A roast-tinted take on coffee

In Dubai, Travel, Video on September 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm

A different take on Ethiopian coffee at Make contrasts with the coffee ceremonies of Addis Ababa. And makes me think about coffee in general.

This morning I went to Make Business Hub for a coffee morning. Not a coffee morning with gossip about family and work, but a coffee morning dedicated to, well, coffee.

It was hosted by Matt Wade, of Coffee Planet Roastery, whose business card reads “roast master”, a coffee expert.

He was showcasing one coffee, an Ethiopian roast, that had lemon hints, and tones of chocolate and caramel. He filtered it into a large decanter that looked like it had been taken from a chemistry lab, added some lemon peel to it, and a bit of sugar syrup “to balance it”; that is, to bring out the chocolate tastes. It was served poured into a glass with ice and a slice of lemon peel.

Ethiopian coffee at Make Business Hub. It was filtered into the glass cafetiere, lemon peel and a little sugar syrup added, then poured over ice. (Photo taken with my HTC One X)


Round India with an HTC One X

In Photography, Travel on July 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm

A few weeks ago, one of Taiwanese phone maker HTC’s communications agencies got in touch with me via Twitter to ask if I wanted to be a brand ambassador for their new phone, the HTC One X. They would give me a free phone, and I would try it out and say what I thought. My proviso was that it would be nothing to do with work; I’d have the phone as Austyn the tweeter, Austyn the occasional blogger, Austyn the freelance brand ambassador. Not Austyn the journo. Suits me. It’s a great phone.

One problem with reviewing the phone was that I was off to India for a week to meet a former housemate, Ellen, and see the Golden Triangle, that tourist route of Delhi-Jaipur-Agra. I took the phone; I didn’t take a data package. So for a week I carried it, alongside my SLR, as an extra camera.

Which is what it’s really good at being. It’s got an 8mp sensor on it, and a massive screen. The screen I framed the photos on was probably larger in terms of square inches than the images my Facebook friends would see when I posted them from hastily snatched wifi hotspots.

Here’s some of the photos. Check ’em out (and click on them for full-sized versions):

Ten things to do in Edinburgh

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm
A shortened version of this list first appeared in Gulf News‘s Friday magazine about a year ago.

  1. Climb the Scott Monument. Yes, it’s a 287-step slog to the top, but the payoff is a great view of Edinburgh, from the Castle in the middle difference, to the roofs of Princes Street, to a great view all the way down to Leith docks and the Firth of Forth beyond.