I just came home from a great day of racing on the bay. In the past few races I have been responsible for trimming the jib. Jib trimming seems to be the position which requires the greatest strength on the boat and the first couple of times I was clearly weak. Subsequently, I have, therefore, been doing some kettlebell rowing(*) in the backyard with my 70 pounders and that really helped. All tacks and gybes today were good, one was perfect (right into a great trim) and one required some grinding. I think to someone with my kind of personality, there is practically nothing better than to learn a subject, master it, and then execute it.

(*) You take two KBs and put your hands on the handles and form a plank/push up position. The KBs are then lifted alternately to the hip.

Actually, there may be only one thing better, namely reaching the state of mushin, which I discussed to some degree in this post. In that regard I have been reading a lot of books lately (possibly the explanation of the sparsity of posts recently) on this concept. This book describes mushin particularly well. The “Way” to mushin may be from perfecting specific “ways” by repeating them over and over—training them into the mind so the mind becomes one with nature, maybe? I am trying to understand this better and so I am currently reading this book.

I note that the Western World’s focus on productivity and stuff is rather poor in that regard. For example, I usually drink instant coffee, because it is easy and presumably productive. The Japanese have a tea ceremony. I can’t really say I have a coffee ceremony as such but I have started brewing my own coffee.

You start with some green beans. They are kind of hard to get but you can buy them in bulk for $3–4 on the internet.

You then roast them for 6-7 minutes much like popping popcorn. Keep the lid on and monitor the color (yes, that’s tricky with a cast iron lid! ;-) ). As you can see what I have here is more like an index roast than the dark-brown I was aiming for. Clearly I need to work on my technique.

Immediately after roasting, I put them into a colander and shook them to get the chaff off and prevent them from further roasting from their internal heat. Pouring them back and forth between a bowl and the colander would have been more effective. The wind would have borne the chaff away, much like how you do it when threshing wheat.

I then used a grinder which I had acquired on freecycle. If you don’t have a grinder, I’d just put the beans between two pieces of paper and smack them with a hammer; actually any heavy object will do. I make ice cubes by putting water in a plastic container, freezing in, then wrapping the chunk of ice in a towel and hitting it with a meat hammer—although I once used the backside of a bowie knife. (You could use a blender too if you don’t mind all your food subsequently tasting of coffee.) Anyway, …

Here you see the grinder, my improvised filter holder (a rubber band) and my Einstein coffee cup.

I would say, my first cup of home brew was drinkable. Maybe a little bit better than the instant coffee (fresh makes a big difference). It was not very productive though; it took at least half an hour. Then again, would it have been better to have spent half an hour at a job to earn money to buy a cup of coffee at starbucks or a new grinder/coffee machine at the mall.

Only you know your answer to that one.



After reading the comments, I brought out the meat thermometer and aimed for 195F (90.6C) water (using 10 and 20 second bursts in the microwave) and tried it out on a new and darker roast (more uniform this time thanks to lots of shaking). I also found a better way to arrange the filter (taller cup). And I just gotta say … Wow! This is as good as or better than what you pay $$$ for in stores.