Motorhead Coffee

vagabond blog: thoughts from the saddle

Shifting Gears

I haven’t decided yet if it is a kind distraction or a cruel joke that the motorcycle industry chooses the cusp of winter to introduce the next batch of “must have” bikes to the hungry riding public. You see, motorcycles are a lot like food; no matter how good and satisfying the last meal was, give it a couple hours and your stomach starts growling, looking for it’s next meal. Always searching, always dreaming, whether it’s the next great ride or which of the new bikes introduced at this year’s EICMA in Milan you can’t live without.

Like everything else being manufactured, motorcycles are continually advancing in technology. They are not only lighter and faster, they are now offering many car-like features, such as traction control, ABS brakes and on the fly electronic suspension adjustments. BMW, KTM and Ducati seem to be determined to take these advances even further. When Ducati offered up the Multistrada 1200, it came with the ability to change riding modes: Sport, touring, urban and enduro. By doing so, the rider controls the amount of horsepower delivered to the rear wheel, as well as adjusting the suspension setting accordingly. This option is being adopted by more and models and manufacturers every year. If that weren’t slick enough, along comes the KTM 1190 Adventure. Aside from ABS, traction control and riding modes, the new KTM comes with Bosch’s MSC: Motorcycle Stability Control. If I understand it right, this sensor continually feeds information regarding lean angle, etc, to the other safety feature…traction control, ABS, in order to help create what they are calling, “the world’s safest motorcycle.”

Riding motorcycles always has been and always will be a choice of measured dangers. While I am the kind of guy who usually embraces technological advances, I have mixed emotions about how far I want manufacturers to go when it comes to “controlling” my bike. It’s the same reason I don’t ride as a passenger on other people’s bikes…I’m the only one I trust! However, I have owned a few bikes with some of these features and I can tell you that ABS brakes has covered my foolish ass more times than once. I’ve had a bike with traction control as well, but I’m not sure if I ever engaged it, which either means I was being sensible, or it worked so well that I didn’t even know it.

In the end, I’m more than willing to give these advances a go. Truth is, I’m getting older and my response time is likely slowing down. Maybe I need a little computerized help. But let’s be clear about one thing: I don’t want no damn automatic transmission!

I started riding as a first grader. I had one of those one speed mini-bikes. Twist the throttle and off it goes. No manual clutch, no shifting. A couple years later, on my birthday, I got my first “real” motorcycle: a Honda SL70.Honda-SL70-Left-Rear-Qtr

My friends were all getting Honda CT70s, 3-speed automatics. Not me. My bike had 4 gears and a clutch…and I had no idea how to ride it! Fortunately, my brother-in-law was a rider. He had a BSA and I saw him absolutely destroy our gravel driveway every time he came over, flying sideways, balls to the wall, on the verge of being out of control. My hero…he and “Bronson.” Who better to teach a little kid to ride, right? It didn’t take me long to get upshifting figured out. I did, however, make the engine howl on more than one occasion while trying to understand the clutch and throttle control of downshifting. But once I got it down, riding was never the same again. I learned to dump the clutch, spin the tire, wheelie and basically became a ten year old terror on wheels.

45 years later, I’m still shifting gears. If you want an automatic motorcycle, more power to you. Go for it. But leave me out. Bring on all the technology you want, but the minute Ducati or KTM or BMW starts offering their bikes in automatic transmission, so that I can free my left hand to sip my latte’ or whatever, I’m out. I’ll be just another grumpy old man, riding a vintage machine, trying to reconnect with the past.

Later,

Shep

Has It Come Down To This?

You may have already figured out by now that I’m one of those, “do what makes you happy, chart your own course, & tell everyone who doesn’t like it to piss off,” sort of guys. So when your Dr tells you that you can either change your diet and return to the gym, or you can start popping pills for the rest of your life, it makes a fellow like me a little grumpy. Well, as much as I don’t like being told what to do, I like taking medicine even less. And, truth is, I’ve been 10-20 lbs overweight for the past few years, making the motivation to heed the doctor’s orders even greater.

