Brew/Run Notes

I decided to try a different Aeropress recipe with my Starbucks beans today, as my last couple of cups have been on the bitter side.

  • Beans: Starbucks House Blend medium roast
  • Grind: “Finer end of medium” – 1.5 turns on the JX minus 3 clicks, or 42 total clicks
  • 90°C water
  • 15 grams coffee / 200 grams water (1:13.3)
  • James Hoffmann’s Ultimate Aeropress Recipe

I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I used 15 grams of coffee where the recipe calls for 11 (although that assumes a light roast) and I did pre-wet the filter with cold water. I used two paper filters that are on their 5th or 6th cup. This produced a pretty nice cup with less bitterness than I had been getting lately with a different recipe. Compared to that recipe, this one uses a slightly finer grind with a lower water temperature. I do like Hoffmann’s scientific approach to brewing with the Aeropress, and this is a pretty easy recipe to follow, so I’m sure I’ll be tinkering around with it some more.

Another bad air day here in Maryland thanks to Canadian wildfires. I’m sure this isn’t the first summer where there have been wildfires in Canada, but it’s the first year I remember it having such a large effect on our weather here. Maybe this is just the first year everybody is paying such close attention to it. Who knows? I got out of the house at 6:30am this morning, when the temperature was still in the low 60s, and I ran 7.7 miles at a very relaxed pace of 11:30/mile. It was a pretty good run, with none of the energy issues that have plagued me over the past week or so.

Biking & Brewing

I didn’t get out of the house until 9:15 this morning (kind of a recurring theme this week), but had a pretty good, albeit short, ride into work. In spite of a “code orange” air quality alert, it felt more pleasant outside than any of the past several days. I was surprised at how many people were in PVSP this morning, given that it was a Wednesday, and the area got 2″ of rain last night. I guess 90 minutes makes a big difference, as the park is almost always (mostly) empty before 8:00. I hope to buck the lateness trend tomorrow and get out for an early run.

I brewed this recipe this morning with my Lost Dog “Mocha Sidamo” beans, ground at 1 rotation + 6 clicks on my JX (same setting I’ve been using for a while). Poured for 25 seconds, steeped until 1:25 with a quick swirl at 1:00, pressed until around 1:55, added 40 grams bypass. I’ve gotten to where I can brew this recipe, start to finish, in about the same time it takes me to brew a cup of pre-ground coffee in the drip machine. It does require more coordination than the drip machine, but the finished product is (usually 😀) superior. Today’s cup was pretty good, with a tiny touch of bitterness that I haven’t tasted with these beans before. I wonder if the swirl, or the tiny bit longer steep time, made any difference.


This was another day where I couldn’t get out to run until 11:00am. I had intended to run around 6 miles, but made the same mistake as the other day, where I started out trying to run too fast. My first two miles clocked in at around 9:45, and then I started heating up and slowing down. By 4 miles, I was struggling, and ended up cutting the run short. Total distance was around 5.7 miles. The weather was god-awful humid, and I ended up drenched in sweat, so much so that I actually drank some Gatorade afterward, for the first time since at least last summer.

I would probably be better off doing deep-water running in the pool when I can’t get out early in the summertime, but I find that to be boring. I did do it a couple of times last summer on really hot days, and expect I’ll break down and do it once or twice this year.

Today’s Brew

Brewed this again today with a couple of minor notes — I poured maybe a tiny bit more slowly, and started pressing at 1:30 instead of 1:20. I pressed until 2:00 and topped up to my usual 200 grams. I used a regular mug instead of my Hydro Flask mug, and was reminded what a big difference an insulated mug makes with lower brewing temperatures. The cup cooled off very quickly, but that was kind of what I wanted today. It was a good cup — not quite as strong-tasting as my last one, but well extracted.

