The Way of Toast & Snooze-Button Bill

Camp coffee . . . camp toast!  Camp toast is so much fun, I could write an ode to camp toast . . . although I don’t think I could write a more beautiful ode than OK Go’s “Last Leaf” video (below).  This is such a beautiful song and their creative and fanciful and artistic use of toast is nothing short of exquisite.  Please, do watch it.  The melody, like a good cup of Joe, will stay with you throughout the day in a good way.

Camp toast.  It’s like comfort food on the trail and so simple to make.  Add some almond butter and slice some fruit on top of it all, and you have yourself a very hearty breakfast that delivers good hearty nutrition with minimal time expenditure.

When I think of Camp Toast, I think of a buckaroo named Bill.  Bill was a Late Hire on our Whip-It Crew.  Being on a Whip-It Crew involved going into a post-logged slash area and cutting out all of the little saplings and shrubs that were sprouting up, prior to re-planting.  I am sure that there is someone out there who is going to say that there is no such thing as a Whip-It Crew . . . It doesn’t sound very woodsy-technical, I will agree — so I just want provide the caveat that this is what we called our crew for that and subsequent contracts involving the removal of adverse vegetation in a slash area.

Being on the Whip-It Crew was not what I would call Fun.  It played with your mind and the day did not move quickly.  The work involved tripping your way through acres of slash while being whipped about the face and body by lithesome sprouting trees.  In order to get an early start to beat the heat, we had to wake up very early in order to get a cool start on the day.  We would climb into the Crummy each morning to save gas and to afford the non-drivers some extra sleep.  Who knew that we were way ahead of the Rideshare curve?

Much to our ever-heightening annoyance, Bill used to arrive late to the Crummy every morning.  Every single morning.  He’d come roaring into the Meeting Lot, a wide spot on Highway 54, in his ’72 Chevy — spraying an arc of gravel while chewing on the end of wadded up cigar.  I am guessing that Bill’s overall effect was one of eccentricity and I’m sure funny as hell to anyone who didn’t have any alarm-clock association with him.  But funny to us on the crew?  Not so much.

aviator gogglesI remember the morning Bill came skidding into the parking lot wearing some old WWII aviator goggles.  The goggles being necessary as his windshield was blown out.  When we asked him about it — how could you not? — he grumbled something or other about a Late Night and Trees that Jumped in Front of His Rig.  Who knows what the real story was, but I am suspecting it had something to do with reading his fortune at the bottom of a gin bottle.  You would have thought seeing some old Bull of the Woods cruising down the highway wearing these vintage goggles, his longish gray-black hair blowing back in the 55-MPH-generated breezes, would have been hilarious.  Heck, he could have likely pulled over alongside the road and charged tourists good money for a ride in his plane-mobile.  But to us?  His chronic lateness stripped him of any comic relief.  I can laugh now, but not so much at the time.

cinnamon roll. cakespy

Check out cakespy.com’s blog for the recipe to make these jumbo cinnamon rolls! Link below . . .

Bill’s extra snooze time each morning cost us precious minutes at Carol’s Coffee Cup.  Carol’s was famous for its fresh pie straight out of the oven and its hot cinnamon rolls the size of small dinner plates.  You might think I am exaggerating, but it’s true.  One of those rolls could send you into a sugar coma for the rest of the Crummy ride up the mountain to the unit.  And it then took some serious suggesting to get us roused and ready to tackle the Whip-It work that lay ahead of us for the day.  We would still be in that big of a stupor from all of Carol’s sugary goodness.

We loved Carol’s Coffee Cup — there was no other way to put it.  We stopped there every morning before heading up the hill.  Carol’s was a Dream Way to start out the morning.  It made the morning tolerable, or as Bill would say: tol-uh-ble.  I have mentioned the memorable pie and the cinnamon rolls and, even better yet, Carol’s version of a refill-to-go- was having one of the cheerful be-calico-aproned waitresses fill each of our Stanleys to the brim with Carol’s Signature Yuban before we loaded our sorry asses back into the Crummy.

Carol’s Signature Yuban had an extra sort of something to it that I could never quite put my finger on.  One day I just up and asked one of the Aprons — what all of the regulars affectionately or otherwise called the be-aproned waitstaff — what it was about Carol’s coffee that made it taste the way it did.  Pink  Apron said that Carol sprinkled ground cinnamon on top of the grounds before it started to percolate.  Carol figured that the cinnamon made it kind of special that way.  I am guessing that it was Carol’s way of making Designer Coffee out of a sow’s ear, being that Yuban wasn’t what I would call the most premium hipster bean on the coffee house market.

I can’t really say that I was ever that fond of Carol’s coffee additive, but I had to hand it to her for pure ingenuity.   And those cork-booted boys loved Carol’s coffee, cooking, and service.  When they saw a piece of hot apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese melting on the top set before them, they felt like no less than King Solomon.

Snooze Button Bill was one of those annoying patrons who thought he owned the joint.  He would cluck about the downside of our cinnamon roll rush while he ordered himself his standard 2 eggs (sunny side up), 2 sausage links, and 2 slices of white toast.  Every single morning.

When Bill ordered, he would state his preference as to the runniness of his sunny side uppers, the brownness of his links, and the degree of toasting that should be accorded his toast.  His order wouldn’t have been so bad for the Aprons if he had simply stuck to the same script each morning.  But he didn’t.  It was all a Lesson of Degrees with Bill.  He wanted the eggs pretty firm or kind of runny or clucking back to the cook.  The sausages were pretty straight forward, but he would send back the toast if it wasn’t Pure Palamino Gold.