Back when I turned 40, Lori and I decided to get a grip on our bodies and see how good of shape we could get in. We went on a 12 week program in which we ate 6 small meals a day, a protein and a carb. One day a week was “free,” we ate anything we wanted and as much as we wanted. We went to the gym 6 days a week: 3 days cardio and 3 days weight training. We followed that regiment religiously. By week 8, we had both undergone a pretty significant transformation. Lori was small to begin with and already had Janet Jackson abs, but still managed to lose about 17 pounds. I did not lose a single pound. However, I went from wearing a 34 waist pant to scrounging the stores for 28′s. My niece though I aged 10 years, but I felt great.

There was nothing easy about it. It took a lot of dedication…and planning. When we went to Indy shopping, we took a cooler of food. We would sit in the parking lot and eat low fat cottage cheese so that we wouldn’t be tempted by The Cheesecake Factory when we went inside. Poor substitute, I know. If someone came to visit and it was gym time, we gave them the bum’s rush. Nothing stood in our way. Not want, not desire, not lust for a pizza pie. We carried shakers, protein powder and creatine everywhere we went.

We managed to maintain that for a few years, but gradually fell back into our old habits. And now I’m paying for it. Good old Doc gave me 8 weeks to improve a couple blood count levels or else I get to go buy a pill box. No thanks. Plus, I don’t like the idea of thinking I’m so weak and I undisciplined that I can’t control my own desires. I guess I don’t like my body telling me what to do either.

So, for now it’s goodby refined sugar, goodby white flour, see ya later bacon, burgers and steak. Hello gym. It’s day 3 and I’m sore all over. And hungry. And fussy. No berry pie, no pumpin muffin, no Bluegrass Burger and fries (save me a seat guys!), no Angio’s supreme pizza. No Mark’s pork BBQ. No craft beer…no Wild Eggs Kalamity Kate. kalamity-katieWait! What? Has it really come to this? Am I to become one of those people who denies themselves the pleasure of biscuits and gravy just because they aren’t good for me? I mean, I’m going to die eventually anyway, no matter how I live. And just look at Keith Richards…nothing can kill that guy!

Anyone have a pill box they can loan me?

Later

Shep

Ordinary Adventures

I love reading about other people’s adventures. Sometimes they are dangerously spectacular. Like the guy who got trapped while canyoneering and, after 127 hours, had to cut his forearm off with a dull knife. Or the guy who was traveling through South America by motorcycle and was taken prisoner in Colombia. While I thoroughly enjoy those extreme stories, the everyday, ordinary adventures that many of us experience, are no less special. There is one common thread in all exploits; no one comes back the same person.

When I was just a kid, maybe 10 or so, my family took its first “adventure” vacation. We got so hooked that it became a yearly event for the next 10+ years. No, we didn’t climb Everest. Nothing so spectacular as that, yet every bit as amazing to me. Our destination was a fishing camp on Big Pine Lake, located in a little town called Nestor Falls, Ontario. The lake was about 5 miles in length, connected to town by a healthy river that doubled as the local runway for seaplanes. IMG_0088The camp consisted of a few camping spots and about 9 log cabins of various size and design. While they were no Hilton Inn, they had all the amenities necessary, especially for a 10-year old kid who didn’t really care how dirty he got. One of the things my cousin Tom and I found the most interesting about the accommodations was the two-seater outhouse in the camping area. I mean, really, who shares an outhouse with another person?

Now, the truth is, there were so many fun adventures that took place there over the years that I could probably write a book. I don’t want to bore you with all that here, so consider this a highlight of my most memorable childhood adventure.

