Checklist to Traveling with Baby Easier

Frequently, it will have a little difficulty when traveling with the baby. Nonetheless, if you prepare everything a careful way and take what things are suitable for both you and your love baby, you will be experienced a memorable journey. Similar to the adult, the little baby also wants to have the best things during the trip. To get a comfortable traveling, you will need to an amount of stuff for yourself. In the case of packing the equipment for the baby, you need to consider the condition of the climate, age, and hobby of your kid as well as other related factors. Aside from that, the length of the trip and destination also decide what you should bring. If you feel confused, you can consult the below list. It makes sure that you will have an easy trip with your baby with tips for effective packing. Let’s see!

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Packing checklist

  • Bottles

In the hot weather, you need to keep your baby hydrated. You should carry a couple of bottles to feed or drink whenever he/she needs. If your baby is still bottle feeding, you must prepare bottles, formula, nipples, bottle brush, and best bottle sterilizer – all are very necessary!

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How to Pick an Espresso Machine

 

The idea of being able to make delicious cups of espresso from home is an appealing prospect to many coffee drinkers, but with so many espresso machines out there, finding the best one for home use can be challenging, especially for the beginner.

The first step in choosing an espresso machine, is simply deciding exactly what kind you want or need, which usually comes with a decision on how much you are willing to spend. There are a lot of affordable espresso machines available on the market, and a lot of very expensive ones too but, especially if you’re just starting out, you needn’t spend a lot to drink high quality espresso coffee at home.

When purchasing your first espresso machine, I would recommend you pick some kind of pod-based machine or a semi automatic machine. While steam driven machines are generally cheapest, the coffee which they produce is considerably inferior, and while fully automatic or super automatic machines offer many more features than a semi-automatic espresso machine, they come at a much higher price without necessarily giving you a better espresso at the end of it.

If you want to keep things even simpler, and don’t really care what type of espresso machine you get (as long as it’s good), check out my best espresso machines article for the most up-to-date recommendations, or read on for more information on the different options.

Semi automatic Espresso Machines

Semi automatic espresso machines are typically the most common home coffee appliance, striking a pretty perfect balance between price, complexity and quality of output. Generally, with a semi-automatic machine, you will need to grind your own coffee (or buy pre-ground), put it in the filter, tamp it (apply pressure to compact the grounds) and then flick a switch to draw the water through it. Semi automatic espresso machines generally start at around $100, and you can get a good pump-driven product at this price.

Automatic (Espresso Pod) Machines

Espresso pod machines are becoming increasingly popular due to their sheer convenience, cheap price and compact size. Simply stick a capsule in the machine, press a button and you have a coffee! The quality of these machines, and the coffee pods which you use with them, can vary massively but there are some really good options on the market such as Nespresso, Tassimo and Krups. This is one of the cheapest machines to get started with, with prices starting as low as $90 or $100, however typically buying the pods is quite a bit more expensive than just buying ground/whole coffee beans so a pod machine will almost certainly cost you more in the long run.

Super Automatic Espresso Machines

Super automatic machines are relatively uncommon, and typically occupy the very top-end of the market. To get even a half-decent machine, you’ll be looking at around $400 (but you can easily spend a lot more). These machines perform everything for you, from grinding your beans (which live in a little enclosure on top), to tamping, to drawing through the perfect amount of water. If you’re looking for hands-off, amazing quality espresso, this will be a great choice all day, however you better be prepared to pay for it! These machines are also typically very large, so you’ll need a lot of free space in your kitchen.

Stove Top Espresso Machines

The single cheapest way to get into espresso coffee, is with a stove top. This isn’t traditional espresso by any means, and does produce a different flavour from your beans, but if you’re looking for a super affordable ($30 to $40) option, which is also highly portable and doesn’t take up any room in your kitchen, then a stove top (often also known as a Moka Pot) is a great choice.

Air Pump (Aeropress) Espresso Machines

The Aeropress machine is becoming increasingly popular, and evangelists of this method of brewing coffee claim it is far superior to regular espresso. This point is very much up for debate, however it’s undeniable that this is another fast, cheap and portable way to get a great cup of coffee. Prices start at around $30.