Suffice it to say, none of the Aprons liked taking Bill’s order.  Bill would extol his Varied Reasons for the Inadequacy of the Toast when he sent it back.  He would go off on some commentary, saying that there is just something about burnt toast that says someone didn’t care enough to check the setting before pushing the lever down.  Or someone simply was neglectful.  Or someone had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  Silly stuff that only cemented the Aprons’ and our opinion of Bill’s backsidedness.

Of course, the cook could hear Bill’s Toast Soliloquy, and I swear she would send out at least one Burnt Trial Balloon — all designed to get Bill’s dander up — before Bill finally got the Palamino-Gold toast that he demanded.

Out on the trail was something different.  Cookie would pull out the campfire toaster and, after having had to listen to two consecutive mornings of Bill’s Palamino-Gold laments,  we were all left on our own when it came to toast.  We were wisely allotted two pieces of bread each morning for our toasting pleasure.  If we weren’t mindful and we ruined our Toast Prospects by burning it to smithereens, we were on our own.  Cookie’s philosophy was pretty much Eat the Toast or return it to the ashes from which it originally came.  You can’t argue with good sense like that.

I actually enjoyed the whole Mindful Process of Toasting Bread on a Campfire.  You would be keeping a steady eye on your bread and it would be just about perfect for consumption and then — whoosh! — an errant draft would kick the flame into high action and your toast might get a dandy scorch.  I have to admit that I liked the Uncertainty of the Endeavor.  And when it came to toast, I pretty much ate any degree of toasting — burnt or otherwise — that went with the benefits of butter and jelly.  And it is always true that food — as is life — is always pretty darned great when you are eating in the Fabulous Outdoors.

One morning in camp, Bill asked us to watch his toast for him.  He must have thought we were Better People than we were — otherwise he wouldn’t have given up his Toast Autonomy to the likes of us.  Maybe it was all of those mornings that we had to wait for Bill to show up at the Crummy.  Maybe it was in honor of the patient Aprons who had been putting up with all of Bill’s Toast Nonsense.  Maybe it was Juvenile Revenge — pure and simple.  We waited for Bill to vacate the campfire premises, and we proceeded to incinerate Bill’s toast to the color and texture of a charcoal briquette.

The mind has a tendency to wander back to the Glimmers of Unexplained Irrelevancy, and I am guessing that this is what has happened here.  Bill’s role in this post’s Ode to Toast is obtuse at best.  He merely serves as the MacGuffin that brings Toast to the Campfire in this story.  The real story here centers on how great Campfire Toast is when you are out in the woods . . . or when you are sitting around your own home firepit.

And I’d like to say that there is some kind of moral to share about Respect for Timeliness or Be Kind to Waitstaff, but there isn’t.  All the Great Incineration gained anyone was the way that we laughed our asses off until we snorted when Bill came back and saw his Beloved Toast nothing but a wafer of carbon.

Bottom line: You can’t expect generosity from others when you are always riding their butts or acting all inconsiderate.  We finished the contract but after the Carbon Toast Experience, Bill’s demanding ways grew to be more humorous than harmful.  He still arrived late to the Crummy and we still complained about it, but there you go.  There are times in life when you can’t change circumstances completely and this was one of them.

Simply put: There are times when you just go with the flow . . .and I am thinking that this is the Way of Toast.

Bill the MacGuffin aside, take a look these awesome camp toasters.  I know that some of them might look like Rube Goldberg mouse traps, but they are so warm and fuzzy and reminiscent of times gone by.  You can watch your toast brown or burn, depending on your tolerance for carbon.  Get on board and get one of these for camping.  They are reasonably priced and they are fun!

UST Blue Sky Gear Toaster, Silver

http://amzn.to/1YsLBeF

Camp-A-Toaster CT1 Camp-A-Toaster

http://amzn.to/263UWLX

Chinook Plateau Folding Toaster

http://amzn.to/1sH3udm

Jacob Bromwell Original Genuine Pyramid Toaster (Tin)

http://amzn.to/1PuCIKb

And you don’t want to burn your fingers!

Heat Resistant Oven Mitts Set – Hot Gloves for Cooking BBQ Grilling – Flame Retardant Kevlar Provides 662F Protection – Bonus Ebook

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And what goes better with toast than a hot, steaming cup of Joe that is brewed to perfection.  Imagine it.  You are taking in the sunrise, the air smells so clean you could have sworn that it had been manufactured for this very moment, the birds are tweeting and twittering in the forest, and  . . . wait! . . . was that a marmot you just heard whistling?  Yep.  You’re in the high country, your fire is crackling just right, the smoke is blowing just-so toward your blowhard Uncle Phil that is always waxing eloqent, and all is right with the world.  Pour yourself another cup and get another piece of toast a’toasting.  It’s the biggest goal you have to meet today.   Life is pretty good, isn’t it?

And check out this functional and adorable coffee percolator. It is hearty, fun to use, stainless steel so it’s easy to clean and easy to pack!

Texsport Stainless Steel Coffee Pot Percolator for Outdoor Camping

http://amzn.to/1YsYjd9

And did you know that there are entire cookbooks dedicated to toast?


http://amzn.to/1UVYx6Y

And on a side note . . . in case you indulged a little too heartily with the brandy flask last night around the campfire . . . did you know that burnt toast will help a hangover?  Yep.  It will settle your tummy-brain upset just like that.  Works every time!  Maybe Bill should have switched his order from Palamino Gold to Burnt Black!