I need to figure out a way to organize these notes to make them easier to refer back to. I might just try creating pages on the site grouped by beans. Not quite sure yet…

Ride Notes

Well, after a cool start to summer, good old Mid-Atlantic heat and humidity is back with a vengeance. Today was a pretty run-of-the-mill ride in to work along a route I’ve ridden probably a thousand times through PVSP and Halethorpe/Arbutus. The only thing worth noting is that for the first time in 10 years, I have a new helmet. It is a Smith Network road bike helmet. A few weeks back, I also bought the MTB helmet at the same price point, which is called the Session. The Network is maybe a few grams heavier than my old Bell Sweep helmet, but (like the Session) it has a MIPS system that is supposed to reduce rotational impact forces on the head during a crash. Both helmets use the same pads, which will be convenient when it comes time to replace them. The Session has a plastic visor (which seems to be standard issue on MTB helmets) and the Network comes with a fabric visor, similar to a baseball cap brim, which attaches between the front pad and the MIPS shell.

Today was my first ride with the Network. As I mentioned earlier, it was soupy out (mid-70s with a dewpoint in the upper 60s). The first thing that I noticed was that more sweat was dripping down my face than with my old helmet, which had a beefier front pad. This really wasn’t a huge issue, though, as the sweat seemed to wick to the sides and away from my eyes. After an hour of riding, the pad reached saturation and I did start to get some dripping in the front, but this happens with me with every helmet. I also frequently have issues with sweat dripping into my eyes and burning, but had no problems with that today. Weather permitting, I’ll get to test the helmet again during the ride home, which will be shorter but likely hotter.

A day or two ago, I ordered a couple of helmet liners from SweatHawg to use with these helmets. They are supposed to attach to the velcro points inside the helmet (in place of the pads) and help to keep the sweat out of my eyes. They’re also washable, so I’m hoping they’ll be easier to keep clean than the helmet pads. I’m a little bit worried about how they’ll affect fit and ventilation, but I am optimistic that they will work out.

2023 Swimming Notes

I’m back into a regular swimming routine this year, until pool season ends in late September. This past week was an exception, as we had some abnormally cool and dreary weather that knocked the pool temperature down to a chilly 74°. By this afternoon, it had bounced back to 79°, so I got in for the first time in 6 days.

Last year, I was kind of obsessed with trying to swim every day. This summer, I’m toning things down a bit and shooting for 3 to 4 days a week. I’m also trying to focus on keeping my ankles looser, as I was having some issues with tight calf muscles last year, which I think may have been due to not flexing my ankles enough while kicking.

I am still swimming with a tether, and with my Apple Watch. I track my workouts by stroke count rather than distance. Unfortunately, Apple Fitness does not have a setting for tethered swimming. Last year, I used the “pool swim” setting. With this, the watch counts my strokes fairly accurately, but I’d get an inaccurate distance measurement and lap count, because the watch expects me to me moving, not stationary. I’ve always counted strokes in my head either way, so my first thought was just to ditch the watch altogether and go back to recording my stroke count manually in Apple Health. But, then I wouldn’t get a record of workout time or calories burned, unless I entered those manually also, which is rather tedious. To make a long story short: this year, I’m wearing the watch, tracking my swims using the “other” workout type setting, and manually recording my swim strokes after I finish. So far, it seems like a workable compromise.

A typical swim session for me is 720 strokes, which takes me just over 30 minutes. I swim sets of 60 strokes at a time, then switch to a different stroke for the next set. The order I’ve been doing lately is: breaststroke-freestyle-breaststroke-butterfly-freestyle-breaststroke-freestyle-butterfly-breaststroke-freestyle-breaststroke-butterfly. One of these days, I want to start mixing in some backstroke as well.