If you didn’t like to fish, you would have been bored out of your mind here. There was no TV to watch. The Internet did not exist and Nestor Falls was a tiny little town with a couple gas stations, a grocery, a fish locker plant and a restaurant and gift shop named Hillard’s…home of the high dollar hamburger, according to my father. My mother was not really into fishing, but she was a good sport about it all. Many times we coordinated our trip with Dad’s brother Clyde (who was married to Mom’s sister Peggy…got that? No, it’s legal…I think), so there was a crew of us there. Mom and Peggy, who was probably the best fisherman in the family, were also the cooks, and let me tell you, the food they prepared was phenomenal. Guess what we had to eat? Yep, fish! Not just any fish though; I’m talking Walleye. More Walleye than you could shake a stick at. In fact, for all those glorious years, I was blessed with the opportunity to enjoy what I still consider today as one of the finest meals money can buy; a fresh Walleye sandwich. Dipped in cornmeal, not some heavy batter, fried just right, placed on a soft bun, slathered with tarter sauce, lettuce and a sweet Vidalia onion. just describing it makes my mouth water! real walleye sandwichMy poor cousin Tom, who did not like fish, was stuck eating hot dogs…plain!hordogthumb-large-2

There might not be much adventure in eating fish sandwiches, but there sure was adventure in catching them. Every morning we would get up, gear up and head out on the lake in our boat. Because we were fishing for Walleye, Northern Pike and Musky, all of which have razor sharp teeth and grow quite large, we used wire leaders. When you would catch one, in order to remove the hook you had to put your fingers in its eye sockets and use a pair needle nose pliers. Otherwise, you just might have an adventure you’d rather not experience, especially considering the fact that I have no idea where the nearest hospital was located. We fished literally all day. We caught so many fish that we became selective on how large of a fish to keep. And they were indeed spectacular to catch. I remember one year in particular we were using surface buzz baits. When a larger Northern Pike surfaced to attack that bait, there was no thrill greater. IMG_0080

But the real adventures came when we travelled to the neighboring lakes. One lake, Pike, required about a mile long walk through the woods, carrying all your gear…motor, gasoline, tackle, everything. Imagine being a 10-year old kid, climbing out of your boat at about 6:30 in the morning, packing up all the gear you can carry, then stepping into a pre-dawn, Canadian wooded trail, only to look down at a large, fresh set of bear tracks! “Uh, Dad, did you see that?” “Ah, don’t worry about it Jamie. Just keep an eye out for Moose, they are the mean ones!” Geez, thanks. Once we got to Pike lake, there would be a boat chained up for us to use. We would spend the entire day fishing in this remote lake, the only people for miles. It was fantastic! IMG_0084

The other lake we travelled to was Wigwam. This was the Musky lake. It was deep, clear and pristine. I can’t tell you how many times I dipped a cup in that cold water and drank it. Never got sick once. Of course, I also baited hooks with leaches, worms and suckers, took off fish, then pulled a bologna sandwich out of the cooler and ate it….without ever washing my hands!IMG_0085

Instead of walking to Wigwam, we traversed down an ever-narrowing “river” (more like a creek at some points!) to the lake. There were two sets of impassable water falls along the way, so we portaged our boat twice. If you’ve never done that before, let me just say, it’s a lot of work! Basically, logs were cut and laid across the ground around the water fall in railroad track style. You pulled, pushed, slipped, fell, cussed and finally willed your boat over the portage to the other side of the falls. There were often large rocks just under the water surface and even a small rapids area that we had to traverse. I aways got the job of point man, sitting on the bow of the boat and directing Dad where to go to keep from shearing a pin on the motor. Made me feel important.IMG_0087

I was 21 years old the last time we went to Nestor Falls. That was 1981. Those years made up the memories of my childhood. They were special. They were adventurous. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. And now you know why Nestor Falls, Ontario is on my bike bucket list…I’ve got to go back one more time.

Later,

Shep

 

 

Dreams and Schemes.

