Brewed in a Blink: Peking duck IPA

Around two months ago, I found myself once again exploring the aisles of Dun Yong, one of my favorite Chinese grocery stores in Amsterdam, While strolling through the store, my eyes landed on a plastic cup labeled “maltose.” Intrigued by the unfamiliarity, I couldn’t resist the temptation to learn more. Maltose, I knew, was a type of sugar, and I suspected it had potential in my culinary experiments. 

The word “maltose” evoked thoughts of malted grains, the very grains used in the preparation of beer. Could this “maltose” substance serve as a substitute for barley malt, as described in my previous post, for another quick beer-making adventure?

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Brewed in a Blink: Health Store’s Barley Malt Beer

For the past few months, my brother-in-law and I have been diving into the world of beer brewing. Let me tell you, brewing beer is an art! It demands cleanliness, meticulous preparation, precision, and a whole lot of patience.

I always thought I had the patience of a saint, but after brewing a few batches, I realised that I might not be patient after all. Brewing can easily take 4 hours or more. A major time-sucker? Preparing the wort.

Without getting too geeky, this is where you extract sugars from grains by heating them to specific temperatures with water, malted grains, hops, and other flavour enhancers. Depending on the recipe, this can influence the beer’s alcohol content, foam, and sweetness. Now, I’m not a huge beer fan mainly because of its bitter taste. Plus, drinking beers is a ticket to fat accumulation on the belly and I’ve been there and now try to avoid that.

On a recent trip to Odin, one of Amsterdam’s top health food stores, I stumbled upon a jar of barley malt syrup. A light bulb went off: “Is this like condensed wort?” Why not swap out traditional wort for this syrup, add water, and brew a quick beer?

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Turning Fish Bait into Hipster Fuel: A non advisable Guide to Tiger Nut Milk

I love making drinks. Besides brewing espressos, teas, and tisanes, I enjoy creating syrups for lemonades. Occasionally, I brew beers and have experimented with water kefirs in the past. One of my favorite pursuits is making faux milks. Among my top picks are almond, soy, cashew, and hemp milk. But the milk alternative I love the most is tiger nut milk, also known as Horchata de Chufa. As a young kid, I couldn’t get enough of it during our family holiday in Spain’s Valencia region. The taste of Horchata de Chufa is sweet, almondy, and has a unique thick creamy mouthfeel.

Interestingly, I used to believe this milk was made from almonds, but a few years back, I discovered it’s actually made from Tiger nuts, also known as Cyperus esculentus or Chufa in Spain. A tiger nut is a small, tuberous root vegetable with a sweet and nutty flavor. Curious to know more, I delved into the processing and cultivation of tiger nuts and learned that they were also used as fish bait, apparently loved by carps, and considered magical for fishing enthusiasts to improve their catch rate.

Driven by curiosity, I decided to order some of these “fishy carp nuts” and gave them a shot in a Horchata de Chufa recipe, but with way less sugar than usual and replacing the Valencia DOP Chufas with the fish nuts.


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Resurrecting a Tonino Coffee Roast Color Meter

Recently, my Tonino coffee roast color meter, developed by the same team that develops the Artisan roasting software, began malfunctioning. Maybe you don’t know what a coffee roast color meter is and what its purpose is. Let me explain.

A coffee roast color meter gives insights into the roast color, and hence, the roast level of the coffee. This color is linked to the coffee’s flavor, fragrance, and mouthfeel. The color is useful in determining if the coffee has been roasted to the desired level, such as a light color for a delicate filter coffee or a darker color for a more chocolaty coffee with a rich body. A color meter is also a helpful tool for quality control once you’ve decided on your preferred roast level. The preferred roast level is subjective and depends on both the potential of the coffee bean and personal taste. So, a color meter is definitely helpful.

The Tonino is supposed to express roast levels numerically, for instance, 60, 92, and 116, corresponding to dark, medium, and light roasts respectively. However, a few days back, something weird happened. Irrespective of the roast color, the meter persistently displayed -127. This could not be right because anything I tried to measure, like white paper, black plastic, every time the Tonino gave the same reading (-127). Despite attempts to recalibrate the meter, the problem persisted.

The Tonino was clearly broken. What could I do? Well, I like to make and fix things. So why not try to repair it?

