I’m not sure it’s really scientific, but I recommend reading this meditation on why you should drink coffee when you’re most alert (source: Rands). The morals I take from the story involve drinking my afternoon coffee slightly later, and getting a couch once I finally get an office.
On the other hand, taking an afternoon nap directly contradicts the piece of advice that you should treat your academic job like a 9-5. Which in turn contradicts Richard Hamming’s open door policy:
I noticed the following facts about people who work with the door open or the door closed. I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don’t know quite know what problems are worth working on; all the hard work you do is sort of tangential in importance. He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important.
And all of this contradicts my policy that my sleep is sacrosanct. Seems that productivity is complicated stuff.
Wandering around the Sweet Maria’s site, I found this pictorial guide to the stages of roasting coffee beans, just before I returned to roasting from a hiatus. Hopefully it will still be interesting to the 99% of you who don’t roast your own coffee. I also picked up a tip from them not to put your beans in a fully sealed container for the first 12 hours.
On that note, I’m increasingly aware of how unevenly an oven roasts the beans. With a lighter roast, which is what I’ve been aiming for, the batch ends up being four different colors, so the variation is immediately apparent. All this by way of saying that I’m now officially lusting after a couple of coffee roasters. Or rather, I’m lusting after the state of having a coffee roaster. I don’t know which of them I’d like.
I do not recommend using a mortar and pestle to grind coffee, but if you do, the Chemex will be forgiving. Pour slowly, but expect a weak brew. I’m not one for flavored coffees, but the understated hints of cumin and coriander are quite interesting.
10%: The probability that I grind coffee without replacing the container in the bottom of the grinder. This then results in coffee grinds spilling all over the counter.
It’s really unfortunate that my current method of getting caffeine requires skilled action before I get the caffeine.
Pittsburgh is not quite the coolest city in the world, but I do quite like it despite its various drawbacks. After reading a NYTimes article on the $20,000 cup of coffee, I was surprised to find out that there’s a working Clover coffeemaker in Pittsburgh, housed at the 21st street coffee and tea shop. The Clover isn’t actually the $20,000 machine, but brews a single cup of coffee to order with exactly specifiable temperature between 180 and 210°. A pilgrimage is certainly in order.