Category Archives: Coffee News

Congo, Special Requests and Vacation Reminder

Some astute Test Subjects paying attention to the website have noticed a new variety appear in the radio buttons for selection. Others have asked “WAIT A MINUTE, WHAT’S THIS? HOW CAN I GET MORE OF THIS?” when they found it as one of the capricious whim vials in their Sampler Set II. Well, now you can, Congo Kivu is available.

I grabbed the Congo in my continuing interest in the coffees of the East African Rift Valley as a sampling of the higher, wetter eastern side of the southern Rift. It’s also a matter of sorrow at the loss of one of my chosen coffees from the Rwandan side of the Rift to resuming/ongoing violence in the region. Attempts to maintain coffee farming are one of the few industries that are friendly to women in the region, and the Rising International co-op that was able to provide me these beans are collecting a premium to make sure to support that industry. Instead of, say, gold and tantalum blood mining in the region for example. I’m willing to do some good in the interest of deliciousness, sure.

And oh, it is delicious. The baking chocolate of the Rwandan Abakundakawa is there, but rather than the brut champagne dryness there is a very fruity, dry Sangiovese red wine flavor, possibly plum wine, with a some long staying power on the palate. With vodka addition, the wine like character grew even stronger. In the words of Test Subject Zitron, “It’s a keeper. Make that a regular for as long as you can.” And so I will. Get it while it’s there.

I had another person with a Sampler II notice that their special vial was Jamaican Blue Mountain and wanted to know how why this is listed nowhere on the site. That was actually the remainder of a very special, NOT AT ALL CHEAP request from which there were a couple extra vials from the run that people got near Christmas. In general, I am willing to do custom request BBotE for people if it fits in the larger production schedule, you’re willing to make an order for at least 3L of BBotE to make it worth doing the batch, and are also willing to pay premium prices. For example, Jamaican Blue Mountain was a bit more than double the normal price, but I’m told the resulting BBotE was worth dipping cigars instead of cognac. On a somewhat less classy end, I’ve cranked out a couple dozen liters of Dunkin Donuts BBotE because people asked and I hate saying no to glistening eyes and quivering lips of  those seeking the caffeine of their youth. All you need to do is drop me an email and ask.

As a reminder, the April 26th BBotE pre-order slots are up. The final pre-order slots before my vacation will go up after that and they’ll close on May 21st. Then there will be nothing until production resumes on June 15th after Cross-Country Road Trip 2014 ends. I’ll try to make as much BBotE as I possibly can so that I don’t leave anyone high and dry; in fact, feel free to place an order now with “delay shipment until mid-May” if you like. 

Impending Service Interruption

HLARF!

Perhaps the only thing the Lovely Assistant wants less than writing her dissertation.

BBotE and Stein of Science production has been ticking along nicely while I try to stay out of the Lovely Assistant’s way as her PhD draws to a close. There are few states more delicate than someone in the home stretch of their dissertation and thus are desperate to do anything that isn’t that. If there is one thing more distracting than the cats, the internet, cats on the internet, and herself, it’s me. I’ve been over here in the corner quietly making coffee, drinking beer, and playing with uranium. Don’t mind me.

But in late May you all should be aware that there will be a three week BBotE and stein drought when Cross-Country Road Trip 2014 takes place. The final pre-order slots before vacation will close on May 21st and then there will nothing until production resumes on June 15th. In that last window before departure, I will try to make as much BBotE as I possibly can so that I don’t leave anyone high and dry; in fact, feel free to place an order now with “delay shipment until mid-May” if you like. I will permit ordering while I am slowly driving my way back to California, but the coffee engines will obviously be idle while I’m away, so nothing can ship until I get back.

“WHY ARE YOU DRIVING ACROSS AMERICA AND SPENDING THREE WEEKS NOT MAKING ME ULTRACOFFEE!!!?!?!?” you might ask. Well, the short answer is that it isn’t entirely a trip of pleasure. I’m wrapping up the last of my dad’s affairs after his unexpected passing last October and that means a trip to the mountains of South Carolina. Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter (more likely) for my usual blithering streams of words, pictures and nerdery. I expect to be drinking a great deal of beer from across our fair land in my stein…at least, in the counties and parishes that aren’t dry.