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Automating Insights Generation with Python and OpenAI

Strong Correlation Between CO2 Emissions and GDP

The regression results show that the CO2 emissions (kt) are significantly affected by GDP per capita (current US$) and Population, total (p<0.05). The F-statistic is 637.7 and the R-squared is 0.921, indicating a strong correlation between the two variables.

The above title and text were made by using a python script that retrieves data, conduct statistical analysis on it, summarises the results automatically, and then publishes the summary using the WordPress API. The goal was to use technology to automatically generate insights from data.

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Single Basket Espresso Made Easy: A 3D Printed Solution

As a coffee lover, you often found yourself craving the rich, bold flavour of espresso. However, brewing a single shot of espresso could be a real challenge – the small size of the basket makes it difficult to get the right amount of coffee in without making a mess, and using a regular tamper is nearly impossible. I saw some single dosing funnels online, but I did not know if they would fit and be worth the price.

That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands and design a special dosing funnel and tamper specifically for the IMS competition single basket*.

Using 3D drawing program Fusion 360 I designed a dosing funnel and tamper that would make it easy to precisely dose and tamp small amounts of coffee.

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ChatGPT is amazing: The Cat’s Pawn


ChatGPT is a artificial intelligence chatbot created by OpenAI. This clever bot was launched in November 2022. People are amazed at how detailed and articulate ChatGPT’s responses are, even though some people say it’s not always 100% accurate. But who cares about facts when you’re having fun chatting with ChatGPT? (This intro is partly written by ChatGPT).

I asked ChatGPT to write a story about a cat that wanted to become a barista.
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Vixen – Nikon DIY Telescope adapter

My girlfriend recently got a present from a friend who is also a wonderful dressmaker. It’s a beautiful Vixen Japanese telescope. Using this vintage telescope and watching the sky is truly a magical experience. It reminds us that we are very small and that we are all part of this giant cosmos.

It’s kind of mind blowing when you think about it. Things we are made of were once made in stars.

This is not meant to be a philosophical post, so let’s get back to the telescope. After looking through the telescope I thought it would be great to make some pictures of the moon. I have no experience whatsoever with telescopes but I though a simple way to do this, would be by using my smartphone. After a few tries this seemed to be a rather difficult task. First, it’s difficult to aim the telescope in the right direction, secondly it is very hard to manoeuvre the phone and get the view focused on the camera sensor. You need to precisely get the focus right, that’s almost impossible in case you have ordinary human hands.

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Colino Coffee Grading Kit

Last week Marko Luther send me the Colino coffee grading kit. The Tonino team consisting of Marko Luther and Paul Holleis developed a system with a full array of sieves for Arabica, Robusta and even peaberry green coffee beans under the name Colino.
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3D printed Compak hopper adapter for Mahlkonig K30 grinder

I recently bought a second hand Mahlkonig K30 Vario grinder. This grinder did not work at all but I got it for only 150 euro. After a thorough inspection I found that one of the essential wires for starting the grinding was loose. Just a little bit of soldering was enough to make this grinder work again. This made me happy but the grinder was still not usable because it lacked a hopper. I searched on the Internet for a replacement but these replacements seemed to be quite expensive. Luckily a friend of mine, Frans Goddijn, still had beautiful spare Compak – Londinium hopper stored in this attic. Frans was generous as ever and gave me the hopper for free. There was however still one problem to be solved.
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TC4 board by Viliam

A few months ago we wanted to order some extra TC4 boards for our roaster. This board is an arduino shield that can handle 4 thermocouples and takes care of precise temperature measurement. During the order process we had a problem. We could not order them anymore from the mlpg-website. All the “order buttons” seemed to be disappeared and mailing them gave no response. But somehow the universe came with a solution. A few weeks ago we got in contact with Viliam from Slovakia.
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Fluid Bed Roaster, new edition 2

Last weekend we tested the Fluid Bed Roaster again. There were several improvements made to the machine. Tije has improved the thermal insulation and housing. Also he improved the internal airflow, this prevents beans from unintentionally ending into the chaff collector. Also some software changes were made. To prevent burn through of the heating coils, the fan now has to get a minimal of 60 percent power. Otherwise the heating element will get no power. To improve roasting performance it would be helpful to use different PID-settings during a roast. Tije tried to implement this, unfortunately this didn’t work. Frans Goddijn contacted Marko Luther, the maker of the more than excellent Artisan roast software. Marko is again very helpful and tries to fix this. Many thanks again for his outstanding help.
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