Simple Things: Miniature Baking Tins

This year, I have made it a personal goal to try more baking recipes. And whilst I don’t need more baking items in my pantry, I did end up buying this miniature loaf pan set that I’ve been pining over for years. It has taken me this long to pull the trigger because I felt guilty about adding another item to our kitchen. But after having them, I just think these miniature baking tins from Williams Sonoma (aff link) are as jazzed up as I thought they would be. Zero regrets! So I figure I’d dedicate a post to their wonderfulness.

My sister-in-law has had a set of four miniature baking tins since her twenties. Her aunt gifted them to her for her apartment. Space-saving, these tins are stackable and store nicely in a tiny space. They are non-stick, making them hassle-free to clean, and easy to turn out. And they don’t get locked up when stacked upright.

Conveniently, one loaf pan recipe divvies up neatly into the four tins. As someone who hopes to bake more in 2023, I love that I can try new recipes without committing to eating all my sweets. Baking for two tends to yield excess, so we are constantly walking pastry down the block to my parent’s house. But now, I can have entire mini loaves, giftable to friends, neighbors, and even my dental staff. It will also keep me from ingesting too much sugar 🙂

After baking my first item in these (Tartine’s Banana-Date Loaf!), I have found that reducing the bake time to 3/4 the amount to accommodate for the smaller pans worked well. Of course, keep an eye the first time you try every recipe. The best way to test for doneness is to stick a wood stick in the middle and see if it comes out clean.

I found these tins at Williams-Sonoma (aff link). At under $35 for the set, they were a real treat for me! I mean, I have trouble spending that much on dining out. Knowing they’ve been on my mind for a while, my husband convinced me to get them. I already know that they will be of great use! I was actually debating on decluttering my bigger loaf pans after getting these to clear up kitchen space. Regardless, these will inspire me to try new recipes. I’ll make an effort to post the successful ones throughout the year here too, so do check back in!

Caraway Home’s Timeless and Minimalist Cookware Set

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Our home has always had its center around the kitchen. Cooking over a stove, arguing over a new recipe, or silently eating our dinners is how we spend time with each other. Every event we’ve hosted for friends and fam had people gathered around food and drink. Whether it’s croissants and coffee or dinner and wine, there was always Mike and I behind the stove whipping something up and listening to our guests carry on conversations. I prefer to watch them devour our hard work rather than partake with my personal anecdotes and opinions. My place isn’t at the center of the party, but rather, behind a pot, stirring something or other with a wooden spoon. A linen apron serves as my party outfit, and I am quite satisfied with that kind of life.

After five years of hosting every Friendsgiving event and celebratory milestone, it became decidedly noticeable that the pots and pans gifted to us on our wedding day were well-worn. All were Teflon pans advertised as non-stick but alas, everything eventually stuck thanks to my penchant for high heat. Their self-sacrifice did not go unnoticed.

The fry pan was the first to go. It didn’t even make it to year five. But it did do it’s time, patiently frying eggs and bacon, English muffins and grilled cheese. The wok was next, after a stir-fry gone wrong. Well, the stir-fry was fine but I let water simmer to remove the sticky sauce from the pan and one should never walk away from a stove with the flame on. Of course I forgot until the smell of smoke reached my nose while I sat on the bed, lost in a book.

Surprisingly, what still works is a Dutch oven bestowed unto me by my mum. It has been around for twenty-plus years, begging the question of degrading product quality control. We have a few other pans that, frankly, made it strictly because of their non-usefulness. A flat griddle I thought would make pancakes efficiently turned out to have just that singular purpose. A curved griddle that I thought would be useful for meats, burgers, and paninis was deemed non-essential. These things are biding their time. But the workhorses are long past their hay-day and needed some serious replacement.

As I belabored over options, I gathered a few requirements for our next cookware set. Over the past few years, I’ve developed an almost snobbish resistance to my Teflon pans. The reasoning behind it is hazy. Something about PTFE being carcinogenic and generally bad for our health. In fact, I’ve added a few cast irons to our kitchen arsenal (mostly for bread baking) since our wedding day in order to transition away from Teflon. However, the cast irons were too heavy for my taste. Close calls with sprained wrists made this particular dentist stray away from heavy options, despite being good alternatives.

I also required that the new cookware be minimalist. Classic pots and pans that would last the test of time are what I was after. I needed only a few essentials (forget the kitschy griddles and one-offs), and I needed them to store well. By now, we’ve honed in on how to manage a tiny space. We’ve also learned multiple techniques for preparing food, so that we didn’t require silly items such as ice-cream scoopers and garlic presses. No, the set I wanted would just be the mainstays of home cooking. After searching high and low, I finally found what I was hoping for in Caraway Home.

