Down, Down the Don

22 August 2016 – Who needs the Loch Ness Monster? We have our very own mutant fish, right here in the Don River.

detail, fish mural along the Lower Don Trail

Oh, all right, beside the Don River.

I don’t know that he, specifically, awaits me downstream, but I do anticipate art-by-the-Don, as I drop down from the Riverdale Park pedestrian bridge to join the trail heading south to Lake Ontario.

A powerful reminder: Bridgepoint Hospital there on the east bank, with its Bill Lishman sculptures tumbling down the river-side terrace.

view south down the Don, from Riverdale Park pedestrian bridge

I can’t, from here, see the sculptures with my physical eye, but my mental eye conjures them once more. (You can conjure them with this link to my December post, Artful Flows the Don.)

Some traditional graffiti art under the Gerrard St. bridge — framed & enhanced by reflections in the river itself.

under the Gerrard St bridge

Then again, who needs graffiti?

River reflections make art all by themselves.

reflections in the Don

I promise you: this image is right-side-up. That buff-colour horizontal line at the top is the far bank of the river; the greenery bottom-left is right at my feet; everything in between is converging reflections from a playful sky.

More not-amazing graffiti under bridges as I go, ho-hum, yawn.

I perk up again south of Queen Street, with this view westward through various bridge underpinnings to the edge of — I’m pretty sure — Underpass Park. Major-fine murals & graffiti in there!

view west toward Underpass Park

This means I’m approaching Don Landing, and access to the West Don Lands Park, once toxic wasteland, now wonderful. This takes me off-river — but hey, this is my walk, right? I can divert if I want to.

Up the stairs to Corktown Common, the playground at the park’s high point of land. Full of parents & kiddies — here a dad carrying off his toddler after patiently pushing her in one of those bucket swings for ages. (I know, I’ve been sitting under a tree watching.) They leave, but another little girl has already claimed a seat, and a young boy is fast approaching.

Corktown Common, West Don Lands Park

It’s all charming, but I find myself most charmed by the water-fountain arrangements. First, that they exist, because I am thirsty and appreciate free, pure water.

water founains, Corktown Common

And, second, that there is tri-level water for everyone: the Big People fountain, the Little People fountain, and the Doggie water bowl bolted into position on the ground.

Back to the Lower Don trail, and on to that mutant fish, just a little farther south.

mural south of Don Landing

I cannot find an artist’s signature. Sorry!

Then, just north of Lake Shore Blvd. East, I hit more expressway trestles & more art. Memory clicks in: I came by here in spring, when the artists were first beginning to lay on base coats.

Well! Look at it now …

expressway trestles n. of Lake Shore Blvd

The fish is the work of an artist that’s new to me. Correction: two artists, known as PA System.

Next up, girl with green hair, by MC Baldassari, someone I’m beginning to appreciate a lot.

MC Baldasaari's trestle

And then girl with black hair, by EGR — so distinctive! Once you’ve seen her work, you always know it.

EGR trestle

Right here, trails diverge east & west. I could head farther east, on to Ashbridge’s Bay, but I choose west instead, starting to loop back through woodland toward home.

One last art installation to amuse me as I go. Very urban-art. Very downtown.

in the woods...

Oh, those shopping carts. They do get around. (And so much for the vaunted “wheels-will lock” technology.)

I eventually emerge from the trails, pick up Cherry St., and cut north-west through the Distillery District.

Distillery District

Where, to my amazement and no doubt yours, I do not stop for a latte.





Sign of the Times

18 August 2016 – So there I am, ambling down Wellington St. East, minding my own business …

and I nearly trip over this sidewalk ad for Bravi Restaurant.

sidewalk ad, Bravi Restaurant, Wellington St. East

They’re boasting, right?


Bikes, Box, Building & Progress

15 August 2016 — Not quite as hot today, not quite as humid, so I’m out marching around town, getting some things done, frisky as a colt I tell you.

Cast an appreciative eye on this decorated bike basket — a common enough sight, but no reason not to enjoy each one.

decorated bike basket, College St. nr Bay

An equally appreciative eye for this traffic signal box at College & Elizabeth streets — again, fairly common, these murals on utility boxes, but always a pleasure.

College & Elizabeth streets

Then I look again, first noticing that here on the north side of College St., Elizabeth St. has turned into Dr. Emily Stowe Way. “Suffragette,” I think, somewhat vaguely; “pioneer in female medical education and care.”

