Great Mysteries

Today, I put forward three great mysteries. I claim no truth or insight or revelation. I merely offer a thought for your consideration. Actually, three thoughts. And I want to know what you think.

Mystery Number 1

It is widely celebrated these days that the proper method for measuring coffee is by weight.

Image: zirconicusso /

Thus, each day I measure out 20 grams of coffee for my single-cup, hand-poured morning ritual, ere I throw said beans into the burr grinder which has been carefully calibrated to grind just the right sized beans for my #2 cone filter.

However, coffee bean weight is determined, to no little extent, by the water naturally present in the bean. When you roast a coffee bean, one effect of the roasting process is that the bean dries out.

The longer you roast the bean, the drier–and therefore lighter!–the bean becomes.

This means that the darker your roast, the greater volume of beans necessary to add up to the same weight.

You following all this?

This means, that if you’re weighing your coffee, you will use more beans to make the same amount of coffee when those beans are darker and stronger to begin with–the very time you might think of backing off the volume in order to produce a well balanced cup of coffee.

So here’s the question: should we, in fact, measure coffee by volume rather than weight in order to produce more consistent coffee? Or, alternatively, should we vary the weight of coffee such that fewer grams are in play for darker roasts and more for lighter roasts?

Mystery Number 2

Do you find that your emotions run on a spectrum from good to bad? or on a parabola of intensity from high to low?

The way we normally talk about emotions is, I think, on a spectrum from good to bad: I’m so excited nothing could bring me down! and the like.

But I see in myself and certain little people I’m around regularly that emotions are often more like a parabola: there is an “up” of intensity that can one minute be excitement, another utter frustration.

Image: Mr. Pi

The slide isn’t from up to down, but a move from the “up” that we experience positively to the “upward intensity” of negative emotion. The “downward slide” from intense expectation to bitter disappointment isn’t a downward slide so much as it is a horizontal move from really intense eagerness to really intense disappointment.

Kids melting down on Christmas morning isn’t a crash so much as it’s a maintenance of the intensity without a positive direction to channel it.


Mystery Number 3

How does a ballet bun with this much awesomeness end up falling out into a ponytail two minutes later?

These are great mysteries, my friends. Together, I think we can work them out.

What say you?

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