The Caraway Home Cookware Set is what we decided to embrace. It is free of PTFEs (like Teflon), PFOAs, and other PFAs such as lead, cadmium or other toxic metals. They also avoid hard anodization processes in its production. So what is it made of? It has an aluminum core coated in a non-stick ceramic with stainless steel handles and hardware. Meaning, it’s not as heavy as a rock. Yes the steel handles get hot, but I happily trade wearing oven mitts to lift the lids in exchange for ingesting carcinogenic metals any day.

In terms of quality, it stands the test. The pots and pans can withstand up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven. It is stovetop agnostic, compatible with induction, gas, and electric stoves. The bottom of the pans are metal, making me wish for one of those posh electric stoves popular in Scandinavian kitchen these days. Since we have metal grates, I have to make a mental note not to drag them across the surface. The pans heat up efficiently enough on low to medium heat. This time, I’ve made a promise to avoid high heat as they shorten the life span of any pan.

If you were wondering whether non-stick ceramic works well, I can attest that it does. Minimal oil and butter is needed, and the foods simply slide around the pans and pots! We’ve made a switch to using only wooden spoons and silicone tongs and spatulas. I have a fear that metal cooking utensils would scar the beautiful cooking surfaces. Plus they are so easy to clean. Mike and I are babying them, as we wash them with a soft sponge (no rough sponges or metal scrubbers please!) and dry them right away.

But the selling point that really got to my minimalist heart was the storage system that the cookware set comes with. It was the deciding factor, and honestly, the thing that most millennials would value the most. As more of us turn to tiny homes, apartment living, and nomadic van lives, the adage “less is more” has never been more appropriate. The entire cookware set stores well in half of a single shelf of my pantry. Magnetic pot holders stack them vertically as a beautiful canvas hangs on the pantry door storing the three lids. The storage system mimics Marie Kondo’s vertical folding of clothes, giving you easy access to whichever pot or pan you need. Visually, you can see all four at once. Gone are the days of shuffling through a stack of pans to get to the wok you need.

If you’re less of a home cook, but are planning to get married, move homes, upgrade your kitchen, or go off to college, I still think Caraway Home’s cookware set is worth taking a gander. In case you need very little, they have a minis duo set that 18-year-old-me could’ve made do with cooking for one. At the current discount price of buying a set, the cost of upgrading your cookware is quite affordable. And we really do love them.

Now I have my heart set on replacing our bakeware. If I said we cooked a lot, you should see my baking trays. They used to be silver, but now, coated in butter and grease and left in ovens a smidge too long, they are unrecognizably black. Copper-colored rust coat the edges of the rims. I just can’t bear to bake another batch of croissants on them. Caraway’s bakeware set has an aluminum core with stainless steel handles which I hope don’t rust. And the storage system is drool-worthy as mine are shoved haphazardly inside the pantry. There’s just no way to horizontally stack circles, rectangles and muffin tins, I swear!

The multiple color options speak to multiple styles, but I’ve got my eyes set on the navy for the bakeware set. I chose a cream color for the cookware and have some slight regrets on not being outgoing. However, I wanted the cookware to be timeless for both Mike and I. The bakeware set is mostly for me, leaving room to take a chance on color.

Our Minimalist Scandi Inspired Dining Room

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After a year of living in this ‘new’ home, we finally have ourselves a dining table! We’ve made do thus far with a flimsy fold-out table that was my computer desk in middle school. It still had a mouse pad permanently glued onto one end. Rickety screws fell from the underside if you knocked it just right. I was constantly worried our meals would collapse onto my beige rug, or that the dogs would swing the legs out from underneath. Now that a dining table sits center-stage, I can finally find peace in our minimalist Scandi inspired dining room.

I originally had my sights set on Menu Space’s Snaregade Rectangular Table in Black Oak Veneer. But after eleven months of delays, I decided to give up on it. To which my mom replied, “What took you so long?”. As I called to cancel our order, the customer service rep informed me it should ship out in two weeks. Fool me ten times, shame on me.

