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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Picked this one up just recently. The mouth actually curves in a bit, giving it a spheroid shape. The saucer is slightly and delightfully oblong. A perfect 8 oz, perfect art deco and a perfect mocha inside it.


I’m keeping this blog around for a while as I may yet find use for it but I’ve switched my blogging efforts over to Tumblr, which makes it easier to share links and has a bit more of a social-network feel to it.
If you want to cut through all the shared links and just view original content, you can view just the posts tagged “Original.

And, of course, you can always email me atben.j.etherington(a), follow me at and find me on facebook at, but don’t be offended if I reject your friend request.

You know how most people hate to hear playbacks of their own voices? I hate to watch videos I’ve made talking about coffee. Every cup I prepare and every cup I see someone else prepare changes my understanding of the art. I’m learning slowly, but that progress is happening. This means that even a week after I’ve made a video it feels completely dated and idiotic. I kick myself for making assumptions and saying stupid things, even though there was no way I could have avoided doing so. One day I may catch up with the industry and be able to dismiss old videos as simply typical of that period in coffee but that day is not yet here.

The biggest mistake I made was taking peoples’ word. There’s an incredible amount of knowledge and great advice out there but it can never teach you as much as experimentation. Sure, there are some basic rules that you need to learn, but once you have them down you should go and break them, just to see what happens. Take advice from others, learn as much as you can, just make that knowledge real by figuring out why we do things the way we do. Maybe you’ll come up with a better way to do something. The very worst thing that could happen is you throw out a cup of coffee because any time spent experimenting is valuable, even if you don’t produce a good drink. There are a million nuances that no amount of book learnin’ can teach you.

One more suggestion to any blooming coffee geeks out there. Buy a notebook and keep a journal of tasting notes. Seriously. I’m absolutely kicking myself for not doing this when I started buying >2 bags of coffee a month. If there’s any chance you’d like to become a pro, this looks great on a resumé. If there’s any chance you’d like to see how your palate has developed, this is going to be invaluable. No, tasting notes on Twitter doesn’t count, unfortunately.