Month: May 2013

Mini-Review: Verismo espresso machine (Starbucks)

First off, the important info: I’m calling this a “mini” review because I don’t actually own a Verismo, nor am I high enough in Google rankings that I can get free stuff or loaners for reviews. This is based on my research and on a demo I got at my local Starbucks. So, if you’ve been in a Starbucks this year you might have noticed the prominent advertising and display of the Verismo espresso machine. The ad copy says it’s Starbucks quality beverages in the comfort of your own home, super quick and easy. But what is it and how does it work? The basics: This is a home espresso machine similar to a Keurig “K-Cup” machine — meaning, it takes handy little “pods” and makes drinks out of them, one at a time. What makes it different from a Keurig is that it makes espresso (I’ll admit, I’m not 100% sure whether it really fits the definition of espresso or whether it just brews super-strong coffee from the pods) as well as milk-based drinks like lattes. To make a latte, you put a coffee pod and a milk pod in the machine, push a button, and very soon after you’re sipping a small latte. The coffee pods are available in several popular Starbucks coffee varieties, and the milk pods are, as far as I can tell, plain 2%...

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Misadventures in phone purchasing

I have unusual cell phone buying habits for an American. I prefer to buy phones up front, unbranded, from third-party retailers for minimal pre-installed crap. No contract obligations, no “pay it off over your next several bills”, I just get a phone, slap a SIM card in it, and I’m good. This is partly because my last few phones have been what I call “obscure hipster phones” — little-known models you can’t generally get at your local carrier store. If you go to the Nokia Live theater, they have a display of Nokia phones throughout the years … and not a single one of the Nokias I’ve owned are in the list*. But as much as I love Nokias, it gets a little tiresome having obscure phones. And since Nokia threw the N9 under the bus in favor of the Windows Lumias, I was faced with a choice between sticking with Nokia and submitting to their hasty change to Windows, or getting an even┬ámore obscure hipster phone called Jolla. After much research, I decided to go for option C: get a phone with a widely-supported OS that hasn’t been abandoned by the manufacturer. Namely, the Nexus 4. I knew T-mobile was selling the Nexus 4, so I called my local store to see if they had some in stock — they did. As soon as I walked in, the...

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Review: Natural Brew Chai Cola

As someone who’s addicted to tea drinks and loves a good soda, when I spotted a bottle of Chai Cola at my local zPizza I knew I had to try it. This particular specimen is by Natural Brew, one of the many soda microwbreweries that’s popped up in the US in the last couple of decades. The ingredients list for the Chai Cola, as you can see here, includes mostly normal, pronounceable ingredients, along with the vague and mysterious “Natural Flavors”. I’m assuming that includes the chai spice flavor. No high fructose corn syrup, no caffeine other than the decaffeinated black tea — no decaffeination process is perfect. The flavor is more chai than cola. If you handed to someone without telling them what it was, they would immediately identify it as some kind of chai soda. The cola flavor is much more subtle, but gives a little extra depth to the chai. The flavor would probably be more complex if the cola were caffeinated (caffeine is naturally bitter). Overall, I really liked it. It’s tasty, not overwhelmingly sweet, and paired nicely with a pepperoni pizza. If you’re looking to try it for yourself, the Natural Brew website has a Store Locator, but it doesn’t seem to work so well. It didn’t find anywhere near my zip code selling it, even though I got mine just by walking down...

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Still here!

Jeez, five months since my last post. How’d that happen? Have patience folks, this blog isn’t dead. It’s just … uh … resting? It’s been a busy year at my day job, and I’m dealing with the medical issues associated with incubating a new human being in my torso, so I haven’t been able to update as much as I should have. Plus, well, the aforementioned human being seems to be draining all my writing mojo. But the best way to regain writing mojo is just to write, right? I will be attempting to do that by hook or by crook. I have a few coffee-related posts planned — e.g. a mini-review of the Verismo espresso machine Starbucks is selling right now, and a review of their new bottled iced coffee. Plus maybe reviews of some other random coffee/tea drinks I get around town. I’ll also be trying to use this for more actual bloggy stuff, by which I mean blathering about things in my life that pretty much nobody else gives a crap about. It lets me look back over my old words nostalgically, and gives this site some signs of life. Hopefully by forcing more words out of my fingertips, I’ll regain some of that vanished writing mojo and I’ll be able to write more betterful, like I usedta. And if you miss me, you can always...

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