Black Kettle Looking For Pot

My mother found her old cast iron teapot and gave it to me, because I had none. It looks almost exactly like this one, for the very good reason that it’s the exact same model, only much older (on mine, the company name is done in basically-unreadable seal script, it came with an aluminum infuser insert, and it lacks the fancy bottom design for better compatibility with induction).

By the way, Today I Learned the difference between a tea kettle and a tea pot, and mine is indeed a kettle, intended for boiling water on a range, even though you can put tea in the infuser. Japanese tea pots have an enameled interior that can’t take direct heat, while the kettles are just seasoned iron. Both have replaceable stainless-steel mesh infusers available in a full range of sizes.

FYI, this is not seasoned the way a cast iron skillet is, because the oil would taste nasty. You maintain and touch-up the interior and exterior finish with… tea. Strong tea.

“Let’s just say we’d like to avoid any Imperial entanglements”

Dear Amazon Japan, when you use auto-translated listings to sell something, you really need to get the unit conversions right. Especially when you also list it on Amazon US with a completely different mistake.

Amazon US: Iwachu 12302 Teapot, Type 5 Arare, Black, 1.2 gal (0.65 L), Inner and Lid Back, Enameled Processing, Nambu Ironware

Amazon Japan: 岩鋳 Iwachu 急須 5型アラレ 黒 0.65L 内面・蓋裏ホーロー加工 南部鉄器 12302

Amazon Japan, auto-translation: Iwachu Iwachu 12302 Type 5 Arare Teapot, Black, 2.2 fl oz (0.65 L), Enameled Interior and Lid Lining, Nambu Ironware

Apparently in Japan, 0.65 liters is 2.2 fluid ounces, while in the US, it’s 1.2 gallons. So it’s not that the Imperial system is difficult, it’s that people raised on Metric are stupid. 😁

(there’s tea somewhere in this picture, honest!)

I can quit any time...

No, really! It’s not a sickness!

(the three in back all hold 21 ounces of liquid; now that might be a sickness 😁)

Ill-tempered glass

One of my JoyJolt borosilicate glass mugs just exploded in my hands while being hand-washed in warm water. Small glass shards flew at least six feet.

Would not recommend.

Update: reminder that glass is really, really sharp, and you should check for bleeding before you complain on your blog…

Red-eye Pie

Since I now have a Keurig and a Nespresso, and a solid supply of the necessary ingredients for liquid pie (stir the froth packet + 2x Splenda + 2x Half-n-Half together into the consistency of cupcake batter, then brew 12-16 ounces with the k-cup, using the Strong button), I decided to try combining the two for this morning’s wake-up call, dropping a shot of espresso in at the end (also Gevalia, their “Luminous” flavor). This process is apparently known to coffee-speakers as a red-eye. The final result is not to be confused with a Mocha Latte Bomb; I suspect those end up being eaten straight as often as dropped into a drink.

My giant stoneware mug didn’t fit into the Essenza Mini, and I haven’t printed a replacement drip tray for it, so I used one of my new demitasse cups to transfer the shot from A to B.

“Bosmarlin” doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as the top-tier Chinese brands, but perhaps Xinhua County Huiling Trade Co., Ltd couldn’t find anyone with the Gift Of Names, although they did find someone who writes much better English than usual. Terrific mug, though, and I really like the hamon-like pattern on the rim. Also, it’s subtle in the pictures, but it’s got faux-handthrown dimpling on the outer surface, to add a bit of visual interest and texture.

10/10, would consume mass quantities again.

(I think these may be the only SFW-ish images tagged チョコぱい…)

Down the Hatch

Costco stocks a Costco-sized jar of Hatch green chiles. They’re terrific. Unfortunately, they contain no preservatives of any kind, and once opened, will turn from green to fuzzy surprisingly quickly in the fridge. I suspect they turn to mush if you freeze them, so I won’t buy them again until I’m in a position to cook with friends in our brave new post-Covid world.

However, when I went out to Seaside to get a haircut recently, I stopped at the upscale Safeway nearby that stocks Boar’s Head lunchmeats, and discovered that they also carried a selection of Green Chile Food Company frozen burritos and quesadillas, made with Hatch chiles.

They’re quite tasty, and the quesadillas come with instructions to pan-fry them in a teaspoon of butter, which is a perfect use for my new cast-iron Bluray press.