And you must watch this . . . I love this video!  I guarantee that if you watch it once, you are going to watch it twice.  So lovely of a tune and so imaginative.  And that’s a heck of a lot of toast that went into the making of this very artistic video.  Kudos to OK Go!

Boots here, signing off.

Wishing you happy trails of perfectly-toasted toast and a satisfying tale to go with it.

Life is a lively event.  Watch your toast, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

[Here is Cakespy’s link to some ginormous, easy-to-make cinnamon rolls: http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2010/6/26/big-fun-an-enormous-and-delicious-cinnamon-roll.html]

Retro Percolator Coffee, Grandma Cussing in Polish, & All’s Well That Ends Well

old percolatorBoots the Badass Coffee Babe here to talk Percolator Coffee . . . Are you thinking that this brewing method is just too old-timey or outdated or un-hipster-esque?  Does the image of a percolator bring back your mother’s or grandmother’s Wednesday morning kaffee klatch?  Or a church supper?  Or a rousing Saturday night of Polish polka on a waxed dance floor? Or Uncle Dean’s summer mountain cabin?  Or old-timey conversating between the old folk sitting around a kitchen table?

I can’t think about percolators without hearkening back to my very early childhood and my morning-grumpy, bootlegging, Polish grandmother.  It was at this tender age that I learned the life lesson that caffeine serves as an Adult Lifeline and Morning Saviour.  And another thing that I learned: Don’t mess with Grandma’s coffee and no one will get hurt.

percolator topIgnorance is bliss, or so they say.  What I considered to be an innocent Borrowing turned out to be an act of Brazen Temerity: I borrowed (translate: nearly lost) the glass plug that fits into the percolator lid for my playtime pleasure.  I was setting up an opulent mud-pie party for my dollies and, after scavenging the kitchen cupboards and drawers for Items of Elegance, I came across the glass perking plug — which was to become the most perfect and elegant crystal teacup.  I didn’t give it another thought until the next morning . . .

. . . when my caffeine deprived grandmother went on a cussing rampage while she looked for the necessary glass plug.  Looking back, she probably dropped the equivalent of a few muttered F-bombs, but as for me being the Guilty Party who had absconded with such an Integral Element of her Morning Ritual?  Well, I was quaking in my Buster Browns, I am telling you.

If you have never heard someone cussing enthusiastically in Polish, you will not understand how terrifying and mesmerizing this was to my innocent, yet guilty, little soul.  To put it plainly, Grandma wanted her coffee and she wanted it bad.  And I knew that my intrepid borrowing had led to this moment of extremely-motivating personal terror.

Grandma searched the dish drainer, the kitchen junk drawer, and garden bucket of peelings.  It didn’t take long for me to realize the error in my judgment, the epiphany of which sent me on a reconnaissance mission to Recover the Crystal Grail.  I found said Grail out in the sand box and, surreptitiously so, replaced it in the dish drainer that my grandmother had already checked 3 or 4 times.  It was gritty and dirty and it bore all the signs of having been abused by someone who was not yet of an age that could fully appreciate the Sanctity of the Crystal Grail.

Sigh.  I get it now.  Mr. Shakespeare had it right: “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”  My anguish could have been greatly minimized had I simply fessed up to Grandma and asked her to help me find it. I don’t know.  I still feel mildly twitchy when I think back on this event.  William Shakespeare wrote: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good an ill together.”  In other words, All’s Well That Ends Well — as his play is so aptly entitled.

Mr. Shakespeare knew his stuff.  Being a sensitive kid and a quick learner of Human Nature in the Morning, I was never to borrow The Crystal Grail again.  All I can say is thank God for Saint Rita, the Patron Saint of Desperate Causes, for I was able to recover the Precious Plug.  My grandmother received her morning dose of caffeine, and all was, once again, right with the world.  Like Helen, in Mr. Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, life sometimes does end with a nice, neat ribbon tied ’round the Event. And like Bill tries to tell us: Don’t worry.  Be happy.  It’s all good.  You’re gonna be fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Things are going to turn out fine in the end.  And don’t mess with an Uncaffeinated Grandma.

So, if you are like me and you like happy endings and you like to have more than one gizmo for making coffee in your kitchen, why not add one more?  A percolator is fun, retro, and old school.  It has all of these cool parts that fit together kind of like Tinker Toys, and you will experience the beauty of making coffee with Essential Parts of a Greater Whole.

And people who perk say that perk coffee is the best.  After seeing my grandmother’s Tizzy Fit unfold, I am a believer.  So why not try it?  The percolator pot isn’t expensive to buy, and you will always be ready for whatever coffee emergency that may occur.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A PERCOLATOR?

Why use a percolator . . . when you already have a French press or an automatic drip machine or a pour-over cone or an espresso machine?   Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to have a coffee percolator in your coffee arsenal:

  • You live in an area where you have frequent power outages.
  • You live off the grid.
  • You’ve run out of fine-grind coffee for your espresso machine and your grinder only does a coarse-grind.
  • You feel like doing something to honor Throwback Thursday.
  • Your grandparents are coming to visit and this is the only coffee they like to drink.
  • You like to try new things.
  • You are going camping and you want something that is super simple and unbreakable to bring along for your coffee brewing.
  • You like the look of a percolator on the campfire grate.
  • You feel inspired to belt out cowboy songs when you hear the percolator bubbling.
  • You feel a sense of magic when you see the coffee perking into the glass top plug.
  • You think of your grandmother and wish that you had learned how to cuss in Polish from her when you had the chance.

