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50 days, 50 albums, 50 coffees
Like many around the place, I took the ushering in of a new year to reflect on the previous 12 months of life.
Reflection looks different to everyone, but for me it involves doomscrolling Twitter.
I was doing just that when I stumbled across this post from RNZ Music:
I love music. I play music. I’m a cool guy. I consider myself up to date with the latest.
Scrolling through the list, I realised that I had spent 2022 with my head in the sand, trying desperately to make it through all the carnage that was happening around me.
Fifty new albums, many from artists I haven’t heard of. Fifty opportunities to discover something new.
Never to be recovered.
Unless I actually did something about that right? I could listen to all 50, and give them a go. I could even do that while also working the the vast collection of coffee crap I’ve collected and largely ignored because when I’m stressed I reach for the tried and true.
And then I could write about it and it would be content that I wouldn’t have to think too hard about.
50:50:50 was born in that realisation.
50 albums, 50 coffee preparations, 50 days.
Here are the rules:
Work through the RNZ great albums of 2022 alphabetically - that way I don’t just pick out the ones I know, and lose interest in the rest.
Work through the coffee gear I have - using one toy per day until I use them all, and then cycle back through them.
I don’t have 50 coffee toys - so on the second and third times around, I have to seek out NEW recipes, methods, preparations.
I have to listen to each album once, as a whole album, but then can choose to NEVER LISTEN TO IT AGAIN (looking at you Arctic Monkey’s).
Make some sort of instagram post over at www.instagram.com/themagicroast
Every now and then I’ll update everyone on the lastest through this blog!
Could be fun. Might be shit. A good way to start 2023 anyway!
Here’s the first ten days.
Day 1 - 10
Day 1: Aldous Harding ‘Warm Chris’ and a long black
Kiwi artist Aldous Harding released her 4th album ‘Warm Chris’ in March 2022. I've never listened to Aldous before so wasn't sure what to expect, but it's a good summer listen.
I guess it's like chilled summery pop, cleverly constructed, with some cool and interesting arrangements and beautiful vocals.
Tracks I'm loving so far: Tick Tock and Fever.
Coffee of the day is a long black, with Flight Coffee Bomber Blend on the Breville espresso machine.
I use the espresso machine most days, even if I'm smashing the filters. It's just so easy and convenient and it makes amazing coffee.
The Magic Roast household likes a longer shot, so the machine is dialed in to a 16g coffee in and 38g coffee out ratio. Brewed on top of about 2 fingers of hot water and you get a sweet and moarish long black.
Day 2: Alex G ‘God Save the Animals’ and a french press
All the way from Philadelphia, Alex G's 'God Save the Animals' from September 2022, with a French Press brewed the James Hoffman way.
The coffee this morning was the Nariño grown in Colombia, roasted in Singapore by the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf company.
It's a medium dark roast, so I used the wisdom from James Hoffman’s book 'How to make the best coffee at home' and dropped the temperature down to 85 degrees. I brewed at 35g coffee to 500g water.
The tip of dropping the temp for darker roasted coffees was clutch here - made it pleasant to drink without the bitterness.
I love the plunger and should really use mine more.
I have never heard of Alex G before, though he seems pretty prolific. I can only describe this album as mellow AF chilled pop.
There are some more upbeat moments, but over all its the sort of album you might chuck on late in the evening with a few drinks under your belt, looking for something to vibe to.
The tune Runner reminded me a bit like Tom Petty in the chord progression and singing.
Day 3: Amamelia "‘Bananamelia’ and a Chemex
Amamelia with the album 'Bananamelia!', paired with Kamwangi from Kenya, roasted by Rocket Coffee.
This is a fun listen! Electronica with rad break beats, DnB, and fun. Also had a sweet sort of Fat Freddies vibe. The cool thing about this album is that it's a fun listen as a whole album. Put this on when ya brewing a coffee and keep it on long into the night.
The choon in the reel is the 1st track off the album, 'Marble Run'.
After being woken up at 5.30am with a 5.1M earthquake, I needed a big coffee hit - so out came the Chemex and the Kamwangi.
The Chemex was the first filter coffee toy I purchased back in the day, and it is just so good. It makes great coffee, it feels amazing to hold and looks great in the kitchen. It also doubles as a cocktail pitcher!
This one I brewed 30g coffee to 495g water at 95 degrees. Pretty standard method that's easily repeatable.
I didn't reset the grinder after yesterday's plunger, so it was a bit coarser than it should have been, and a bit under extracted.
Still, it was a fine accompaniment to the choons of Amamelia that pumped out of the boombox while Arsenal drew 0-0 against Newcastle on the big screen.
Day 4: Angel Olsen ‘Big Time’ with the Origami
Angel Olsen's 'Big Time' served with a sweet cup of the Luis Anibal Calderón roasted by the legend at Frank's Coffee Roasters.
I'm only spending a day with each album, and maybe that doesn't do them justice. But I'm not a music reviewer, so I guess it doesn't matter.
I wasnt a fan of this on the first pass, but fuck me sideways this grew on me. Considering this is a pretty grim album, written after her mum died (not long after her dad died), it's a warming and enjoyable listen.
New school Americana folk vibes I reckon. Worth a listen.