However, providence has a way of working, as we ended up finding an alternative within a week of cancellation. A neighbor happened to be selling their one-year-old Hay Copenhague Deux 210 Dining Table in perfect condition. I got really lucky, as my requirements for the dining table were Scandinavian in brand, with a stream-lined silhouette in the color black. Frugal me also caught a break, as we were able to purchase it “used” at a mere $600! Or as Mikey would call it, “Ikea prices”. This ended up saving us over $1,000 from our original table choice.

Without risking sounding a bit woo-woo, I truly believe that saying no can lead to better yeses. I had my doubts about the original table from the get-go, having painfully labored through pros and cons when I first ordered it. None of the cards ever did line up. Luckily, my minimalist forte lies in the fact that I can make do with what we’ve got for a long period of time. That table ended up acting as a stand-in for something better. It’s been four years of homeownership and almost six years of marriage and we’ve just now bought a REAL dining table.

I was already familiar with many of the Scandi brands: Menu Space, Skagerak, Frama, Hay and Muuto. So when this Hay table showed up on my radar, it was quite a quick (and easy) decision. It was completely aligned with my values: minimalist, functional, beautiful, and affordable. Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, you can find Hay’s dining table at Design Within Reach. We happened to find ours listed on Craigslist, which is also where we bought our Ikea couch.

I am ecstatic about it, as our dining space is the center of our home. We love to entertain people by way of drink and food. Gathering around a meal gabbing the night away is exactly how we prefer to socialize. I also adore it as I do a lot of my writing and work on the dining table. It has been such a joy laying out my plans for the week or typing away into my laptop at this new station. A new laminate based on nanotechnology makes up the surface of Hay’s Copenhague Table. It has an ultra-matte surface with a soft touch that is anti-finger-print and easy to clean. I’m considering getting rid of my WFH desk altogether and just working from the dining space!

Shop Our Scandi Inspired Dining Room

dining table | dining chairs | rug | pendant lighting | mirror

10 Cozy Fall Scented Candles

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I’m not the type to buy seasonal decor. There are many reasons why. I don’t like to store them, spend money on them, and swap them out every season. I know some look forward to these transitions, but as you can tell from this post, I’ve gone and missed most of autumn and am just now posting about cozy fall scented candles. However, in lieu of pumpkin throw pillows and orange wreaths, I do like to still pay tribute to the changing seasons. I just prefer to it by way of scented candles.

I like candles because they are consumable goods. They don’t add clutter to my home, yet they imbue the feeling that I need. They aren’t an eyesore and take up little real estate. Yet the smell of the best scented candles can make one feel fuzzy with emotion inside. Nostalgia rolls in as scents of pumpkin spice inspire me to bake something sweet.

My obsession with candles run year-round. Guests often comment on how nice the house smells, which brings me so much joy. To be honest, I would run candles all day if I could. I save the really nice ones for hosting or special events, but the good thing about candles is that there are many affordable options out there too. This list contains a mix of both splurge options and savings options. As the nights run longer, I’ll be bound to light them more frequently. There is nothing cozier than writing and reading by candle light.

10 Cozy Fall Scented Candles

  1. Jenni Kayne’s Musk Glass Candle *aff – notes of spicy cardamom, amber, sandalwood and orchid $65
  2. Public Goods Cedar and Suede – a soy candle option that doesn’t break the bank $8
  3. Le Labo’s Palo Santo 14 – energizing freshness without the overwhelming smoke – $82
  4. Hearth and Hand’s Harvest Spice – clove, vanilla, chestnut and amber
  5. Magnolia’s Gathering Candle – coffee, pumpkin, and nutmeg – pumpkin spice in candle form $28
  6. Noa’s Fall Festival Candle – toffee, apple, caramel and vanilla – all the sweet stuff $48
  7. Homesick’s Autumn Hayride – just like it sounds, the smell of hay, amber, clove, birch and oakmoss $38
  8. By Redo’s Safran Candle *aff – a complex 6-hour candle that smells of black pepper, saffron, dark amber and vanilla – among other notes $90
  9. Aesop’s Ptolemy Aromatique Candle *aff – woody and earthy, this candle gives off scents of cyper, cedar, and vetiver $110
  10. Brooklyn Candle’s Italian Escapist – cardamon, clove, orange blossom, vanilla and incense $38

Photo by Storiès on Unsplash

Shop Our Living Room

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The winter light is coming back around to the living room side of the house. This is the beginning of my favorite time of the year. Cold weather, foggy mornings, warm blankets, cozy snuggles, and more. It’s what I love most about living in our mountain home.

