Hmmmm….. Coffee!

Chemex Gift Set & Custom Phish Blend

 

A little break from the crochet chat on today's blog and let's talk about my other deep love: Java!

Now, I have always loved coffee. When I was a kid, as early as 3 years old, I remember climbing up on my grandpa’s lap while he read the morning paper and had his cup of coffee.  This is actually one of my few childhood memories and one I hold dear. My grandpa, older in years, always fell asleep right there at the table. I would reach over and drink his coffee. He had a sweet tooth so it was loaded with sugar and creamer and … well, thus began my love for java.  As time went on, I developed my own coffee taste buds, but still love it the way grandpa made it.

As I traveled the world, I was exposed to a variety of coffees; different ways to make it; different blends and beans and even learned about the art of local roasting. And even though coffee houses started sprouting up everywhere (thanks to the Starbucks takeover), I wasn’t afraid to go to my favorite hole in the wall diner near the west 4th street train station in NYC where they brewed that perfect cup and served it just the way grandpa liked.

Loving coffee to the tune of a few cups (okay fine, sometimes a few pots) per day, imagine my joy when one of my husband’s clients sent us a box full of a variety of specialty coffees and a Chemex system as a thank you gift for all his hard work on their summer tour.

Now, even in all my coffee experience, I had not previously heard of Chemex. I opened the box to see a beautifully blown glass carafe type device and thick filters. What is this contraption? I thought.

So I quickly hit the Google and read up on this Chemex, and to my astonishment this well kept secret is the gold medal in coffee making. Where has this been all my life this Pour-Over - Slow Drip coffee device and how did I knot know about it sooner? Oh my; my taste buds and I were about to embark on a journey to coffee heaven.

A variety of Phish Blends

A variety of Phish Blends

It is easy enough to use. First; I selected which blend of this gift box to try. It was filled with a variety of small business coffee roasters that I had not heard of. Excited, I wanted to try them all at once, but I knew that would be silly.  So I picked the one that jumped out at me first (by being in my hand at the time I was deciding). I was not going to be disappointed!

This was a special blend for the gifts so no identifiable name to this coffee. Just Rival Brothers Special Blend for Phish (the client). As soon as I opened the bag the aroma was delightful. It wasn’t that heavy coffee scent from the common store brands. This was rich and flavorful. If I were a food critic I would have a better vocabulary to describe the smell. Lets just say: It smelled GOOOOOOD.

I got out my grinder and poured some beans in. They even looked good. I was like a kid in a coffee-making playground. While the grinder was going, I boiled some water and prepped the Chemex. The prep was quite simple: Take out Chemex.; Place filter in top; put 1 tablespoon of ground coffee in filter.  I could not have screwed that up if I tried!

Once the water was boiled, I let it cool a wee bit (per suggestions from online articles on this method) and then poured the water into the filter. This was riveting!

Per the instructions, I had to pour just a small amount at first to be sure that the grounds did not “float” as this allows the coffee to “settle” and develop its … whatever. This is just the way your supposed to do it, don’t ask me why.

So I did that and watched the coffee drip through to the bottom of the carafe and it was so rich in color. Once that first bit of water went through, I poured the rest and then waited. And waited. And waited. Until I had a carafe full of slow drip, pour over coffee.

Well, that was WORTH the wait!

First of all, (no disrespect grandpa so don’t roll over in your grave) this coffee is so dang good that I do not even need to add all the extras I have always added since a tot. I did not need to create a flavor with rich heavy creamer and about the equivalent of 6 sugar packets. This coffee had FLAVOR!

It had aroma and it had just the most delightful taste. I was worried it may be too “raw” or bitter for me in this format. Nope. It was perfect.

So Many Memories w / Chris Kuroda & Phish … and now we have.. COFFEE !!!      

So Many Memories w / Chris Kuroda & Phish … and now we have.. COFFEE !!!

 

 

And the clean up was easier than my coffee maker. Just take the filter, drop in the waste bin and wash out the carafe. Easy peazy lemon squeazy!

In fact, it was so perfect that I am hooked! I am seriously about to retire the Cuisinart that sits atop my kitchen counter (still hang on to it for those 8 cup days) and just slow drip pour over my way through summer. I still have other coffees to try, but I am sold on both the Chemex and my newfound coffee fave Rival Bros Coffee.

If you get the chance, I strongly suggest you check them out or visit any local roaster and support the local small business!

And thanks again to the Phish gang for sending such a truly FANTABULOUS gift!

