Twenty-one Again

bd2020 - new_tea_shirt

A short while ago I celebrated my birthday, and my womenfolk only went and spoiled me rotten with three wonderful pressies that, somewhat unsurprisingly, were tea themed.

I got a foldable kettle, a Rocketbook Core “reusable” notebook, and another tea-shirt.

Last summer I related the alarming tale of Dave and the killer kettle. Well, Dave ended up being permanently stationed at our extended family’s summer house out in the country, leaving me in need of another way of heating water for tea when out on the road. My clever daughter remembered this when she happened across this “KitchPro” foldable kettle in a store in town that sells assorted unusual, interesting, and useful gadgets.

The kettle’s dimensions as stated in the handbook are – Folded – 13.6 x 13.6 x 7.6 cm; Unfolded – 13.6 x 13.6 x 17.5 cm.bd2020 - kettle_folded

According to my tea scales the unit itself weighs 581 grams, with the power cable adding a further 125 grams.

So, it’s not too heavy and quite compact – perfect for stashing away in my wheelie suitcase. That’s all well and good, but how does it perform, I bet you’re wondering.

Well, according to the documentation the heating element is rated at 800W, and in a test run it heated a full to capacity 0.6 litres to boiling point in 5 mins 30 seconds, which ain’t bad at all.

Perhaps the best feature from a teahead’s perspective is that the LED control panel on the base shows the current temperature of the water, meaning that you can stop the heating at any point below boiling for green tea, white tea, etc.

bd2020 - kettle_unfolded

Also included are two foldable silicone mugs, but in all probability they won’t be included in my on-the-road kit!

Although I won’t know for sure until I take it with me on a road trip (and who knows when that will be in these pandemic days) I’m quietly confident that this kettle will prove to be a perfect replacement for Dave.

The Rocketbook is already revolutionizing the way I take notes during tasting sessions.

Way back in the early days of this blog I used to make notes with a bog-standard paper notebook and biro. Easy and cheap, yes, but of course the big disadvantage here is that you have to subsequently type up your notes into a digital form, something I quite quickly tired of. The method I eventually settled on was to make notes on a spreadsheet, which could then simply be copied and pasted into the text of a post.

bd2020 - rocketbook

This solution does of course come with its own inherent problem – you have to conduct sessions next to a computer, and I found this somewhat inconvenient and cumbersome, even when using my wee Asus Eeepc notebook.

So, I’ve found that the Rocketbook combines the ease of use of an old school notebook with the data capturing and accessibility of a laptop/notebook.

Basically put, I make my notes on the wipe-clean reusable pages in the Rocketbook, and then scan the page(s) with the Rocketbook phone (Android in my case) app. I’ve set the app up to do OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on my hand-written scribble and then email the resulting text file to me. It has to be said, and this comes from someone who has been playing around with OCR for nigh on 20 years now, that the app does a bloody good job of converting hand written notes to editable text.

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