I hope you’ve found this guide useful and that it’s helped you get an idea for the kinds of machines which are out there, and what you can get for your budget. As with anything, there are good and bad examples in every category, so make sure you ready plenty of reviews and comparisons before taking the plunge. If you want to jump right in and get started, you couldn’t do much better than one of the machines on my top espresso machines list or, if you’re just getting started and don’t want to spend too much money, see my top espresso machines under $100 list.

Crisis In Your Coffee Cup , Why Now ?

Global warming, rain forest destruction, air and water pollution, genetic engineering, economic globalization and a host of other problems threatening our environment may seem so distant and vast as to be beyond the average person’s control. However there is a threat to our environment and health that is just as destructive and massive but is as close as your cup or kitchen. Coffee, the second most widely traded commodity in the world, has become a major threat to the world in recent times but there is something that every coffee drinker can do.

There are an estimated 25 million people worldwide whose livelihood is dependent on growing and selling coffee. From its humble beginnings in East Africa, coffee cultivation has spread to Central and South America, Southern Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. On the face of it, the cultivation of this tree crop looks like a friendly use of the earth and it was for a long time. This has dramatically changed recently due to two interconnected events that are simultaneously wrecking havoc on the environment; the people who work and live in coffee producing regions and you directly.

The first event is the dramatic increase in cultivation of the robusto variety of coffee trees. As opposed to the traditional arabica trees, these trees can tolerate more sunlight, have a higher caffeine content, grow at lower elevations, are more tolerant of pesticides and chemicals and produce more coffee beans per tree (estimated two thirds more beans than a shade grown arabica tree). Millions of acres of ecologically sensitive lands have been turned into groves for the cultivation of these robusto beans. The flood of these beans into the market place has had a devastating effect on the coffee market and the families who grow coffee. As documented by Oxfam (www.oxfamamerica.org) an internationally recognized organization on global famine and exploitation, Brazil and Vietnam in particular, have flooded the world market with these robusto beans driving down the export price of coffee to 40 year lows and increasing the poverty and misery of the people in the coffee growing regions. Just as devastating has been the effect on the land: The arabica coffee trees were traditionally grown on smaller farms and estates with indigenous shade trees and at higher elevations. The robusto trees are being grown on huge farms that clear the land of all shade trees and indigenous vegetation. This is destroying the habitat for much of the animal wildlife and plant life that inhabits some of the most ecologically sensitive parts of the world: reducing the indigenous plant and wildlife by 75%-90%.

The second event has been the major increase in the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Coffee is now the third most chemically treated crop in the world, with the large robusto plantations putting huge amounts of dangerous chemicals into the soil, ground and surface waters and the ecology’s food chain. There are at least twelve chemicals (known as the dirty dozen) used on a massive level for coffee growing that are banned or highly regulated in industrialized nations. These chemicals are now being used on both the arabica and robusto coffee trees. The net effect has been the infusion of tons of these harmful chemicals into the ground, vegetation, ground and surface water, the drinking water and food of the people in coffee producing areas and infusing these poisons into the entire food chain including you the consumer of these coffees. These chemicals have been tied to birth defects, cancer and a number of other diseases. Directly ingested, some are toxic enough to kill children and adults.

The effect of this tremendous increase in the use of these chemicals has produced more destruction of the flora and fauna of the coffee producing regions that global warming or any other single factor. Dead streams and polluted rivers are becoming the norm in coffee producing areas. For example, the United States’ birdwatchers started documenting the rapid decline of migratory birds that travel between Central and South America and the U.S. Studies have shown that more than 150 species of birds thrive in shade grown organic coffee farms as opposed to less than twenty five in robusto farms. Discovering that the cause was the ‘double whammy’ of destructive robusto coffee growing practices and chemical use, no other than the United States’ Smithsonian Institute stepped in to both establish guidelines for growing ‘bird friendly’ coffee and to help the coffee industry start producing properly shaded coffee with organic methods. A number of individuals and environmental organizations from the United States have also joined this fight to save our environment and health like the Friends of the Earth, the Fair Trade Assn. and numerous organic-minded groups.