This morning, I spent time re-arranging the furniture. Changing the lay of the land makes it feel like I’ve upgraded the house when I really haven’t done much. Compared to what this space looked like when we moved in a year ago, we really didn’t add by way of decor or furniture. It’s mostly the same old. Part of what I do with intentional living is keep the minimum amount of stuff, and use it to create fluid environments. Sparking creativity by moving things around rather than buying more STUFF is kind of my forte … and the means by which we are able to tackle my massive student debt.

Today, it was swapping the sectional to be an L-shape against the other side of the living. This opened up space for opening our balcony door to allow the Fall air inside the home. Yesterday, we acquired a neighbor’s cute dog bed, which was kindly gifted to Theo after their doodle outgrew it. It deserved a lovely corner space in our living room and inspired the mirror swap. The Drink Morning espresso machine remains within easy reach, in case coffee is of the essence as I read in my Menu Space lounge chairs. It is my favorite way to make the perfect cup of coffee stress-free. You can read my review of it here.

The couch is the Insta-famous Soderhamn from Ikea. We bought most of the sectional from Craigslist, then added the ottoman and an extra chair. Ikea furniture is cheap enough, but Craigslist saved us a few hundred bucks. We then remodeled the couch with Bemz covers from Germany. You can read about the project here. This couch, when coupled with Bemz, is so modular that it’s timeless! We’ve had this couch since our last space, along with the Ikea media console, and the Menu Space lounge chairs.

You can also see our bare white walls. I wrote about this choice way back when we lived in a live/work loft. My thoughts haven’t strayed much from it. Occasionally, I argue with myself about the possibility of hanging our best travel photos with Artifact Uprising’s beautiful frames. But the hassle of choosing favorite places has really kept this project at bay. Instead, I chose a shaggy rug from Nordic Knots that acts equally as a form of art. When I read how this Stockholm-based company collaborated with Danish artist Carsten Beck Nielsen, I just knew it was a piece I wanted to add.

“It’s fascinating to see how different an artwork is experienced when it’s on the floor rather than on the wall.”

Carsten Beck Nielsen

We also opted to go with the 65″ Frame TV so that we may throw up some artwork on there with the changing seasons. We are so happy to have chosen it. I have never been a TV person growing up, preferring paper and books over screens. However, if I am being honest, watching 30-45 minutes of TV with each other in the evenings is a really nice way to spend time with each other and unwind. It’s become part of our routine, and I can finally see the relaxing benefits of it. I also really love that it can act as artwork when people are over. I wrote a really thorough review of the Frame TV here, because I know it’s a big purchase decision. If you’ve been on the fence for a while, check out the pros and cons first!

Since our living room items never really change, I figure I’d type up a style post about the stuff I do keep. If you wish to shop our living room, here’s what we’ve got.

Shop Our Living Room

couch | lounge chairs | couch covers | media console | Frame TV | striped throw pillows | shaggy rug | planter | diffuser | espresso machine | checkered box | off white throw pillows

Simplifying Spices with Evermill’s Gorgeous and Affordable Spice Rack

For us, the kitchen marks the centerpiece of our home. It is where we spend the most time with friends, family, and each other. Whether it be experimenting with new recipes, making our daily coffee and toast, or gathering around the island for cocktails, the kitchen is where all the good stuff happens. Naturally, it is the room I care about most when it comes to aesthetics. I obsess about minute details and organizational systems. I am forever trying to keep the heart of our home neat, tidy, and inviting.

While there is merit to having a well-designed kitchen space, I stray away from having too much stuff on the counters. Consider it a minimalist tendency. However, I do make exceptions for a few favorite appliances. Most recently, a beautiful countertop spice rack from Evermill has taken center stage. It is my favorite new addition to our home. I am absolutely in love and here is why!

Evermill Promotes Simple Living

For many years, I have struggled with organizing our tower of spices. Unlike my mother, who managed cooking for our family with only a handful of spices, I have accumulated an overwhelming number of bottles in my quest to try new recipes. Opening the kitchen pantry door became stressful. Stray bottles would teeter totter, disappearing occasionally underneath the pile. I prayed for a simpler solution and reminisced about simpler times. I thought about the pros of cooking culturally traditional recipes and considered sticking to a few staple ingredients.

Luckily, my prayers were answered by the Evermill Countertop Spice Rack. This stunning showstopper simplified my spice buying process by stocking our kitchen with essentials diversified enough to cook a variety of culinary dishes. Spices such as Sumac and Coriander Seed are accompanied by the basic Bay Leaf and Cumin. More complex blends such as Harissa and Evermill blend (which is seriously so, so good with everything) round out the collection. The complex blends are perfect for stepping up my game for days that feel a bit blah. Just sprinkle over chicken and voila!

