Helvetica Coffee Mug

When it comes to buying more than I could possibly need, coffee mugs rank up there with bags and t-shirts. Helvetica, the ubiquitous typeface, is featured in this large coffee mug from Veer. Perfect for the coffee drinking design geek.

Handpresso: mobile expresso machine

The Handpresso is a beautiful looking device and an interesting concept. There are times, perhaps when staying in most affordable hotel rooms in Asia, when it would be great to be able to have a small cup expresso. The alternative usually is the ubiquitous 3-in-1 coffee packets or if you are lucky generic drip. If you can afford, this looks like a nice bit of luxury for the expresso aficionado to take in your checked in luggage (or camping, cottage, etc.). The Handpresso marries a bicycle pump with an espresso machine. You pump it up to the desired number of bars, put in an espresso pod, add hot water, hit the release, and the water is driven through the ground making expresso. The downside (other than needing to have hot water around) is that you must use a ‘pod’. Though a pod would eliminate much of the cleaning it essentially kills the whole idea. I wouldn’t want to be tied to buying them. Cost is 99,00 € with a carrying case available for a further 20,00 €. Via the kitchen. More pictures after the jump.

Read more

Brugo Coffee Mug

The ubiquitous coffee shop seems to be the most romantic in small business ideas here in Taiwan. In other countries I have travelled, people seem content with a small stand or cart where they whip up cheap coffee on par with the best of Maxwell house. Not here. A common scenario is one of the overworked engineer who finally finds a girlfriend and she convinces him to take a trip abroad. Instead of the common romantic trip to northern Japan they settle on a whirlwind tour of either Italy or the whole of Europe – in a week. Years later, married and bored, the engineer’s company stock matures and he looks for a new business investment. Hours later, built on the expertise from visiting an authentic European cafe, and with a great deal of thought a coffee shop is born. Hence I like to take my own coffee with me when I travel around this industrious island. The perfect container for my coffee is the Brugo.
Insulated coffee mugs are almost as ubiquitous as the overpriced Taiwan coffee shop but with Brugo “you now have the power to immediately enjoy the most vibrant flavors at the perfect temperature. Brugo only cools each sip, keeping the remaining coffee hottest and most aromatic”. It works as advertised.

Portable Compact Chopsticks

One of the many “stories” I have heard time and time again at mealtime tells of how many of the chop sticks included with your take out lunch box are soaked in chemicals to change their colour to white. Or beige as the case may be. I’m not sure if it’s true but here in Asia it’s a reasonable assumption. Perhaps that is why I see many colleagues here carrying around there own portable set of chop sticks. These from REI look like a great pair and will have you looking like a professional in no time. At least until you use them. $24.95 at REI.

Coffee Brewers

Long before I became a bag aficionado I had a love for coffee that led me to spend copious amounts of my limited funds blending expensive beans from the local shop. It helped that I lived in a neighbourhood where every second building had an Italian expresso machine. I lived in the heart of little Italy so the smell of expresso and coffee were everywhere. I never shared my neighbours love of sipping expresso, preferring it as a quick fix to sleepiness, and I have longed preferred a full cup of coffee brewed in a basket. Where I live now I am forced to set aside my love of coffee as the availability of beans is pretty much non-existant. There are coffee shops everywhere of course with their french roast and expensive expresso machines. Café Latté is nice but it isn’t coffee to me – the skill of most “barista’s” here leaves much to be desired as well. I have been relegated to the ranks of instant coffee drinker – of which each cup contains 3 tablespoons. Lately I have seen a few high-end groceries starting to carry some good quality beans so I have started to lust after some products that I can buy to brew the perfect cup and escape visiting the likes of Au Bon Pain. Here are a few of the products I am thinking of …

Read more