I had a chance to get the bikes out for a short ride last weekend. Like happens so many times, a ride turns into a dream…a dream to travel. Here’s a look at what I have in the back of my mind for 2015:

Bikes: I’m very happy with the bikes I have right now. Sure, I always have my eye on something, but there is no pressing demand. If I were to add anything next year it would either be a sidecar for the Scrambler, a Duke 690 or, if I find a pot of gold I wouldn’t mind giving the new BMW R1200RS a go. Well, wait, I’d really like to have a small dual sport too!

Trips Ideas:
1. It goes without saying that Asheville is on my list again. It is always on my list.
2. Nestor Falls, Ontario. I will explain that one on my next post in a day or two.
4. Coast to coast. Big trip. I need 2 weeks to really enjoy it.
5. Texas. I don’t know why, but Texas has been on my mind lately. No, not because of Ebola! I’m thinking Austin and San Antonio, with a visit to Shiner in between. While it’s true that I’m more of a craft beer guy, I’ll take a Shiner Bock anytime.
6. The UP. Been too long since I wandered Michigan and Wisconsin.
7. Maine. A couple years ago I climbed on my bike and headed out on a quick trip to Maine to hit up a couple lobster shacks. I had some trouble on the way and had to turn around in upstate New York. I need to cross that one off the list.
8. The mystery trip. This is the one where you get on your bike with every intention of returning home that night…and you don’t. “Sorry honey, I got carried away. I can’t make it back tonight. See you in a few days.”

There is one ride I’d still like to do this year as well. Nothing more fun than climbing on a bike when it’s about 35 degrees out, spitting rain, everything an ugly gray, hooking up your heated gear and heading south. Deep South. Like Key West south. Or Naples south. About Atlanta, the heated gear gets unplugged. About Valdosta, a layer of clothing comes off. Gainesville, and I’m riding in summer gloves again. By the time I hit the south side of Tampa, my face shield is up, and it’s summer again! It’s like turning back time.

Who knows what I will actually get to do, but one can always dream.

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Later,

Shep

The Pond

With three grandchildren to buy for this year, my wife and I have already begun Christmas shopping. That experience, along with a recent blog I read about growing up in the 60′s and 70′s, had me thinking about my childhood and the kind of ways my friends and I used to entertain ourselves. No matter what we were doing, or what time of year we were doing it, “it” was almost always done outdoors. As for toys, the ones we enjoyed the most were the ones we created ourselves.

Probably the most enjoyable playground in my neighborhood sat right smack in the middle of our small farm. It was a 1 acre pond, complete with fish, snapping turtles, frogs and snakes. It had a ratty old dock, a sea of cattails that we often turned into torches at night, and a small boat. What more could a handful of 10 year old boys want?6038141040484743922

Every May, as soon as school was released, we would pitch an old tent down at the pond and declare it officially “summer vacation.” The tent would stay up all summer and we spent many nights sleeping in it. Actually, we probably stayed up all night more times than we slept. We’d sit around a campfire, fishing lines in the water, hooks baited with chicken livers or stink bait, as we tried to catch the big catfish swimming in the pond. When we got bored with that, we would gig frogs. Our pond was running over with frogs. They filled the air every night with their deep harmonic rhythm. Don’t worry, we didn’t kill them just to kill them. We ate the legs. I can’t tell you how many times we carried a gunny sack of frogs down to the house, where my father would spill them out onto the carport and he and I would prepare them for a meal the next day.

Snakes, on the other hand, we killed just because. Because they are creepy, that’s why! One year in particular, the pond was absolutely swarming with snakes. You could not walk around it one time without seeing at least one snake. I’m not talking black snakes. These were mean, nasty, aggressive water snakes. And some of them were eating very well…on frogs I’m guessing.  My two neighborhood buddies and I decided to to make it our mission to rid the world of snakes…or at least the pond. We hunted snakes with frog gigs, pellet guns, pitch forks and anything we could get our hands on. Once we killed them, we hung them in a tree by the shore. I know at one point we had at least 14 snake carcasses hanging in that tree. And you thought the Internet was fun!