IS PERCOLATION A DINOSAUR BREW METHOD?

Is it a generational thing?  Are percolators going the way of cursive handwriting and mental math?  I don’t think so.  There are many people who still use this method of brewing.  And I know a few people who are pretty proud to make coffee with such a cool, retro looking pot.

HOW THE HECK DO YOU USE A PERCOLATOR?

This is a great question.  And I’m not going to lie.  It was TOUGH to find a decent video about percolating coffee to share with you.  I came across this particular one with Quaker Anne and said Eureka!  She walks you through the steps and convinces you that percolating is the way to go.  I especially like the way she talks about her special coffee treat of adding pure maple syrup and cream to her coffee as she is relaxing at the end of the video.  It looks like this gal knows how to savor and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Check it out.  It goes for almost ten minutes, but it is kind of restful and meditative to watch.

Quaker Kitchen: Stovetop Percolator Coffee (9:56)

As Quaker Anne so wisely says: “That which is worth having is worth waiting for.   I am thinking that QA is one smart cookie.

And here is a recipe/summary of QA’s How-To video:

  1. Use excellent coffee of a coarse grind . . . Grind is Essential
  2. Use good water . . . Good Water is Essential
  3. Use the right proportions of water to grounds . . . Proportion is Essential: (I don’t agree with Quaker Ann . . . As a rule, I use 2 T. per 8 oz water for brewing any coffee with any method.)
  4. Spread coffee evenly around basket and place lid on basket put in coffee pot and put all of the Percolator Guts into the pot..
  5. Assemble all of the pieces . . . oh, and make sure that the glass bubble is secure.  You don’t want it to go percolating off the top of your pot.  Messy clean-up.
  6. Put pot on stove and turn heat up to a medium heat and wait for the coffee to start percolating.  People who perk love this sound.  And who wouldn’t?  Coffee is on the way!
  7. When coffee begins to perk . . . turn temp down so coffee gently perks.  You don’t want a raging inferno perking into the glass bubble.  Think Gentle.
  8. Set a timer for approximately 8 minutes.
  9. Do not over perk.  Turn heat off right away.
  10. Let the percolator sit for about one minute to let all water drain through the basket.
  11. IMPORTANT: Pour the percolated coffee into a thermos or an insulated carafe.  There will be no microwaving coffee on Boots’ watch!  Keep it properly hot and you won’t have to reheat it!

And I like QA’s idea to use real maple syrup as a sweetener.  Have you tried it yet?  It is as special a treat as she describes.

Shopping tips: Buy a stainless steel or a granite ware percolator.  Stay away from aluminum.

Have fun with this!  I love trying new ways to make coffee, don’t you?  Plus, it’s nice to have a dependable way to make coffee the next time a lofty windstorm pushes some giant Douglas firs down across the power lines.  At least you’ll have your percolator to fortify your day with some Joe!

Life is a lively event.  Percolate some coffee, pull up a chair, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

Happy Shopping for Cups, Percolators, & Carafes below!

For starters, how about these Retro cups for your freshly-percolated coffee?  I love these cups!  Makes me think of all of those Kaffee Klatches that my grandma shared with her other Polish-speaking friends.  I couldn’t understand a word, but I enjoyed their stories, nonetheless.
Momugs Unique Retro Hit Color Ceramic Coffee Cup with Spoon and Saucer Set, 10 oz mug, Orange

http://amzn.to/1Qee3iB

Or these?  Fun!
Diner Coffee Mugs Red Set of 6

http://amzn.to/1UJpLhl

Copco Brushed 4 to 8-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

http://amzn.to/1tE2MOM

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

http://amzn.to/1UJokzj

And for those times when the percolator glass knobs go missing!
2 pack Fitz-All Replacement Percolator Top, Small (2)

http://amzn.to/1SdkNYk

And every kitchen should have at least one carafe:
304 Stainless Steel Double Walled Vacuum Insulated Carafe with Press Button Top, Quality Thermal Carafe, Water Pitcher with Lid, coffee Pots, Serving Pitchers Coffee Thermos, 2-liter,Silver

http://amzn.to/1UJol6y

Panesor 2 Liter(68 Ounce) Coffee Carafe Thermal, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Carafe, Hot and Cold 24 hours

http://amzn.to/1YC0cV7

Happy Perking!

xox  Boots

6 RECIPES for Toddy and Hot Brew

drink coffee its thursdayBe a cool cat and check out this short video that shows you 6 unique ways to drink coffee and some cool items that are perfect for creating that new and interesting iced Toddy beverage.

I think sometimes we forget to try different.  We get into our ruts and feel too busy to try new options.

Life is short.  Try something new.  Your experiment into the unknown might become your new favorite.  Watch the video and see if these aren’t some fun ways for you to shake up your morning coffee routine!  There’s nothing like adding a little bit of difference into the morning brew.