The Spice Rack is Gorgeous

The beautiful, sturdy rack can be placed on the countertop or mounted to the wall. There is also an alternative option for drawer storage, if counter-space is limited in your kitchen. For me, the display is pretty enough to break my cardinal ‘clear-counter-top’ rule. Exuding an Aesop aesthetic, the spice containers are a deep, amber color with decent weight. A knob at the bottom of the containers keep them directionally aligned. They will always face forward, despite returning them in a rush. Engineered with wide mouth openings, they are also quite easy to refill and easy to scoop using measuring spoons. Everything about the spice rack is drool-worthy. In fact, I placed it center stage, so that it’s the first thing you see when you walk into my kitchen!

Evermill is the Perfect Wedding Gift

The minute I received the Evermill spice rack, I grabbed my phone to text my brother’s girlfriend about it. ‘This is the first thing that needs to go on a wedding registry list!’ Packaged in a beautiful white box, the Evermill Countertop Spice Rack comes with 18 spices and containers (12 if you choose the smaller core collection), plus the rack itself. There are four colors to choose from: Gunmetal, Silver, White, and Black. We went with a black colored rack for our complete set of 18 spices, and let me tell you, it is SEXY.

If this product existed when I got married, it would have been at the top of my registry list. Now, I plan to gift this to all my friends. It’s the gift they don’t realize they need. Why? Because a newly wed couple would benefit from building a habit of cooking together. Personally, cooking meals is the one task that has made my husband and I closest. It is a way for us to discover new things, be creative, and work together. More importantly, it’s nice to reap the benefits of our hard work. I’d say it’s the perfect metaphor for a successful marriage.

Eco-Friendly Evermill

One of the best things about Evermill is its commitment to less waste. I cringe whenever I have to purchase a miniscule-sized spice from the grocery store, knowing I will throw away the container in a few months. It feels equally wasteful whether the spice is packaged in plastic or glass. However, with Evermill, all spices are packaged in paper bags. And the entire collection is refillable! In its original packaging, the spices were shipped in paper bags for freshness and I have to say, filling the jars was a true joy.

The Spice Rack Offers a Great Deal

When it comes down to numbers, Evermill offers a great deal on their spice rack. Originally priced at $229, The Debtist readers can purchase the spice rack for $199 using the $30 coupon code: WELCOME30 .

As a shopper at Whole Foods and Sprouts, I can definitely say that the collection pays for itself. Purchasing the spices individually comes out to about the same price as the Complete Counter Top Rack. The brand I usually buy is Simply Organic, and these days, whole cloves run for $12.99 and bay leaves sell for $8.49. At $199 for the complete Evermill set, each spice would cost $11 through Evermill. It isn’t far off, especially when you throw specialty spices such as Sumac and Harissa in there, which are typically difficult to find and more than $11.

Mind you, this calculation is without accounting for the rack or the containers. It’s almost as if you receive the beautiful set-up and the convenience of having everything in one package for free.

The real value, though, comes in the long-haul. To refill the complete collection, it only costs $119. That brings down the average price per spice to be around $6. Considering how these spices are organic, I would call that an extremely good deal. With current inflation rates, who knows what spice prices will be like in the markets a few months from now. If I could buy high-quality, organic spices at $6 a piece, I would be quite content.

Evermill has leveled up our cooking experience

We can’t discount the fact that the new spice rack makes me want to cook more. Experimenting with spices and adding them to our dishes is very enjoyable. Nowadays we sprinkle sumac liberally over our salads, rub the Evermill blend whole-heartedly onto our chicken, and toss coriander seeds like confetti in brine. Our cooking experience has leveled up since getting Evermill. Not to mention, it eliminated walking to and from the pantry to grab spices. We simply reach over next to the stove and put the spices back right away. It’s a game-changer.

Level up your cooking regimen today by investing in Evermill’s Complete Counter Top Rack. From a cooking fanatic, trust me when I say I will never go back!

This post was sponsored by Evermill, who kindly gifted our home the complete counter top rack in black. The thoughts and opinions are my own. The links are affiliate links which will help support this space through commissions. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this space.