Really, c’mon people. The 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition a long time ago. I know many of your counties and municipalities got into the Prohibition movement decades before the 18th Amendment passed, but it’s time to move on and explore how well you can ferment your local agriculture.

You have been warned.

The Decembering 2013 & A Worrisome Cigar Box

Alright, the December 14th pre-order slots are now up. There’s a slightly longer window this time than normal because of the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US. I’ll be out of town for a bit engaging in conspicuous consumption of turkey and fine drink, so there’ll be a while when the coffee engines are wound down before the December BBotE begins flowing out in quantity.

As far as steins go, I have a rather large shipment of dewars slated to show up right before Thanksgiving. The number of “steins on hand” should dramatically increase, so keep any eye out there.

Your full holiday purchasing advice for this year can be found in the previous postI do regret to inform you that one of of the BBotE varieties will soon disappear from the selections. Caffe Vita’s Guatemala Nueva Vinas is now done for the season and hopefully will return sometime around next May 2014. I have a still small supply on hand, but as soon as it’s gone, it’s gone.

Now, on to the wonderful worlds of radiation and history.

Two weeks ago, I got to go take a tour of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s “Old Town”, AKA the few remaining buildings that still date back to WWII, as they are preparing to demolish them. Space is at a premium up in the mostly vertical space of LBL, these buildings have seen better days and science needs those scant square feet back to do research again.

Lovely boxeses, but what does it keeps in them, Precious?

Alhambra Casino Cigar Box – Lovely boxeses, but what does it keeps in them, Precious?

The day before we showed up, they had found an Alhambra Casinos cigar box in one of the Old Town buildings. To most people, a cigar box is a curio box, filled with your odd great aunt’s odds and ends from decades back when her first husband smoked a cigar a day after work. To people in my line of work, specifically those of us that have had any time in the nuclear weapons complex or former Manhattan Project sites, a cigar box is a moment for sphincter clenching, reach for the gloves, respirator, radiation meter, and everything needed to secure and dispose of this box as the likely radioactive hazardous waste that it is.

WHY do we react this way? Because Alhambra Casinos were Glenn T. Seaborg’s favorite brand of cigar. In addition to collecting titles as the head of

Box Interior. Note reads "VERY VALUABLE SAMPLE. Do Not Disturb in any way! Sample-J G. T. Seaborg"

Box Interior. Note reads “VERY VALUABLE SAMPLE. Do Not Disturb in any way! Sample-J G. T. Seaborg”

commissions, agencies, departments, and universities like they were Pokemon, Glenn also collected souvenirs of all the places he’d gone, the projects he participated on, and the discoveries made. When you keep in mind that this is the man who rode on a train with the sole sample of plutonium in the world in his possession, his souvenirs get a bit interesting. And what did he always stick them into? One of the ubiquitous cigar boxes lying around his office, home, or hotel room as he never traveled without them and smoked like a chimney.

Smithsonian Modern Physics Exhibit - That's a familiar looking box.

Smithsonian Modern Physics Exhibit – That’s a familiar looking box.

He was a remarkable man that presided over the dawn of the Nuclear Age, but damn if he didn’t leave quite a mess to clean up. In the course of decommissioning his many labs & offices, we’ve found these with plutonium, americium, curium, neptunium, beryllium alloys, reactor graphite, shaped explosives, playing cards signed by nuclear test teams, and much more. At some point we’ll find them all, but he’s been gone for 14 years and they’re still popping up. Sometimes it feels like the Manhattan Project never quite ended.

 

Impending Holidays, Site Changes, and Extensions

As you may have noticed, It is November. This means it’s the time that strikes dread into creative and retail hearts alike as we look around franticly and say “IS IT HIDDEN?! IS IT SAFE!?” Actually, most of us don’t go Full Gandalf but we do start getting worried about disappointing people who wait until the last minute, because we don’t like making people sad. Also, we like money and your desires going unfulfilled means less presents we can buy with our own last minute shopping.