There are 107 million Americans who drink coffee on a regular basis with another 57 million occasional coffee drinkers. They consume an average of 1.7 cups per day. If you are an average coffee drinker you will consume approx. 34 gallons of coffee per year. This is the equivalent of the production of 18 coffee trees. These 18 coffee trees will be treated with 11and a half pounds of chemical fertilizers and pesticides each year. By changing to organic shade grown coffees you can make a big difference!

What you can do:

  • Ask for strictly organic, fair trade and/or bird friendly coffee whenever you buy coffee
  • Drink organic coffee: It tastes better and is better for you
  • Tell your friends to buy and drink only organic coffee
  • Ask the people at work to drink organic coffee
  • Ask restaurants, meetings and events where coffee is served to start using fair trade coffee

How forged steel knives are made

There are two main types of knives on the market today – Forged Steel and Stainless steel. Forged steel knives require more maintenance, but are easier to sharpen and most top quality knives are made of the forged varieties. Here below is how forged steel knives are made.

Many commercial companies that forge steel knives have been using 5160, 1084 and 1080. These are types of steel are used to create consumer grade forged steel knives. Each type of steel has consistent and unique properties.The initial step for the art of shaping the metal is called grain refinement which is composed of normalization, quenching and tempering.

At normalization, the stresses are removed from the blade that were created during it was forged. The blades are heated to a critical temperature of just about 1450 degrees Fahrenheit in a special furnace. The blades are cooled slowly in air and then continuously repeated three times depending on the type of steel used.

How to forge a knife

To refine the structure of the steel, the blades are said to be quenched. The knives are again heated to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit in a furnace. The blades are then dip into a liquid for it cool. The blades must have a temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit after it was dipped. The process is repeated for at least two times.

After quenching, the knife is still brittle and can be damaged if it is not tempered. Without being tempered, the knife has decreased hardness. The knives are again heated to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The blades are allowed to cool on still air.

Since the metal is still soft after it was heated, it is then grinded to take shaped. Using a belt grinder, the steel will take shape of a knife.

Once the knife has undergone the initial step, hardening takes place. To ultimately harden the knife, the blade will then be placed inside the furnace to a temperature of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. After the metal will reach this temperature, it will be then dip again for the metal to cool rapidly. The rapid cooling will create a crystalline structure that is impervious to breaking.

Since the hardening did not convert all the metal to a crystalline structure, the knife will be then subjected to a low temperature. During heating, the blade will be placed inside a salt tank and the duration will be 3 hours per turn. The said process will be repeated for at least two times.

The knife is said to be finish but must be polished to create a good look. The shape is refined to a blade silhouette and the edge is finalized to create a proper geometry. Belt sands are used to create different finishes depending on the design. .

A rustic finished is sand blasted to 60 microns, standard finished is sand blasted to 40 microns and tactical finished is sand blasted to 35 microns and etched in grey finished for design purposes.

Our Opinion of Stamped Steel – New Generation of Knife Steel

Made from Stamped Steel – the knife is lighter than it’s forged steel cousins such as Victorinox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife . The cold rolled steel blade is crafted out of stainless steel and comes delivered with a razor sharp, conical ground blade that has been ice tempered for extended use between sharpenings. The handle is made of solid rosewood finished in a chestnut lacquer.

A solid entry level chef knife, the Victorinox 8 Inch Chef’s Knife is both cosmetically appealing and functional. I love this knife. It’s sharper than any best paring knife I have purchased. Stays sharp and cuts tomatoes like butter, unlike some knives that smash the tomato flat.

The Victorinox 8 Inch Chef’s Knife is light and easy to use. The 8 inch blade is long enough to use for a wide variety of tasks and the knife was delivered with an impressive razor fine edge.

Although considerably lighter than knives made of forged steel, this knife will quickly become a favorite cutting tool for lighter jobs such as tomato cutting or soft vegetables such as celery or onions. For tougher root vegetables, the lightness of the knife works against it because of the reduced weight of the knife – making it necessary to use a lot more force on older potatoes.

