Lifestyle

What You Can and Can’t Recycle

recycle bin

We recently got new recycling bins at the Lifehacker office, and suddenly realized no one knew all the rules about recycling. Can you recycle plastic bags? Do you have to scrub out your containers? What about paper towels?

Every major curbside recycling program takes clean paper and cardboard, metal cans, and plastic jugs and bottles. Beyond that, things get complicated. But some general rules apply.

First, check your local requirements. Recycle by City has simple visual breakdowns for L.A., Chicago, Houston, Austin, Philadelphia, Flagstaff, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Otherwise, find your city’s sanitation department site. NYC and Phoenix have simple do/don’t guides.

Don’t Recycle:

  • Bubble-padded envelopes
  • Wax paper
  • Dirty napkins, tissues, toilet paper, or paper towels
  • Glass that’s not a bottle or jar
  • Photo paper: Usually not recyclable, but it depends on the brand.
  • Containers with a lot of food or liquid in them: Empty and rinse them, but don’t stress over it; they’re cleaned at the facility.

Do Recycle:

  • Pizza boxes: Unless they’re heavily soaked in oil and solid waste, these are fine. Just throw out the wax liner, and put the tiny plastic table in the plastics bin. When in doubt, rip off the greasy part and throw it out.
  • Paper with clear windows or staples

Recycle Somewhere Else:

  • Plastic bags: They get caught in the recycling machines, and workers have to shut them off and pull out the bags. Most cities only allow “rigid plastics.” Instead, find a recycling center, store, or neighborhood program that accepts them. (There are exceptions! L.A. allows clean bags and other soft plastics.)
  • Clothing and textiles: Look up drop-off options.
  • Motor oil: Your city might require you to put it on the curb separately from all other trash.
  • Batteries and electronics: Take them to a donation center or a store like Best Buy. If you throw out your batteries, at least tape down the terminals to reduce the risk of fire.
  • Appliances: Best Buy accepts many of these too.

Check Your Local Rules:

Including rules from the five biggest U.S. cities as examples.

  • Glass: Houston only takes glass at drop-off centers.
  • Plastics: NYC and L.A. allow all rigid plastics; Chicago only allows bottles. Houston has more complicated rules.
  • Metals: LA takes household metal; Chicago and Houston don’t. NYC, L.A., and Chicago take aluminum foil; Houston and Phoenix don’t address it online.
  • Paper: No dark paper in Houston.
  • Paper cups, If they’re clean and empty, are allowed in NYC, but not L.A., Houston, or Chicago.
  • Hardcover books: Fine in L.A., but not NYC, Chicago, or Houston. Phoenix doesn’t even take paperbacks.
  • Styrofoam: LA takes it; Chicago, Houston, and NYC don’t.
  • Shredded paper: In Chicago and Houston, you’ll need to find a drop-off center.
  • Milk cartons: In NYC, these go with other containers, not paper.
  • Trash bags: NYC takes container recycling in trash bags; Chicago doesn’t.
  • Separation: L.A., Houston, Phoenix, and Chicago take all residential recycling in one bin. NYC separates paper from other recyclables.
  • Commercial recycling: This is often handled differently than residential recycling, so it might come with its own rules. Ask your office manager or building manager.

Source: Lifehacker.com

African Coffee On The Rise Thanks To Specialty Coffee

african coffees

Preaching the gospel of specialty coffee can often feel like an uphill climb. You can have a beautiful floral Yirgacheffe or a Kenya that just tastes like pomegranate juice that just don’t seem to move because customers favor the comfort and familiarity of a more straightforward Central American profile. It can be frustrating to say the least. But have heart, SCW (specialty coffee warrior), a new article in Grub Street states that thanks to third-wave coffee shops, demand for African coffees is increasing and it is a boon for farmers.

The 70s were the last hay day for coffees coming from Africa; Ethiopia, Uganda, Angola, and the Ivory Coast were all top-ten countries in terms of coffee production. But in the last 40 years, numbers have dropped pretty significantly. As a continent, Africa’s total coffee exports have dropped by 25%, and only Ethiopia and Uganda remain the in top ten.

But the tide is turning. Since 2003, Africa’s global coffee yearly coffee exports have increased by 35 millions bags, from 95 million to 130 million. Leading the charge in this growth is the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, but the article notes that Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, and the Congo are also seeing increases in demand. This increase is crucial, as a Bloomberg article notes that coffee farming in Africa is facing a handful of threats: young would-be farmers are pursuing more profitable careers (the average age of a coffee farmer in Africa is 60), some farms are replacing coffee with subsistence crops, and even more still are choosing to sell their land entirely.

Nonetheless, demand for African coffees is trending upward, and that is thanks in no small part to the growing popularity of specialty coffee. So keep up the good work. Though it may not always seem like it, people are coming around.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

An earlier version of this article stated African coffee exports had reached 130 million bags per year. This statistic refers to all global coffee exports. 

Source: Sprudge.com

The Best At Home Espresso Machine

best at home espresso machine

This is article is originally post at MyEspressoShop.com.

So you’re finally ready to upgrade to a professional-grade espresso machine? Congratulations! We know it’s a big step, so we’re here to help you along the way.

Buying a high-end espresso machine is one of the best investments (if not the best investment) a coffee lover can make. Not only will it allow you to be able to enjoy real authentic espresso, cappuccinos, and ‘velvety’ lattes in your own home or office, but it will also allow you to save money in the process (win-win!).

We feel it’s important to emphasis this point again: With a good machine, you will be able to make your own drinks at a fraction of the cost you would have to pay at coffee shops. With that being said, not all espresso machine are created equal. When you are buying your espresso machine, you want to be sure to choose the right one.

