Ethiopian from StarBucks

Starbucks Rift Valley Ethiopian


Hey Coffee fans. After a few years hiatus, Starbucks is once again selling coffee. They rolled out their Ethiopian from the Rift Valley earlier this month. It is a blend of Sidama and Yirgo beans. It is roasted a bit on the dark side (I know; we’re all shocked that Starbucks would do such a thing)

It has nice spicy and peppery tones with flowery blueberry showing up as an aftertaste as the cup cooled. Perhaps if they did not roast it so aggressively it might have better berry/flowery notes. While I am sure that a better Ethiopian can be had, still I think we should reward Starbucks return to selling coffee by buying a pound. They fully plan to make this one of their regular offerings.

Starbucks® is a trademark of Starbucks Corporation

Seattle CoffeeFest


Thousands of wild-eyed, glazed-eyed humans mill about the Convention Center in Seattle mumbling words about body, mouth feel, and smoky. One hesitates to meet this crazed visage until one realizes that the same expression wears itself upon one’s own face.

This is CoffeeFest


Where else can you taste a wondrous Peruvian coffee and then meet the owner of the farm from which it came? Nor will you find it odd to hear oracles opining over obvious olfactory opulence.

I will review the Coffee separately. The new products that caught my eye were: Coffee Soda (made with cane sugar, not HFCS), and herbal tea that tastes like soup.

The  Coffee Soda is from Fizz Coffee. It tasted good: not too sweet, the carbonation contributed to the sparkle.

Check out

As for the herbal tea that tastes like very good bouillon soup, it is from Millies Savory Teas: Comfort Food in a Broth. The Teas are all Vegan, but they taste like a well crafted unvegan broth. I had the “Smoky Facon” and the “Indian Spice”. The Smoky Facon is an attempt to go for a pork broth taste. To me it tasted like a very well done beef broth. I could not convince my tongue that this was vegan. The Indian Spice tasted like a curry broth. It was complex and very delicious. They also have Tomato Basil, Thai Lemongrass, and Spicy Tortilla. For those of us in the Seattle area, Millies Savour Teas (OneFarStar, LLC) is local. Their website is

CoffeeFest is a trademark of Coffee Fest. Their website is


Coffee flavoured alliterations

Has accomplished the primordial infusion of pulverized roasted seeds of the coffee cherry and is, at least in theory, semi-caffeinated

An Almanac of Alliterative Ambiguous Aromatic Arabica

Blathering blankly bravely, blythely brewing brightly brown beverage –  BishopBlend™.

Creatively casting catatonic cerebral cortex —  civilly celebrating Coffee.

Deliriously displaying dirhinous deviance, dreamingly drinking delicious dripped draught of Djimah coffee.

Effervescent eliciting egalitarian elixor —  Ethiopian (Harrar).

C O F F E E . . stat .. ere I elucidate elegiacally over effulgent effort egregiously.

Fastidiously foisting fabulous favourite famously fragrant finery flagrantly down pharynx.

Glazed groggily gazing, the gastronomic gourmet guru gently ingesting glorious Guatamalan.

Hovering humbly having hot hoddle of hospitable Harrar.

Irenic intriguing intimate infusion of Indonesian blend imbues inspired irony.

Jeweled jug of Java juxtaposed joyously jeopardizes jittery jive jibberish.

Kicking about kitchen, Krunching Kenya AA, knocking Kalossi Kaveh into Krups.

Limaceously lugging unlucidly lugubriously lumbering to Lofty Liquid …. COFFEE.

Mountain made mellow majestic memorable magical Mandheling mojo. Mazeltov !

Nursing natural noetic nifty nectar: Nicaragua. Non-nervously nailing nebulous noggin nicely.

Olfactory opulence opens obliquely over our obvious oracle.

Papua New Guinea is placed peacefully preground plenteously presentiencing preimminent pulverization.

Be merciful subdeacon, for I am precaffeinated. Pompous pontification unperturbedly posits purely past my perceptual filters. Abbreviations don’t make it.

Prescentients probable pulverization of processed Coffee seed and precaffeinated passing peacefully.

No one really wishes me to posit posts of prose prior to partaking a pint of perfectly prepared coffee.