You shouldn’t though expect this knife to last forever. Because it’s made out of stamped steel rather than forged, the edge will not last as long and will break down from sharpening considerably quicker than a forged steel will. Never the less, the knife for it’s value is a very good buy. Victorinox is owned by the famous Swiss Army Knife company and is made in Swizterland from a high carbon stainless steel.

The blade is sharpened from tip to handle, and features a fully riveted rosewood grip. Because the knife is made from stainless steel, it is dishwasher safe but it is not recommended to leave the knife soaking in water for extended periods as the Rosewood Handle could lose it’s finish – and we did notice a dulling in the finish of the handle after several dishwasher uses. Hand washing is best for all knives.

Founded in 2015, TheKnivester.com is the web’s best resource for information and reviews on all sorts of knives. It specializes in providing in depth analytical content that will help you make the best decision possible when purchasing your next knife.

Brewing the Best Coffee Possible with a French Coffee Press

For coffee lovers who want the best quality coffee possible, a conventional coffee pot will not be good enough. Nothing is better than the French press for its intense flavor and style. Allowing the coffee beans to mix directly with the water creates a thick and more flavorful cup of coffee because the best  French press (reviews by Thomas) allows the beans essential oils and sediments are not filtered out like they would be in an auto drip coffee maker. If you have a press, go dig it out from the cupboard and use the below ideas to get the best tasting coffee possible. Once you try the press, you may never want to go back to coffee makers again!

Cleaning the Coffee Press

The coffee press should be cleaned after each use to make sure that it stays in the optimum condition. The chafe can be washed in warm soapy water with your other dishes. The filter should be removed immediately after using the press. The filter will need to be disassembled before it can be cleaned. The disassembly and reassembly depends on the type of filter and you will need to pay close attention. The best method for cleaning the filter is using baking soda, warm water and an old toothbrush. Scrub the filter, rinse and repeat. You will know when it’s clean when it there is no smell of coffee in the filter.

Preventing Sediment

One problem with a French coffee press is that sediment can accumulate in the bottom of the press or in your cup if the coffee is finely grounded. This results from people using the blade grinder instead of the burr grinder. Make sure the coffee is coarsely grounded because finely grounded coffee won’t get caught in the filter efficiently which may be difficult to depress the plunger.

Smelling Coffee Beans

The best coffee is partially a matter of taste. People should smell their coffee beans before they try them so that they can get a sense of what the coffee will taste like. It is also important to grind the coffee beans instead of buying already ground coffee beans. In fact, the coffee beans should be ground as close to the time of drinking the coffee as possible to maximize the flavor.

Roasting Green Coffee Beans

Even better is to get green coffee beans and roast them. All coffee begins as green coffee beans and they are then roasted to give them the characteristic brown color. If you’re the do-it-yourself type then you can roast your own beans using an old hot air popper or a cast iron skillet. Make sure that you evenly roast the beans and not scorching them.

Purify the Water for the Best Taste

When people drink coffee, they are really drinking water with coffee added to it. For this reason, the taste of the coffee is largely determined by the quality of the water used to make the coffee. Purifying water will improve the quality of the coffee and can be performed affordably using water filter. Also, water shouldn’t be used that has an unpleasant smell because that water will end up in the coffee. Also, the water must be at a temperature between 195 degrees Fahrenheit and 200 degrees to produce the best possible cup of coffee.

Adding the Ingredients

All of these preparatory factors are not required to make a good cup of coffee and can be skipped for those who are in a hurry. However, each technique will contribute to making a better cup of coffee. With the water purified and the coffee beans freshly ground, coffee enthusiasts can measure out two tablespoons of coffee for every 8 ounces of water. For best results, the coffee should be dry and placed in a clean pot.

Brewing Process

  • Add the hot water to the pot slowly. Gently stir the water while doing so.
  • Place the lid on the coffee press in such a way that the steam from the coffee is not able to easily escape.
  • Start the plunge after three to five minutes. Push the plunger down carefully so that the screen pushes the grinds to the bottom.
  • Replunge if the grinds begin to escape. Push slowly.
  • Now the coffee is ready to be poured and enjoyed!

Refill anyone?