The I. T. Crowd

It takes a lot to make me laugh aloud at a television programme, and a great deal to make that more than a little chuckle. The I. T. Crowd, now a few series old and demonstrating it’s maturity as a ‘fine wine’ of a comedy has brought me to tears more than once.

The depiction of a computer department ‘dungeon’ and those who inhabit it is perfect, and the subtle social references can easily be lost.  Hey, this is all sounding far too serious!

If you haven’t seen it, I would suggest you give it a go – and a couple of episodes for you to get into its groove. If you have ever worked in or with an I. T. department, you’ll probably ‘get it’ immediately.

Damn my sex pants ………..

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InMyMug.com

Am I the only person that thinks HB Steve is a natural presenter?  Seriously, it’s no mean feat to remain informative whilst flowing in front of the camera. For those of you not yet acquainted with his brilliantly innovative new video blog initiative, have a little peep at http://www.inmymug.com – you won’t regret it,and you may even spot the odd discount code for some of Has Bean’s finest coffees! 🙂

Pinhalense in place … at last! Naming competition …

Many months ago, I mentioned the Pinhalense that we were fortunate enough to acquire from a friend the previous summer. Not wanting to do things by half, or indeed fearful of not doing justice to the machine itself, we waitied patiently until a proper space could be made available as its permanent home.Copyright CakeBoy 2007

Well the good news is that everything is now up and running thanks to some very kind help from a relative. It’s real seat of the pants roasting and extremely enjoyable. Interestingly, it seems easier to regulate the temperature of roasts with the Pinhalense situated beneath proper ventilation than it did whilst temporarily housed in the same space, though only a couple of roasts took place in that scenario and it could just be a case of becoming more familiar.

Continue reading

Danny McNulty

The all too small speciality coffee world that many of us inhabit was rocked yesterday with the shock news that fellow enthusiast Danny McNulty had passed in the early hours of the morning.

It is always a surprise when someone dies suddenly, but even more so when they are apparently healthy, quite young – Danny was forty-nine – and a larger than life character. It seems that Danny had not been feeling too well and had been to hospital for tests. From accounts on alt.coffee, he went downhill quite quickly. That is all I know. It certainly made me think about how precious yet frail life is and how important it is to make the most of every sweet moment.

I came across Danny’s fabulously eclectic and informative website (www.danny.mcnulty.btinternet.co.uk/about.html) very early on in myDanny as he appears on his own website coffee journey, long before finding TMC and other places that I now frequent. His espresso area was full of useful information about pulling shots, grinding correctly and all sorts about equipment. I have been pointing newcomers to coffee towards Danny’s pages ever since as his style of sharing information made so many hirtherto befuddling things very clear to me when I was at that stage of my development.

Danny’s Aladdin’s cave of a site also yielded the extemely entertaining story of his exploits in starting up a ‘commercial’ mobile coffee trailer near his Portsmouth home, which at first appeared to be as much for fun as anything, but subsequently became a very successful venture. That was Danny, up to all sorts and always having an adventure. He certainly seemed to live life to the full.

Like many online coffee folk, I never met Danny personally, but I did email him to say thank you for the information on his site and a very pleasent conversation ensued. He was clearly a very nice and very patient man, whom many felt as if they knew like a friend through his online persona. Danny was a member of TMC and an infrequent poster, though when he did pop-in, everyone seemed to know him.

For a while, Danny was the UK distributor of Monsooned Malabar. A few of my TMC compartiots bought from him now and then, all spoke highly.

In a small way, Danny was the ‘Alistair Cooke’ of the UK coffee world, regularly penning extremely funny pieces regaling readers of alt.coffee with his adventures in the coffee trailer, entitled “Sitting in a Field”. A search on An early photo from his own website of Danny's Espresso Bar 'Sitting in a field'alt.coffee will yield years worth of these classic little pieces that remind me very much of ‘Letter from America’. If you have not read them, they are well worth seeking out. Danny’s charm and wit shine through readily, as does his obvious consideration for his fellow beings. These are his lasting legacy to this, our little coffee world, which is today poorer for Danny’s loss.

