Monday, February 8, 2010

Hard Cider - Our new tradition

We set out with the idea of grabbing enough apples from the farmers market to make a gallon or so of hard cider. We planned to use our Acme juicer which if you have one of these juicers you know that even a gallon is pushing it. After just a few minutes at the farmers market it was clear that we would have to rent a real press. We ended up with ~60 lbs of random seconds and a press from Bob's Homebrew.

Pressing the apples was a bunch of fun and Ana, David, Nora and Natalie all helped out. It came out to be a perfect 5 gallons; just right for a carboy. I used some sulfite on it and pitched champaign yeast in the morning.

I'm pleasantly surprised just how well it turned out. (I just got around to posting about this but we made it in the fall.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ridiculous Overkill; Stainless Steel Tamper

My brother-in-law Brandt has gone nuts over coffee. He got himself a crazy fancy home espresso machine and an equally nice burr grinder. For a while he was using sub par beans but recently a roaster opened up just across the street from him. After chatting with the owner/roaster and beginning to buy his beans, Brandt has started pulling some creamy delicious shots.

So the other day Brandt was preparing to pull me a show and I noticed that the tamper that came with his fancy machine was far less than fancy. It was totally out of place with all the cool equipment so I decided to machine him a new one. I got a 5" long 2.5" diameter cylinder of solid stainless steel. I've never worked with stainless steel before but I got lots of advise from my machinist friend at work and just started cutting.

The final product is ridiculously heavy and a gross overkill but also so fricking cool that you can barely even believe it. I took it to my neighborhood coffee shop, Tougo, and had Dannel my favorite barista make me a shot with it before I gave it to Brandt.