Below, we will be going over some of the different options you can choose from that are currently on the market. (Also, please note that when we say ‘best’, this is simply our personal opinion. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to features and qualities they prefer in an espresso machine, so we just wanted to share some of our favorites with you!).

Best Manual Espresso Machines

La Pavoni Europiccola Manual Espresso Machine. This particular espresso machine by La Pavoni is arguably the ‘top of the line’ in the entire market for manual espresso machines. Not only does it feature a classic design with its inclusion of the retro press (which essentially gives you complete control over every aspect of your shot), but it also has a beautiful chrome finish to it.

The machine is completely manual, so it will take some time to get used to. You will need to practicing using it to get comfortable with the amount of pressure you need to use, as well as figuring out the right pulling technique to really get the best possible shot each and every time. Because of the manual nature of this machine, it is more recommended for those that are willing to learn, have patience, and really want full control over the entire process.

This is not the machine to purchase if you are simply looking to find one that does all of the work with the click of a button.

Best Semi-automatic Espresso Machine

The Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine is by far one of the best options if you are looking at semi-automatic espresso machines. Manufactured by Rocket Espresso, the R58 has a level of craftsmanship that absolutely shines. Because it features dual boilers for both steaming and brewing, it is going to provide you with the ultimate level of control.

Along with this, it comes with a plugin PID with a large display that can provide you with the details you need to be able to change the temperature of both boilers at once. You can either utilize the included water reservoir or simply pump a constant supply of fresh water into the machine. While Rocket’s R60V espresso machine is also fantastic, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the R58. That’s why we give Rocket’s R58 machine the edge.

Best Automatic Espresso Machine

La Spaziale S1 Dream T Espresso Machine. This was a harder category to choose for, because there are many fantastic options. But the majority of us feel that the La Spaziale S1 Dream T is the number one automatic espresso machine on the entire market. It comes with a fully featured programmable touchpad and features two different boilers which will allow you to both brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.

Empire State Building Giant Fashion Show

giant billboard

The Empire State Building is turning into a giant billboard on Wednesday, with massive projections of fashion images that will put Times Square’s posters to shame.

Prior light shows on the Empire State Building featured giant animals and artwork from the Whitney, but this year’s will be like having a front-row seat at New York Fashion Week. Spanning 42 floors of the building (that’s nine more floors than it covered in 2015) and rising 500 feet high, the show will feature iconic fashion images of everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Kate Moss, including iconic works by the likes of Andy Warhol.

The light show is in celebration of Harper Bazaar’s 150th anniversary and Tiffany & Co., and it’ll be presented by Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar, and Jennifer De Winter, senior vice president of the Americas of Tiffany & Co. You’ll be able to see it on the northern side of the building from 8:30pm to midnight on April 19.

Next on the lights schedule is green lights on April 22 for Earth Day then yellow and orange lights on April 25 for Project Sunshine Week. Yes, you should Instagram all of them.

Gwyneth Paltrow, March 2012 Harper’s Bazaar
Photograph: Terry Richardson
Reese Witherspoon, February 2016 Harper’s Bazaar
Photograph: Alexi Lubormirski
November 1920 Harper’s Bazaar
Illustration: Erté
Photograph: Patrick Demarchelier
Stephanie Seymour, February 2002 Harper’s Bazaar

 

Source: timeout.com

How To Make Espresso at Home

how to make espresso

If you’re familiar with espresso and have fallen in love with it (like us!), then you know that sometimes it feels like it would be impossible to replicate it in your own kitchen. But how can you get started making your own espresso with or without your mahlkonig ek43 or a rocket espresso? We will get you pointed in the right direction, so you can start pulling delicious shots in no time!

  1. First fill the reservoir of your espresso machine up (or connect your water line if the machine is plumbed!). And we know we’ve said this before, but please make sure your water is not too hard. An important first step is water treatment: distilled water can damage your boiler, while hard water can lead to some seriously accumulated scale.
  1. Turn your machine on and allow it plenty of time for it to heat up. Depending on how large your espresso machine is, that can take anywhere from 15 to 35+ minutes, so don’t assume you are all set to go as soon as you are at the brewing temperature. Instead, you should wait a bit longer until the whole machine feels nice and warm.
  1. Lock an empty portafilter into the grouphead. Then, for a couple of seconds, run the machine. This will brings fresh water up to the front and also heats the parts up that are closest to the coffee. Next wipe the inside of your portafilter off and the underside part of the grouphead and make sure they are dry and clean.
  1. Grind a couple of beans to make sure you have the appropriate fineness. Also, don’t forget to remove any old, stale grounds from your coffee grinder! The coffee should appear powdery and clump loosely, but still have a ‘sandy’ feel when you rub it between your fingers.
  1. We recommend dosing 18 to 21 grams of freshly ground into your portafilter. As the coffee exits the chute, make sure to slightly rotate the portafilter back and forth to ensure the grounds settle into the basket evenly. Afterwards, level the grounds with the tips of your fingers and fill in any air pockets.
  2. Tamp with your elbow, arm and wrist positioned directly over the middle of the portafilter basket. Use your fingertips to press evenly and feel the edge of the basket. Next, inspect the dry puck in order to determine if the ‘bed’ is level or not.
  1. Put the portafilter back into the grouphead and start the brewing process. If your machine has a separate “pre-infusion” or pre-brew stage, then complete it first. This enables the stored gas to be released before the full infusion start. When you have fresh coffee, you should pre-infuse until you first start seeing drops exiting out of the portafilter.
  2. Start the infusion process and end the brew at your predetermined yield. We recommend starting out with i2 fluid oz (if you are measuring by volume) or around 30 grams (if a gram scale is being used). Before you serve the espresso, pour or stir the espresso into another cup so you can mix the crema.

Read the full artilce at https://www.myespressoshop.com/blogs/news/how-to-make-espresso