God bless you Danny, rest peacefully. You will be missed by so many different people in lots of different ways. Thank you from those of us to whom you gave guidance either directly or through your website.

Our thoughts are with Danny’s loved ones.

coffee101.co.uk

News of a fantastic new coffee site that has sprung to life in recent weeks, http://www.coffee101.co.uk

Steve Leighton of Has Bean Coffee (www.hasbean.co.uk) has launched a completely free tutorial site that offers ten daily email ‘lessons’ intended to help newbies and experienced coffee people alike. As always, Steve gives much of himself and offers readers huge amounts of information drawn from his vast experience in the coffee industry.

The content offers an excellent overview of coffee history, information about where coffee comes from, how it is processed and types of roast amongst many other things. I just wish something like this had been about when I first got into coffee. It dispels many myths for people just starting out with the hobby and is invaluable for that reason alone. As someone with a little more experience, I found the course offered me focus by making so much knowledge available in one place and filling in a few gaps as well.

Well worth a look, totally free and containing some discount codes for Has Bean, I would advise everyone from the newest of the new to industry old hands to sign up and enjoy the fruits of Steve’s amazing know-how.

I’m back and thinking about football ….

It has been a while since I last posted. Quite a long time in fact. It was not deliberate, but just happened for a number of reasons, none of which are particularly note worthy or relevant to what is ostensibly a coffee blog. Needless to say, I missed it and am pleased to be back.

Having just said coffee is the main subject around here, today’s topic is football. I guess, on that note, most of the coffee people, bar one notable roaster, have just surfed away to something more relevant to them and anyone left is either a football fan or simply can’t be bothered at the moment to look for something else to read.

It’s that time again, the start of a new football season with all of the usual excitement. Everyone has hopes and dreams. I remember the summer of 1976, an August Saturday morning, not unlike today, but with less rain. It was my first real season of following football properly. Football Focus had a preview of

Jumpers for goalposts?

the season and as Grandstand began Frank Bough stood in front of the old green BBC football results and tables charts. They were still manually operated in those days, clever graphics were years away. I remember as the show opened, Frank said that it was the first day of an exciting new season and at a quarter to five, the boards would spring frantically to life with details the day’s events. Earlier that morning, I had bought a new football magazine called ‘Roy of the Rovers’. It was fantastic and for the next few years, without fail, I would run down the hill to the newsagents every Saturday morning to claim my copy from the ‘collections’ pile. It could have been delivered with the morning papers, but that would have simply spoilt my excited fun. I wanted to feel that first Saturday morning every week.

The excitement is still the same for most football fans as it ever was, but things are different these days. For starters, the Premier League and Football League often seem to kick-off on different Saturdays. Oddly though, today’s Football League season opening seems more like the old days to me than next

Jumpers for goalposts?

Jumpers for goalposts?

week probably will when the ‘big boys’ including my team begin their season. For me, the Football League Championship, not the Premier League, more closely resembles the old First Division. I think it is because the lower tier teams still have a large number of British players. I love the Premier League, it is surely the greatest league on earth these days and the quality is breath-taking. It’s just that each year the start of the Football League evokes strong memories of my youth. So, when Championship tactics appear a little naïve by comparison, I just remind myself they play a brand of football that many of us were brought up on, and then I rejoice at the whole stunning other level of skill that those in the Premier League are capable of producing. I love it all. Continue reading

Tea Thing!

This ladies and gentlemen is “Tea Thing”! It is a sample that was given to Scott at Happy Donkey (www.happydonkey.co.uk) and passed to us to have a look at. There are no instruction and Scott was told that there are only three or so in the country at the moment. It has been played around with and thus far we cannot decide for sure whether it is meant to produce a cup/mug or a tea pot full at a time. We will shortly post the test results, but in the mean time, if anyone has any thoughts, please be forthcoming.

Copyright CakeBoy 2008