As we head into the first days of 2019, speeding along like
a rush-hour Acela train, everyone I know is trying to frame the coming year,
even as they are still processing 2018.
My main goal for the upcoming year is to become thriftier. I try hard,
but I’ve certainly missed the mark more than I’d like to admit. I found lots of inspiration on the internet.
In fact, since the beginning of written history wise people have extolled
thrift as a competitive advantage.
“Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?” ---Cicero
"Cultivate these, then, for they are wholly within your power: sincerity and dignity; industriousness, and sobriety. Avoid grumbling, be frugal, considerate, and frank; be temperate in manner and speech; carry yourself with authority." ---Marcus Aurelius
But even virtues have their limits. For example, although I
love coffee unconditionally, I JUST got a new coffeemaker after 13 years.
That’s a long time that I relied on my Gevalia drip coffeemaker (very reliable---and
Hello Hamilton Beach
It’s been several years that I’ve been wanting a new
coffeemaker, knowing that when it was time, I was going to opt for a mid-range
brand---neither very cheap, nor very expensive---but definitely good quality
and highly functional. So this holiday
season, I strenuously hinted that I would like a nice, new coffeemaker.
My wish came true, and I became the proud new owner of a
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffeemaker, which brews drip coffee on one side,
K-cups on the other—and has a single-cup option independent of the other 2
functions. It’s programmable and widely recognized for the fact that the coffee
stays hot in the carafe for a long time, without making the coffee bitter. It
all comes down to science.
The science of
brewing coffee (for non-scientists)
I prepared myself to say goodbye to my Gevalia---my go-to source
of coffee for many dinner parties, and afternoon playdates; always ready to
brew for girlfriend get-togethers; and the way I started my mornings for more
than 4,290 days of my life. I understood that it was time, and that over time,
the coffee I was brewing was not optimal---it was okay, but could certainly be
I wanted to get more insight, so I spoke to a chemical &
biomedical engineering PhD candidate at Cornell---a true coffee-lover. He
explained that the materials that the coffee flows through during the brewing
process (plastics, metals, etc.) have been engineered to be nonreactive,
meaning the materials that the water flows through do not have a leaching
effect; leaching is a common problem that degrades the quality and purity of
the water and the final brew.
He told me that even coffeemakers that are well-constructed
with advanced polymers can become reactive over time, though more expensive
coffeemakers tend to last longer. And apparently water temperature, and the
ability to optimize it, is really important. So although a really cheap
coffeemaker will basically brew the coffee, within 5 minutes you will have to
microwave every cup you pour. Good coffeemakers have all of these features
built in---and I’m really happy about the FlexBrew’s temperature optimization
capabilities. Sure this is not the most expensive coffee-brewing machine on the
market, but it hits all of my targets.
The best part of having a coffee maker you love is being
able to brew coffee at home that you like as much as coffee you buy at cafes. The goal is thrift---saving by not spending. Granted, I don’t have a cappuccino or latte function, but I live in the land of
many cafes and coffee shops---so no problems there. Most important, however, is
my determination to save more in 2019 than I did in 2018 (the crazy
rollercoaster stock market notwithstanding).
Speaking of coffee, I had some amazing coffee during the holiday break in the Berkshires. Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, MA, serves Currency Coffee---and it's really good. Currency Coffee is based in Dalton, MA, a small mill town, which also happens to be where all of the paper used to make U.S. currency is manufactured.
One of the most interesting things about Currency Coffee is
its branding, which features imagery from American currency pre-dating 1900,
specifically currency from the era of the Industrial Revolution.
Watch my review of Currency Coffee here:
said, Currency Coffee is au courant in terms of its coffee offerings, all of
which are Fair Trade-certified. This company’s distributors are mainly based in
the Berkshires and the surrounding areas, with distributors in Pittsfield
(Guido’s Fresh Marketplace); Williamsburg (Williamsburg Market); Amherst
(Atkins Farms Country Market); and, of course, Wild Oaks Market.
Finally, as we move into the new year, it’s customary to not
only think about our money, but our health, as well. Coffee improves overall
health and increases longevity, according to the bulk of evidence culled from
19,000 studies. Health and wealth---two
excellent goals for 2019. And let’s not
Raise a cup to 2019. Happy New Year!
Watch my review of Currency Coffee here: