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Brands and Stuff That You Love (Emphasis on Quality)

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  • Darcy
    replied
    Super helpful NWhikergal k_p GrussGott ayazgood -- thank you! Baratza it is.

    GrussGott I was given a very old, large and broken-ish Wega machine, which is what got me going on the whole home espresso journey. I love(d) that machine but it went from broken-ish to broken, and it's been tough to find someone who can repair it. I haven't given up hope -- I think that machine is quite something and deserves another shot (ha ha) -- but I'm really loving the Cafelat. It's fun to use and pretty cool looking to boot.

    As long as we're on the coffee topic, let's talk beans: in addition Birds & Beans I'll give shout outs to Fulcrum (our neighbors!) as well as Haiti.



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  • GrussGott
    replied
    Originally posted by NWhikergal View Post
    Darcy, I have been very happy with my Baratza Encore ... their Virtuoso would be a nice upgrade pick
    Wow Darcy that Cafelat is SUPER cool! I have a ton of their other stuff (tampers, cups, etc), but had no idea they made that thing ... funny because we're thinking of moving and I have an older giant espresso maker that is probably time to go, so the Cafelat is now on my list!

    I have the Baratza Virtuoso and the Vario, both are 10 years old now, and both still work awesome. I also have a same vintage Compak K10 pro and comparing all three over the years I would say, for my skill level at least, there is very little difference between the K10 and Vario (which has ceramic flat burrs) for small batches. I've found the Virtuoso isn't quite able to get the lemon cookie or blueberry bomb notes the others can so it just depends how picky I feel that day. The real differences come with large batches where the Virtuoso will lose its consistency fast, the Vario is consistent but shuts down after a few minutes of grinding, and the K10 could go forever.

    Not sure if any of that helps other than to say the obvious which is grinding with a quality burr less apt to get dull DEFINITELY shows up in the cup. Any of the Baratza grinders are the real deal, and if I have to ever buy a new one I've been happy enough with their consistency and longevity I'd buy another.

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  • ayazgood
    replied
    Originally posted by k_p View Post
    Darcy This is a very timely question because I have a grinder to avoid: Oxo Conical Burr Grinder. I wanted an upgrade from my hand grinder, and after some research (and a Wirecutter recommendation), went with the Oxo. I've had it for just under a year and have to disassemble it about once a month to clear clogged grinds (even when I use light roasted beans). Just learned today they are sending me a replacement, but I think the issue is with the design. The Baratza Encore is what I'm saving up for once this replacement goes kaput.
    I had the same experience with the Oxo grinder. Got slowly worse over a year or 2, to where it would take forever to grind enough beans for a single pot. No amount of disassembling or cleaning would fix the problem. Very happy with the Barartza Virtuoso (and love the timer function).

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  • k_p
    replied
    Darcy This is a very timely question because I have a grinder to avoid: Oxo Conical Burr Grinder. I wanted an upgrade from my hand grinder, and after some research (and a Wirecutter recommendation), went with the Oxo. I've had it for just under a year and have to disassemble it about once a month to clear clogged grinds (even when I use light roasted beans). Just learned today they are sending me a replacement, but I think the issue is with the design. The Baratza Encore is what I'm saving up for once this replacement goes kaput.

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  • NWhikergal
    replied
    Darcy, I have been very happy with my Baratza Encore as an entry level electric burr grinder, though their Virtuoso would be a nice upgrade pick. If I had gone manual, I considered a Hario. I am not the coffee geek that some here may be though. Also, that is an awesome looking espresso maker.

    ETA: When I purchased mine a couple of years ago, I visited one of Seattle Coffee Gear's retail shops, and it was a great opportunity to test out several in action.

    ETA2: If you are mainly drinking espresso, I am intrigued by the Baratza Sette 270, but I have not seen it in person.
    Last edited by NWhikergal; 04-19-2021, 02:35 PM.

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  • Darcy
    replied
    Cafelat Robot Espresso Maker

    The shots are great, the machine is simple. I do need a new grinder, though: open to recommendations, if anyone has any!

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  • GrussGott
    replied
    If you use or are looking for a portable travel battery with enough power for laptops, phones, etc I posted here about a great one I found after trying all kinds

    Leave a comment:


  • labrain
    replied
    This is a fun thread to read through. I have seen some folks mention companies that I also like, and have met some new ones as well.
    I'll add a couple of my favorites.

    Kent Brushes, www.kentbrushes are quality, hand made brushes and combs, for both men and women. Made in the UK, they are made with natural materials and designed to last a lifetime.

    I'm a firm believer in merino wool. It feels great, packs light, and doesn't contribute to the micro-plastic issue coming from laundry residue.
    Two companies that carry nice clothing lines are Woolx (Merino Wool Base Layer - Warmest Base Layers For Men & Women - Woolx)
    and another Seattle company, Woolly Clothing. https://www.woolly.clothing
    Last edited by labrain; 01-18-2021, 11:07 AM.

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  • defi
    replied
    I have a love/mixed feelings relationship with this thread-- I love finding out about high-quality brands but at the same time massive changes in my life over the last few years have largely prevented me from getting... much of anything that isn't an absolute essential (worked in research at my alma mater in a LCOL area, funding ran out so I couchsurfed at a friend's for several months in a HCOL area as I went job hunting and worked as a barista for a coffee chain once my savings ran low, then the pandemic hit so for a period of time I worked three part-time jobs while still looking for literally any job relevant to my future career goals in medicine, and now I'm volunteering for AmeriCorps full-time, still working as a barista part-time to pay the rent, and working on getting my EMT license because I got tired of feeling helpless amidst the pandemic).

    Anyway, my contribution to this thread: Nicks Boots. I have their Roberts boot with medium arch, got them while I still worked in research, so I've had them for about 3 years but really only started wearing them rigorously for the last 1.5 years (being on my feet for 20-39 hrs/week at minimum). I have flat feet that are also small and wide, so finding shoes that don't result in foot/knee/back pain after about 3 hours of standing/walking (even with shoe inserts) had previously been an absolute nightmare. Their boots have built-in arch support that molds to your foot over time. After breaking them in, they are hands-down the most comfortable footwear I have ever worn. 8-hour shifts are no problem for me, zero foot/knee/hip/back pain. Back when I worked 3 jobs to stay afloat I'd have 14+ hour days on my feet, multiple days in a row-- I'm pretty sure their boots saved me from immense knee and back pain. They are admittedly (very) pricey, but they are also resoleable and rebuildable and made in Spokane, WA. If I were to somehow lose my current pair tomorrow, I would honestly take out a small loan to purchase a new pair, which is probably the highest praise I can give them. I recommend them to anyone looking for a hard-wearing, comfortable work boot, anyone with flat feet who struggle to find comfortable shoes, or really, anyone looking for comfortable shoes.

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  • GoStanford
    replied
    I return to this thread from time to time as well, to see the great recommendations here. I'm going to suggest two products that have proven their usefulness to me throughout much of sheltering in place:

    The Gill tube wringer, https://www.tubewringer.com - I have the Medium Duty. It's similar to what's used to squeeze out the last bit of caulking, and it helps get the last bit of toothpaste, tomato paste, etc. from plastic or metal tubes.

    The Dan Chan corrugated cardboard cutter (got mine on Amazon from the Canary store). I've become the recycling/box breakdown person at home, and this thing has saved my arms. I used to use my Leatherman, but the smooth blade was not really intended to cut through corrugated cardboard easily. This little serrated gadget is perfect. Take care with the blade, of course.

    Wishing all of you a Happy New Year, enjoying catching up on your recommendations and other Tom Bihn news.

    Leave a comment:


  • AlexN
    replied
    Going to give this thread a bump because it's one of my favorite non-bag-related threads! I've been making an effort to be more slow-fashion-minded, buy carefully and invest in products/companies who are intentional about ethical, sustainable production and vertical integration. Patagonia and Tom Bihn are standout favorites for obvious reasons. Below are some less obvious favorites of mine.

    Case - Classic American-made pocket knives. Beautiful traditional handle materials. All the charm and quirks of being hand-made and finished. Several patterns date back over 100 years, and one will probably last you 100 years.

    Ecco - European footwear and accessories. Very particular about their materials. Nearly indestructible TPU soles. And they own their own cattle ranches and tanneries to ensure quality and are constantly innovating. Read more here.

    Kent Brushes - Centuries-old UK brush maker. Lovely hand-cut acetate combs that are much better for your hair than molded plastic combs. Also, that Royal Warrant.

    S.E.H. Kelly - Beautiful old-school garments with outstanding Tom Bihn-like attention to construction and materials.

    Seiko - Japanese watch-making giant (and not the mall brand you think they are). All the geekery I love about Tom Bihn. They're one of the only watch-makers to create ALL of their materials in-house. Seriously, these guys even grow their own quartz crystals and make their own hairspring alloys to meet their exacting standards. Read more here.

    Vetra - High-quality, hard-wearing French-made jackets. Love the company's ethics - they destroyed their factory during WWII and moved cross-country after refusing to make uniforms for the German army.

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  • aryabird
    replied
    This thread is as bad for my wallet as TB
    Some things I love:
    L.L. Bean's pima cotton v-neck tees. Super soft and wear like iron. The v-neck is high enough to still be work appropriate too.
    Zaqq minimalist shoes. Bit of a pain to order from if you're in the U.S., but they have some very stylish zero drop shoes and boots.
    Stream2Sea sunscreen, hair, and body care. Made in my home state of Florida and all products are certified reef safe.

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  • Skirata44
    replied
    I know this brand has probably been mentioned here a few times, and I'm well aware that I'm performing thread necromancy here...but I wanted to give a massive shoutout to Darn Tough because of their warranty. I bought a few pairs about a year ago and they were a size too big. I sat on them for about 3 months and then finally got around to filling out a warranty claim...and then promptly forgot to actually send the socks to them for another 9 months. Then last week I found the unsent package while cleaning out my room, and I finally shipped it to them. If anyone's keeping track, that means that I'd been meaning to send these back for a year at this point. The package got delivered to them today, and about 20 minutes after I got the delivery notification I got an email saying that my warranty had been accepted and I got a code for two new pairs of socks. Absolutely fantastic warranty, they really do mean "no questions asked" when they say it.

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  • kieri
    replied
    The fulFILL container is the newest addition to my EDC, and it's a perfect fit in a mini Ghost Whale. I use mine to carry a tiny amount of tinted lip balm, solid perfume, mints, floss, ibuprofen/tylenol, and tweezers. It would fit really well in a PIKA or the interior pockets of the Luminary.

    https://fulfillcontainer.com/

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  • bijoux
    replied
    AESOP Australia

    Particularly the hand sanitiser. Easy to use with a flip top lid, non-sticky, lovely herbal scent. I also use their spray deodorant.

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