The Southland Coffee post

Some time ago, I spotted a post on Instagram inviting me to get in touch with new coffee start up called Southland Coffee and give them a go.

Now, I’m no coffee snob. My love affair with coffee may be strong (and black), but it is also completely under control. I am not one who needs to go to that latest place or try that new blend or bean.
No drama here: I can comfortably survive through a day without coffee (although I rarely prove it).

But I like drinking coffee and – like everybody else – I enjoy doing things I like. It’s almost like that’s how the word “enjoy” came about.

So, long story short, I got in touch and I received a box of individually wrapped coffee sachets. Here’s one now:

Tear the top off the sachets and you get something that is akin to a teabag with some stiff card templates attached on either side: a design apparently imported from Japan. Tear off the top of the “teabag” and fold out these templates and suddenly, you have a cup-top coffee filter. Thus:

Sorry about the mug. I couldn’t find one with Theresa May cuddling an Alsatian.

Add some hot water from your flask (if you’re out and about on the beach or the mountain) or your kettle (if you’re in your kitchen) and you have fresh, delicious filter coffee in just a couple of minutes.

It’s not rocket surgery. And you – like me – will be surprised at just how sturdy that filter clip thing is, despite its unobtrusive design.

Pretty ingenious stuff.

I asked for a bit more information from Jeremy – the man behind the brand, and got this:

My wife popped over to Japan last year and brought some of these hanging-ear coffee filters back for me because I have a love-love relationship with coffee.
The are apparently huge in Japan.
We source coffee from a few roasters around Cape Town, grind and pack ourselves and that’s pretty much it.
We are trialing it at R120 for a pack of 10 and so far they are flying out the back of my Hilux.

Other features: Recyclable packaging, free delivery to Cape Town addresses (on Thursdays “so you have it for the weekend”), shelf life of 12 months in an unopened sachet, and yes: because they pack it themselves, you can ask them to stick your favourite coffee in there for you – but you will need to order a minimum of two packs. Reasonable.

The website you need is here.

And, let’s be clear here, while Southland did send me some coffee to try, they also made that offer to anyone else who saw that Instagram post. They didn’t ask me to blog about it and no money has changed hands here. This is an honest review of a cool product.

If it wasn’t very good, I’d tell you so, but this is simple, decent coffee, innovatively packaged and I’m going to see if my Dad has read this far by ordering him some for Christmas.

Yours in coffee,
6k. x

Poor Chalkboard

Here’s an image of the A-frame chalkboard outside a popular ice cream parlour in Claremont, Cape Town.

Ja. As you may have guessed, I have a few issues with it.

Let’s break it down into two handy statements, shall we?

Coffee as warm as a firefly’s nose.

Firefly is the common name for the Lampyridae family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They’re called fireflies (or lightning bugs) because they use bioluminescence to attract mates at twilight:

The enzyme luciferase acts on the luciferin, in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP and oxygen to produce light.

All of which is biologically amazing, visually incredible and weirdly somehow rather romantic. But the reaction doesn’t yield any significant heat, and it certainly doesn’t happen in their noses (they don’t even have noses).

Fireflies produce a “cold light”, with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red.

Not “warm” then. And certainly not hot (71ºC – 85ºC), which is the temperature I generally like my coffee to be.


And then that second statement:

Ice cream as cold as a polar bear’s toes.

I have some bad news for patrons of this particular ice cream parlour. Ice cream is best served at around -12ºC, while polar bears’ toes (such as they even exist) are maintained at a decent 37ºC, just like the rest of their body.

Polar bears are mammals, brilliantly adapted to their habitat in the Arctic. They have blubber and thick, air-filled fur, which allows them to survive in the sub-zero temperatures in the polar region. Their paws are no exception to this. If they were not kept at 37ºC, the polar bear would get frostbite, which without prompt surgical and antibiotic treatment, would likely develop into gangrene and septicaemia, and inevitable death.

There’s also an additional problem. Polar bears’ toes are smelly. They stink. This is due to prominent sweat glands on their paws, and the fact that that the bears use their feet to tread urine into the ground and ice. It’s simple scent communication, but it’s really not something that I want my ice cream to be associated with.

So. Nice rhyme, but wholly inaccurate. Very poor.
Let’s sort that it for them:

Coffee as warm as the current ambient conditions at The Creamery.
Ice cream served at body temperature, with a slight smell of sweat and wee.

That kinda works, and I bet that brings the customers flocking in.

Thank me later.

Astronaut problems

I have no idea of the veracity of this*, but I think it’s great anyway.
Gravity wins again:


Hadfield returned to earth this week after 146 days in space on board the ISS. And while there were other astronauts up there with him, he was the one who kept us updated with the goings on aboard the vessel and gave us brilliant pictures like this.

* actually, now I do. Real tweet, but not the real man. 🙁

Ricoffy Drama

Drama! As spotted at a local Spar.

Obviously, I was only passing by the Ricoffy section on my way to the real coffee section.
For those of you who are unaware of what the product entails, it’s basically granulated ditchwater.
It’s bloody awful.

And now they can’t make it anymore, though quite what the “erratic supply of coffee” has to do with this is beyond me. I never realised that coffee was involved in the manufacture of Ricoffy.

But then I looked again. And I read more carefully. And they’re only halting the manufacture of the 500g products.
How bizarre.

Will this really affect the average Ricoffy consumer? Did it really warrant a SORRY with two exclamation marks?
Surely one could always share a couple of 750g tins with two other people? Or if you’re more independently minded, just double up on 250g jars.
Apparently, Ricoffy 100g will be produced in very limited quantities – namely 100g – so five of them would work nicely as well.

But the smart choice is still to buy none of any of them.

P.S. “Ricoffy Decaf”? Zero squared…

Breaking news…

From BBC News Online:

People who drank more than seven cups of instant coffee a day were more likely to hallucinate than those who took just one, a study found.

Thanks for that, Durham University. I’d never have guessed.
I’ll put it in my folder labelled “Startling and Important Scientific Research” along with:

Pope “more likely” to be Catholic, and
Bears “more likely” to shit in the woods

Oh – and that paper about disappearing teaspoons from Melbourne.

Why can’t I get a research project like that?