Categories
Personal

Pune Coffee Brewers Club meetup

I first heard of coffee brewers when I read Mehul’s Twitter update that he was participating in a brewing competition and came in at no 3. Coffee brewing is basically the process of making coffee from the stage of coffee beans to a concoction that you can consume.

Today, we met at The Fat Labrador, a cafe situated in Bavdhan, Pune.

Coffee devices and brewing paraphernalia that we used today. Image Credit: Pradeep Mohandas

This is the second meetup of Pune’s Coffee Brewers Club. We started out with discussing coffee recipes that some of the brewers had arrived at ostensibly after a lot of experimentation with a lot of coffee devices. There was a lot of talk of mgs of coffee, minute-second readings of the time they allowed it to brew and broadly methods by which coffee was brewed (immersion and pour over).

After that introduction, Mehul spoke of the factors that affected a good coffee output: temperature, pressure and time. We then got to try both the methods using a pour over method and an Aeropress.

We tried tasting different beans that Mehul had carried with him from Mumbai. After a few rounds of this, we got to try out an espresso from a hand pressed espresso machine.

Mehul ended the session on how us newcomers could begin getting a glimpse into the world of coffee brewing. He suggested getting the coffee that is freshly roasted (3-4 days old roasted coffee). I was assured that Indian roasters do not usually sell stale coffee. This is to be consumed over the period of next 3-4 weeks for best effect.

He suggested beginning with a simple process of coffee brewing. Get fresh ground coffee put it in a cup of boiling water, let it brew for about 3-4 minutes and then consume. The next step would be to have an aeropress to make the coffee. Aeropress is considered a very versatile, cheap and easy to carry device that does most of the functions that a coffee brewer is looking at and hence quite highly recommended. It comes at a price range of about three to four thousand.

The next step up is getting a simple grinder. Mehul had got his off AliExpress for about INR 900. When we reach a place where we can’t turn the grinder anymore, we reach the zero setting. As we turn, the grinder churns out coarser coffee. If you plan to go ahead, you can invest in better grinders as they turn out more consistent and get control over the size of the coarseness of the coffee beans. Prefer manual over electronics.

The next investment is in a measuring pad. The cheapest one is off Amazon that costs INR 200-300. This helps to measure the amount of coffee beans you take. This too gets complicated with higher price where a timer gets added on which helps you measure brewing time.

The next investment suggested for your upward spiral into the world of coffee brewing is a goose-neck kettle. This is useful to control the way in which water is poured on the ground coffee beans. These comes with insertable thermometers that helps you control the temperature of water that is used for your coffee.

I am not sure whether I am going to personally follow through with coffee brewing beyond say South Indian filter coffee. However, I’ll let these notes remain for future reference. I also got hold of ground filter coffee powder from the Fat Labrador that I will try out. I had a good filter coffee and Bombay Masala sandwich after the meetup.

Great to meet Mehul after a long time and nice to meet fellow coffee enthusiasts in a new city. If you find any errors in the notes above, they are most likely mine, and request you to leave them in the comment section to help me fix them.

(added later) Mehul shared links on the Pune CBC WhatsApp group for some of the products he recommended. Sharing here for the sense of completion:

  1. Cheapest scale. 1 gms increment. Max 10 kg.
  2. Scale that Can measure in 0.5 gms increments.
  3. Scale that can measure in 0.1 gms increment.
  4. Simple gooseneck kettle, no thermometer.
  5. Simple gooseneck kettle, with thermometer.
Categories
Writing

Storytelling by Hemant Baliwala

Society for Technical Communication Pune arranged for a learning session on Storytelling by Hemant Baliwala on August 14, 2019 . I attended the session hoping this would help me improve my blogging skills a bit.

The first session had all of us (about 37 of us) introduce ourselves with our name, favourite food, favourite place, happiest moment of our life and the saddest moment of our life. 

While I shared the above information openly, the second session took my saddest moment and tore it apart. In Hemant’s defence, he asked for my permission on whether he could take this apart publicly in class. He also said that he would also try and help me to find closure on this life event. People in the room were encouraged to see the moment through various lens (sarcastic, best case or positive scenarios, negative scenarios like imagining a dead man as a bad man etc). The idea was to openly map everything about the event in details unbiased or with little of my own bias of this experience using something akin to a mind-map.

I did not know while agreeing to this that I would be submitting myself to relive the event through such excruciating detail. While for others this was merely an event, for me it was a lived experience. They were trying to come up with all the factors that led up to the event as a story. Hemant asked us to present the story as is without judgement. He said the audience would judge and that we need not judge on behalf of the audience. I can’t say this gave me closure. It disturbed me a bit and took me a nice lunch in the company of friends to find my balance again.

Answers I gave from the first and third session of the Learning Session on Storytelling. Image: Pradeep Mohandas

The third session used device prompts. We were divided into teams of six. We were given photographs as device prompts. We were given two photographs – one of a circus and another of a toilet sign. We were asked to prepare mind maps like we had for the second session. We were then asked to outline a story based on the same. 

In the photo above, I’ve shared answers I gave on the first session and the mind map and the story outline I created for the third session. I will flesh out the story here in a future blog post.

Categories
Personal

Shri Krishna Janmashtami

Shri Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated as the day when Krishna was born. This falls on the day of Rohini Nakshatram in the month of Chingam, as per the Malayalam calendar. This fell on August 23, 2019.

