Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Coffee's dirty little secret.

I guess coffee has a FEW dirty little secrets. Fair trade issues, the unforgivable description of "expresso" at several coffee shops, the false advertisement of "coffee" when they really just mean instant coffee with a Haros-steamed milk substance floated on top, and more recently coffee pods.

Nespresso have the market on coffee pods, courtesy of spunky George, with his silvery-fox hair and dreamy eyes.

But it's a dirty, dirty thing. You see, those pods that assist your pod machine to pour out the most glorious smelling coffee, are NOT easily recyclable, reusable or compostable. Sure, Nespresso offer a recycling service. All you need to do is peel the foil off your pod, dispose of the coffee grounds inside, wash the pods and take them to your nearest garden centre that supports Nespresso recycling. No biggie, it's only 40km away.

How did I wind up in this world of coffee pods? My beautiful BEAUTIFUL Nemox Cafe Fenice machine exited this world in a somewhat lacklustre blaze of glory. A few weeks ago we had a storm and my house circuit shorted. I looked around outside, called my power company and wanted a fix time. They asked if I could check my circuit board... and sure enough it was tripped. We narrowed it down to my kitchen.

Uh oh.

I called my electrician bro-in-law who suggested taking Nemox to a different room and checking again. Sure enough, it shorted out the house twice more. Upon investigation, poor Nemox wasn't financially viable to fix. Enter my limited funds and an almost-brand-new Nespresso machine on a buy/swap/sell site.

Back to the dirty coffee...

I've been testing a multitude of coffee pods in order to find a solution that would work for me. Mr S and I roughly costed out pods vs ground coffee to find out if it were more worthwhile for the outlay of buying a pod machine than a ground coffee machine. It is. Buuuut whilst Nespresso pods taste delicious, I cannot come at the waste.

Big Red in action. 
My lovely lovely neighbours threw a few Nespresso pods way to try when I first purchased my machine. LORDY ME. THE TASTE. SO GOOD.


My BFF gave me some of her pods to try too, the Piazza D'oro L'Or brand that you can buy at the supermarket. Not as much of a fan, and also the waste factor.

I did a bit more research and found Tripod Coffee. I asked, and they kindly sent me a discount code to try some of their pods. Whilst delicious, Mr S and I traditionally like our coffee strong and it has taken a few weeks of trial and error to come to a simple solution... less milk. These pods are household recycling bin-able, once you peel the foil off, dispose of the coffee and rinse them out. Not as time consuming as you might imagine, but still slightly tedious.

I've currently using EcoCaffe's Ethical Coffee Company pods, and I made a phone call to ascertain some of the finer points about their pods. They are fully biodegradable in a compost heap/landfill in 180 days and this seems evident to me by the way the coffee pods come out of the machine, slightly soggy and ready for composting. Again, it's been trial and error to make a coffee taste the way I like it, but we've gotten there with Ethical pods. Less milk. I have found that the pods aren't as strong as I would usually make my ground espresso coffees, but I do also presume that over time we've started having our coffee stronger and stronger. We have toddlers, people.

I ponied up this week and have a larger selection of Ethical Coffee Company pods coming to try. Including shipping, 50 pods is coming to around 84 cents per pod. It's roughly the same as Nespresso pods and Tripod Coffee pods. It's slightly more than around 60 cents for supermarket L'Or pods. It's also perhaps slightly more expensive than ground coffee, but for the taste and environmental factor I'm willing to go the distance.

The one thing I haven't tried yet is the refillable pods.

Crema Joe popped up in my Instagram feed after I followed Tripod Coffee. Crema Joe have refillable stainless steel pods. I'm keen to try, but I'm also baulking at the cost - $50 for two pods with the stickers required to make them work. It's a double edged sword - if they work, that's an awesome price for a potential lifetime of pod supplies. If they are rubbish - that's a lot of money to waste for some pretty stainless steel thimbles. However they have competitions weekly to win, so I will throw my hat in the ring and cross my fingers.

Pssst! Crema Joe! You are quite hard to find on Google. A check for 'Stainless steel refillable pods' did not yield your page at all. I had to search through my Instagram to find your page name.

Things that are worth mentioning:

  • Tripod Coffee is roasted and packed in Australia.
  • Ethical Coffee Company is roasted and packed in France, I think. I don't have a packaging box right now, and I can't easily find the info online. I will update this once I hear back from EcoCaffe.

Usually I'd pick Australian roasted and packed over anything else, however the fact that the Ethical Coffee Company pods are biodegradable makes me for now, choose to use the Ethical Coffee Company pods.

I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about coffee pods and coffee in general, but given the time of the day and my predisposition to insomnia... I'll have a decaf, thanks.

Do you pod? Which pods do you use? What do you recommend? TELL ME EVERYTHING.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

In defence of home.

Home. It's a word that brings a warm glow to my heart, visions of smiling family members, a warm wood stove, and more recently, the THUMP THUMP of toddler feet running around.
MY home isn't where we use harsh words or call names. Home is where we rest our hats and share our news.
Today my heart isn't glowing warmly with visions of my home. I'm mad like a Mama Bear whose kid got pushed at daycare. I've just read an interview with Leo Schofield in the Sydney Morning Herald and I want to make a few things perfectly clear to Mr Schofield.

On behalf of our narrow-minded Liberal government, I'm sorry that the Baroque Festival funding went the way of SO much arts funding. It's unfortunate that it happened and I completely understand your reasoning for taking the festival elsewhere.
"Tasmania's such a beautiful place," he says. "It's blessed as no other area in this country is blessed, and yet they can't wait to dig it up, chop it down, sell it to the Chinese..."
I agree with this loosely as a whole. The landscape in Tasmania is like nothing I've ever seen. The wildlife is stunning and again, it's unfortunate that since the mid-20th Century there's been a push to make the land work for man, not man work for the land. I've sat in forest in the Florentine Valley one year, only to return the next to find the trees missing and a massive logging road in it's place. Plantation forestry has a place - after all, where does your toilet paper, newsprint etc come from? But old growth? There's no reason for that.

Again, unfortunately Mr Schofield goes on in the same sentence to say "All the young people leave, and the only ones left are the dregs, the bogans, the third-generation morons."


In one sentence Leo Schofield has derailed any respect I had for his forward thinking ideas. In one sentence he has clearly revealed himself as those who he is attempting to defame.

I am a young person. I guess. 32? I'd still call myself young. I was not born here. I moved here by choice ten years ago. Five years ago I chose to buy a house and make a home in a very special part of Tasmania. I have a Masked Owl living in the trees behind the house, a mating pair of Wedge Tailed Eagles in the bush behind our block, tens of varieties of amazing birds, quolls, bandicoots, possums, wallabies, pademelons, and more rats and mice than we can catch. 

I'm quite disappointed that Schofield had, in his view, a soured experience of living in Tasmania and sees fit to use his cultural standing to speak ill of a very special place in generalised terms, instead of recognising and stating that this was HIS experience.

Mr Schofield, I'm sorry that you experienced such a hard time that you experienced mental health issues. I only hope that you've received the necessary and available help. I also wish you well with your future projects. I also hope that in time you can recognise and perhaps remedy your public views with those that Tasmania is a beautiful place, filled with kind and gentle people who do care about their home.

Sunrise, Narawntapu National Park, 31/3/15.
(c) Andrew Smyth Photography


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