Next I step closer, read the banner on one of the mural figures …

detail, utility box College & Elizabeth


Dr. Stowe (1831-1905), denied university entrance here because of her gender, studied & qualified in New York City. She then came back home to open a private practice in Toronto in 1867 — the first in Canada to be run by a female doctor.

She then spearheaded the drive for female medical education that led to the creation of the Women’s Medical College in 1883, a facility that also offered outpatient medical care for women by female practitioners. It was another first, and the beginnings of what eventually became today’s Women’s College Hospital — a major research & teaching facility that still places core emphasis on women’s issues.

I turn north on Dr. Emily Stowe Way, expecting the ageing red brick pile that houses the hospital.

Except it’s no longer there. A soaring new complex has replaced it, complete with open courtyard and sleek welcoming signage.

courtyard at Women's College Hospital

They honour their past, I see: three decorative arches from the old red brick pile are now feature sculptures in the courtyard.

old arch, in hospital courtyard

But they honour their past in more ways than that.

Dr. Stowe would be proud of the building’s elevator doors. This one, for example …

elevator door, Women's College Hospital

and this one as well.

elevator door, Women's College Hospital

I am quite elated, as I leave the building to continue my morning rounds.

Hurray for Dr. Emily, I think, and for the hospital’s fidelity to its founding principles.

Down on Dundas St., closing in on Yonge, I’m back to the earlier bicycle theme. This time a whole row of them, tidily locked up in a Bike Share platform. More bike “art,” too. And another marker of social progress.

Bike Share stand on Dundas west of Yonge


See? Take your pride for a spin.

Then I’m off to market to buy parsnips & wheat germ & stuff & stuff. All very mundane. But I’ve seen delightful things this morning, so even parsnip-buying takes on a bit of sparkle.


The Magic of Water

10 August 2016 – Not a particularly profound thought, but a profound visceral reaction: in the dry, hot season, we respond to water. (And feel, or should feel, great gratitude to have it available to us.)

The Tuesday Walking Society is in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, a peaceful & largely shady route to the Discovery Walk trail south through Moore Park Ravine and on down to Evergreen Brick Works. We pass fountains in the cemetery but, even more soothing, this limpid watercourse weaving through some memorial gardens.

watercourse in Mount Pleasant Cemetery

We pass poignant inscriptions, as well.

memorial inscription, Mt Pleasant Cemetery

Across Moore Avenue, and we start the descent into the ravine. Sun dogs dance in the camera lens, & dapple the path.

Moorre Park Ravine trail, at Moore Ave.

Everywhere, thistle fluff exploding on the seed heads, waiting for a breeze to whirl them away.

thistle heads, exploding into fluff

And the suction cling of burdock pods, proving why they were the inspiration for Velcro.

burdock pods clutching our finger tips

By now path-side greenery is almost obscuring bike racks at the upper entrance to the Brick Works.

side entrance to EBW, from the ravine trail

We leave the trail, enter the parkland that surrounds the Brick Works itself … and again stand entranced by the magic of water.

ex-quarries, now the Weston Family Quarry Garden

Once quarries for the raw materials for the bricks produced here from 1889 to 1984, the mammoth cavities are now repurposed & naturalized as the Weston Family Quarry Garden. We don’t sit in the Muskoka chairs, too hot.

We walk on, up & around the perimeter of the site, back down to cool off inside … and then linger a moment for one last glance at the water before we head home.

The Poetry Walk. Almost.

7 August 2016 – Here I am in High Park on a hot Saturday afternoon, eager to join the the Poetry Walk that will tour us around this 161-hectare urban park, hearing site-inspired poetry as we go.

Alas for the plan. I have misread the info sheet: the walk started at 1 pm, and here I am all bright & bouncy at 2 pm.

So I console myself with other discoveries. Of which there are many.

The picnic for the Former Thu Duc Reserves Officer Cadet Association of Ontario, for example …

the ietnamese & Canadian flags at the picnic

complete with flags & speeches & long food tables filling plates as fast as picnic-goers can present them.

Right across West Road, an equally busy baby shower. The signage in English, but the MC definitely latino, pleading again & again, “Por favor … por favor” as he struggles to bend the chattering crowd to his agenda.