I position prose petulantly with painful pugilistic prerogatives in pompous parade prior to putting pulverized particles to prepare primordial potion.

Quixotically querying quintessential quality to quaff a quantity of Qavah.

Riveting relaxing rambunctious rabble-rousing ridiculous running rift Resisting Romantic rhapsody —  rejuvenating rune —  rapturous rare regionally roasted Rwandan.

Sipping second celestial cistern of serene salutary sweetness.

Takes time to toast two tasse of tasteful Timen.

Time to terminate torpid attempt to interact with reality without coffee.

Urging ultrainfusing unhurriedly unxerophagously upon unique urn —  a usually unubiquitous unction of Uraquay.

Vigorous verbosity visualizing venerable vapor, a violet vat of Venezuela, a vivid versatile vibrant vintage.

What? writing winsome witticism while waiting wicking wonderful washed winey West-African.

Xenoglossically xertzes a xenizoning xestis of xerophitetaxied xanthine — xenophilic exuberance ensues.
Understand that the dearth of decent X rated verbiage requires license in linguistic lineage … xenoglossically (strange verbiage, as in precaffeinated) xertzes (gulps) a xenizening (suprising) xestis (pint) of xerophitetaxied (transported by a desert dweller) xanthine (Caffeine componant) — xenophilic (hospitable) exuberance.

Yesterday yonder youth yanked a yoke yielding young yerba —   yes, YborCity Yirgacheffe.

Are these zombifically zooming zonked non-zigzaggers zipping to Zenith? or zestfully zinging their zither, or zug-zuging zealously a zillion Zanzibar peaberries?

© 2009 Steven Clark

Non- Coffee flavoured Alliterations

Anyone’s assistance ameliorating attempt at alliaceous alliteration.

Angry arrogant aristocrats arrange arduous adjudication, axing american ashes.

Apophatic arguer asks angry assembly artful  alternative.

Bellicose brutish bronchial bacillus

Bellicose bullies barge brusquely beyond boundaries of belief.

Crisp creative and compassionate Cross of Christ calls corporate congregation to compunction.

Curt clowns clumsily cloud clarity.

If one must deign to demonstrate a demented diction, DIAMENTIFEROUS to describe the wondrous writings of St. Isaac of Syria is a worthy wordsmithing.

Dense dumb demons drag darkly, drudgingly disposing dignity.

Errant eradicators eliminate education; erudition exits.

Elegiacally eliciting eleison, ever embracing Elohim.

Feudal fascination forgetfully foists Fascism.

Garish greedy goons gore gentle groups gesture.

Horrid harangue, hostile harping hoisted hitherto, hurting humans.

Hell hath hemmed the habit.

Harangue had by hitting history.

Ignorance idiotically implies impious illegalities, impeding illumination.

Insightful insider inquisits illogical illegality.

Jingoistically juxtaposed junk jeopardizes just jobs.

Keynote keeper kneels to knavish khan’s kamikaze karma.

Loitering luxuriously lamenting less luminous lexicography.

My mind meanders morosely mitigated momentarily unamused that some moronic maven meditates to emasculate majestic masterful manifestations of meaning.

Multisyllabic musings mediate menacing malediction.

Whereas many may meet my meandering musing, murkily making meaning, few fellows fascinate frequently for fallible phrenic foibles following piña colada.

Nocturnal nattering nixes next noetic need, never nicking nervous noise.

Opining opulent oligarch operative, obviously obtuse.

Plosive prose presents pregnant possibilities.

Passions pollute perception.

Peradventure pugilistic parties have previously pumulted your psyche with punitive prerogatives . . . panic is predictable.

Positing petty passion-filled poisoned pieces of pyrotechnical puffery.

Painful precaffeined prose poses particularly pointed perturbance presently.

Pedantic placing of prose in pompous parade prerequisites not putting pulverized particles to prepare primordial potion.

Precocious piffle presented pompously preempts purposeful phlegmatic practical prose.

Political punditry phobically posits putrid pestilence on the people prostituting posterity’s prosperity.

Quickly quenched a quite quarrelsome quip, a quaint quasi-quirky quotation.

Recently rigourously reinforced requirement for raucous refined refreshment.

