An Admission Of Defeat

A few days ago, a visitor made a post that said, “Looks like the TWiT Army takes down another site.” Not quite, as the back-end migration that was successfully completed the week prior to last Tuesday’s Mac Break Weekly has proven up to tackling the full and blistering attention of Mr. Leo Laporte’s audience. Funranium Labs survived the TWiT Army admirably and I give high praise to my web guru and BBotE Ambassador of College Station, Mr. Jason Pulliam, for sailing directly into the heart of the storm.


My 9L/day maximum production most definitely has not survived the attention. I will be spending the next couple weeks trying to clear the backlog and that’s assuming orders stop rolling in. Your local BBotE Ambassadors of Canberra, Dublin, London, Portland, NYC, Seattle, and College Station are out of stock. I have reliable reports that Chicago, DC, and LA still have some, so feel free to drop them a line. It is going to be a while until I manage to restock them.

So, this is a declaration that I’m doing all I can to get BBotE and Steins of Sciences out to you as quick as I can, but the line ahead of you may be quite long. To make it even more fun, I have some travel scheduled April 12-19th and there will be no production during this time.

You’ve won this round, TWiT Army, but the war is not over. Moo hoo ha ha.


Why, Hello There!

Courtesy of some recent kind words by Test Subject Siegel on Mac Break Weekly, just a few of people have decided they might want to try some BBotE.

Did I say some? I meant to say a lot. As in, well exceeding my 9L per day production capacity. So, there’s going to be a titch of delay in getting BBotE to everyone. I hope to have the backlog cleared by the end of next week because I don’t like to leave anyone languishing without caffeinated delights.

Thank you for your patience.

Can I Possibly Be More Of A Nerd?

This is Brian Clevinger’s fault. I thought I’d take moment at the outset to blame him.

In addition to having a physics degree, having been nominated Eternal DM For Life amongst my gaming circle all the way back to elementary school, and a truly compendious amount of knowledge about Frank Herbert’s Dune, I am a geography/history lover like you wouldn’t believe. And, since age 8 going through all the change my dad pulled from the newspaper machines to roll them for the bank, I’ve been a coin collector. Combined, this has given me some odd insights into world history, particularly American, through the lens of our currency. An awful lot of our history is tied up in our money. This, of course, triggers rants that I hope are instructive. I will put them together in my Copious Free Time(TM), but here’s what I think needs to be shared:

Lesson One: HAWAII and Yellow Seal Bills – Once upon a time, America planned for the aftermath of wars.

Lesson Two: Gold – A quick and easy guide to your status among colonies. (Part I: America) (Part II: the Raj, Oceania, and the Canadas)

Lesson Three: Pieces of Eight – The Counter Reformation and 400 years of the same damn coin.

Lesson Four: Andrew Jackson – FUCK YOU, OL’ HICKORY. No really, FUCK YOU.

Lesson Five: Odd Denominations – Exactly why did the US have 3 cent pieces anyway?

Lesson Six: The Nickel – It used to be worth 3 cents.

Lesson Seven: Fast-tracking Statehood – Wanna be a state NOW? Find some gold or silver.

Lesson Eight: Banks – Really. Stop and think about it. What is a bank? What was a bank?

Lesson Nine: Faces – Though I love the Great Emancipator, there was a reason the original Coinage Act forbade the portrayal of actual people on our coins.

A Shift of Terminology

In the dark and unforgiving dawn of the Black Blood of the Earth production and distribution, after bringing an entire ice chest of BBotE labeled only with lab tape to her wedding, my friend Natara asked if she could be the local dealer for BBotE based upon how well it had gone over with the crowd.

Considering the fun doing bottle hand offs at odd hours on street corners for cash, I felt that the route of maximum honesty of likening ourselves to volunteer drug dealers was perhaps not the best choice (no matter how accurate it may feel). Keeping that illicitness in mind. the very limited, not entirely sober, consensus referred to what we were doing as “pimping BBotE” and thus the local distributors became the BBotE Pimps & Pimpstresses.

Last week, I got this message which I received permission to share with all of you:

Dear Phil,

I know you likely get lots of emails saying some version of “BBotE is awesome” and this is only a slight variation on that, but I hope you’ll humor me by reading it anyway.

I was introduced to your too-good-to-be-true beverage in October 2011 and gifted a bottle in mid-January. I’ve cheered about it on Facebook and Twitter and been experimenting with different variations on Black Blood lattes. I was pretty much on the path to being among your legion of lifelong fans and customers. When my current bottle was getting perilously low, I made my way to your site with the intent of exploring my options for local pickup/exchange and there discovered I’d be encountering someone you referred to as a pimp(stress).

I grew up with the stereotype of the pimp: the dude with a long car, long coat and a ridiculous ostrich-feathered hat. I wish pimps were, in fact, cartoonish figures we could all laugh and point at, harmless in their hilarity and outrageousness.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case; pimps are a real thing and they deal in: Human trafficking. Slavery. Degradation. Rape. Coercion. Exploitation.

And just as pimps are real, so are their victims.These people have nothing to do with your product and marketing, I know, but the casual and hip usage of the word “pimp” only serves to erase their very real situation, their very real pain.

Please understand, this isn’t the beginning of some campaign; I won’t be talking about this on Twitter or Facebook or starting an online petition. I’m just one woman saying, “There’s no way in hell I’d meet a stranger who is comfortable calling himself a pimp.” I’m just one woman who can’t hand her cash over to an enterprise that makes light of trafficking, even unintentionally. And just maybe I’m not the only one.