Bright, busy splash pad over here …

the splash pad off West Road

and nearby an ice rink, stripped of its ice but the hockey nets still in place. The little boys do what any true-Canadian group of little boys would do: they grab some basketballs …

basketball hockey in a summertime ice rink

and play “hockeyball.” (The adjoining outdoor swimming pool has equally enthusiastic, but more orthodox, use.)

High Park is billed as a mixed recreational/natural park, and it does seem the most amazing combination of facilities — off-leash dog areas, garden allotments, a zoo, food stands, trails, public art, you-name-it — plus natural areas and other areas undergoing naturalization.

And Shakespeare.

roped off venue for the summertime Shakespeare presentations

A summer institution.

And formal ponds & hedges …

in High Park

and the signature great maple leaf in a broad expanse of lawn approaching Grenadier Pond. In winter, the outline is black and dramatic; in summer, it is a-blaze.

in High Park

Typical: the mum lining up her little boys for a photo. A-typical, but unfortunately true this year: the parched grasses of our very dry summer.

I see sketchers …

one of two sketchers by a hillside pond

and sleepers …

in High Park

and fishers in the designated area in Grenadier Pond.

fishing is permitted in a defined area

I walk a pond-side trail, its shoreline plants almost obscuring the helpful signs.

signage typical of High Park

On the left, the role of cattails & sweetflag in stabilizing shorelines; on the right, the habits of the pond’s diving ducks. Lots of High Park nature information, here in signage and online too.

I climb back up from Grenadier Pond, begin working my way back north playing tag with Colbourne Lodge Drive. One foray off-road takes me , most unexpectedly, to the High Park Labyrinth.

High Park Labyrinth

Who knew? Well, I suppose I should have known: I showed you the labyrinth next to the Church of the Holy Trinity (Into the Labyrinth, 7 July), and noted the website giving all the other locations as well.

Back up near Bloor Street, I stop to admire a few of the sculptures in that north-east corner of the park. I am particularly taken by this one …

a sculpture in High Park

perhaps because it reminds me of the strong, minimalist work of Inuk carver John Pangnark (1920-1980). Art historian George Swinton rightly called him “the Brancusi of the North.” Since High Park doesn’t credit its sculptors (or not anywhere I could find), all I can say about this piece of art is that it is by “the Pangnark of High Park.”

More art as I pile aboard a streetcar at the Dundas West subway station. Right outside my window.

alley next to Dundas West subway station

And look! Some art inside the streetcar, right before my eyes.

passenger in my streetcar

So there we are. I blew my chance to walk with a group, and hear poetry inspired by the Park’s black oak savannah, the wanderings of its buried creeks, and the assorted plants, birds, snakes & insects that call the Park home.

But it all worked just just fine.




We’re Bluffing

3 August 2016 – Bluff. One short word, at least three meanings.

  1. noun or verb: a pretence of strength or confidence, to gain an advantage
  2. adjective: good-natured, blunt, frank, hearty
  3. noun: a cliff, having a vertical or steep broad front

I teased you with # 1 in the post title, but in fact the Tuesday Walking Society is out there enjoying # 3.

Phyllis & I are down by Lake Ontario in Bluffers Park, with its stunning 14 km of … yes … bluffs.

Scarborough Bluffs, from Bluffers Park

We first head west from the parking lot, suitably grateful to the Wisconsin glacier for all this beauty — and, layer by layer, this geological record of the last stages of the Great Ice Age.

The glacier first swept in some 70,000 years ago, creating a large river delta and depositing the sediments, now laden with fossil plants & animals, that compose the first 46 m. of the bluffs. The final 61 m. are alternating layers of boulder clay & sand, laid down in subsequent glacial advances & retreats until the final retreat, some 12,000 years ago.

It truly is awe-inspiring. It also, apparently, tempts idiots to do idiotic things.

warninf! don't be an idiot

Ah well.

Lake-side we look across an inlet to a grassy, treed point of land. See the synchronicity of picnic tables? Up top,  finicky humans, who expect the table to include legs & benches. In the water, a humble swan, who thinks the table-top is quite enough, thank you.

two picnic tables...

