Dogwood 52 2019 Week 4

Besides making all the silly excuses about not having the time or such to post Week 4 of the Dogwood Challenge, finding “Warmth” proved to be rather difficult for me. I wanted to use a shot of our children and capture the right moment and to be honest, that didn’t happen until last night. I’ll post both pictures down below and you tell me which is “warm” but my official “entry” is the solo coffee cup. This is a from a little shop in Bankers Hill called James Coffee. Make sure to hit it up before Extraorindary Desserts opens up next door as it’ll still be easy to find parking and grab a seat. I wished that I took a better photo of the cup itself (apparently you can buy them for $64.95 a pop!) but alas, it was the latte art that proved to be more eye catching during that specific moment. I chose to edit it in the stock iPhoto App on my iPad Pro 9.7” (still no new iPad Pro or MacBook Pro) and used a Vivid Warm Filter along with some other tweaks in color and brightness.


📷: Week 4 Story Telling: Warmth // Tell a story that makes us feel warm inside. 

Because my wife and I mistakenly thought it was BBQ Day at our daughter’s school, we found ourselves with an open time slot for lunch and decided to stay in the area. We called up our awesome friend on our way an amazing sushi restaurant in Bankers Hill called Hane Sushi (restaurant / yelp). After a few delectable dishes and specials, I’m sorry but I don’t have the names but here are some photos below, we strolled around and found James Coffee (restaurantyelp). There aren’t too many days that I bring the camera along, but I’m getting use to carrying it and love it so much. Check out the awesome sushi we had and oh yea, that other warm photo. 


So maybe the piano shot isn’t as “warm” but it’s still an easy favorite. Girls are indeed precious.

Coffee and the Body

A few years ago, I linked to a NY Times article about coffee. Here is an amazing and very thorough write-up with embedded videos on coffee and how it affects our body. In short:

Coffee can increase your ability to work and study, and therefore can improve that aspect of intelligence. It’s important, however, to remember the negative effects of caffeine and make sure that it’s drunk in moderation.

Working late into the night with a cup of coffee might seem like a great idea at the time, but in reality it might be best to have a sleep or a quick nap. That way you will wake up refreshed and ready to tackle any task.

Coffee: How to French Press

Sometimes I use my Hario V60. Other times, I French Press. If you needed a proper introduction to the French Press, check out the video below by Todd Carmichael.

Just remember the 1g of coffee to 17g water golden ration and you're set. Other details: I heat my water to around 196°F and use a 24 grind setting on my Baratza Virtuoso. I also have two presses; first the standard Bodum Medium Press and just a year ago Kickstarted the Espro Press which keeps it awesomely warm for continued goodness.

Why You Need a Better Grinder for your Coffee

NPR's "The Salt" goes into the the details of what a great grinder can do for your morning cup of joe. I have a Baratza Virtuoso at home but have been thinking of a hand cranker since I usually find myself away stuck at an airport or hotel as of late. Specifically, I'm looking at either the Hario Slim, Hario Ceramic Skerton, or the Porlex Mini to bring along with me on trips. I'll also keep my Aeropress handy for brewing =). Below are the hand crank coffee mills in order.


The whirling blade grinder that most people have at home just doesn't cut it. The blade smashes coffee to smithereens, making boulders and fines all over the place. Instead, the coffee pros use burr grinders, which chew the beans up to a precise, consistent size by funneling them through a set of steel or ceramic teeth.

In other words, a good grinder can make all the difference between a cup of sludge and a rich, aromatic morning mug of Joe.

If you really want to, you can go for the gold and grab Orphan Espresso's Lido 2 for $175.

via NPR

Trade in your Starbucks for Tonx!

If you haven't been on aware, I'm an avid coffee drinker. My morning ritual the past 18 months goes as this:

  • I select the 15 grind setting on my Baratza Virtuoso and start it immediately after my Medelco Glass Kettle starts screaming.
  • I then pour the hot water into my Hario Buono Kettle, pour my freshly ground beans in my Able Brewing Kone Filter which sits upon a Hario V60 02 Drip Ceramic Filter, aiming for a 27g/360ml water to coffee ratio over 3:00 minutes.
  • I pour for 30 seconds to 60g, then wait another 30 seconds for bloom.
  • I take a huge whiff of the brew, and then pour another 120g to stopping at 180 and rest for another 20 seconds. Then I top it off reaching 360.

It might seem complicated but believe me, the cup is FRESH and it really isn't that much of a hassle! This past Christmas, I brought the setup to a friend's house and had a great time making coffee for everyone!

So, I'm telling you all this as one of my favorite coffee roasters, just this morning, launched a Starbucks to better coffee exchange program! You read that right! Trade in your Starbucks gift cards for dollar-to-dollar credit towards a Tonx subscription and get the freshest beans delivered straight to your door!