Recall ridiculous recalcitrant radical renegades. Reinstate representative rule.

Some cerebral synapses shooting sparks of semi-caffeinated syllogisms.

Surreptitiously salivates shamelessly at the sumptuous serendipitous silliness.

Someone stop semi-sentient savagery soon.

Sniggering self-righteous sacrilegious psuedo-spirituality shamelessly shafting shallow sentiment;  shattering sweet soul.

Seditious shallow, sloppy sentimental.

Should she seek to sequester all sound save her own, she should seriously select Shostokovich.

Tawdry trollop tweaking tediously technological tripe.

Torturous terminology tactfully tempts tongue teasingly.

Usually utilize unctuous underground undulations.

Vitriolic vexing vicious viral vermin.

Venturing valiantly, void of viaduct, a very voluptuous volume of vehicles voluntarily values a variety of venues and avenues.

Venting verbal vivisection of vital verity.

Waxing wryly, wondering wickedly whether wit will win.

Yoking yond’ yammering youth to yesterday yeens yodeling Yiddish, yet yearning for yogurt.

Zombies zigzag zealously zeroing-in on zooming zambonis.

© 2013 – 2014 Steven Clark

On the Suicide of a Notorious Criminal

Shall I desire at all the death of the sinner? saith the Lord, but rather I desire that he should turn from his evil way and live. (Ezekiel 18:23) As I live, I desire not the death of the ungodly, but that the ungodly should turn from his way and live. Turn ye with turning from your way; why will you die? (Ezekiel 33:11)

Ariel Castro committed suicide yesterday. There are outpourings of joy that the world is rid of this truly warped man. There are also cries of anger. Much of that anger is justified. For a man created in God’s Image, Mr. Castro did decidedly wicked and twisted things with that Image, warping it almost beyond recognition with no “Likeness” of the God in Whose Image he was created. I understand the anger. I cannot take joy in this man’s departure at his own hand. He died as he lived, trying to control everything for his convenience, without consideration for others. Yet in death, his horrible twistedness cannot be healed. Therefore I cannot rejoice. A man has chosen to die as he lived, in destructiveness. He has chosen this over healing. It is a horrible thing, not something to be delighted in. Our lack of mercy towards even the most twisted among us creates a wound in us that also needs healing. God can heal; it is not upon any of us to rejoice in one who has taken himself away from healing. Such a desire is against God and wounds our soul.

May the Lord grant me time for repentance and healing.

Review of Capella Romana – Divine Liturgy of Rachmaninov

Review Capella Romana performance of Rakhmaninov Divine Liturgy

Saturday Jan 12 2013 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in West Seattle


The Church is very soprano friendly and the Sopranos over sang the hall on “Priiditye Poklonimsya (Come let us worship)”.

The announced roster of singers was light one bass and one basso profundo according to Pavel Chesnokov’s “The Choir and how to direct it” (page 13. the administrator of Capella Romana was informed of this lightness in casting the bass part back last year when they did the All-Night-Vigil). In spite of being additionally down 3 members due to the flu that is going around afflicting us all, the Chamber Choir more than filled the venue with the sound of their voices.

The tempi that Alexander Lingas chose showed a sensitivity to how the pieces functioned inside the Liturgy. What was remarkable in the year since the Capella Romano brought us the All-Night Vigil, as they sang the Divine Liturgy attention was given to the accented parts of the words. This made it sound much more authentic as if they were all native to singing Slavonic.

The long crescendi in places such as Priiditye Poklonimsya (going from pp to ff over 6 measures), “Otche Nash (Lord’s Prayer),” were very well executed. The Capella Romana did the split choir versions of “Vo Tsarstviye Tvoye (Beatitudes).”

The Troparion of Theophany needed more work on the pronunciation of the text. But to be fair, this is a tongue twister even for native Russian speakers.

The pitch was good for the first half suffering only in the Augmented Litany.

Coming back from intermission, the choir was beginning to sound fatigued. The pitch sagged on the Symbol of Faith leaving the low Bassos a very difficult final note. It was written as a low Bb, but by the time it came to be sung it was well below that.

The magic moment was “Yedin Svyat’ (One is Holy)” as the Chalice and Diskos are elevated. If there is a time to have a magic moment, that is most assuredly the time to have it.

