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Pros - Ultra portable, craftily made and powerful deliverer of flavorful coffee
Cons - Slightly fussy at clean-up time, but not a big deal
The Canadiano… coffee maker?
I love coffee. Not like a passing fancy or a casual relationship that can be fulfilled with a mere quickie hook-up at, say, a gas station or a platonic nudge emanating from the tankard of burnt, astringent rust water bubbling out of an urn at fire hall gatherings. No, friend, there is a gentle calmness to coddling a mug of coffee; the aroma filling the vacuousness of your face that expands to devour the warm-chocolate nuttiness. The hot wash across the soft tissue that arouses and awakens nether regions to heighten the reality of the moment, the day, the task at hand, the adventure that awaits in the dark recesses of our waking moments. Of good origin, properly tendered and gingerly dispensed coffee is a synaptic explosion that both sharpens and calms, stimulates and comforts, vanquishes the wariness of a tired mind, energizes an addled body and comforts a sullen spirit. This love, this passion, this affair is socially acceptable and almost always encouraged. A cup of coffee extended as the proverbial olive branch is second only to breaking bread in the building of relationships or the tending to spilled blood.
At the same time, I am not a coffee elitist with elevated expectations that coffee has to be wined, dined and made to feel special. Coffee can be a cheap date! The cup costing as much as a large tub of movie theater popcorn does not ensure the kind of happy ending we are expecting in this type of romance. Instead, sparing you the really involved process of bean roasting through the endothermic and exothermic reactions; without even wandering into the forest of bean origin, harvesting, grind specifications and degrees of ‘doneness’; and staying away from the need for filtered water, coffee can be artfully simple. It can be the exciting hand-holidng on a breezy spring day. It can be tantalizing, new, delicious, interesting and ordinary without being boring. I love coffee.
Making coffee can be charming. The process requires three bedfellows: beans, in some form of grind, water and a medium for consummating the relationship to create the moist elixir of fuel for this randy character. Fundamentally speaking, hot water needs to pass over and through ground coffee for a certain amount of time and then make its way into a vessel that would allow for consumption. Quite simply, a little barrier that keeps from ingesting coffee grounds is really all we need to make sweet, sweet lovely coffee. Hello, Canadiano. Imagine a steel coffee filter nestled in a block of wood. Now, picture a block of wood that sits on top of said vessel for receiving the caffeine-charged nectar that this coffee drinker so craves. Make the wood aromatic. Yes, we are going down that road. Is it such a far leap to inject a little woodsy love into a warm, wet mug? The Canadiano makes coffee-making an intimate and personal experience. The right touch, the gentle stir, the sweet anticipation of using the Canadiano is more about loving what is in the mug than it is about slurping carelessly made coffee out of some industrial sludge pumper.
The Canadiano is the offspring of FishTnk Design Factory (http://canadiano.co/). Its design is so simple it is artfully sleek. Laser-etched packaging mimics the clean lines and shimmering conical screen in the center of the coffee maker. A set of holes pierce the wood on the undercarriage to allow the steeped, wood-imbued coffee to stream into an awaiting mug. The included directions tell us: two tablespoons on the conical, stainless steel filter, add water and stir. Gravity and the fine-pierced brewing surface does all the work.
Retailing for $49-$79, FishTnk Design Factory offers the Canadiano in a variety of woods; as I write this, I spied four specimens with the website’s promise of other aromatic introductions in the near future, as well as unfinished woods for the more experienced user. Why a variety of wood? Well, the big thinkers behind Canadiano understand that we drink different coffees and that the woody aromatics play more nicely than others. From their site, “Birch, Walnut, Cherry and White Oak are perfect for starters. Read a bit more about each edition and pair them with your favorite beans and roasts. As an example, Cherry and Birch are best with light and medium roasts while we recommend dark roast beans with Walnut, Oak and Cherry…” And, well, Why wood? Well, the mingling fibers of aromatic wood lend a heartbeat of aroma to the finished cup. Ever wondered why whiskey is aged in oak barrels?
Yes, it is paper-filterless. Translation: there is some work to do to rid your Canadiano of the spent grinds. But is it too much trouble to rinse the block under some water? If you find using, say, a French press to be too much work, save yourself the grief and stick with a more conventional brewer. If seeing the little beads of coffee’s essential oils mingling with the woody karma from the all-natural brewer makes you, ahem, excited… don’t turn back now. Is it a little bit of a mess to return your brewing area to its spotlessly nondescript space as it was before the Canadiano came along? Yes. But suck it up. I mentioned a French press as a coffee ‘tool’ amongst other ‘manual’ brewers, like the Chemex or AeroPress; the Canadiano is the elegant, little, black dress in the coffee making closet of cool tools. Need another metaphor? Think of the Canadiano as the Sunday morning, all-acoustic, unplugged instrument for playing sweet, sweet coffee music.
Maybe it’s a hipster’s toy for impressing other hipsters. Maybe it is a simple way to make good coffee. And isn’t there a little hipster in all of us? It is cool to have something fun that others talk about. FishTnk Design Factory’s Canadiano is more stylish than a fedora, more functional than prescription-less Raybans. And, hey, it is more portable than a Vespa.