Before I left home for this long trip, I thought I was well-researched and had packed everything I would need. The pandemic makes everything different. Extended period of quarantine at a hotel room is the experience many of encountered first time in life. When at home in the US, I drink one cup of coffee every morning. Our favorite cup is the Chemex pour-over coffee. Now, as much as I am a tea lover, after a week of tea drinking in China, I started craving for my morning coffee.
If you stay at any hotel in China, you will know an electric kettle is the standard appliance in every room. It makes it easy to make a cup of tea anytime of the day. But a coffee maker is almost never offered. If you are in a big city, you could get coffee from the hotel or find a local coffee shop or Starbucks. However, I am visiting small towns this time, where coffee shops do not exist. I almost settled on instant coffee, until my sister introduced me to a portable pour-over coffee that fascinated me with its clever design. It has an interesting name in Chinese market, known as “Coffee with Hanging Ears”, which refers to its particular way of brewing, instead of a specific brand name.
I gave it a try and was impressed by the taste at first sip. It does not taste as good as a cup of coffee you make at home with freshly-ground coffee. But it is better than any dripping coffee, if you stay with the brands with high-quality ground coffee. As it was my first time seeing this type of coffee, I thought it was a recent invention. After a quick internet search, I learned that it was in fact invented and patented by Japanese innovators in 1990, and has been improved over the years.
It is a brilliant idea. ground coffee is packed in a pouch made of filter paper, with two cardboard “ears” on both sides, and then sealed in air-tight aluminum pouch. It is light weight and extremely portable. At my hotel room, I boiled some hot water, tore off the top of the filter pouch, pulled the two ears apart to open the pouch, and placed it securely over a cup. Just like what I do at home with pour-over coffee, I first pour a small amount of hot water to “flower” the coffee ground, and then pour more water to brew the coffee until it fills the cup. It tastes great. I now make it every morning, just like when I am home. It is also healthier than any instant coffee because it is less processed. It is a clever invention for any coffee-drinking traveler who goes to a remote town where Starbucks or any other coffee is not easily available. It gives me a taste of home when I am far away.
Among the new arrivals, we have several portable board games that are perfect for traveling. This Triangle Peg Solitaire Board Game is handcrafted using Indian Rosewood and Haldu Wood. It is 4 inch by 4 inch in size, easily fitting into any side pocket of your backpack. Peg Solitaire game is an ancient game dated back to 1600s. It is a game played by sole player. Therefore, it is a nice way to keep yourself or your teens entertained or stimulated during a trip, whether you are on a long flight, in a hotel room, at campfire, or under the sunshine on the beach. When you are at home, you will not have to worry about where to store it. The deep red color and smooth touch of the wood makes it an attractive piece to display at home or in office, on a shelf or a table. Just as every other product from Matr Boomie, the material was sustainably sourced, hand-crafted by Indian artisans, and brought to your through fair trade. It will last and be enjoyed for many years to come when you are home and when you travel. It is something you could bring with you when travel that will remind you of home.