As the seasons change, so too do the people, places and things in our lives. Funranium Labs is no exception to this.
Starting today, with the new production window which will run through October 29th, the Ipsento Panama light roast is now on the temporarily retired list. I haven’t been given an estimate of when it should return yet but based on prior experience January 2017 is a good guess. It’s ridiculous tart blueberry flavor will be missed. But this is the where the bad news ends!
There is good news on the BBotE Ambassador front as I’m pleased to announce that service is being restored to Santa Barbara, CA. One of the former Ambassador’s more dutiful customers, Vernon, has stepped up to restore the flow to vicinity of Goleta and let the people rejoice. You can get a hold of him at bbote [at] brewhouse [dot] pub. But before I announce the second one, let’s have a story.
In the previous post, I gave you an insight into how my brain works to translate languages. Now let’s discuss how my brain sabotages me because it loves stories and will override learning with knowledge I KNOW is wrong because there’s a great story associated with it. Once upon a time, This American Life did a story about life in college towns, in particular the named Number One Party School and the woes of living near frat row. One of the people interviewed who lived near Penn State complained about the difficulty keeping their hedges alive because of all the people puking into them after football games.
With that excellent bit of imagery, the name of the city Penn State is in was permanently obliterated in my mind and was replaced with “Vomit Hedge”. I know this is not the correct name but trying to get my mind to acknowledge and remember the right one is nigh impossible. I know it isn’t College Station (that’s Texas A&M) and I know it isn’t College Park (that’s University of Maryland) but it’s something like those two, with the actual name shrouded by “Vomit Hedge”. You can say the correct name to me and ask me to immediately repeat it back to you and it’s gone. On my best days, I can manage to incorrectly say College Station instead of Vomit Hedge. To correctly type the words “the BBotE Ambassador of State College, PA” I need search for the location of Penn State and then copy-paste the correct name because even transcription is no guarantee I’ll get it right.
And so, I am pleased to announce that Craig is now your BBotE Ambassador of
Vomit Hedge State College, PA. You can reach him by email statecollegebbote [at] gmail [dot] com.
Vernon & Craig are hardly the only BBotE Ambassadors out there. Many people tell me that they drop their local Ambassador a line and are sad to hear they have nothing on hand for local pick up. My recommendation, if you can be patient, is to tell them you’d like to put your name on their list. Most of them would prefer to make sure most of a case is spoken for before they pull the trigger on asking for one. Except for a radioactive cat that really wants attention but you aren’t allowed to pet her for another two days (true story), there is nothing more heartbreaking than an unclaimed bottle of BBotE. So please, as we approach the holidays, drop them a line and let them know. This way I can get cases out to the corners of the world in a timely manner.
Here is your advance warning of my next, entirely too brief, trip: from November 9-14th, I will be going to visit Kiev, Pripyat and Chernobyl. This is a somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a very long time so I’m treating this as a slightly belated birthday present to myself as I collect one of the crown jewels of atomic tourism. Oh yes, there will be pictures.
However this is decidedly out of my comfort zone and let me tell you why. Most of my survival skills are related to my ability to speak to people and read postings. I am seriously more comfortable with the idea of wandering around a nuclear accident site than trying to get from the airport to my hostel in Kiev with my complete lack of Ukranian language. Like most Americans, I’m only fluent in one language, English. Because I’m me and I love linguistics and history I have fragmentary knowledge a dozen or so others, mostly at the word root levels, because this is the kind of thing that makes me a Cliff Clavin-grade trivia monster. English, being the Jello fruit medley of languages, gives you the benefit of some familiarity with Greek, Latin, German, and French even if you don’t really know where a given word came from.
Where it gets ugly for me is no longer having the Roman alphabet to work with anymore. I have a physics degree which means I learned the Greek alphabet one ugly equation at a time and how to transliterate from the Greek letters to Roman. When you realize you actually know a lot of Greek word roots and can combine it with the Greek alphabet, you suddenly realize you can kind of read some Greek words. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t for a minute try to pretend I actually understand Greek but I can sorta figure things out. This brings us to Cyrillic.
St. Cyril slapped something similar to the Greek alphabet, with some important additions, on top of a Slavic language. The phonemes between Greek and Russian didn’t quite match so some extra letters were necessary to cover the missing sounds and give pronounciation aids. The important thing to remember is that despite using a kind of, ish, Greek alphabet that Russian is decidedly Not Greek.
With all that established, let’s go through “Phil’s Extremely Back Assward Way To Read Russian Words in Cyrillic!”
STEP 1: Change all the Cyrillic letters to the Greek alphabet.