15 Best New Coffee Products at the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo 2022

Mike and I had the privilege of attending the 2022 Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston a few weekends ago. We booked flights the day we learned that volunteers gain entrance to the event for only $5. Mind you, tickets typically cost $395 per non-member. We of course flew for FREE using our Southwest Companion Pass (Find out how you can travel the world for FREE here). At the event, we got to check out innovative, up-and-coming brands and products in the coffee industry. Call it caffeine, but we were buzzing with excitement over some of the coffee gadgets we discovered. In this post, I share with you the top 15 best new coffee products from the 2022 Boston Specialty Coffee Expo that we are very excited about! If you are a coffee nerd, you’ve got to check these out.

Top 15 Best New Coffee Products from the Boston Specialty Coffee Expo 2022

At-Home Essentials

Drink Morning Espresso Machine

I not only got the opportunity to try the Drink Morning Machine, I also got to take it home! When I won a raffle with Eight Ounce Coffee, I chose the Drink Morning Machine over four other available prizes. Most of the available options actually made this list, but I still chose Drink Morning to lug back home on an airplane with me. That’s how much I like it!

This is a sleek and minimalist espresso machine that is easy to use for non-geeky coffee lovers. It also makes a mean ‘spro. It is a capsule coffee machine, so it is surprising that it can compete with other coffee makers short of the big guys.

For example, the La Marzocco Linea Mini still outperforms this machine, but you really have to know what your doing. An inexperienced person cannot pull a good shot from a Linea Mini and that’s the truth. Not even on their luckiest day. Drink Morning has bridged the gap and allows one to make great espresso without the background.

This is a great option for many people. Small offices and businesses who want to offer their workers great coffee should be getting this machine. Someone who loves coffee but wants to save money on their coffee bill can also invest in this affordable espresso machine. Busy folk and parents would also like it. I mean, even a young child can make a decent espresso for their parent using the Drink Morning app! It has been my go-to machine since getting it, and I highly recommend it.

I will surely be writing a more thorough review of this machine soon.

Flair Neo Espresso Maker

Another impressive espresso maker was Flair’s Neo Espresso Maker. It’s a manual espresso maker, that requires neither electricity nor pods. It is a great option for beginners. The machine controls the water flow, leaving all the hard work to the technology. Whether you use a high-end grinder or a cheaper one to grind your beans, it does not matter. It will still result in a good espresso shot.

DUOMO The Eight Distribution Tool

I guess we can talk about the DUOMO distribution tool next. This tool was at multiple booths. Every one was raving about it. The tool optimizes an espresso shot by distributing coffee grounds without a tamper. This tool prevents the coffee from being compacted into a dense mass. In fact, pins and needles on the tool work to create air pockets for water to flow through easily. At $225 a pop, I had to question efficiency. Interestingly, multiple sources confirmed that the shot comes together into one stream five seconds sooner than if the distribution tool was not used! Super sexy stuff right here. #Iykyk.

Ratio Six Coffee Maker

Imagine a drip coffee machine engineered to produce a cup with similar quality to a pour-over that a barista prepares for you, but without the work. Well, I introduce to you the Ratio Six. I first heard of Ratio back in 2021. The machine features a shower head that evenly disperses water over the coffee. This should distribute water in a similar way that a barista would in a cafe, pouring in a circular motion over a funnel, meanwhile maintaining ideal temps. Ratio Six has precision and simplicity, an invention of ‘convenience without compromise.’

Time More Black Mirror Nano Scale

Mikey fell in LOVE with Time More’s white nano scale. So much so that we went back to the Eight Ounce Coffee booth on the last day to see if we could buy their model off of them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sell it to us because this product has not hit the market yet! But we’ve definitely got our eyes on it.

Time More has a larger scale already on the market, but this tinier counter-part is perfect for our small space and travel lifestyle. It is compatible with all Chemex sizes, and is cute and minimalist. We cannot wait until it goes live! If you’re looking for a scale option now, check out Time More’s larger scale. It is selling for an impressively frugal fee compared to other coffee scales.

Ikawa Coffee Roaster

The speech that Morgan gave during the final competition of the National Barista Championship really spoke to a new wave of coffee makers – the ones at home. As coffee moves from a commercial space into our home spaces, we will find that the most innovative ideas and experimental recipes may come from individuals, not coffee companies. As we connect with each other more through digital media, we will be able to share our ideas and grow exponentially, thus advancing coffee into a new generation made up of at home brewers and roasters.

When it comes to micro coffee roasters, Ikawa’s booth was one of the ones that stood out. I have seen Ikawa online before and was immediately attracted to its minimalist and sleek packaging.

