Hario Cold Brew Bottle

This summer, I drank a lot of cold brew. As I traveled around Europe, it became clear to me that cold brew was trendy and available in many different cities we visited. One of the hotels we visited had a fantastic coffee boutique (to call it a coffee shop would be insulting). These guys were making cold brew by using the slow drip method, and it was delicious.

Note: cold brew is not the same thing as iced coffee which is hot coffee placed in ice (that will make it watery). Cold brew is coffee that is brewed with cold water - usually for many hours.

When I got home, I decided to give it a go. I read a lot about cold brew and purchased a few different devices to make some. I also bought some cold brew from blue bottle “in a can” to act as our “control.”

Making cold brew is pretty simple. Most of the machines involve some a contraption that takes your coffee ground and water. The only thing you do besides shake is wait. The waiting can vary from 8 to 24 hours. I feel that 8-12 hours is the sweet spot as that means I can make .75 to 1L of cold brew the night before and it will be ready to take to work the next day (or sip on during the weekend).

For my needs, I found that the simplest way to get a great cold brew at home is to purchase the Hario Cold Brew bottle from Blue Bottle coffee. I already get my coffee beans every two weeks from Blue Bottle (the Bella Donovan is perfect for pour-over), and so it was a plus that they grind and dose the exact amount of coffee that you need for a single batch of cold brew. I also like that the Hario is made of glass. Many of the contraptions I investigated were plastic.

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Tesla PowerWall

I recently had two TeslaPowerwalls installed to serve as backup for our home. My PowerWalls are powered by my solar panels which I also expanded since installing in 2015 (I added 8 panels to my home). I am now offsetting 50% of my power utilization a year (even with my Tesla Model 3 which consumes about 20% of my total energy each year.

I want to get this out of the way and say I don’t need PowerWalls. We loose power in our home about once a year due to trees falling or lightning usually in the summer or fall when the trees still have leaves and we get heavy rain. I have considered getting a generator over the past few years and went so far as to have generator hookups installed on my electric panels but just could not get myself to purchase a gas generator. To do so would have meant.

  • Storing gas and keeping it fresh

  • Dealing with maintenance and up-keep

  • Finding a place for a massive generator

  • Wheeling it out and starting it every time we needed it

But my procrastination and annoyance bought me enough time for the day when I pulled the trigger and got them.

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Traveling for 7 weeks - what I found useful

I know it’s been a while as my posting schedule was essentially shut down this summer. I hope to get back to a twice a month publishing schedule.

A week ago I returned to work after taking the last 8 weeks off as part of my Microsoft sabbatical and traveling for most of it with my family. We visited 12 countries and 17 cities and planning for this trip was an 18 month project which included a lot of detailed planning on what to bring!

I learned a lot about how to optimize for travel packing and below are some of the details about what products I found useful.

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Secrid Wallet

A few weeks ago I picked up a new wallet. It seemed to hit on all the things I was interested in.

  • Minimalist
  • Holds 6-8 cards
  • No RFID protection for 1-2 cards (for my Microsoft RFID badge or hotel room key) 
  • Quick access to daily use credit card and driver license  (two things I don’t seem to need at all when paying anywhere but the US as I use Apple Pay)
  • Space for a few bills of cash

Now that I am in Europe I am seeing these wallets sold in many stores.  They are made by Secrid a Danish company. The wallets come in many styes which you can read about on their web site.

I picked up the Slimwallet In Matte Black.

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ROAV sunglasses

On a recent vacation I discovered these ROAV sunglasses. They are sweet. Made of stainless steel, polarized and they fold up into something the size of 4 credit cards stacked together. 


Pictured hear are the Echo in black which I now own and have been using for the past few weeks


There are a number of styles and sizes. I fit the large to medium size head and recommend you look at some of the photos to be sure.

The reason I love these sunglasses is that I can wear them out to dinner and then fold them up and place them in my pocket and not have to fuss with a sunglasses case or even possibly loose them.


I keep these in my bag and carry them with me at all times now so that I always have a pair of sunglasses. 

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