I pulled out the Origami for today's brew of this Natural Latic coffee. There's a million ways to brew an Origami but I used a method from The Drumming Barista’s top 3 Origami recipe post.
12g coffee, 200g water, four pours (50g bloom, 50g outside circle, 50g inside circle, 50g direct in the middle).
Great body, amazing mouthfeel, a sweet cup.
Day 5: Arctic Monkey’s and an Aeropress
10% in and 50 days seems like a long way…
Arctic Monkeys with 'The Car', with the Raffles Hotel Holiday Blend in the Aeropress.
Another pretty dark roast from a Singapore roaster - they have a style there as it seems. I brewed it on the old Aeropress - 15g coffee, 230g water at 85, standard method, 2mins.
Could taste the dark roast flavour which isn't my jam but was fine.
The new Monkey's album is nothing like their guitar rock previous efforts. It's an okay album, a bit slow and dive bar like I guess. Like this coffee, not my jam.
Day 6: Avantdale Bowling Club with ‘Trees’ and a siphon
Fun day today - a siphon brew with Avantdale Bowling Club's album 'Trees'.
Hip-hop meets jazz meets good vibes. ABC is such a great crew and this album is so good. One of the few on the list that I actually engaged with in 2022.
Mad vibes with sometimes political and all the time smooth AF bars delivered over mad beats and smooth jazz melodies.
Put this one on high repeat.
Pulled out the vac pot for today's brew of the Frank's.
I've had this for 3 years now and don't pull it out that much, as it's a tricky brewer to master. It brews very hot so it can be a fine line between over extraction and perfection.
I used another Jimmy Hoffboy recipe foe this - 30g coffee medium ground, 500g water, 1min brew then draw down. A lot shorter than the Scott Rao method I've used in the past. Worked out well - yummy coffee.
Day 7: Beach House ‘Once Twice Melody’ with the dumbest brewer out there
Day 7 of 50/50/50 - journey of discovery and rediscovering.
Today was the coffee toy I hate the most, the Delter Coffee Press, and Beach House, with the album 'Once Twice Melody'.
This is a rad album! Sort of chilled synthy pop vibes, angelic vocals and sing-along hooks. Another band I haven't listened to before but one ill be coming back to.
It's a long album at nearly 90mins, and it's like part 1 of 4 or something, but its so rad!!!
The tunes today were much better than the coffee. As much as I have tried, I've never nailed the Delter Coffee Press.
People rave about this thing, which is a mix between an inverted aeropress and a plunger I guess. No matter how hard I have tried to dial it in, I always get sour tasting coffee.
It's poos and it's going in the bin.
Actually someone is coming to pick this up - it’s going to a better place.
Day 8: Ben Woods ‘Dispeller’ and the classic Swiss Gold
Back to work vibes with the Swiss Gold and Christchurch's Ben Woods with the album 'Dispeller'.
The swiss gold was my daily coffee maker for about 5 years. Sitting on my desk at work, it was the easiest way to get consistent, quality coffee inside my body.
It was the daily rider until COVID meant I wasn't in the office full time. Now, it just sits in the back of the cupboard, being all sad and collecting dust.
Makes a killer coffee and I might have to get this back in the regular rotation.
Dispeller is an interesting album. Dark and gloomy in places, weaved in with surprisingly upbeat melodies. Check out Trace Reel as a great example of this.
In places, it reminded me of Dimmer, with the guitar sounds and the space Ben creates within the songs.
It's described by RNZ as 'antipodean gothic'. Okay. I'd imagine it'd be a great listen if you were in the mood.
Day 9: Beth Olsen ‘Weather Alive’ and the Hario Fretta
Today was a cheeky cold brew using the Hario Fretta mixed with some Fevertree elderflower tonic water, with Beth Orton’s 'Weather Alive'.
1st, the tunes. The album wasn't my cup of coffee, but the song 'Fractals' was cool. Poppy, dark, mellow, not my slice of life.
Now the coffee. Before flash cooling V60s became cool, Hario released the Fretta where the ice sits in a funnel thing so the coffee has to trickle through it all. It seems to make the coffee cooler quicker.
My one had a plastic V60 which I gave to a mate, buy my ceramic V60 sits on it pretty well.
Do you need a Fretta to flash cool a V60? Definitely not. But it looks cool so why not waste some money.
I mixed mine with some tonic water cos it's hawt in Toes, and holy shit it was all time. I have some left which will go nicely with ALL THE GIN.
Day 10: The Beths ‘Expert in a Dying Field’ and the mokapot
On this rainy day, rocking The Beths with 'Expert in a Dying Field' and the good old mokapot.
I've been sleeping on The Beths it seems - haven't really checked much out but I am really enjoying Expert in a Dying Field.
Rocky-pop with sweet guitars, great vocals and sing-a-long songs for road trips everywhere. Get into this.
Pulled out the mokapot for some classic, easy and comforting good times.
The mokapot can be arse, but following a careful, considering and conscious of what's going on, you can make killer coffee. Read more on my blog!
10 down, 40 to go
Keep up with the latest on my Instagram.
And check out the playlist I’m adding to each day with the tracks I like, or hate the least, from each album.