Crochet & Stay Organized In Style

I have been on the hunt for the "perfect" crochet hook case for about 2 years. It's not that I am picky, it's that I had in my mind exactly what I wanted and wasn't ready to settle for something that didn't meet all my needs. I was about to give up and have one made for me. I support handmade and custom work, but this "custom" aspect always adds to the cost and I am a gal on the budget. Plus there is always the fun of communicating the idea in my head to someone else in a way they get it. I call this artistic challenge.

So there I was... feeling a little frustrated when I decided to give Etsy one last try. And boom!

I discovered a Atelier de Soyun, fabulous shop in South Korea owned and run by a woman who is married to an ex-pat.  Her shop is filled with delightful cases and cary-alls for us knitters & hookers.

I purchased the case and was delighted to received a lovely thank you note. Not the typical generic note, but a very personalized thank you email with information on when my case would ship and when to expect it. It was an unexpected element that made me feel even better about my purchase.

The case arrived very quickly. Within 2 weeks, and well before the estimated time of arrival. When I opened the mailer, the packaging was clean and simple and accompanied by another hand written note.

The case is perfect. First of all the simplicity of the design is perfect. No extra wasted frills and attachment. The fabric color , embellishments and ruching really give that touch of style and beauty. The craftsmanship and materials are top notch. It has a side flap pocket for my small snips, stitch markers and quilting needle. I love the flap over top to keep the hooks from sliding out as well as the snug button closure.

I am truly blown away by the quality for the price.  Most of all though, I am thoroughly impressed by the level of customer service.

In fact, I loved the case and the buying experience so much that I ordered a second one for my larger wooden hook set.

So check out Atelier de Soyun and stay organized in style.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Crochet by Michele

Shop Small in 2014

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It's that time of year again. Every retailer on the planet is clamoring for your hard earned dollars. Steals and deals abound. Stores open at all hours to serve up holiday shopping splendor. That's all fine and good, hey I won't knock capitalism at it's finest. But I will take this platform and opportunity to encourage you to consider shopping small, handmade and even local this holiday season. here is a list of some artisans, small business and fellow entrepreneurs that I encourage you to check out not just for the holidays but all year round. I have personally shopped from every one of these so these suggestions are based on my own experiences. No one paid to be on this list nor were they notified in advance of the list.

This is just me talking to YOU reminding you to shop small!

First up is Mad Love Shop. I met Angel, the owner of Mad Love Shop at the One Of A Kind Show in Chicago last year. We were both featured artists in the Etsy Pavilion and her booth was across from mine. As soon as she started hanging her screen print creations her work caught my eye. I LOVE wearable art. Angel doesn't use a machine screen printing process. She hand screens prints all of her original designs. Come on! THAT is wearable art at it's finest. I own and enjoy several of her designs at this point including a messenger bag, hoodie, and several tank tops.

During the show and since, Angel and I have also gotten to become great friends. She is such a fabulous woman. I encourage you to check out here work at Mad Love Shop here and on Black Friday you can even us code Thankful for 30% off. Um… hello… THAT is a deal!

 

My Rain Girl Bags

Next: is Joanna from Rain Girl Designs.  I discovered Joanna's shop on Etsy when I was in search of the perfect iPad case. I wanted someone to create a case that could be a pouch as well. In my mind it would be fabulous of course. When I contacted Joanna, she seemed to understand exactly what I was after and made the ordering process super easy. I was so impressed with the craftsmanship and customer service that I went back for my project totes.  Joanna looked high and low to find the right fabrics to fit my color palette and style. She created these perfect project totes for me. In fact they are so fabulous, i even use them as purses in summer.

Check out Joanna here and see what fabulous accessory she can create for you.

 

For the sassy fun party & foodie crowd, allow me to introduce you to Dell Cove Spices. Now, discovering Dell Cove was quite a fun thrill. They have everything from BBQ rubs, pop-corn seasonings to drink rim sugars. I mean… they make me drool. I also love following them on Facebook where there is always something cooking or a new recipe to drool over. Someday when I learn to cook, I will probably go broke in their shop. I got a variety of sample packets of the drink rim sugars to include in my gift bags a couple of years ago and they were a HUGE hit. Everyone loved them and you will too.



 

And last but not least is me. Hats, scarves, wraps and more. Get cozy and warm in hand crochet Cozy Chic Accessories.  Use code MC2014 for 20% off items in my Indie Made shop here . If you are looking for one of a kind or want to see all I have to offer check me out on Etsy as well and use code FR8FREE for free shipping through December 2nd.

Do you know of a fabulous small business or artisan? Share their info below in the comments. Let's band together and support small biz!