The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

I am feverishly working on a dramatic facelift for Bloggle. Actually, facelift doesn’t adequately cover things… there’s all the stuff under the covers, too: a huge leap forward in terms of getting caught up with WordPress and PHP and MySQL, all of which have been zooming right along while I’ve been snoozing. The universe that is the web is still expanding. Accelerating, too.

Great Moments in Coffee Blogging History!

Seven years ago today the fine folks at Blogger (You remember them? Swallowed by Google?) recognized Bloggle [the Coffee Odyssey] as a Blog of Note. Oh sure… you can smile your isn’t that nice smile now, but it was a Big Deal in 2001. It was like… you’d arrived. ‘Course it’s been all downhill, since....

We can rebuild it — better, stronger, faster…

Welcome to the new home of Bloggle. Bloggle’s been served out of the same data center since 2001. While I’ve never had anything but wicked good customer service from my old host, their uptime and availability have been problematic for me of late. And so I’ve moved on. I hope that my new home on the web will be half as good on the customer service side… and twice as good in terms of speed and reliability. The move is now complete, and — short of missing a couple of comments from a single day only (today, of course) — I think all the bits are aligned and working. Should you find something wonky, please do let me...
Coffee Notes From All Over

Coffee Notes From All Over

In which the proprietor dumps a bunch of coffee-related stuff into a single post. Enjoy. Cuppa Joe to Go, Hold the Cup — In Edmonton, the DaCapo Caffe won’t give you a paper cup for your takeout coffee. Co-owner Antonio Bilotta, 31, says he’s tired of the waste. “I’m a cyclist and spend a lot of time in the river valley, and I see a lot of paper cups there,” he said from his university-area cafe. The last time he was at a bus stop, he glanced at the garbage can and found it full of coffee cups. He decided he wasn’t going to add to the problem. “I’m putting my foot down and that’s the way it’s going to be.” Circle the Wagons! — As Starbucks sets its sights on rapidly expanding its presence in St. Louis, area coffee shop owners are banding together to fight back. “We’re the neighbors” is how Craig Schubert, owner of the 1st Cup kiosk close to Chrysler’s plants in Fenton, summarizes the sales pitch. It’s based on the idea that “St. Louisans love to support the home team,” said Ben Murphy, managing partner at Applegate’s Deli & Market. Bloggle’s advice to the home team: it’s all about the coffee. Cuppa Joe, Hold the Carbon? — Starbucks has been calculating its carbon footprint, with an eye toward going on something of a diet. In its shop in downtown San Mateo, Calif., for instance, baristas serve up about 40,000 cups of coffee drinks every month. Just based on utility bills alone, that means Starbucks is serving up about 4,900 pounds of carbon with its...

A ticket to the world…

In the very early 90’s my brother Ken and I sysop’ed a Bulletin Board System (aka, a BBS.) It was a simple dial-up affair (I should be clear… *all* BBS were simple dial-up affairs back then) and ours consisted of a single (anemic) IBM PC, two phone lines and two modems… a 2400 baud Hayes Standard and a wicked fast 14400 baud U.S. Robotics beast. We were stylin’. Despite the fact that our little BBS was in a small town in the middle of Missouri — where the cow to computer ratio was alarmingly high — that system ran almost non-stop. There was nearly always *somebody* dialed-in, and often as not both lines were in use. And it wasn’t just local folk connecting, either. We used to review the traffic logs to see who’d come in from where, and we were frequently astonished to see folks from not only one end of the country to the other, but international dial-up visitors, too, at what had to be significant cost to them… long distance service wasn’t cheap. If you’d ask me why people dialed into our little system from all over the place, I’d have to say it was simply because they *could*. Having a PC and a modem was like having your very own ticket to the whole wide world. Our BBS had a FidoNet link, and FidoNet had a connection to Usenet, and — if you were patient — you could have a conversation with people on the other side of the planet. That is, of course, if your phone company would let you. Those modems ran on...
Winning the Hearts and Minds of Terroirists

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Terroirists

If a recent article in the New York Times‘ Style Magazine is right, then everything you think you know about terroir may be wrong. The article — Talk Dirt to Me — takes aim at some long-held thinking about the stuff that makes a wine’s flavor what it is: dirt. When terroir was first associated with wine, in the 17th-century phrase goût de terroir (literally, “taste of the earth”), it was not intended as a compliment. Its meaning began to change in 1831, when Dr. Morelot, a wealthy landowner in Burgundy, observed in his “Statistique de la Vigne Dans le Département de la Côte-d’Or” that all of the wineries in Burgundy made wine essentially the same way, so the reason some tasted better than others must be due to the terroir — specifically, the substrata underneath the topsoil of a vineyard. Wine, he claimed, derived its flavor from the site’s geology: in essence, from rocks. The concept of terroir is not the sole domain of the wine enthusiast, and neither are those misconceptions that may have commingled with it. The world of specialty coffee, too, has long grokked the notion of a “taste of place,” though its interpretation is frequently more nuanced, less rigidly constructionist than it appears in the world of wine. In recent years, the concept that one can taste rocks and soil in a wine has become popular with wine writers, importers and sommeliers. “Wines express their source with exquisite definition,” asserts Matt Kramer in his book “Making Sense of Wine.” “They allow us to eavesdrop on the murmurings of the earth.” Of a California vineyard’s...
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