I Watched Chef Twice

I don't often watch movies more than once. I don't know why but it's just not my thing. But, I recently watched Chef again and I gotta say it's one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. In fact, I put it up there with the best movies of last year I'm glad it is finally getting noticed by more people. I try to only tout things I really really like and this is one of them. Watch it and then listen to the Tim Ferriss interview with Jon Favreau.

I particularly found Favreau's reasoning for using old school black and white composition books for writing and drawing to be genius. He says he doesn't feel like what he puts in them has to be perfect since they aren't expensive sketch pads. But he also knows he can't just tear a page out because the whole notebook may come apart. There is so much wisdom in this little tidbit. He doesn't feel the need to be perfect but he also doesn't want to totally embarrass himself either. He tries to find the middle between creativity and discipline.

Oh, and while you are on Netflix watching Chef, check out the wonderful original series Chef's Table. We plowed through the whole series and I want more.

I ultimately decided to back the IKAWA Roaster. Now comes the long wait as the team at IKAWA starts to fill the orders. The estimated ship date is February 2016 but I hope they take their time and get it right. This is a fairly pricey item to back on Kickstarter but I weighed the risks as I perceived them and am happy to be a backer of what I think could be a phenomenal product. 

First, my biggest complaint with my current roasting set up is having to do it out in the garage. The change in the ambient temperature makes it very hard to dial in consistent roasts with my Fresh Roast. The ability to have the IKAWA in a controlled environment will be huge.

My second complaint with my current roasting process is the time it takes vs the yield. I mentioned my desire to move to a bigger roaster like the Behmor 1600 and had plans to do so later this year when their upgrades launched. The IKAWA does much smaller batches than the Behmor but the key difference should be in the replicability of roasts in the IKAWA. If it works as advertised I should be able to dial in a profile and then replicate it multiple times with ease.

Good luck to the IKAWA team and I look forward to your updates along the way. 

IKAWA Roaster Finally Lands

I first heard about the IKAWA and wrote about it over a year ago. I am happy to say the IKAWA has launched on Kickstarter. I am really excited about it and what it may be able to do.

Part of my excitement is it seems it can be used right in your kitchen. As I have state before, I currently roast on a Fresh Roast SR500 which is best suited in a garage. I don't roast much during the cold months. The other part of my excitement around the IKAWA is the app that will be integrated into the system. Not only can you record, track and monitor your roasts but it sounds like there will be a way to share roasting techniques with other users. 

I am going to ponder and research more on the technology of the IKAWA but one thing that is very apparent is the roast size is fairly minimal. I have complained about this being my number one issue with my SR500 and why I was looking forward to the Behmor Plus coming out later this year. I did find a message board post from 2012 in which Andrew from IKAWA says it will do 50g of coffee at once. 50g isn't too bad. I have not backed the IKAWA yet. The ~$750 price tag (all the early bird specials are sold out) is steep but if it does what it claims it may be worth it.

By Hand

Building a workbench without a workbench is hard. But, Building a workbench without handtool skills is just dumb. The first time I roasted a batch of coffee it was so under roasted it wouldn't even grind. I wish there was a grinder big enough to shred my workbench into a fine powder. 

I was pretty naive to believe my first major hand tool project should be to make the most important tool in the shop. I'm going to finish this god forsaken workbench but I am not ruling out buying one. 

I am sure I would be breaking some sort of woodworking code buy doing so but the monstrosity I have been building may not be suitable as a main bench. Everything I have done so far with the bench was "a first" and, as expected, it looks like it. My first major glue up. My first attempt at trying to flatten a large surface. my first mortise and tenon. The list goes on. 

All is not lost, I am learning a ton. 


Chris Kresser takes on the long held belief of coffee being an unhealthy vice and explains why most people don't need to feel guilty for having their 3rd or 4th daily cup.

In his latest podcast Chris lays out all the reasons why coffee is actually healthy....for most people. I follow most of Chris' work in the health and nutrition world. His research of research is as good as anyone's and I really respect his opinions. He isn't a die hard "paleo" guy but more of a natural foods and natural living guy. He is a also a firm believer in everybody being different. Still, he lays out a convincing case of why most of us shouldn't feel guilty for drinking coffee. It's worth the listen.

I am glad I didn't buy the Behmor 1600 last year when I was thinking of upgrading to a larger roaster. They have unveiled the "1600 Connected" with roasting app integration. It comes out in September and for "only" $600 it is a great deal. Read the full story and Daily Coffee News.

Press App

In my never ending search for the best coffee brewing and logging app, I am now trying out Press and so far I am really liking it. They have said some great upgrades are coming. For example, the ability to add pictures to your coffee logs. Anyway, test if for yourself. Go spend a few bucks so these folks continue to develop this app. It has really great potential and has become my top used coffee app as of late.