Best regards,


She’s right. Unequivocally correct. There is corner of my inner asshole that almost always says “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke” on so many topics, but on this one the inner asshole has to go sit in the corner and await is next chance to play.

So, I polled the collected volunteers as to what how they would like to be referred to. The consensus answer is “BBotE Ambassador”, though many fine suggestions that appeal to a love for alliteration and deeply corrupt vulgate Latin were expressed. Each individual BBotE Ambassador may have a particular appellation that they prefer, i.e. Coffee Consul of Chicago/Cook County (please pity his wife for dealing with his alliterative soul), but you could always call them the thing you and they have in common: “Fellow addict”.

Aren’t we all?

Thank you for taking the time to drop a line, Angélique.

An Antarctic Recipe: Enhanced Sangria

In the interest of sharing important slices of life from my time as Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station’s bartender, I give you the recipe for “Enhanced” Sangria, AKA Mechanics’ Juice.

  1. Accidentally freeze an entire airdrop pallet of wine so that you have enough broken bottles that need to be consumed NOW so that this recipe’s portions make sense.
  2. Procure a reasonably clean 5 gallon bucket*. At the very least, a bucket free of detritus. Add the booze in the right order and you don’t have to worry much about disinfecting things.
  3. Add one 750ml bottle, each, of the following boozes: gin, light rum, tequila, triple sec, vodka.
  4. Add three bags of frozen fruit and several sliced oranges. Fresh fruit won’t last forever and you might as well use it here instead of throwing it out.
  5. Fill the remainder of bucket with red wine. Try to strain out the broken glass, chunks of cork, and label before dropping them in.
  6. Let sit for roughly 24 hours. DO NOT PUT THE BUCKET OUTSIDE IN THE SUBZERO TEMPS. Freezing things is why you’re making this in the first place.
  7. Hide the sharp implements and serve to the unsuspecting by the pitcher.

NOTE: A single person should not consume an entire pitcher of this.

Of course, that happened. This is the reason that there is a brilliant scarlet stain on the wall of one of the bedrooms in the Elevated Station. Someone had “an incident” and that stain is FOREVER I tell you. We’d only taken occupancy of the new station about a week beforehand, so this was the first ding in the fender if you will.

I take some solace it wasn’t me, but I did make the sangria that caused it. Sorry about that, US Antarctic Program.

* This recipe can be easily scaled up to for 55gal Rubbermaid wheelie trashcan. I know this because we had more frozen wine left over and repeated the experiment on a more epic scale.

Peruvian Salkanty and the State of the BBotE Address

In my continuing efforts to find new and interesting things, I decided to head a little further in South America to try a new distinctive dark roast. Brazil has generally been a bit of a let down for roast consistency but I hadn’t had a lot of opportunity to play with the coffees of Peru. Considering that the country is on par with Sumatra for straight up stratovolcanism, though not quite the same geology and geochemistry, I figured it was worth a try.

The Peruvian Salkanty, or Salkantay depending on your preferred spelling (NOTE: it is not “Salty Carny” as Test Subject Broken Tongue called it), is a dark roasted high altitude coffee that surprisingly kept that bright citrus flavor as a hot brew. When made into BBotE, that changed entirely. The citrus changed to pepper. I am not quite used to a strong black pepper warmth in my coffee, not that it was bad just surprising, but Test Subject General Antagonist claims it reminded him of the pepper notes he gets from the chicory in Nawlins coffee. There was also a vote for “cakey brownie”. Test Subject NO experienced an almost minute delayed aftertaste of more pepper that rather surprised him. The rest off us felt it was a rather long palate, but no second spike like he had. Vodka addition, muted the peppery burn a bit, blending it more with the brownie flavor. Chipotle brownies?

Sadly, Test Subject Broken Tongue had no special input beyond, “This doesn’t taste like any carnies I’ve ever licked.” I recommended he go find a Peruvian circus for proper comparison.

So, I think it makes the cut to be worth sharing as a short run. If it strikes a chord with people, it’ll stay until it the roaster runs out.

In other news, there is likely to be a bit of a hiatus on Mundo Nuvo as the roaster that makes it happen at Caffe Vita is currently on walkabout in Ethiopia hunting up new and interesting small farm sourcing. I have high hopes he’ll be returning with delicious treats in addition to making more of my heart’s delight, Guatemala Mundo Nuvo. When the current inventory is gone, it’ll probably be out of stock for a month or two.

The nice folks at Death Wish have expanded their roasting capacity so there is near to no reason that I should ever run out of stock again for you eXXXtreme caffeine sports afficianados. The Rwanda Abakundakawa supplies remain strong for the foreseeable future.

The Colombia Paez that I’m fond of remains, sadly, intermittent despite my encouragement of the roaster. I try to lay in supplies when I can. Don’t be surprised when that goes out of stock for short stretches.

And, of course, the hunt for new things, and the return of some old favorites, goes on. Don’t think for a minute I’ve stopped haranguing my old supplier of Panama to get that back. The standards (Ethiopia, Kenya, Kona, Malabar, Sumatra) remain standards and are in no danger of going away.

Lastly, in response to a request from Test Subjects Kristobek & Thornber, there is a smaller sized 350ml “Rugged FMJ” Stein of Science more appropriate to coffee or Trappist ale consumption than the full imperial pint, yet up to their clumsy antics. I made two of the textured style a while back (as that’s what the luck of the draw gave me) but these are nice smooth metal shields. They’re going to remain a part of the regular line up I think.