The three of us grew up around that pond. We saw and did just about everything you can imagine on those shores, especially when we got older. Some of those stories best not be told. I can’t really imagine any toy being more enjoyable, lasting or memorable as that old farm pond. In fact, I was just there last week, standing on my mother’s porch, looking down toward it and thinking, “I should go take a walk around the pond.” Wonder if that frog gig is still hanging in the barn?

Later,

Shep

You Can’t Go Home Again

I spent the majority of this past week with a family member in the hospital back in my home town in Indiana. Here are a few things I learned:

1. Hosptials smell. No offense. I mean, they can’t really help it; they are full of sick people doing all sorts of things sick people do. And if you are sick, you don’t really care. I spent two weeks in the hospital many years ago when a semi-truck tried to crush my car, and my head, like a beer can. I didn’t care how it smelled. I don’t even remember. I was just glad there were some kind men and women who were willing to do for me, the things I couldn’t do for myself. So, if I think it smells, imagine how they feel.

2. Home is not so much a place as a state of mind.  Wow, that sounds all 1960′s, tie dyed, acid enlightened, philosophical bull shit, doesn’t it? Here’s what I mean: I spent 51 years living in Bloomington, IN. Born and raised. Spent most of that time living on the same property I was born on. Two and a half years ago, I moved 115 miles south to Louisville, KY. Now I call Kentucky home. And I mean it. I just spent 5 days “back home” in Indiana. When I go to Bloomington, I don’t feel like I”m going home. I feel like a guest. Today, Louisville is home. If, tomorrow, I were to move to Asheville, and I’d love to, then that would be home. Same goes for Naples, Florida or anywhere else I might land. Home may be where you are from, but for me, it is where I’m at.

3. I’m very bad at sitting by bedsides. Actually, I already knew that. I go just a little bit crazy when I have to sit still for long periods of time.

4. Hotels can get old quick. They are not “home.”

5. Being a college town is a blessing and a curse. Bloomington has an interesting culture and lot of great places to eat and visit, mostly because of all that IU brings to the town. On the other hand, downtown and the surrounding area is looking more and more like “IU City” than the Bloomington I know. Student housing has taken over the entire community. Not a fan.

6. Upland Brewing Co is still my single most favorite place in Bloomington. Love that joint. I would gladly ride my bike 230 miles round trip to go there…and I have. Good food, good beer, good people.DSC00395

7. My old coffee customers still love me! And want me to come home.

8. My wife does not like it when I go without shaving. Makes me look, “old” she says! Well, guess what? I am.IMG_0008

Later,

Shep

The Written Word

Truman Capote once said, “To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make,” I have been writing for my own personal pleasure for many years. I’ve never really worried about whether I was particularly good at it or not; I write because my head is filled with words that want to come out. Sounds kind of like a disorder, doesn’t it? In an attempt to find places to put all these words I have turned daily work reports into mini blogs, school thesis assignments into storied fables and created blogs on the Web that have no real purpose other than to house my thoughts. I even wrote a monthly family newsletter for a while called the Hensonburg Times, and mailed it out. It was well-received right up until I offended someone with my frivolity. I retired it then and there.

I’ve started several blogs, most of which you have never seen. I wrote a blog when I owned B-town Beans, but never really kept up with it. I tried to revive the Hensonburg Times in a blog, a less sarcastic version, but I just couldn’t commit to it. I also launched a blog called The Ramblings of Reverend Ex. When I “fell from the pulpit,” my co-workers nicknamed me “Reverend Ex.” I thought it was catchy so I used it. Don’t think I ever wrote a single blog. I don’t even know what I was going to write about.