Except for a few mispronunciations of the Deacon and Priest’s part (Priest’s parts were sung by Dr. Lingas due to sickness of John Boyer, and he had little time to prepare), this performance was the best I’ve heard from a non-Russian Choir. I do hope the Capella Romana plans to record it once they are all healthy.

We admitted that we were powerless over God, and that our lives had become unmanageble

We admitted that we were powerless over God and that our lives had become unmanageable 

In our western culture of faith we really don’t trust God. It is not because that is how we want it to be; it is how the heritage has developed. We want to be assured; we want to have the right facts; we want to be certain — all the things that are incompatible with Faith in God Who IS mystery.

In our desire to have the right facts we shift our being with God from relationship, to aspects about God. We make lengthy and impassioned forays into categories and aspects  and characteristics of God, and think we do Him justice.

In the story of the Garden of Eden, what changed for man in sinning was intimacy with God. We now had to contend with the noisy mind that could no longer simply relate to God. We exchanged intimacy with experiencing good and evil. And this tendency to take our experiencing as an exchange for encountering God has influenced how we do theology.

We treat God as if He were a formula that we must fulfill (like an incantation), or as a being that can be legally obligated to do what we want. We treat the Eternal God like our errand boy, like an object to be used — a holy vending machine.

We treat the Eternal Almighty God as if He were our local Ba-al on steroids. We assume He is on our side but make no effort to make sure we are on His side. This even shows up in how we try to string our way of doing theology into how we do politics. We want God to bless us and stick it to our enemies. Today we have people who think that if they can change the politics to fit their theories about god that we can force God’s hand, so that God will HAVE to come and establish His Kingdom. This is both a misunderstanding the nature of the Kingdom, and a repeating the sin of Judas, betraying our faith in order to see an outcome that we have come to mistake for faith.

How we relate to God shows up in how we pray. Prayer is more than saying whatever thoughts that we have that we want God to magically bless. Prayer is more than saying the right number and kind of prayers at the right time. Prayer is intimacy with God. How we pray shows the state of our relationship. How we pray often reveals how we treat God. Sometimes in prayer we often degenerate into telling God how to be God. We expect God to be available to us even if we have spent the last several hours running away from Him. We don’t spend time re-entering the relationship with Him. We want God to “be a good god and answer my prayer the way I want it and I’ll see you on Sunday if the weather isn’t too good” We treat God worse than our pets.

We need to stop trying to control God and worship Him instead. God greatly desires to save us. But as long as we are committed to doing it OUR WAY, we don’t give Him much of a chance. As CS Lewis pointed out, we must come to the point where we can say, truly with our heart: “Thy will be done!”, lest we hear God sadly tell us: “thy will be done.”

We need to recover the priesthood of the believer, NOT as an excuse to do it MY WAY, but as an offering of our lives to God as our spiritual sacrifice. This is prayer: to bring ourselves into His presence and offer our world to Him.

I keep using WE, in this essay because “I” cannot do it by myself. I need the grace of God, and the prayerful support and direction of the Church. I cannot do it in isolation; I need my fellow Christians. WE do it together.

We must admit that we are powerless over God, and meet God as He has chosen to be met, through His incarnation in the flesh, through communion, and through prayer.

Coffee Grinders

Grinding Coffee

You can usually grind coffee where you buy it. However, it will stay fresher in whole bean form. It is best to grind the coffee right before you brew it.

If you have a blade grinder it’s best to shake the grinder while grinding, and tilt it. The idea here is to get as close to a uniform grind as possible. This is possible to approximate but impossible to actually pull off since blade grinders slice the beans and inevitably will leave you with grounds that are inconsistent, mixed with coarse and fine.

The better grinder is a burr grinder. This allows for a more consistent grind. But how fine should you grind? You will want a slightly coarse medium grind for french press, a medium fine for pouring fresh drip, a fine for auto drip (if you use a filter) and very fine for espresso.