We find, then walk a path that takes us from our lake-side beach to that point of land. It leads us along a very pretty pond, with water-lilies & a rather large drowsing turtle, and the shimmering reflection of that westward range of bluffs.

view over settling pond westward to the bluffs

But it’s not just a pretty pond! It’s hard at work, 24/7. Walkways & screenings tell us what’s happening here; we’ve seen them in Humber Bay Park, at the western end of the city’s chain of lake-front parks.

view of apparatus in settling pond

These ponds catch storm water surging toward the lake from city sewers, and settle out the sediments. Thank you Karl Dunker, the Swede who invented Dunker’s Flow, the system that allows some heavy-duty water management to be carried out so unobtrusively.

Now Phyllis & I turn eastward, doubling back past the parking lot, then on a blissfully shady path alongside various marinas, and finally to the public beach and, beyond that, the eastern range of bluffs.

view along the eastern range of bluffs

Message to idiots: don’t climb the bluffs, right, you’ve got that message. Also, should you happen to be in parkland atop the bluffs, don’t prance yourself out to the very, very edge.

This is why.

overhang along the eastern range

Quite the overhang, yes?

We stand mesmerized for a bit, watching some idiot prance himself darn near the very, very edge. We fantasize watching him do a Homer-Simpson cartwheel down the cliff, squealing as he goes.

It doesn’t happen. He retreats, safe & sound. We walk on, soon diverted by a narrow rivulet that widens as it twists & turns its way down to the lake.

a rivulet joining the lake, on the western edge of the public swimming area

We follow it, then walk on, at water’s edge, our boots pressing into the firm wet sand. It is all very peaceful & very beautiful.

And also very hot & very sunny. Perhaps this is enough? we ask each other, not wishing to join the ranks of idiots, albeit for a different reason.

We decide to walk almost to that striated bluff down there …

a bluff near the eastern end of the range

its layers a striking example of all those glacial advances & retreats … and then, prudently, we turn back west.

This time we follow a broad path away from the lake edge, caught between trees on one side and grasses & other greenery at the foot of the bluffs. Wooden fence posts mark the way, the musky high-summer odours of wildflowers fill the air, cicadas sing, everything is bleached & somnambulant.

path along the eastern range of bluffs

We, too, feel bleached & somnambulant.

Don’t worry. A little later we’re tucked up in a favourite café, and we’re all perky again.

Speaking of coffee …

Some of you were as amazed as I, to discover coffee cupping. (See “In My Cups,” 23 July.) Here’s your chance to take part in a cupping — or perhaps join a workshop in roasting or brewing coffee, instead. If you live in Toronto, that is. Visit the education page of Merchants of Green Coffee to learn more. And hurry: the next cupping workshop is Wednesday, Aug 10.


The Art of a Happy Saturday

31 July 2016 – Art comes in many forms, as you will have noticed. Saturday offered me three, any one of which would have been more than enough to colour that day very happy indeed.

Plus. Bonus. I did it all with my AGO volunteer colleague & friend, Cyndie.  Call that the Art of Friendship.

But back to the other three expressions of art.

First, the Art of Glass Sculpture.

"Blue and Purple Boat," Chihuly show, ROM

Wow, indeed. This is the art of renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, now on offer in a dazzling new exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. The only prosaic thing about this particular work is its title: “Blue and Purple Boat.”

Each room in the exhibit is dark; most installations are mounted on dark reflective surfaces; the works glow, they saturate your senses.

We approach the second room, devoted to “Laguna Torcello” — a mammoth, complex installation of appropriately sinuous, underwater forms. It is laid out in a giant oval; visitors circulate around it in awe.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

Cyndie is on the other side of the oval at one point, on my side I am standing next to a young woman who, mesmerized, breathes softly, “It’s magic.” We begin to talk, to examine the Laguna together. Cyndie catches us at it, through waving tendrils.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

“Look!” says the young woman, scrutinizing some of the white-on-white elements. “A tiny manta ray.” I nod, and add, “And spiralling above it, an eel.”

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

We keep exploring. Over there, a baby octopus …

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

“Laguna Torcello” is not all white-on-white. It pulses with colour, as well.

"Laguna Torcello," Chihuly show, ROM

Out of that room, finally, and we spend a moment with a vertical neon installation, behind glass, that has me thinking of ganglia and brain waves. Nope. The title calls it something like “Neon Tumbleweed.” (That may even be exact. My notes fail me occasionally, as you know.)

"Neon Tumblewood" (I think), Chihuly show, ROM

Into another room, where soft floor cushions invite you to lie down & stare up at the suspended “Persian Ceiling.”  Some people just crick their necks. Cyndie & I wait for an available cushion, and plonk down flat.