I don’t remember when I started writing Motorhead Coffee. It has always been about whatever was on my mind at the time. I have not been as regular with it as I would have liked, but somehow I have kept it going for a while now. I’m launching a new website this coming week for my coffee roasting business, also named Motorhead Coffee. In that site, there will be a blog page. I will attempt to keep that blog focused on coffee and the business. Even if you don’t want to buy coffee, you may enjoy the blog on that page…or not. I plan to launch it on 10/17. It will have a new look, new coffees and a monthly subscription option.

I plan to continue with this blog too until I’ve used up all those escaping words. It will continue to be about whatever is really on my mind. Not censored. Not sanitized. My mind. My thoughts. My reality. The editing is light; first pass. Sometimes things are better if they are a little rough around the edges. I will talk coffee, bikes, road trips, foolishness and frivolity. Love it or hate it. Read it or not. As Mr. Capote said, it’s not so much about the content as it is the rhythm of the words.

I will leave you with some thoughts from one of my favorite wordsmiths:

Later,

Shep

Change

I spent the majority of my working life as a blue collar laborer on an assembly line. While I am the first to admit that those days were very good to me, it was also a monotonous way to live. Some people enjoy the sameness, the known of the routine. I drives me crazy. I tend to thrive in uncertain chaos. It pushes me. Forces me to act. Keeps me tuned in. I found myself desperate for change.  A few years ago I got my wish. I changed positions, moving to management, and I changed locations, trading my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana for Louisville, Kentucky.

While change frightens many, it is not only inevitable, it is essential. Nothing stands still. Not the day, not society…and certainly not business. In the motorcycle industry, technology is constantly evolving and demonstrating itself in new features and performance standards. At this year’s Intermot, Kawasaki once again shared its desire to be the horsepower king with the introduction of the H2R, a supercharged racing version of the upcoming H2. The bike is said to make 300hp. Did you catch that? And you thought your Hayabusa was powerful. It was…but that was yesterday.

hr2photo5Small business is not exempt from the need to change. That includes the coffee roasting industry, and more specifically, my business. Here are just a few of the things we are toying with changing right now:

1. A new look to the website. Hopefully a more “buy friendly” site. And a renewed effort to make buying as convenient as checking the mailbox. As you can guess, I have trouble keeping my personality out of the things I do. This includes websites, which I always build myself. Yes, I know…it shows. I’m no web builder, but I’m too tight to pay someone else to do it. I’d rather spend that money on coffee equipment. Here is just a sneak peak of a portion of the home page…I don’t expect it to go live for another couple weeks.

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 7.38.19 PM2. If I have my way, a new roaster. Or maybe an old roaster…time will tell.IMG_0572

3. Even better coffees. I’m working hard to source the best beans I can get my hands on. And I’m working just as hard to find the proper roast profile for those beans. Expect it. You deserve it. You don’t need more mediocre roasters with mediocre coffee. It’s up to me to deliver…I don’t plan to disappoint.DSC_0007

Later,

Shep

 

 

No Surrender

If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you already know I’m a dreamer. You would think that at my age, the dreaming would have come to an end. I should be all grown up by now, the realities of life having long since extinguished the romancer inside. Well, that hasn’t happened…and I’m pretty sure it never will. I’m not giving in to Lazy Boys & talk shows, Ben Gay & conversations about how it used to be.

Some of my dreams are simple; some more complex. Here are just a few things that, at 54, I still plan to accomplish:

1. Ride the 49 States of the Continental US. I’m only about half way there right now.

2. Ride coast to coast…North Carolina to California and back.

3. Return to my roots and take a dual sport trip, riding backroads, gravel and dirt.

4. Leave Corporate American behind for the last time. Don’t get me wrong, it has been good to my family and I. But I’m ready to leave it in my rearview mirror and move on, not to some easy chair retirement, but to the greatest adventures of my life.

5. Write something permanent. Maybe not profound. Maybe not even very good, but something real.

6. Devote all my “work” time to the craft of roasting coffee. Build a meaningful, successful shop that is an asset to whatever community it resides in. Just like motorcycles, it’s in my blood and it’s not going anywhere. I will quit roasting coffee about the time I quit riding.