We celebrate this day by decorating the pooja room, undertake fasts, offer Prasad like Appam and Palpayasam , chant the Vishnu Sahasranamam and play devotional songs. Shri Krishna Jayanthi is also known as Ashtami-Rohini, Janmashtami or Gokulashtami.

Photo of Our pooja place decorated for Shri Krishna Jayanthi. Photo Credit: Pradeep Mohandas
Our pooja place decorated for Shri Krishna Jayanthi. Credit: Pradeep Mohandas

It was a working day for Pradeep ettan. After he returned from office, we went together to visit the Ayyappan temple at Dhanori. The statue of Krishna was beautifully decorated with sandalwood.

Photo of The Sanctum Sanctorum at the Ayyappa Temple, Dhanori, Pune. Photo Credit: Dhanya Vallat
The Sanctum Sanctorum at the Ayyappa Temple, Dhanori, Pune. Credit: Dhanya Vallat
Photo of the Sanctum Sanctorum of the ISKCON Temple, Camp, Pune. Photo Credit: Dhanya Vallat
Sanctum Sanctorum of the ISKCON Temple, Camp, Pune. Credit: Dhanya Vallat

From there we went to the ISKCON temple in Camp, Pune. The temple had created a carnival like atmosphere and depicted the life of Krishna in life size displays. The statue and sanctum sanctorum was beautifully decorated with colourful flowers.

Categories
Status Updates

Moved to Pune

I moved jobs and joined a new company in Pune on July 29. Three days later, D and R moved in to our new rental.

Video of the first ceremonial milk boiling done at our new home in Pune.

Categories
Memories

Pune

I wanted my first visit with Dhanya to begin with a visit to the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Temple. So, when Dhanya wanted to begin to visit places near Mumbai, I thought it was time to visit Pune. Dad suggested we check in to Vivanta by Taj Blue Diamond in Pune and drive to Pune.

We left Mumbai around 8:30 in the morning in our white Swift car. Driving along the Sion-Panvel highway we reached the Mumbai-Pune Expressway without any issues. The drive on the Expressway was also eventless and we whiled away time listening to the radio. Once we reached closer to Pune, we switched on Google Maps to help us navigate to Vishrantwadi Junction in Pune. The route was reasonably reliable, though it took us through a maze of lanes that we were not familiar with and at times were doubtful whether we had got lost in the maze. However, as we got close to the Junction, signposts appeared helpfully. Pune is developing its own BRTS for which work seems to be progressing. There was drizzle enroute to Pune but it really started pouring when we were waiting for Dhanya’s friend’s husband, Rakesh.

He came in his white Swift and guided us to their house in Dhanori, quite close to the airport. We had vegetarian biriyani and kurma for lunch. This was followed by dessert. Dhanya’s friend is also named Dhanya. Both of them went to college together in their BBA days. They had a lot of catching up to do and so Rakesh and I left them to do the talking.

We left their house and again with great help from Google Maps, found our way to Blue Diamond hotel. We slept a while, soaking in the cushioned beds under the warm blankets, cherishing a moment of togetherness. We then went to the up and coming Koregaon Plaza mall and returned to the room quickly for a night out in a pub.

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Dhanya’s friend, Dhanya with her husband, Rakesh

 

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Dhanya and me at the Independence Brewing Co.

Dhanya and Rakesh picked us up at the Taj. Both Dhanyas had spent considerable time discussing what to wear. We went to the Independence Brewing Co. For both Dhanyas it was their first pub experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves with drinks and lots of photos taken for keepsake. They dropped us at the Taj again on their way back home. We were both exhausted from the long drive and promptly went to bed to sleep.

Rakesh had mentioned in his conversations on the day before that they were going to Lavasa and asked if we were interested in coming along. We were planning to return to Mumbai that afternoon after checking out at around 12 pm. I considered not going but realised that we had come most of the way to Lavasa and without company might not go to Lavasa on our own. I confirmed that we would be coming after a visit to the Dagdhusheth temple. I said we’d confirm times on the next day.

The next day we awoke at 6:30 am. We got ready and used the Taj’s car to take us to Dagdhusheth temple. I was not sure if there would be any lines and also wasn’t sure if we’d get parking there. We got an easy and early darshan there and made our way back to the hotel by 9 am. We caught the Taj’s sumptuous breakfast spread.

We then headed to Lavasa in our respective Swift cars. The plan was to drive to Lavasa, grab a bite of lunch there and then head back to Mumbai that day afternoon. The drive to Lavasa, though, surprised and it was afternoon by the time we got there. After parking our cars, we walked on the lakeside in the rains. We grabbed a bite of pizza at Smokin’ Joe’s. There Rakesh got news that a landslide on the Mumbai Pune Expressway had led to its closure. The news came out that people had died in the landslide and it was suggested that the old Mumbai-Pune Highway, the NH4 be taken. We drove back to Pune in the hopes that the landslide would be cleared and we could head back to Mumbai that night.

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Both Dhanyas met in Pune after a looonnng time.

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Both cars chilling after the long trip to Lavasa.

It was 5 pm by the time we reached Wakad junction and both Rakesh and my father in Mumbai suggested we stay the night and attempt to head back to Mumbai only early next morning. Accordingly, we headed back again to Dhanya’s friends house for the night. We had rice and onion sambar that night for dinner. It was midnight by the time we slept that night.

We headed back to Mumbai early that morning. There was no traffic jam and the landslide was cleared from all four lanes of the Expressway. There were light to moderate showers but we reached back home at 9, just in time to head back to another week at work.