 246,000 jobs in 2005 alone.  The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators estimated a loss of $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracyover $7 billion of which is attributed to Internet piracy and more than $11 billion attributed to hard goods piracy including bootlegging and illegal copying.  We all know that motion picture piracy hurts more than the motion picture industry, and results in lost jobs and wages for American workers both inside and outside the movie industry and lost tax revenue for all levels of government. 

I find this MPAA shallow attempt at fighting piracy, and rooting out pirates in the Scouts to be the lamest thing ever…they should give this patch out right after the ‘I can think for myself’ badge!  I think consumer advocates should pull together and develop a “Respect Fair Use” activity patch.

The 52,000 Scouts in Los Angeles will not be required to act as spies to earn their badge, although snitching is not discouraged.

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