The best way to find if you are getting a proper extraction is to weigh the coffee before, then afterwards dry out the grounds and weigh them again. In a proper extraction, the grounds should weigh 19% less. If its weight loss is more than 19% then it was over extracted and needs a coarser grind; if its weight loss is less than 19% then it was under extracted and needs a finer grind. If you use 2.5 oz of coffee per pot, (.156 pound) then after brewing and drying  the grounds they should weigh 2.025 oz (.126 pound), any more and the coffee is over extracted and your grind is too fine, any less and your coffee under extracted and your grind is too coarse. The same can be done for espresso. A Standard Coffee measure is about .33 oz (.02 pound) after drying it should be .27 oz (.016 pound)

If you don’t have a scale that is that accurate you can time your espresso shot. If it takes less than 20 seconds it is likely under extracted and too coarse. If it is over 30 seconds it is over extracted and too fine.

CoffeegringerBraunBraun 4540 CoffeegrinderCuisinart Cuisinart DBM-8

My experience with grinders has been that the Cuisinart is good for auto-drip but not able to grind fine enough for espresso and turkish/greek coffee. Braun has a burr grinder (model 4045) that can grind fine enough for espresso.

I will add grinders to this list as I test them.

Ethiopian Gedeo Worka Yirgacheffe

Ethiopian Gedeo Worka Yirgacheffe dry processed from Klatch Coffee

Most Yirgacheffe I have drunk have been washed and roasted medium dark; I was eager to taste one that was dry processed and not aggressively roasted.

light sparkle (tropical fruit – like with sweetness almost pineapple ) with blueberry tones (not just winey, not just berry – BLUEBERRY)

It had blueberry aroma being ground. It has a pleasant acidy sharpness on the back of the tongue reminiscent of blueberry juice. There are subtle tones too, of peppery wood, with after-tones of a good Madagascar chocolate, but these are almost shouted down by the overwhelming blueberry. The body is like a good port wine.

Sugar and half & half serve to make the Blueberry even stronger

This is like a very good blueberry wine that should be drunk at leisure with a good friend and long conversations. This would be an excellent evening coffee

Cultural Wars

There are some in the Orthodox Church who seem to want to make Orthodoxy a player in the current cultural wars. The voices come at us from multiple sides. Some want us to throw away the clear historical teachings against abortion. Some want us to give our blessing to homosexuality. Some want us to battle against both of these and throw ourselves in with a group of people who have as their stated agenda to bring OT law as a sort of sheria in our land, while ignoring the problems of poverty, hunger, sickness, and soul killing greed.

We cannot change the Faith to adapt to our culture. Reacting against our culture runs the risk of getting us away from our Faith’s agenda, which is the Kingdom of God. (And there are many who would wish to co-op the Kingdom of God to one side or another of our cultural wars). We cannot say that homosexuality, nor abortion, nor greed, nor indifference to the afflicted are ok. To adopt the strategies of this world to address them will distort the Faith. We must go with what we received from the beginning and cooperate with God towards our own Theosis. Perhaps we have quoted St. Seraphim too often to hear what he is saying to us: “Acquire a spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”

Woe to the Christian Church when it will have been victorious in this world, for then it is not the Church which has been victorious but the world. – Søren Kierkegaard

New Coffee Pot

When to get a new auto – drip pot.


I recently retired my Braun Aromatic after 8 years of service. I was hoping to find another Braun, but they seem to have gotten scarce.

What made it necessary to replace (beyond the normal wear and tear of 8 years of coffee) is that it was no longer extracting properly. The nozzle no longer got all the ground wet. This resulted in part of the ground not being extracted (infused) at all, and the remainder being over extracted. This resulted in a thin textured coffee brew that sometimes was more bitter than it needed to be.

I have replaced it with a Krups KM4065. This comes with it’s own water filter. The area I live in needs its water filtered. Downside of the filter is that it has to be replaced every 3 to 4 months. Upside of it is that it makes central and south american coffees sparkle and brings forward some of the characteristics of lighter roast coffees that sometimes get lost. An additional feature is that it can be set to automatically shut off so that the coffee doesn’t cook on the burner (I usually shut off after my second cup). It has the programable clock which I don’t recommend using since it requires your coffee to be ground ahead of time and then sit for hours getting stale. An additional design flaw is that the basket is too close to the water reservoir. It is easy to get grounds in it.

I look forward to a good 8 years of service.