Click on some of the fun ideas below that will kickstart your iced-coffee enjoyment for the summer.  What about try making some mocha, caramel, coconut milk, coffee popsicles for your sunshine-y coffee break out on the deck?

 http://amzn.to/1Pma1nQ

http://amzn.to/284Q7nO

http://amzn.to/1RPjuhU

And how about making some caffe mocha popsicles on a hot summer afternoon?


http://amzn.to/1TZ6bRR

Finding Your “Just Right”: Time to Drink Some Toddy

rooster and cowboy bootsBoots here.  I’m back to finish up this series on Toddy Coffee.  This post is all about drinking . . . drinking Toddy as both a hot and a cold beverage.  After a sip of Toddy, you are going to want to stand up and salute the day with vim and vigor!

You now have your concentrate all good to go.  [Note: Be sure to keep your Toddy concentrate refrigerated.]  It is recommended that you  start with a ratio of 1 part coffee concentrate to 2-3 parts water, milk or whatever non-cow liquid you prefer.  I know that soy is a common moo-juice alternative, but heck, why not step into a new paradigm and try cashew, coconut, almond, rice, or hemp milk?  Whatever your moo-free preference, experiment and find the one you enjoy best.  Doesn’t a caramel sauce & cashew-milk iced mocha sound?

[To read an interesting article on these alternative “milks,” (with info on calories, protein, carbs, sugars, fats, and saturated fats) check out http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-best-cows-milk-alternatives.html]

Mix your Toddy beverage to taste, making your coffee as strong or as weak as you prefer. This is going to be a Goldilocks thing.  Try it.  Taste it.  Adjust it.  Find your Just Right.

ICED COFFEE: For iced coffee, Toddy is truly the best.  Simply pour the Toddy concentrate and water, milk, or moo-free alternative over ice. No need to double-proportion your coffee grounds for a hot-brew method to get a good iced coffee.

HOT COFFEE: Combine your Toddy concentrate with steaming hot water for a bolder, gentler cup of hot coffee — kind of like an Americano — but not really.  Once you tasted the carmel-ly smooth flavor of Toddy, you will know what I mean.

You really want to experiment with all of the fun ideas.  Here are a few more:

  1. Add Toddy to your morning smoothie.  Toddy would be great with a chocolate-banana smoothie.  Yummy!
  2. Be creative with whatever it is that sounds good to you.  Coconut milk?  Protein powder?  An almond butter-mocha-coffee frappe?
  3. Freeze your Toddy in ice-cube trays, and add cubes to your iced beverages and smoothies for that extra-cold punch.  This will keep your drink colder longer and not diluted by water-ice cubes.
  4. alarm clockToddy is versatile and so convenient.  There is never a need to feel strapped for time in the morning as you are dashing out the door.  If you are a fan of the Snooze Alarm, you can even get your drink ready the night before in a pint jar, put it in the fridge, do your crazed morning dash to work, and heat up your coffee right in the pint jar in the office microwave.  Voila! Fabulous coffee with no morning hassle.
  5. And don’t hesitate to add a little Nudge (aka Hooch to my bootleggin’ granny) to make a hot-coffee cocktail — as long as you are not going to be shoeing a horse or operating any heavy equipment.  Irish whiskey is a traditional Nudge additive, but you can try adding vanilla vodka for something a little different.   I am thinking campfire and some yarn spinning right about now!

And speaking of campfires, doesn’t this look like a fun addition to your summer evenings out on the patio or deck? Grab the S’more fixings, pour yourself a coffee nudge using your Toddy concentrate and indulge in the fact that you are in the great outdoors and only just a pebble’s throw from your own door.

What a hoot this stand-alone fire pit would be on your patio!  It would really open up your summer to the great outdoors.  Just click on the image or link below.

http://amzn.to/1O2sMMM

I hope that this little foray into the world of Toddy has been fun for you!  I remember back to when I first tasted it with that fussbudget sister of mine and, at the time, I had to admit to her that it tasted really good.  I generally forego Toddy during the winter months, as I like a fresh, hot brew.  But the summer?  It is so perfect!

And hail all of you hikers, campers, and glampers!  Think about how great Toddy would be out on the trail.  Put it in a  coffee-tight container and you would be good to go for your entire trek.

And you can click here for a comprehensive PDF from the Toddy experts.  There are all sorts of cool recipes in here for lattes, mochas, iced coffee beverages, smoothies, and even ice cream!

And check out this Kindle option for learning more about Toddy:

[Subscribers read for free!]

http://amzn.to/1XcxuLr

Happy Toddy Trails!

xox Boots

Now . . . Time to Brew Some Badass Toddy!

old boots. s135179597364799095_p1_i1_w693Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here!  And I’m back to talk more about Toddy!  In the last post, I talked about equipment and the chemistry behind why Toddy tastes so darned good.

This post is going to be all about how to make good Toddy.  Getting set up, directions, dos and don’ts, how to store your finished Toddy . . . all of this fun stuff to learn!

First of all, here is a demonstration video — brought to you from the Toddy gurus — that walks you through all of the steps necessary to start brewing.

And here are a few tips from me that urge you to be mindful as you go about brewing your Toddy.  Some of these are a repeat of what the expert in the video advises, but I am not afraid to go overboard when it comes to helping someone else avoid a kitchen disaster. None of the points below can be overstated!