Best for Travel

Time More 123 Go (Grind and Brew)

While we are talking about Time More, I should mention the Time More 123 Go. It is a grind-and-brew option for people on-the-go. Perfect for those who want to carry their coffee machine with them, wherever they are. It is an all-in-one solution. Equipped with the high-precision burrs found in Time More hand grinders, a precision, 13-hole water dripper and fine mesh cone filter, the 123 GO enables consistent, flavorful extraction in approximately three minutes. Just don’t leave your favorite coffee vessel behind.

Wacaco Nanopresso

Wacaco’s Nanopress has been around a while, but it was recently reinvented into a Picopress. A small, capsule, manual espresso maker, many trampers feature this nanopress in their travels. After comparing the previous model and the new version, I have decided I like the previous model more for a few reasons. The new version, called Picopress, is heavier by 14grams, which is a big faux pas for hikers and travelers. It also does not include a vessel, meaning you need to carry a second item to put your coffee in. This adds to the total weight of your pack or bag. Alternatively, the older Nanopress came with everything you need. After checking out both of these in person, I can appreciate the Nanopress for its utility, even if the Picopress arguably makes pro espresso.

Orphan Espresso Flatpack

I am going to finish off this travel series with what was possibly my favorite invention at the convention. It’s a pour-over funnel from Orphan Espresso. A married elderly couple invented this because the wife never travels without her coffee tech. They got tired of packing a heavy, awkward, funnel-shaped dripper whenever they went anywhere. So they invented the flatpack.

A flat, portable device no thicker than an Iphone, the flatpack folds into a funnel with two flow rates. Differently spaced ridges allow for both quick or slow coffee extraction. It is unbelievably light in weight, with the base made from carbon fiber. It comes packaged in a neat little pouch, which fits in my hiking pant pocket. Any multi-day hiker can appreciate this invention. I would have to say this was the top, best new coffee product I saw.

Gadgets and Tools

Melodrip Stainless

In the brewing competition, one of the contestants was using this water dispersing tool from Melodrip to make the judges their coffee. It was the first time I heard of it but another user of the tool swears by it. It’s supposed to minimize overextraction and amplify the clarity of the cup. I am very interested to try it for myself.

Origami Dripper

Not that I need another dripper option, but the Origami dripper is too pretty not to mention. A colorful, stackable dripper that has two base options (resin or wood), this multi-fluted cone has small and large options. The 20 flutes improve airflow, allowing for a faster brew. It is versatile, as it is compatible with flat filters, as well as conical or wave style filters. The dripper is made of minoware clay, a traditional technique from the Gifu region of Japan that only a few dozen artisans know. It is definitely a piece of functional art.

Pallo Coffee Tool

We don’t own a brush to clean our group head but this tool is so essential. All the national competitions were using this tool to clean their espresso machine’s group head after every contestant. I would highly recommend!

Supergood Counter Brush

This brush might seem frivolous, but how many times do you find coffee grounds scattered all over the counter? If you grind whole beans at all, this brush will keep the counter clean.

Kruve Propel Glasses

Elegant double-walled espresso cups that are as cute as a button.

Umeshiso Rainbow Little Spoon

I fell in LOVE with this rainbow spoon. Even though it seem superfluous to add this to the list, it is one of the best new coffee products that I am excited about. This spoon is perfect for mixing espressos from my Drink Morning Machine. I would love to see this with a Pink Not Neutral Vero Cortado cup.

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A majority of the products here can be found at Eight Ounce Coffee, a Canadian based specialty coffee equipment company that luckily ships to the US. We discovered their booth at the Expo and fell in love with what they were selling. A lot of our newly discovered favorites were from their booth. And they carry some of my already-favorite brands such as Kinto and Hario. They are going to be our new one-stop shop favorite for specialty coffee products and goods!

Spring Refresh with White Cotton Sheets

Spring is my favorite season to spruce up the home. In this season, I embrace traditional Spring cleaning rituals, a decluttering frenzy, and a refresh of my home’s aesthetics. On the latter point, I set about renewing the home in minimal and simple ways. This entails throwing open the windows, putting flowers in a vase, and clearing the counter space. For a long time, I dreamed of doing more grand gestures to welcome Spring. Like changing couch throw pillows, hanging a different front door wreath, or buying seeds to plant. But that just wasn’t the frugalist and minimalist way. Somewhere in those dreams lay the hope of a Spring refresh in the form of white cotton sheets. Finally, Mildly Home has made that one dream come true, without comprising my values.