Coffee China

I bought a set of actual demitasse cups with matching saucers, from the faux-Italian brand Le Tauci (aka Shenzhen Bosiho Technology, Ltd). They seemed like a decent product at a decent price, and they are. As a bonus, they were very well packaged, guaranteed to survive anything you threw at them (which, fortunately, did not include five pounds of cast iron).

I didn’t really read the blurb in their listing. I saw them recommended on the Nespresso sub-reddit, looked at the pictures, scanned the reviews, and plopped them into my cart. It wasn’t until I looked at their lungo cup set that I confirmed their Chinese origin. These are just the highlights:

The handle is meticulously designed for comfortable holding. No matter the coffee mug is in your hand or on your lip, you can feel the finest touch of the flavor.


The expresso cup has no porous to absorb moisture or odors. Make it a naturally easy-to-clean vessel to maintain the natural flavor of coffee beans.

Different Taste From What You Try

Enid Demitasse Cups Has A Sturdy Handle More Than Decoration
There is a part of concave surface between it and the wall of cup, which provides more space for your fingers to hold the cup in an easy and comfortable way.

Want to make a cup of perfect lungo shot by yourself? Suit it in the Nespresso coffee machine and you can get your drink within a few minutes!

You are the motivation for our further upgradation

I really like “upgradation”. It sounds like something you’d pay a reverse dominatrix for.

In addition to making a decent product, I tip my hat to Shenzhen Bosiho Technology for coming up with a non-ridiculous-sounding name, unlike their competitors in the coffee-cup arena, like Cuisinox, Sweese, and Huji.

By the way, JoyJolt, while equally obviously Chinese in origin, is another coffee-cup brand with an appealing name and a pretty good rep, working the double-walled-borosilicate-glass side of the street. They have an American beard for their branding, but the cups and the ad copy are definitely Made-In-China:

Top quality double walled glass coffee mug mouth blown borosilicate-glass microwave, dishwasher and oven(up to 350°F are save; not for use with metal utensils

The glass coffee/Tea mug are absolute design Smooth finish, crystal clear, beautiful addition to any cafe, restaurant, definitely to your own home

Enjoy Your Favorite Drink Never Before With The JoyJolt Aroma Double wall Glass Cups!

On Common Grounds

Pod Vase-ing

This Nespresso capsule holder model is almost extremely well done. It holds 30 original-type pods in a compact hexagonal shape, and significantly reduces filament use and print time by being designed to use vase mode. It’s slightly too tall to fit on my printer, which I fixed by scaling the height down, and the slots are slightly too tight to easily hold Gevalia’s compostable clone pods, which have a thicker rim.

But the real problem is that the matching slots in the separate base are slightly too tight to fit the top into. This can be worked around with careful slicing parameters, if you know about it in advance, but if you went ahead and just printed it, like I did, you’ll need to break out the hot glue.

So close.

Speaking of pods…

Target has a house brand of Nespresso clone-pods called “Archer Farms” that includes three flavors designed for a lungo pour. They’re crap.

Not the coffee, the pods. Licensed pods use a solid aluminum body with a foil cap. These use a slightly-off-spec aluminum body with foil at top and bottom, and the result is that my Essenza Mini strains to push the water through and gives up about halfway. There was nothing wrong with the coffee that made it out, but paying half the price to get half the coffee doesn’t seem like a good deal, especially if it ends up stressing the machine.

On the bright side, Target is the only retailer I’ve been in for months that had my Gevalia Mocha Latte k-cups in stock. If I didn’t already have a three-month supply, I’d have picked up a three-month supply.

A Moo by any other name…

I stopped buying Land-O-Lakes butter when they killed off the Indian and kept the Land, but I’ve still been buying Mini Moos, their single-serving half-and-half packets. Because I dislike artificial creamers, and because two Moos is only 20 calories, but mostly because it’s the only brand my local groceries stock in that form factor.

But as my Nespresso Adventures rapidly depleted my stock, I decided to go looking for a different brand, and found Carnation Half & Half tubs, in the giant industrial-family-sized package. 360 of them is a lot for one guy, but coffee isn’t the only use I put them to, and hopefully they don’t arrive with an imminent expiration date. These days, packaged meals that include “milk” or “cheese” use low-fat, low-flavor stuff to attract the masses who’ve been indoctrinated by the State Church Of Wrong Dieting, and they benefit from a little 10-calorie touchup.