STEP 2: Change all the Greek letters to the Roman alphabet.
STEP 3: Now that the word is in Roman letters, see if you recognize any word roots, usually German.
STEP 4: Translate to English if possible as best as you can.
Now that we enjoyed that little excursion into how Phil’s brain works, I want to note how this method to translate Russian is ENTIRELY NOT HELPFUL IN KIEV. Ukrainian is not Russian. It’s in the same linguistic neighborhood but I hope you now understand my hesitation.
Let’s work an example problem! Starting word: шпильхалле
Step 1: Hmm, that looks weird, don’t quite recognize Greek equivalents to all those letters. The first one kinda looks like a sigma that fell over, so let’s go with ΣΠΝΛΧΑΛΛΕ
Step 2: I hope those missing letters don’t matter too much. SPILCHALLE
Step 3: Okay, “halle” I recognize, though the “h” I have identified came from a chi, which is a ch sound. “Spil”? That kinda looks like a word I remember from my game collection, speil.
Step 4: Game place? Did I find a game store, a stadium, or what? Only one way to find out…
(The actual answer is “casino”. This word is from the 1990s German/Russian hybrid times. These are the kinds of misunderstanding that lead to ADVENTURE!)
[EDIT: I’ve been told I got lucky with my transliteration, because I screwed up in a way that still worked. See? ADVENTURE!]
With that, I’m going to go back to the current cross-country train adventure while preparing for this next adventure.
Ooooookay, the milestone where I have a deep sigh and decide to comment on someone else’s product is 50 messages. When I’ve gotten that many emails, texts, IMs, DMs, tweets, phone calls, etc., I have to breakdown and actually make words in reply.
TL;DR version: No, they aren’t ripping me off. No one making cold brew coffee is ripping me off, they’re just doing their own thing. When someone does something I think is as good as BBotE and finds a way to do it cheaper, I’ll let you know because I’ll be buying it too.
In case you’ve missed out on the content hungry media flurry, there’s a cafe in Adelaide, South Australia called Vicious Coffee that has a product on its menu called Asskicker Coffee. People from Australia have been telling me about this for a while, but the social media thirstlords blew it up at the end of August. You can read the original news story from the Australian Sunday Mail Advertiser under the link, but I want you to pay close attention to this statement:
The Asskicker is a complex concoction made of quad espresso (four shots), four 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes, 120ml of 10-day brewed cold drip and is finished with four more 48-hour brewed cold drip ice cubes.
My most important take away from all the various articles I’ve been sent about this is “many journalists aren’t good at math”. Please read that previous quote again and think about how much coffee that is.
Think about it some more.
Okay, let’s do some conversions. The traditional espresso shot is 30ml, so four of those is 120ml. It’s hard for me to guess at ice cube volume since ice cube trays are so variable, but let’s say for the sake of simplicity that they’re 30ml apiece also, that’s another 240ml. Add the 120ml for the 10-day brewed cold drip and you’re looking at a total 480ml (~16 fluid ounces of cold brew coffee and espresso). Now, for those of you that have purchased BBotE, you’ve seen my recommendation to keep BBotE consumption under 100ml per day. I’m not going to make any assumptions on flavor or caffeine content here, but if comparable to BBotE as claimed in the many, many articles I’ve been sent you’re exceeding my recommended dose by almost a factor of five. I disobey my own recommendations now and then, but I tend to put a six hour gap between cups and even then it’s usually 75ml in the morning and 75ml in the afternoon. You are asking for trouble consuming 480ml worth of concentrated coffee all in one go, much as I don’t recommend having a mug full of uncut BBotE.
In fact, from the same article, I want to reiterate that their product isn’t meant to be consumed all in one go. This is meant to be consumed over a time span of hours so that it lasts you for entire shifts. The original inspiration for this was an ER nurse that had a surprise double shift.
The Asskicker is available in three sizes: small is $10 (recommend one to two hour consumption for six to nine hours “up time”; medium is $13 (recommend two to three hours consumption for nine-12 hours “up time”; and large is $16 (recommend three to four hours consumption for 12 to 18 hours “up time”).
My take: This is a coffee shop owner that has done right by his customers and quit trying to tear them down for doing it. Someone had a shitty day in front of them and Steve Bennington made them something special to help make it better. That was so much fun it became part of the regular menu. Hell, I bet all of you have been into a bar or a restaurant that has something on their menu that got there they exact same way, and it’ll be there until the closing day of the establishment.
When I make my next trip to Australia, whenever that may be, I hope Vicious Coffee is still serving it so I can try some. When I tourist, I tourist HARD. 😉