[Several artist friends would like to completely disavow my completely accurate description of their lives. Not because I'm wrong, but because they try not to think about it.]

Because people have requested it (and I would like to try to work on another chunk of my mom’s debt), I will keep doing special runs of the Atomic Robo, Tesladyne “REMAIN CALM, TRUST IN SCIENCE”, and Ineffable Mustachio’d Goat of Science labeled bottles through the end of the year so people can give them as gifts. After I clear the decks on the current orders, I will extend the pre-order slot time horizon on the those listings to mid-December. As always, orders to tend to ship fairly quickly, so you won’t have to wait until then unless you want to.

I’m also going to remove all the individual limited run 750ml bottle listings (i.e. Ipsento Panama, Guatemala Nueva Vinas, Death Wish, Colombia, Peru Salkanty) on the store as they are all now selectable in the drop downs in the normal listings. Of course, those listings included special information relating to flavor characteristics, so I’ve had to add this handy tasting guide for each of the varieties to link to the posts that described them as they first went into production. The tasting guide is something people have been poking me to do for quite a while, so that’s an improvement as well. This cleans up the store page and hopefully makes things a bit less confusing. It does, however, make a lot of broken links in posts. I’ll be cleaning those up for months I’m sure.

Now, a few things you should probably think about if you decide to place an order for a gift from Funranium Labs:

  1. BBotE Is Perishable: When refrigerated, it has a shelf-life of about three months (possibly longer, but I’m only going to quote three).  If you’re going to wrap it up and put it under the tree, this a present to put out on Christmas Eve and the promptly put back in the fridge after unwrapping. Alternatively, embrace the idea of the holiday season and decide that give it to the recipient immediately, for all days are special.
  2. Let People Know BBotE Is Coming: I know part of the joy in presents is the surprise of what you get. However, joy is not the emotion people feel when a bottle of mysterious black liquid shows up on their doorstep, especially if it’s been sitting there for a week outside because they were out of town. Give them a heads up, that something’s coming they’ll want to stick in the fridge. I will also tuck handling instructions in the box and a note stating who sent it if you ask me to.
  3. The pre-order slot dates date are “Ship By”, not “Ships On”. I get your orders out as soon as I can, but even in the furthest flung corner of the US with the slowest mail carrier, this means you should have your order in hand by December 21st for that last set of late order slots. If you want to order something NOW to ship later, in effect reserving a spot in a later order queue, you can do so but please leave a note with your order telling me when you want it to ship by.
  4. Yes, I will probably add a extra more slots as I get a handle on how much I can make at the last minute but shipping gets dicey in those last days before Christmas.
  5. International Shipments Of BBotE Go Out Express Mail: Because I don’t want BBotE to get stuck in postal facilities or customs, express is the only way to ship to minimize their time in bureaucratic hell. Expect it to take 3-5 business days to get to you, so time your orders accordingly to make sure things get to you in time.
  6. APO/FPO: If you wish to send something out to someone with an Armed Forces address, there’s good news and bad news. Good news – it’s no more expensive than priority mail. Bad news – I can’t guarantee any date as to when things will arrive. Outside of active war zones, things move somewhat normally; inside war zones and ships at sea, things get iffy. Also, depending on routing, some nations (I’m looking at you, Turkey) have bounced BBotE on the basis that it is, and I quote, “Morally Questionable Material” because, obviously, any liquid from the West must be alcoholic in nature. In short, I’ll do my best but you’ve been warned.
  7. Local Pick Up: Resupply shipments will go out to all the BBotE Ambassadors as fast as I can crank them out, so be sure to drop them a line if grabbing a bottle that way is convenient for you. I’m sure they’d like clean and empty refrigerators as their Christmas present.
  8. Italy & Brazil: It breaks my heart to say this, I can’t ship to these countries. Italy, I absolutely do not trust your postal system. The level of theft shipping things anywhere south of Rome is, frankly, appalling. If you ask me to ship to Naples, I make absolutely zero guarantee of it arriving. Brazil, your customs causes shipment to languish for so long that the BBotE goes off before it arrives, even if shipped express; steins seem to be fine though.
  9. Steins of Science Have Lead Time Too: The steins are built to order and it sometimes takes a while to get parts in.  Generally, things move much faster and ship within a week but you have now been warned of the possibility of delays.  For some insight into which stein is the best fit for you, I rambled on that a while back. Dewars that are on hand for me to build steins with RIGHT NOW can be found here.
  10. BBotE Production Is First Come, First Served: My maximum daily production output is 12L per day. Thus, people who request 12pk cases will lock up production for an entire day.
  11. There’s No Kosher Or Halal Certification: While Robert Anton Wilson did confer the papacy upon me, and all the other people in the Porter College Dining Hall, this does not permit me to sanctify food.  Sorry.
  12. The 4300mL Stein of Science Is Ridiculously Large: Seriously, BIG.  It will should take an entire pre-game, Super Bowl, and wrap up to go through this much beer.  Or one cricket match. You may think you are a super drankin’ badass, but consider that you may want to drink more often than once a year, so think about a smaller size. I’m just sayin’…