Well, 11.5 from now on; Carnation decided to set their serving size at 3 tubs instead of 1, so they fall under different FDA rounding rules (see page 129), and thus each tub officially has 0.3333 grams of sugar instead of being “sugar-free”.

I just have to figure out what to call them now. Carns? Calfs? Halfs?

Unrelated, “Alexa, please stop sucking.”

J: Alexa, what time does Safeway close?

A: Safeway pharmacy on Constitution Blvd is currently closed, but will…

J: Alexa, stop. What time does the Safeway grocery store close?

A: Safeway pharmacy on Constitution Blvd is currently closed, but will…

J: Alexa, stop. What time does the nearest Safeway close?

A: Safeway pharmacy on Constitution Blvd is currently closed, but will…

J: Alexa, stop. What time does the Safeway on North Main Street close?

A: Safeway on North Main Street in Salinas is open today from 6am to 10pm.

“No, seriously, stop.”

J: Alexa, play “Sex (I’m A)”.

A: Here’s “Sex Type Thing”, by Stone Temple Pilots, on Amazon Music.

J: Alexa, stop. Play “Sex (I’m A)” by Berlin.

A: I couldn’t find sex-ima by Berlin, but here is other music by Berlin. (begins playing “The Metro”)

J: Alexa, play “Sex” by Berlin.

A: Here’s “Sex (I’m A)” by Berlin, on Amazon Music.

[Update: this one turns out to be particularly tricky: the results depend entirely on how you pronounce “A” when you ask for the song. If you pronounce it the way they do in the song (“I’m a man/I’m a goddess/…”), Alexa won’t find it, but if you carefully enunciate it as the letter “A”, it will.]

Pod People

At 9:45 AM on Sunday, I ordered some more coffee pods from Nespresso’s web site, enough to get free shipping and the one-time $10 discount that came with my machine. They arrived at 9:45 AM on Tuesday.

I hadn’t expected that kind of service, so when I’d gone out to the grocery store, I’d bought three flavors of Peet’s and one of Gevalia (which, naturally-but-sadly, wasn’t the sort that comes with a mocha froth packet).

The sampler had told me that I was more interested in the Lungo form-factor than the Espresso, so that’s what I’d mostly ordered online. Neither Peet’s nor Gevalia sells a dedicated lungo, but all of the Peet’s seem to work fine at that size with a Moo and a Splenda or two, or sugar-free Torani and some milk. The most striking characteristic of the Gevalia pods is the fine grounds that end up in the cup; their pods are compostable rather than recyclable, and I think the caps just puncture differently when you load them. The end product tastes a bit thinner, as well, at least in the “Luminous” flavor; it does not work as a lungo pour (he says, disguising the fact that he doesn’t speak even Coffee Italian, and just means pressing the Large button instead of the Small one).

Also, it turns out the Essenza Mini has three drip trays, one of which is “my countertop”. With the Keurig, I’m used to just topping off the water reservoir while it’s still attached to the machine, rather than carrying it over to the filtered-water dispenser on the fridge (which it doesn’t fit into anyway). The Mini’s reservoir has an odd little locking system that requires you to tilt it away from the body of the unit to open the lid, which breaks the seal at the bottom.

Net result, if you try to refill it in place, it will slowly leak until it’s firmly reseated, leaving a small puddle on the counter.

By the way, browsing the Nespresso sub-reddit revealed another downside to their long-dripping pod design: mold. Not just the potential for it to form if you don’t rinse out the pod-catcher and drip trays, but the apparent inevitability of it if you go along with Nespresso’s recycling system, which involves collecting about a hundred pods at a time and sending them off in their free prepaid mailers.

The recommended way to avoid mold is to store the used pods in your freezer until you have enough to fill the mailer.

Related, I hacked on the OpenSCAD source for this pod-holder design to make a version that would fit on my 3D printer, stand up on its own, and not take 8+ hours to print, even with a 0.3mm layer height. STL file here; I might refactor the code to use the BOSL library for everything and upload it as a remix, now that Thingiverse acknowledges my existence.

One thing that Nespresso has really done better than Keurig is make the products attractive and stylish, including the consumables. People buy and make elaborate display stands because the pods are pretty.

Well, that was novel

A door-to-door steak salesman just stopped by. As he began hawking his wares at a distance of 20 feet, I had to stop him and inform him that I was expecting a very large box from Omaha Steaks in a few hours.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”