  1. Do not jam the plug into the bottom of the white plastic brewing container/funnel.  Setting the plug using conservative, non-Amazonian strength is sufficient.  You are not going to spring a leak.  Promise.  And attempting to get an over-zealously-jammed plug out of the bottom of the funnel that is full of cold-brew slurry is tempting fate and just plain scary.  One little extra tug of ambition will send your cold brew pouring all over the kitchen.
  2. toddy maker illustrationWhile your Toddy is brewing, put it somewhere SAFE.  The definition of SAFE in Toddy lingo is a place where . . .
    1. . . . your cat won’t tip it over.
    2. . . . your roommates won’t tip it over.
    3. . . . sloppy cords from other appliances won’t slither forth and coil around the Toddy maker such that when you pull your blender out to make a smoothie, you won’t topple the whole Toddy system when you do so.
    4. . . . your other critters won’t have a heyday with it (bird, ferret, sugar glider, etc.  Beware of the darting sugar glider!)
    5. . . . you won’t tip it over.
    6. . . . and again: . . . your cat won’t tip it over!
    7. Use a coarse grind to make your Toddy.
    8. Use good, filtered water.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  If your water tastes like hard well water and you use it to make your Toddy, well . . . you can guess what your Toddy is going to taste like: coffee-flavored hard well water.

There is a theme here: Use good water and don’t tip the dang Toddy over!

Okay!  You now have 12-24 hours to wait until you can pull the plug and drain your Toddy into the glass decanter.

Boots here until next time then when we pull the plug and taste some Toddy!

http://amzn.to/1THBbSE

Click on the image or the link to view the Toddy brewing system!

And while you are dream-shopping, here is a really good water filtering pitcher.  This pitcher delivers great-tasting water!

Click on the images or the links below.

http://amzn.to/1RGW2Dq

Or how about this kicky purple pitcher?

http://amzn.to/1THARn0

Time for Toddy, Woodsy Peeps!

Happy Monday!  Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here . . . to talk Toddy!

Mondays. coffeeHow many of you out there have tried Toddy Coffee?  If you have, you recall both the smooth and carmel-ly sweetness of this brew and the ease in its preparation.  If you haven’t tried Toddy, you are going to have to trust me, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe and expert on all things coffee: this is some seriously good coffee!

I remember going on a really crazy trip with one of my sisters.  We were traveling up the Oregon coast and she insisted that we stop and check out one of those cute Victorian-esque seaside towns that you love to hate.  You know the kind.  The sidewalks are narrow and overgrown with thorny rose bushes and stickery shrubberies.  Your fellow tourists are into cutthroat sidewalk chicken and think nothing of edging you out of the herd and into oncoming traffic.  Husbands are lagging.  Children are crying.  Dogs are peeing on the pansies.  Not exactly my idea of fun.

Toddy. image. milk pouring.After what felt like days of being on a forced march, I begged her for a break.  She agreed to seek refuge from the madding crowd and we went into an ice cream shop that smelled of vanilla waffle cones, cherry jubilee, and coffee, sweet coffee.  It was in this emporium we found the Font of Immaculate Conceptualized Toddy.  I confess: after trying Toddy, I was hooked.  It truly is delicious . . . and I learned that it is as easy as 1-2-3 to brew.

Toddy is brewed using a passive, cold-water brewing method that is ideal for the person who is super busy and who likes to repeatedly hit snooze in the morning; who doesn’t want to go to work uncaffeinated and who wants delicious coffee any time of day!

In this series, we are going to talk about

  1. Why Toddy Tastes So Good
  2. How to Brew Toddy and finally
  3. How to Drink Toddy.

Well, today is all about Why Toddy Tastes So Good.  First let me show you what a Toddy cold-brew pot looks like, and then we’ll go from there.  This will all make sense by the end of segment #2 on How to Brew Toddy.  By the time we get to How to Drink Toddy,  you are going to be so happy you’ll be dancing on the barista’s coffee bar and hooting out corny lyrics from an obscure cowboy song.    

Here is the Toddy Brewing Contraption before we go any further. You can click on the image to learn more about this Toddy maker:

http://amzn.to/27ZxoKg

And here is why Toddy cold-brewed coffee tastes so good:

  • It’s designed to brew coffee with 67-percent less acid than coffee made with hot brew methods.
  • Patented cold brew system uses regular coffee beans to create super smooth hot coffee, but with no electricity required.
  • The Toddy Cold Brew System also makes tea, served hot or cold.
  • Set includes brewing container with handle, glass decanter with lid, 2 reusable filters, 1 rubber stopper, set of instructions, and recipe guide.
  • You get more out of your coffee beans, since the coffee concentrate stays fresh for up to 3 weeks.

Tummy sensitive to acid?  Out on the trail with limited access to flame or fuel?  Like your coffee hot and cold?  Penny pinching and wanting to extract the max from those coffee beans?  Brew some Toddy!  The process brews a less-acidic coffee.  It requires no electricity to brew.  You get more out of your beans.

Coffee beans are full of various oils and acids.  This is what gives coffee its delicious flavor.  Cold-brewed Toddy produces less acid and is much more concentrated that hot-brewed, which makes it a great way to make iced coffee.  Toddy will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 2 – 4 weeks — a blessing to all of you busy morning people!

During the winter months, I feel inclined to stick with a hot-brew method . . . but in the summer?  I am all about Toddy!  It is always good to go and, not only is it great for home coffee drinking, it is PERFECT for being out on the trail, on your boat, on a rock face, in a raft,  on blue water . . . you get the idea.  It is one of those brew methods that fits the bill for anywhere!

Fun, right?  Try this cold-brew system out this summer.  You’ll love the flavor profile and the convenience!  And while we are at it, check out these coffee grinders that will help you to get your beans ground perfectly for your Toddy Adventure!