Awesome Product Endorsements

In my previous post, I mentioned that I’d used the Goat labeled 1000ml bottles for fundraising to help make neat projects happen. Well, Laurie Penny decided to write me some rather kind words as an endorsement which I’d like to share here:

“I do not generally endorse products. This time, I’m more than happy to do so. Black Blood of the earth is made by my good friend Phillip Broughton, who got me addicted by giving it to me for free until books happened. It is ultra-distilled yummy supercaffeine. It tastes like espresso. It is not espresso. It is smoother and stronger and deadlier. Coffee beans all over the world are sad because they will never get to be part of it.
Black Blood of the Earth funds have been raised to support various good causes. They were used to get me to Egypt to report on the women’s revolution there, and to get me and Molly Crabapple to Greece to write our book, Discordia. (The substance itself was used to enable me to actually write the damn thing.)
This time, though, the cause is much closer to home. Two weeks ago, Phil’s lovely dad passed away suddenly, and his mother needs help to clear the debts that have suddenly accrued to her as a result of her husband’s passing. I cannot think of a better excuse to encourage the internet to purchase unwise amounts of supercoffee.
Black Blood of the Earth is a) delicious and b) dangerous in the wrong hands. It is what happens when a nuclear physicist decides to run a sideline in supercoffee distribution. It is powerful writerjuice. It can be enjoyed hot, cold and in pintglasses. When you add it to vodka it magically becomes sweet without the need for extra Baileys, but, you know, you can put that in too, thus making a cocktail I like to call the Deadline. 
So, go on, buy a bottle or five. I’d say be careful with the stuff, but fuck it, you’re an adult, and it’s legal, although it probably shouldn’t be.”

never cease to be amused by the interesting names that people give cocktails made with BBotE. I should compile them someday. Thank you, Laurie.

Not long after, Brian Clevinger chimed in with his own remarks. He receives two points for managing to make a RIFTS® reference while doing it:

“Help us help a friend help his mom!

Long time friend of Robo, Dr. Phillip “Phil Me Up” Broughton, has a long and storied career in action science. He is the Officially Unofficial Science Advisor to Team Robo and he stars as “Phil” the guy who is in charge of keeping Robo alive in Vol 6 and Vol 8.

In real life he is an actual radiation safety guy. Which, yes, that’s technically what Homer Simpson did. Or should have been doing but never did. Whichever.

Phil also makes a Super Coffee that he calls Black Blood of the Earth because he is a nerd. He foists it on us at every opportunity. Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, It’s Tuesday, whatever. And this stuff has gotten us through some dark nights and looming deadlines. It’s like coffee in the sense that nitrous is like gasoline. Like it is bad for you to drink more than one shot glass of it in 24 hours.

This is the coffee RIFTS(r) Juicers would drink.

And if can be yours. And if you buy some with a special label –the “REMAIN CALM/TRUST IN SCIENCE” Tesladyne gear label or the ROBO BOMB SMASH label — then the proceeds will go toward the very nice cause of helping out his mom.