One of my roasting shop dreams is to be in an old abandoned gas station like this one:DSC00402 DSC00400 DSC00396Someday…before I’m out of “somedays.” Until then, I’m going to keep on dreaming.

Later,

Shep

 

Brewing, Biking & Logic

I don’t have a drip coffee maker in my home. I do have a Technivorm drip machine on my desk at work, but at the house I only have manual brew methods at my disposal. And I don’t mean a few. I have dozens; probably 100 or more. Yeah, I know, I have a problem. I have multiple french presses, Hario V60 drip cones, Kalita Waves, a Beehouse drip, a couple other drip cones that I forget the name of as well. I also have two Hario drip stations. I have 4-5 vacuum pots, a turkish pot, moka pots, Aeropresses, half a dozen Chemex’s, a few Clever Coffee Drippers, about 5 different kettles (one of them costs about as much as an iPhone 6) and I don’t even remember what else. I use different methods to make my coffee depending on the day and my mood.DSCN0028

Some days, I will admit, I would rather just pour water and coffee into a drip machine, push the button and walk away. There has been some discussion lately about how reliable and repeatable many of the manual methods are when used in a coffee shop environment. I can tell you that in the Motorhead shop (ie, my kitchen), they do not have a lot of quality control behind them. There are many variables to the process, making me tend to side with the quality drip machine camp as possibly the better approach for a retail environment…maybe for my house too.

There are a couple interesting drip machines that just hit the market, so I took a big risk, asked my wife to go to the mall with me, and checked them out at Williams Sonoma. The risk was not the possibility of spending money on another machine I don’t need; it was accompanying my wife to the mall! She has the layout of every mall in the country mapped out in her head…shopping is her field of expertise. Fortunately, she had mercy on me and didn’t take me on too many side trips.

Back to the machines. Technivorm just came out with a new single cup auto drip machine. That caught my attention because, being the only coffee drinker in the house, I like the single serving approach. I also like my coffee very hot. The only problem with the machine is, well, it’s a Technivorm, which means its expensive…$229…to brew a single, 10 oz cup. Does that make sense, especially when I can brew a single cup with a $29 Aeropress or a $30 Hario?IMG_3482

The other machine is the Wilfa Precision Brewer. It retails for…ready? $329. At least it brews a full pot. And it is absolutely beautiful. It is the kind of machine that my fashion forward wife would approve of on her countertop. Of course, I can brew a full pot in my $36 Chemex.IMG_3481

These machines are not very logical choices when comparing them to other, less expensive pieces of equipment. It kind of reminds me of bikes. Motorcycles come in all sizes and prices. I just took a trip on a very practical, affordable Suzuki Vstrom. That may seen quite normal to you, but I came to the Strom from a long string of ownership of expensive, exotic European bikes: Beemers, Ducs and Triumphs. Going to the Vstrom from those bikes was kind of like going from filet mignon to bologna. Sure, they’re both meat (I think), but they are worlds apart. Or are they really? I put 2,000 miles on the Strom in 6 days, no big feat, but a decent test of the machine. I put 1,000 miles on it before I left. I came home from the trip saying, “Damn fine bike. Does everything I need it to do.” No complaints. I’m actually very happy with it. It may be the most comfortable bike I’ve owned in years.

The Suzuki is like the $30 Aeropress; makes a good cup of joe, only downfall is it looks like it came from a late night Ron Popeil infomertial. The expensive coffee makers don’t really make any more sense than paying $20,000 for a bike when a $5,000 bike will do the same thing.DSC00293ducati_multistrada_1200_redSo, does that mean I’m not going to buy a Wilfa for my kitchen? Well, it’s about as likely as it is for me to some day add another Ducati, KTM or Triumph to the garage. Logic is for the logical; cool stuff is for the passionate!

Later,

Shep

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