Brew Notes

  • Beans: German Street Coffee & Candlery Private House Blend
  • 20 grams coffee, 260 grams water (1:13 ratio)
  • French press
  • Gooseneck kettle
  1. Preheat French press
  2. Heat brew water to 95°C
  3. Coarse grind (JX setting: 3 rotations + 4 clicks or 94 total clicks)
  4. Start timer and pour at the same time
  5. 60 second bloom (including pour time)
  6. Stir a few seconds until grounds settle
  7. Steep 6 minutes

Prior to today, I had been pre-weighing my hot water by pouring it into a glass measuring cup, and then adding it to the French press all at once. Today, I just put the press on the scale and poured directly from the gooseneck kettle, which took 20-30 seconds, and then I let it steep/bloom until the timer hit 1 minute. Probably not much difference between the two methods, but I suspect there is less initial loss of water temperature with today’s method. The previous method allows for slightly more precise weighing, but all in all, I think today’s method is a little bit better, just because of the temperature thing. To be honest, a regular kettle without the gooseneck might be a better choice for the French press, especially if I’m brewing more than one cup. All that said, this produced a really tasty cup of coffee, which makes me happy, as I have had no luck at all with these beans with the Aeropress.

Today’s Run

Today felt kind of like a preview for running at the shore in a few weeks. It was around 80°F out with a dewpoint of 71° — definitely the most oppressive weather I’ve run in so far this year. I wasn’t able to get out until 11:00am, and by then, the sun was starting to break through the clouds and heat things up. I ran 8 miles before the humidity finally got to me. It was actually a better run than Thursday’s, even though Thursday’s weather was better. I ran at a very relaxed pace of 11:40/mile, which kept me from overheating. I had good energy for the entire duration of the run, and felt like my form was pretty good as well. I went through 16oz of water, and ate a granola bar at around the 5 mile mark. I stopped with about a mile to go to get home, which I walked. While I was walking, we had a 10 minute cloudburst, which felt great. I actually felt a little chilly when I walked into the air-conditioned house. All told, not a bad run, in spite of the weather.

Back to Climbing

I climbed this morning for the first time in a while. Two weeks ago, I took a lead fall and tweaked the middle finger on my left hand somehow. Not quite sure what I did, but since both of the people I usually climb with were out of town last week, I took it as a sign that I should give the finger some time off. It is still not 100%, but I’ll keep an eye on it and cut back if I feel like I’m doing anything to aggravate it. That strategy worked well the last time I dealt with a tweaked finger.

I climbed 8 routes on top rope, which is what I usually shoot for when Cathy is belaying me. They were all in the 5.10a-5.10d range. I had climbed a few of them before, but a couple were new sets since my last visit. I felt a little rusty on the first climb, but the rest went pretty well. No issues with the finger while climbing, but we’ll see how it feels over the next day or two. Just wanted to test the waters before I climb with my friends next week, when I’ll likely do a little bit of lead.

Run Notes

It’s another very un-summer-like day here in central Maryland, with clouds, mist, and temperatures in the low 60s on the day after the solstice. I actually wore long sleeves for my morning run. I ran 6.8 miles, which is a pretty typical distance for me on a work day. My overall pace was around 10:30/mile, which also is about average for me. The first half of the run was great, but the second half felt like a struggle. I’m wondering if I started out trying to run too fast, which has gotten me into trouble in the past. My next run will likely be in two days, and I’m hoping to go 9 miles or so at a more relaxed pace.

My work to move the blog (and a couple other web sites) off my old EC2 instance is moving along. I’ve now moved all of my persistent Docker volumes onto an EFS volume, so there is no more persistent data stored on the EC2. Next step is to start moving containers into EKS/Fargate. I find it kind of amusing that, behind the scenes, the EC2 instance uses NFS to access the EFS volume. As someone who administered systems running NFS back in the 1990s, I remember it as a buggy, insecure system built on Sun RPC. Apparently, though, it has improved in the ensuing 30-odd years. At any rate, it seems to perform pretty well over a AWS VPC connection, at least for my purposes, which aren’t all that demanding.

Anyhow, that’s more than enough acronyms for one post. 😀