"Persian Ceiling," Chihuly show, ROM

The posture brings back memories of another vivid display of overhead light, that one supplied by Mother Nature. Years and years ago, I lay on my back on a gravel driveway in Muskoka, spellbound by the Perseid Meteor Shower.

I’m promptly snapped out of my nostalgia trip by three “Fire Orange Baskets,” each a complex of baskets-within-baskets, displayed on its own table.

"Fire Orange Baskets," Chihuly show, ROM

One last upward spray before we leave, a cool-down of rich greens after all that orange.

Chihuly show, ROM

Can’t even take a stab at the name, no idea. Sorry.

So that’s the Art of Glass Sculpture. On to the Art of Café Backboards.

Cyndie & I walk next door to the Royal Conservatory of Music, duck down Philosopher’s Walk just far enough to enter the RCM by the side door that gives directly onto the ground-level café.

Where we not only enjoy very good coffee, but watch a young barista create the newest backboard display.

barista in RCM café

And then across the street to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics. Where we limit ourselves to the gift shop, and finger some very beautiful things indeed. Yet the one objet d’art that causes me seriously to linger is located outside the doors, not within, no price tag attached.

Call it the Art of the Rock Garden.

forecourt, Gardiner Museum

Isn’t that terrific? Great undulations of form & texture & colour, either side of the walkway. I’m down on my benders, cocking my head, taking it all in from every angle.

Now, finally, I double back of the Art of Friendship. Because Cyndie took some of the Chihuly photos, and generously forwarded them to me to use here. Hurray for Cyndie.

Follow the Crescent

28 July 2016 – But before I get anywhere near the crescent, I play “follow the cedar.”

The Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata) that is, official tree of British Columbia, and what could be more appropriate?

I am in BC, specifically in the Lower Mainland magical-woodsy back yard of my dear relatives, Tim & Karen. It’s a flying visit, but I make time each morning to sip my first coffee in the yard, ears full of Chick-a-dee gossip, head tilted back so my eyes can climb the cedars.

Western Redcedars

Up, and up. Later I read that these guys can soar to 60 metres, at maturity, and I believe it.

One day Karen suggests a walk along Crescent Beach. We hop in her red convertible Mustang, and zoom on down to the tiny community. Top down, of course. (This is so a fantasy of mine! I giggle.)

Crescent Beach, as the name suggests, is a beach-front community — one of many in BC, this one tucked just north of White Rock on Boundary Bay. The Bay, running between the mainland and Vancouver Island, is also well-named since the Canada/USA border cuts through just south of White Rock.

Oh, it gets complicated.

I don’t care. I just focus on walking along the Crescent Beach beach with Karen, enjoying her company above all, but taking in lots of sun & breeze & sharp sea air as well.

And wind-surfers …

wind-surfer, Crescent Beach

and trail-side rocks incised with poetry …

along Crscent Beach waterfront trail

and two “summer children” right on cue, albeit wearing sneakers & playing at water’s edge.

happy children, Crescent Beach

We’ve been walking north along the beach, it leads us into Blackie Spit Park — right up there on a spit.

Rivulets carve their way into the bay …

into Blackie Spit Park

stumps mark old pier pilings, still lined up proud & tall.

stumps, Blackie Spit Park

We pat assorted dogs, peer at hawks & eagles & positive fleets of Canada geese. We meet a woman staring intently into the still waters. “I was watching a seal,” she says. “He’s just dived below surface, I’m waiting for him to pop up again.”

“Maybe an otter?” Karen suggests, since otters are common here, & seals unknown. “No,” says the woman, pleasantly enough but firmly. “Seal. Oh!! Look!!” We look. And yes, out there, a bobbing head. Seal, we agree.

We turn a corner, in a way I can’t exactly describe, but it takes us behind the main waterfront to what seems a farmland sort of trail. (Appropriate enough, at that. The Lower Mainland is rich in agriculture.) Everything is mid-summer lush.

trail in Blackie Spit Park

And around we go, and then double back to Crescent Beach beach.

And another wind-surfer.

wind-surfer, Crescent Beach

Followed by — could you doubt it? – a Latte & a Cappuccino in a beach-side café, then back home in the red convertible.

Zoom, zoom!