Click on the images below to daydream about a new grinder!

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Stay tuned for BREWING TIPS: How to Brew Toddy in the next post.  Isn’t it fun to learn something new and delicious?  Isn’t it just a hot-damned hootenanny to be able to say, “I know a new way to brew the best-durned coffee!”?

Brew Joe on the Go with Hey Joe Coffee GoJoe 2.0

may your cup runneth overGreetings, Good Woodsy Folk.  Before we begin to explore a new and flavorful Outdoor Brewing Method later this week (I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with body), check out this incredibly clever, high-tech, ultra-convenient way to brew Joe on the go.

Normally, I prefer the simple route when it comes to gear out on the trail — the take-your-time, ain’t-life-great, tried-and-true brewing methods — but I can think of more than a few times when I was hiking through remote places at the height of fire season, and I would have appreciated the convenience of this battery-powered, self-brewing gizmo!

Yes, sometimes practical convenience and deprivation-driven misery wins out over backwoods aesthetics.  And perhaps this gizmo doesn’t deliver the same robust quality of coffee as a cup of campfire Joe, but I am thinking it would be a great back-up option in desperate times.

Like the time I dutifully agreed to go whitewater rafting with a group of people who were bizarrely extreme . . . not extreme in the ways of defying the mighty rapids but in the demands regarding what time we wake up each morning.  According to the dictatorial mandates of Fearless Rafting Leader, the day was already wasted if the group got a start on the river any later than 6:30 am.  It was a rough trip for me, one that was defined by sleep deprivation and negative-vibrational fallout from all of the other bitchy, caffeine-deprived rafters.

I am telling you . .  I would have loved — and I mean loved! — to have had this ingenious cup for that trip.  I could have been blithely floating through the canyon with my delightful cup of coffee — just a push of the button — all the while thumbing my nose gaily and happily at Fearless Leader who actually enjoyed the drama of watching the unwashed and the un-caffeinated fight for their turn with the camp stove each morning.

Life-scarring rafting memories aside, this GoJoe would be ideal for when you are out in extreme conditions: climbing, skiing, boating, river rafting, fire-lookouting, and hiking out in the wilderness where water is scarce, a fire isn’t an option, fuel is scarce, and time is being dictated by a Fearless Leader. Nothing like kickstarting your morning and wilderness experience by simply pushing a button for a cup of Joe!

Check it out!  Watch the video and tell me what you think!

Happy Trails, Good People!

Spur (Small) boots signaturexox

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

Click on the Hey Joe Coffee GoJoe 2.0 image below:

 


About the Product

  • Fill with water at any time. When your ready, press the button for fresh brewed coffee anywhere
  • With updated, more powerful, battery to last longer and brew hotter!
  • Turn heads everywhere you go with the cool design and smell of fresh coffee

And remember . . .

a day without coffee.jpg

Question:Why use an egg to settle the grounds?

Dearest DharmaOfTheHeart writes to ask:

question and answerHowdy! Do you have a recipe/method for good cowgirl coffee? I made cowgirl coffee when cooking with an old gal named Roma many years ago. She always used an egg to settle the grounds. Any comments?

Thank you for your question, Dharma.  This is just one of those synchronistic things!  I was writing an article on Cowboy Coffee and discussing the notion of adding egghells to the pot . . . and then your question arrived.  You can click on the post: On the Trail: How to Make the Best Cowboy Coffee and get your very answer!  According to the old-timers like Roma and to the scientists, it has something to do with opinion and with alkalinity and acidity.  Check it out.  It’s interesting stuff!

Link: https://cabindoorcoffee.wordpress.com/category/brewing-coffee-outdoors/

Roma sounds like she was a good egg!  And it sounds like, with a name like Roma, there are even more stories that go along with coffee and eggshells!  Thank you for your great question, Dharma. We appreciate you gracing the cabin with your presence today!

xoxSpur (Small) boots signature

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

Cowboy Coffee Gear Store

Cowboy Coffee. This post is all about Cowboy Coffee, dutch ovens, and grub box gear. Click on the images and you will find some great pots and paraphernalia for your next camping adventure. Have fun daydreaming about the campfire as you peruse the pots and gear.  So many fun things to consider adding to your grub box! Life is good!

Happy trails, you outdoorsy souls! xox Boots



On the Trail: How to Make the BEST Cowboy Coffee

cowboy-coffeeCowboy Coffee.  This post is all about Cowboy Coffee: how-to directions, brewing tips, proportions, and a few stories, too.  Click on the images and you will find some great pots and paraphernalia for your next camping adventure.  Have fun daydreaming about the campfire as you peruse the pots and gear!  And be sure to visit the Coffee Store on the Home page!  So many fun things to consider adding to your grub box!

Happy trails, hearty souls! xox Boots


Cowboy Coffee.  What exactly is it?  Cowboy Coffee carries with it an image of durable simplicity and unsophisticated invention . . . rugged cowboys, wearing a week’s worth of trail dirt, sipping away at a steaming cup of brew — all the while the cattle are obediently lowing in the near distance, awaiting the call to git along, little dogies.

This hearty brew is an understated science and, as a result, not considered to be a viable, let alone superior, brewing method when out on the trail.  Some people think that Cowboy Coffee is just boiled coffee that likely tastes bitter as a result of being boiled too long over an open flame.