Mildly Home is a textile company producing goods that impact lives and well-being in positive ways. They create products that are made well and with intention, without breaking the bank. In essence, they want to make high quality goods affordable for everyone. They are priced much lower than competitor textile companies such as Parachute Home, Cuyana and Coyuchi. For example, Mildly Home is selling their duvet cover sets for under $100! It’s the perfect option for a refresh.

They have proven that a higher price point does not necessarily equate to a superior good. We have the reversible cotton duvet set on our bed right now and the cotton is as soft as a cloud! I am currently writing this post in bed, because it is just so comfortable! (I promise I am not making this up.)

Like I said before, I have dreamed of having hotel-white sheets, especially in the Spring and Summer seasons. It makes the space feel clean and calm. White sheets also have a timeless and classic look for me. I love the way they look when the bed is made. White cotton is simple, no-nonsense, and fully minimalist. It imbues that prairie-like humility and angelic innocence.

The reason I never bought white sheets was because bedding is typically so expensive. I could not rationalize buying sheets that could get ruined by dirty feet and spilled coffee. That’s what happens when you have expensive things. Interlaced within that price tag is anxiety. But thanks to Mildly, I don’t have to worry about that. I am so grateful to have been gifted the bedding of my dreams. Even if I had made the purchase, the lower price point is friendly to my psyche. As in, I can handle spilled coffee.

The duvet cover set was ready to use right out of the box. The fabric feels luxe and is not itchy or scratchy. It is what I would expect from a company that is OEKO-TEX certified. This makes Mildly Home a brand with one of the most influential eco-labels in the world.

In comparison the Parachute Home’s reversible brushed cotton duvet that our bed used to don, Mildly Home has achieved a more relaxed California look. The sheets appear like a linen set, but with the lightness and softness of cotton. Never you mind the wrinkle, as it adds to that popular laid-back look. The lightness of the fabric is welcomed especially during our desert summer heat, a heat that has already started to show itself during these Spring months. It is much cooler than it’s Parachute reversible duvet counter-part, and has a cozier feel too (less heavy).

The duvet set comes with the duvet cover and two pillowcase covers which are also reversible. The duvet cover has a zipper closure which I prefer over Parachute’s button closure. However, the pillows come with two wood button closures, which I find odd since they don’t match the duvet. On the bright side, the added detail does look better on the pillows. And on the website, you can also purchase a matching white fitted sheet for under $50.

Mildly Home’s mantra of “Think Less, Feel More” really summarizes the values of their company. Their desire is to create products that bring betterness to people’s everyday lives. They are making products that don’t cost too much of our hard-earned dollars, that are simple in design, and that really bring us joy. As I write this post, I think about the way this brand made me feel. This morning, I brought our coffees over to bed – a taboo especially when it comes to white sheets. Plus, we never eat or drink in our bedroom. And yet, my desire was to drink coffee in bed. In the afternoon, I jumped back in to read. And even now in the late afternoon, I am sitting here writing my thoughts with the cat by my side.

I tried to shoo him away in order to photograph the bed but he came back meowling. As I was turning the top sheet, the cat jumped up without a care in the world. As if to say, ‘This is equally mine as it is yours.’ He proceeded to do his own cat things, putting an end to the photo shoot, but he has a point. He should have equal enjoyment.

Honestly, when they reached out to partner, I immediately felt the rightness of the relationship. Perhaps it was their motto “Think Less, Feel More”. Certainly, Mildly Home is not one of those trendy, highly expensive, uber chic companies that you see on LA billboards. They don’t sell colors in stone hues or desert tones. But they are one of those companies creating high quality products under an OEKO TEX certification. Their products have sensibility and affordability. There’s a simplicity to the sheets – one that gives me a pang of nostalgia for childhood days. Perhaps because it has that same feel of well-loved sheets we used to make forts with.

It makes me want to curl in bed and take life slowly. To relish in the moments before rising, and to truly relax. I don’t feel worried about the possibility of ruining them. At the same time, I am not concerned with the way it looks. If we can save our dollars to buy what we need and still get the same amount of joy, why wouldn’t we? Perhaps we could use the money saved to work less, and live more. When it comes to partnerships, this was a no-brainer. As always, the opinions are my own.

Currently, Mildly Home is holding a sale with Free Shipping on their website. The duvet cover we own is the Reversible Cotton Duvet in Gray and White. Our duvet cover is a King size on a California King bed. The links are affiliate links and this space will earn a small commission shall you choose to try Mildly Home in your space. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this space.