In My Cups

23 July 2016 – In my cups, at 11 on a Saturday morning? Disgraceful.

Except we’re talking coffee, not wine. Though there is at least the echo of a relationship: I’m about to take part in a coffee cupping. Like wine tasting, except with coffee.

And you do it with sturdy mugs, not elegant wine glasses.

mugs ready for the NGC Rwandan coffee cupping

We’re on the shaded patio of Merchants of Green Coffee, a favourite Toronto café of mine, housed in a former factory smack on the banks of the Don River just south of Dundas  St. East.

Merchants of Green Coffee, Matilda St.

No longer a jam factory;  now a centre for Fair Trade, organic coffee in all its permutations — green & fresh-roasted beans for institutions & individuals, fresh cups of coffee on-site, coffee paraphernalia, & coffee roasting classes. Also, on occasion, coffee cuppings.

Today, for example, with three high-quality Rwandan coffees.

This Rwandan coffee project is my first experience with a cupping, and I have more than passing curiosity. I helped promote it with a mid-July article for the MGC website — all about the recent emergence of Rwandan specialty coffees; the young Rwandan-Canadian entrepreneur, Assadou Mwunvanezaa, now importing them to Canada through his company, Massa Inc.; and the project with MGC’s Derek Zavislake to promote these coffees & make them available.

Shiny aluminum jars are lined up at the top of the patio table, each containing beans for one of the three to be sampled. Derek (L) and Assadou (R), snappy as all get-out in their Massa T-shirts, describe the coffees, and the cupping process.

Derek (L) & Assadou (R) at the Rwandan coffee cupping

All three, we learn, are Rwandan arabica coffee beans, Bourbon variety, AA designation, and all come from some part of the country’s western region, recognized to have the best soils & climate (terroir counts with coffee, as with wine). All three are Fair Trade and organic, produced by small farmers who belong to local co-ops: the Kopakama, the Abakundakawa, and the Kopakaki, respectively.

There are various cupping techniques, we’re going for the simplest, says Derek.

First you brew the coffee very carefully from freshly roasted beans …

brewing up the samples

and then you taste it.

OK, the process is a tad more nuanced than that. You line up your three mugs; you pour hot water into the first mug to warm it;  you transfer the hot water to each succeeding mug to warm it before it in turn receives its own coffee sample.

Derek pours for Assadou to sample

We are instructed to pay attention, not just to the flavour, but to where the flavour first hits the tongue — and where it goes from there. I pay attention to my tongue, I do, but I also take a moment to appreciate the sturdy, totally unglamorous old pot from which the coffee is being poured.


the coffee pot!!

We are invited, through our comments, to help build the flavour profile for each sample. Derek stands by the flip-board, three colours of marker to hand, one for each sample.

The issues are acidity, and body. Acidity is not (I repeat, NOT) about acids. It is about the brightness of the flavour. Body is, well, body. Weight. African coffees, we are told, typically fall into the higher acidity range, with lower body. Rwandan coffees are distinctive (terroir, again): typically also the higher acidity, but with medium, or higher, body.

Derek works that flip-board as we talk.

where the flavour hits ...

Allow me to decipher.

Those ovals on the left show the tongue. Number 1’s flavour (blue) landed mid-tongue & pushed back from there; number 2 (red) hit right at the front of the tongue & travelled toward the sides; number 3 (green), like number 1, landed mid-tongue but then pushed forward as well as back. Number 1 evoked words like “spicy & “smoky”; number 2 evoked “dry woods, dry grass”; number 3, called up “vegetable,” “fruit” & “sweet” — the widest range of flavours of all three.

From that came the flavour profile curves, acidity on the left & body on the right.

the flavour profile curves

The samples’ curves are at the top: # 1 (blue) with the lowest acidity & highest body of the three samples; # 2 (red) with middle acidity and # 3 (green) with the highest acidity, but 2 & 3 merging in the body column, below # 1.

That green dotted curve below? That’s the profile curve that Derek seeks in Rwandan coffee — which, look again at those results above, is most closely matched by sample # 3.

Well that’s all fine & carefully considered. Then we were invited to forget fancy analysis & just pick our personal favourite. Practically a dead heat: 3 votes each for the first two, and 4 votes for # 3.

Me? I voted for # 1.

My first coffee cupping. Been there. Done that. Even got the snappy black Massa T-shirt!




    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

    "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" -- Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

    "A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities" -- Rebecca Solnit, "Wanderlust: A History of Walking"

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