Product Reviews

Hario Personal Coffee Grinder -Product review-

This is the thing: since I was little little and young young (I was once both: little and young) that woman that claimed to be my mother had, between many many idiosyncrasies, this "I must drink a coffee first thing in the morning", so every day before anything -including saying good morning- she went to the kitchen and put the tea pot on the stove while she prepared her coffee. 

Way back then, at least in Mexico where we were living at the time, the only imaginable coffee one could possible drink was either Instant Nescafé or Instant Café Oro- and...if by any chance someone had gone to the USA, then they were asked to bring Maxwell House....wooooow.

The advertising was "great ideas come from great coffee" and somehow I think she bought into that even though the great ideas never came to her (buying boxing gloves for Christmas so my bully brother could beat me in a professional way is not exactly a great idea nor having me play a little cute Mexican native for a mother's day school play in grade one in a public school...I WAS BLOND and WHITE!!!....I was beaten by the school's older kids  as if I was a Conquistador in the middle of an Aztec battle). Regardless...the ideas did not come with the coffee... I can attest to that.

Observant as I was, soon I learned that the priority to face the day was to have a coffee in the mornings. My mom gave me her approval when she considered that I was old enough... so at 7 I started drinking my morning coffee. I blame my hair loss to that...

The years passed by and my morning coffee routine extended to 3 or 4 coffees in a day. I still drink 3 or 4 coffees in a day but my taste for instant got lost in time when I moved to the West Coast where coffee is almost a religion. In my search for a fantastic coffee I have French presses, Italian coffee brewers, filtered coffee machines and a fantastic Nespresso and an incredible ROK machine which I'll review in another time. Today I'll focus in this little contraption that helps to get a fantastic fresh ground coffee:

Hario Personal Coffee Grinder -Product review-

I learned about this coffee grinder thanks to Bea's baking book -one of my all time favorites- and I ordered it on line. It was not expensive (around $25 US back then) and I got it quite soon after.

This is a FANTASTIC personal coffee grinder. It can grind for 1, 2 or 3 servings. I am the only one who drinks coffee here, so I always grind just for me. This "personal" coffee grinder is made of high quality plastic and it doesn't wake up the cats when I prepare my coffee. The noise level is minimal.

This is a ceramic burr grinder that can be adjustable (by adjusting a locking nut on the base of the burr) so I can grind for a filter (my Italian French Press has a metal filter so no waste there), for an expresso machine like my ROK or whatever other setting you might need. The burr set is of great quality and the end result grind is as even as it can get. 

Grinding your fresh coffee just prior to drinking your joe releases all the aromas and oils that makes the coffee drinking experience a taste of heaven. For traveling is a great alternative as it uses almost no space AND its as silent as it can be. I highly recommend this grinder, unless you rather drink tea...because that I have absolutely no idea how to prepare. 

Oh, and by the way....for those who claim that coffee is bad and addictive I can debate that in a second. I have been drinking coffee for almost 50 years (I am SO old!) and still here and if I look like a zombie escapee is not exactly for drinking coffee... marriage is worst for your health, for example. I drink coffee and I'm married. I am a masochist. 

Super Good Coffee Maker


I got a very nasty email from the so called "cousin"...he complains that I forgot to mention that it was he who paid for the coffee maker. At least he paid for ten days he always managed to forget his wallet... a freeloader we call them...

Back to the original post...

I was born in Mexico and had an Argentinian mother (I know...) so when I was a kid, coffee was not allowed for underage children so I had to wait for some time to get to drink such wonderful drink. I remember clearly my mother having, first thing in the morning, her coffee. She drank Nescafe like anyone else. Nescafe was the coffee to drink...the most popular and with the best advertising campaign.

But one day I turned 6! That was the day my mother thought it was a good age to introduce me to such delicatessen. Then my world changed. I was allowed to have a coffee with breakfast but that was that (my mother had her limits too!). Since then until today I drink coffee. Like everything else in life...I blame my mother.

Then drinking coffee was a good deal. When I was in junior high, you could go to any restaurant or coffee shop and order a coffee and you would get bottomless coffee. You could seat for hours for the tremendous amount of 5 cents. How could I not drink coffee?

Nowadays coffee has become this urban craze. Most people can get a good cup of java almost by just walking... 5 minutes. Then the golden liquid is not 5 cents anymore, you pay now between 4 to 12 dollars per cup. And coffee shops are always busy.

So... I left my Nescafe days behind and started drinking better coffee. Nowadays you can get coffee and you can get extraordinary coffee, but that is only one part of the deal. Once you have great coffee at home, then you need at least 3 things: a coffee grinder, a coffee maker and a cup. Today I'll tell you about my coffee maker...actually my new coffee maker -and now my favorite-.

When a guy who claims to be my cousin came for a visit from Argentina, we went to the old downtown, called Gastown. There we found a fantastic coffee shop called Revolver where they actually sell a great drip coffee made the way it should be made and a delicious expresso. Also they sell individual coffee makers. Then I got my new gadget. I bought a Frieling individual coffee brewer. Absolutely amazing!

My Frieling coffee maker is a three part apparatus. It has a 23 karat gold plated super fine filter -so you don't have to buy a new filter every time (you can call me ecologically responsible...which I am not), a water regulator and a lid. That is all.

All I have to do is place my coffee filter onto my cup, fill it with good freshly grated coffee and pour hot water into the regulator. Close the regulator with the lid...and voila!, Houston we have coffee!!

Now, if you like tea and you are not sick with the flu or something...then you are in the wrong are in the dark ages.

Ah!, then the White Coffee came. Bizarre and not very politicly correct campaign...but that is another story.

Not me, though...I was way cutter, but nevertheless it looks exactly the way I looked when I got my first coffee.

And the 5 cent bottomless coffee cup add.

The not so politicly correct White coffee add...go figure.

The 23 k filter into the mug

And the contraction into my super nice Native coffee cup

Oaxaca Cheese!

There are cheeses and there are cheeses. Each cheese has a peculiar characteristic that help us to decide which one to use for a particular recipe.

I like cheese but my current wife likes it way more but we share the love for Oaxaca cheese. Why?

Real Oaxaca cheese must come from México is made by the Marquez brothers in San Jose California ... so it qualifies for the Mexican requirement. There are LOTS of Mexicans there therefore the demand for the real deal is big. As a fact I buy it in a Mexican grocery store in Bellinham WA called La Gloria -there are tons of temporary Mexican workers there-

Now the question would be...why I say it super good?

The texture and the flavor. Oaxaca cheese is a string cheese, that is, you can separate a piece and eat it by peeling off "strings" that follow the cheese's knitting. It is from cow's milk. It is a semi-soft cheese with a balanced soft flavor. 

Cheese in general was introduced to America by the Spaniards (sorry but this destroys the myth about Moctezuma's quesadillas). It started to be made in the mid 1800's and was born in one of the most beautiful areas in Mexico: Oaxaca. It cannot get more Mexican than that.

Back to my own story: I really like Oaxaca cheese because of the flavor BUT the most important part is that melts like no other cheese I know. It melts but doesn't run. When melted is stringy and LASTS melted longer than most cheeses.

At home we eat lots of quesadillas and usually we use Mozzarella but when we can buy real Oaxaca takes over. It melts fast, it lasts melted, it is stringy and the flavor is fantastic...what else? the way: this cheese is also known as Quesillo or Asadero. And I don't share...

This time around we bought a big piece!

And as soon as we got home I made quesadillas...

And as proof  of my is the melted cheese...

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