We Source. We Roast. We Ship. You Brew. At Tonx, we believe great coffee starts with great beans and the best cup of coffee can be made easily at home. That’s why we source from top producers, roast to perfection, and ship our beans within hours of completion. Our brew guides and expert staff will have you brewing the best cup of coffee in no time.

They line up an oddly priced $38 Starbucks gift card to 8 frappucinos, or 11 cappuccinos, or 17 drip coffees, vs 48 cups of "carefully sourced, expertly roasted, super fresh coffee." I couldn't agree more.

Trust me, this isn't a marketing scheme. The coffee that I have received from Tonx over the past year has been some of the best mornings ever! The only benefit for me is that if you use my link, I earn credit towards my coffee habit too.

Tonx has made it really easy for you too! Just head to and enter your Starbucks card number and security code, then it will enter a que to which it will be covered to Tonx subscription credit! I'm in the midst of trading in my $25 that I received for Christmas. It's like upgrading your gift!

Tonx better coffee

Save Money, Save the Environment, Pour Your Own Coffee

I was at Sur La Table Fashion Valley the other day, taking advantage of the free knife sharpening, when I got the chance to speak to a very awesome sales lady. The biggest hype are not only the amazing Jura and De'Longhi espresso makers but the Nespresso Machines. "They are all the rage!" I have friends that swear by their K-Cup machines and pods proclaiming the value of "only $0.61" a cup and the necessity for speed. But we have to come and realize the bigger picture. There's not that much coffee in them!

When it comes down to it, I thoroughly enjoy sampling freshly roasted beans from places like Bird Rock Coffee, Intelligentsia, Dark Horse, Philz, Tonx, grinding them fresh using my Baratza Virtuoso and executing a fine Hario v60 pour over which yes does require a goose neck kettle (Hario Buono).  It's calming and an art I strive to perfect every morning I'm home. I also only end up producing one paper filter of waste compared to the non-bidegrable k-cups / pods that have been filling up our landfills at an estimated one billion per year. 

Whether it's delicious or not, single-cup coffee is expensive. In fact, pound-for-pound, it costs consumers far more than the finest artisanal coffee available in the Bay Area. A 24-pack of Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup, for example, typically retails for $16.49. The capsules each hold roughly 8 grams of coffee, which means that the 24-pack works out to about $39 a pound. A 24-pack of Starbucks House Blend typically costs $22.49, or about $53 a pound. By contrast, the same Starbucks roast costs just $12 a pound when sold in a single bag. An artisanal bean, like Four Barrel Coffee's Kenya Gatomboya, a shade-grown coffee from a 700-member cooperative, costs $18 for a 12-ounce bag, or about $24 a pound.

But as expensive as single-cup coffee is for consumers, the costs to the environment are even higher.

via Vanessa Rancaño for Eastbay Express

Coffee in San Diego

It's exciting when San Diego makes it into the top ten of anything and this time my beautiful home town squeaked into the top ten best coffee cities in America.  This of course comes without surprise that the Travel and Leisure article mentions Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. darkhorsecoffee

While you're here, I also wanted to add Dark Horse Coffee Roasters to the mix.  Just a few days ago, I was able to take a trip down to Daniel's lovely shop where he was roasting on site.  Let me tell you, the smell was intoxicating!  I ordered a satisfying cold brew which was steeped 24 hours in a Toddy.  If I didn't come off a mile walk, I would have easily gone for a hot cup where they use a Bee House Coffee Drip for their pour overs.  Come check it out and grab a cup!

via Travel And Leisure

Fine Coffee Cheaper than Beer or Soda

LATaco's interview with Tony Konecny from I've now had one month worth of Tonx coffee and am a huge supporter and big fan! Try it for free if you don't believe me!

I’d say the biggest misconception about coffee is that it’s expensive. It can feel expensive when you’re standing in a slow line in front of some prohibition-era cosplaying barista and shelling out 5 bucks for a cup – but even with that kind of a price premium, it is still almost a bargain.

For comparison, a pint of craft microbrew at a typical bar will set you back more than a great cappuccino or brewed coffee, even though the margins on that beer are much better and it requires less skill to pull a tap than to pull a decent espresso. But craft beer doesn’t suffer from quite the same perception of being an upscale, pricey luxury and it dodged a lot of unnecessary pretense as it became more mainstream.

When you make your own coffee at home, even the finest coffees become pretty cheap. We are buying and roasting some of the finest coffees available and our per-cup cost for our customers is barely 80 cents a pop. Much cheaper than most sodas, red bull, gas station coffee – and a hell of a lot cheaper than those popular k-cups and nespresso pods.

And we spend a lot of time fighting the misconception that you have to be a trained barista with expensive gear to make a good cup. Not remotely true. It is all about starting with really great, fresh roasted beans.