‘Tis the season.

I’ve come across a couple of “Programs’ in the last couple of weeks that are philanthropic in nature.

Give a laptop, get a laptop, change the world.

XO LaptopWhen I was in Perth recently, I met Michael of “Grendel” fame, while at Tiger Tiger with Andrew Tang from Spring café (Subiaco).  I was introduced to Michael in the middle of an informal demonstration of what seemed to be a toy laptop.  Michael had been explaining to Andrew some of the features of the laptop:  How it could be dropped from a height of 2 metres without damage; how it could be charged with a rip cord generator, solar panels or even a car battery; how the laptop is used to teach children how to learn (not just teach them “Stuff”); how the screen can be viewed in direct sunlight; how easily and cheaply the keyboard could be replaced to suit language (the next model will have a touch screen keyboard so software will determine the keyboard layout – further reducing cost).  The list of features goes on…..

If this is a toy, it’s pretty impressive!  Then he told us why the laptop existed.  It’s NOT a toy (although it can be used to play games). It’s part of the One Laptop Per Child Program.  I won’t even try to explain it in detail, but I urge you to read about it and, if you’re in a position to participate in the program, give a laptop, get a laptop and change the world.  (The short version – You buy a laptop for a child in a developing part of the world – making a difference to their community, and you get a laptop for yourself/your child.)  The  previous links I’ve included are to the Australian program, but there are programs around the world.

Sospeso – The Coffee in Suspension.

One of my neighbours is part owner of a café on Burwood Rd in Hawthorn – Sospeso (opposite Swinburne Uni).  I’ve been meaning to get to it since it opened a couple of months ago, but only got around to it last week.  I knew that they were serving Fair Trade coffee, Free Range eggs etc. with an ethical approach.  However I was unaware of the significance of the name “Sospeso”.  It comes from a tradition in Naples where customers can order a “Suspended” coffee.  As a sign of your good fortune, you can order a café “Sospeso”.  You pay for 2 coffees and receive 1.  When someone not so fortunate comes along, they can ask the Barista if there are any “Sospeso” coffees available, and they receive the “Suspended” coffee.  It’s an honour system and, when I was at Sospeso last week, they had 21 “Sospeso” coffees available.  Café Sospeso are looking at how they can distribute these coffees, as the program is in its early days and they don’t have many less fortunate people walking through their door.

I’m delighted by the existence of these 2 programs and, given we’re in the season of giving, I thought it appropriate to post about them.

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4 thoughts on “‘Tis the season.

  1. I remember reading about the “suspended coffee” from wikipedia, I think. It’s such a lovely idea, I’m so glad to hear someone is actually selling a “1 for 2” cappuccino!

  2. Hey, this is a great coffee resource site!

    I’m curious to know; what’s your favourite grinder? Why? and have you had any experiences with the Compak branded coffee grinder?

    • Hi Mark,

      I’m a big fan of Mazzer grinders. They’re extremely well made.
      I prefer conical burr grinders for espresso and flat burrs for syphon/pour-over/French Press.

      My favourite grinder is the Mazzer Robur-E (http://www.mazzer.com/scheda.asp?idprod=18).
      The build quality is excellent, the grind quality is superb, and the control of the dosing function is very good. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the benchmark grinder for busy cafes and Barista Competition.

      I have used a Compak K-10 in Barista Competition. The grind quality is very good, but the build quality is nowhere near as good as Mazzer. I’ve also used a K-3 Touch, and it’s nowhere near as good as my Mazzer Mini.
      In my opinion, Compak produce cheap products that do a reasonable job, but I’d rather spend the extra money on a Mazzer.

      The only other conical burr grinder I would consider is a BNZ (http://www.bnzgrinders.com/).

      Cheers,
      Simon.

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