But I am telling you that Cowboy Coffee is more than just throwing grounds into a pot full of water and boiling the bejeezus out of the concoction.  It is an elegant and interactive art form.  And once you have tried a sip of this hearty beverage while taking in the great outdoors, you might be tempted to go back home and get rid of that fancified French press or Italian stovetop espresso maker.

Why is Cowboy Coffee so good?  It tastes just how coffee is meant to taste: robust, hearty, hot, and sturdy.  There are many recipes and opinions on how to make the best Cowboy Coffee, and I am going to share with you the method we used when I was working on a ranch in a remote roadless area of the world.

Now this ranch was the real deal.  No roads anywhere within 50 miles, cold running water only, tent cabins, and outhouses.  And the horses were right there — snorting and neighing and grinding away at the salt lick, outside my cabin door.

The cookhouse was a high-ceiling log structure with long grub tables — each table could easily seat 20+ guests and wranglers, depending on the width of each backside.  The sheer length of these tables was remarkable, with each table top having been cut from single-length logs that spoke of the timeless nature of the forest.  There was an enormous fire-pit and chimney at one end of the cookhouse where the coffee was set to bile.  The chimney had a good draw and provided a fire that you could cozy up to in the early-morning and post-dusk hours.

There were always at least 3 ginormous pots of coffee going at any one time.  There was no system of what pot was brewed first, second, and so on.  You just poured from whatever pot beckoned to you.  These cowboy pots were gallery-quality beauties, smudged and smoked from countless fires.  And heavy.  These pots required a double-fisted pour when they were full.  And the stories that these pots must have heard over the years . . . I can only imagine.

Here is how we made Cowboy Coffee at the ranch:

  1. Start your fire and get a good blaze going.  You are going to want to feed the fire into Boil-Mode flame.
  2. Fill your pot with cold water somewhere about 3/4 of the way to the top.  Do not fill it to the tippy-top.  Your coffee is guaranteed to boil over if you do.  And who wants to waste coffee when you are out on the trail?
  3. Scoop your coffee on top of the cold water.  A general rule of thumb is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 8 ounces of water.  (It really requires that much.)
  4. Be patient.  And watch.  The goal is to let the water come to a boil and swallow the grounds that are on top.
  5. This is the fun part.  Keep watching.  Watching the fire with one eye and the coffee with the other.  My idea of fun anyway.  Once the grounds are seized by the tsunami and they are engulfed, you should see no fresh grounds lingering on top.  Just brew that looks like grounds might be swimming around in it.
  6. Pull the pot from the main flame — just far enough to stop the boil but close enough to keep the coffee nice and hot.  This is trickier than you might think.  You don’t want to re-boil the coffee.  But you do want to keep it piping hot.  It’s a science, remember?
  7. Pour a cup of cold water over the coffee.  Don’t dump the cold water — pour it.  This gesture, be it fact or fiction, serves to settle the grounds to the bottom of the pot.  If you are a doubter or a skeptic, just do it and believe.
  8. Let it all settle for a bit and then pour your first cup of coffee.  It is going to be amazing!

One note about the importance of proportion: It pays to measure.  Proportion does matter in the science of coffee — if you want good coffee.  Just because you are on the trail doesn’t mean that you can be all willy-nilly about measuring.  Before you go on your trip, do some preemptive measuring.  Figure out how much water you will be pouring into the pot and do your math.

Here are some proportion examples for those of you who feel math-curious.  If you are serving a lot of coffee to a large group using a 20-cup ( 160 oz) pot . . . 160 oz / 8 oz = 20 cups x 2 T. = 40 Tablespoons . . . which = 2.5 cups of grounds.  Now before you say Whoa Nellie! think about it.  That is a LOT of coffee to be serving and your attention to proportion will be appreciated.  Another example: If you are using a 64 oz pot and shooting for an 8-cup experience, that will be 64 oz/8 oz = 8 cups x 2 T. = 16 T. . . . which = 1 cup of grounds.

It is true that some old-timers keep adding water to the pot and reboiling the grounds . . . freshening it up a little with some new grounds.  I remember Al, the Cowboy Coffee aficionado, who lived in the school bus across the road.  I would pick up his pot to pour myself a cup and, judging by the weight, assume it to be full of coffee.

But . .  . when only a trickle of brown-black oil dribbled out, I knew it was time to clean the pot for Al.  I would take the pot back home, dump the grounds in the garden, scrub and shine it up for him, and leave it by the fire pit stationed outside the back-emergency bus door.  I understood Al’s theory of skimping on labor, but sometimes you just gots to start with fresh!

And the advice about adding eggshells to the pot?  Many people swear by this.  They claim that adding the eggshells keeps the grounds on the bottom of the pot, keeps the actual coffee grounds-free, and takes the bitterness away.  How?  The eggshell is an alkaline and the coffee is an acid.  The acidity in the coffee is supposed to be reduced by the alkalinity of the eggshells — thus making it taste smoother.

Fact or fiction?  I don’t know.  But it is an awfully fun fact to be able to share when sitting around the campfire.  I have done both and have been happy with my coffee both ways.  But some old-timers?  They swear by the eggshells trick.  Why not try it?  It is fun to experiment and try new things!

Check out these GREAT coffee pots and camp cups that are perfect for the trail.  Pack your coffee tin (or baggie) inside the (clean!) pot as you travel to minimize bulk.  Depending on the size of pot you buy, you can even put your cup in there.

Have fun making Café  à la Cowboy.  By doing so, you are keeping the spirit of the trail alive.