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Winner

It ticks all the boxes

I have been working at the same place for the better part of twenty years. Over the years, on my way back and forth, I often wondered whether there was no more efficient, no more pleasant, no overall better way of transportation than the one I was presently using. 

 

This led to a few experiments. I used public transport for a few years but ran into issues with punctuality and availability. I took the car but soon noticed that parking became a hassle. I cycled the 18 kilometers but because of the absence of shower accommodation, I found myself getting ill more than usual. I bought a scooter but had a few run-ins with the law because too often I used a safe, fast and convenient path reserved for cyclists.

 

This got me thinking. What if I turned my bike into an electric scooter? It would tick all the boxes: I would use the cyclists’ path, would no longer sweat, would always be on time, have no parking issues, go fast and still feel part of nature. This Bafang kit has done it all and has truly been a life-changer. In all circumstances, this is a true gift of the Divine. 

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Runner-up

Even memory loss,

this machine takes care of 

Quick everyday meals. No worries. Coming home late, still having to cook. No worries. Catering for friends. No worries. Impressing neighbors, business acquaintances, hobby cooks alike? Nothing to worry about. Sending your kids off to college with this machine? Worry about other things. At least they will cook and eat healthily.

 

Even if you don't know how to cook or you have lost your memory, this machine with its guided cooking and its recipe library, takes care of everything.

 

Whatever happens, the Thermomix has your back and that makes it one of my most valued and trusted products of all time.

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2nd Runner-up

Me-time with my favorite authors and characters

I am an avid reader but I rarely find or make time to pick up a book. For a long time that sounded like a paradox I could not get my head around. If I like literature that much, if it gives me pleasure and if it enriches my life, why can't I bring myself to do it more? 

 

I could always blame my family members; I could blame my job... but that would not be fair because I did do other things that gave me pleasure.

 

I deep-dove into my psyche and came up with two things: the pleasure reading gives me is long-term pleasure and the pleasure I experience does not come from the reading process. I came to realize I am into it for the stories and ideas, for the aesthetic pleasure of the language and the rhythm of the words and sentences.

I asked myself: what if there is a way to experience all these things without having to sit down with a book in hand? Audiobooks proved to be the solution. The past years I listened to fifteen books. Not a huge number but I am certain that I would not have read these books in a conventional way.

 

All the time in the car spent listening to the news bulletin over and over, I now spend with my favorite authors and characters. For me, that is a giant plus.

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Best of the Rest

there she was

Miss Silvia

You have tried them all: the pad-machines, the cup-machines, the full automatics and the consumer espresso machines. They all promised to deliver great coffee but left you underwhelmed.

 

Finally, there she was: Miss Silvia. This prosumer machine is the only in its class that can pull espresso shots and steam your milk like true baristas do in a great coffee bar.

 

The only downside of working with Silvia is that you will start to dislike most of the coffee the two of you did not make together. 

You might be well the world's best barista, you might own the number one grinder or a professional coffee maker, but without great beans your coffee will be mediocre at best. If you want to brew quality kava investing in top-notch beans is a must.

to brew quality kava investing in topnotch beans is a must

A weekly visit to the nearest specialty roaster is a possibility, but if you are not so lucky to have such a place nearby, a coffee subscription will get you what you need. Never run out of coffee again. 

some days you don't feel like making coffee

Some days you don't feel like making an espresso but you don't like making slow coffee either. Believe me, there are those days. 

 

Still, a day without coffee is called… night. There must be a way to make great coffee without too much effort and without (too much) compromising on taste.

 

Luckily there is. This Dutch coffee maker delivers.

For the price of seven coffees at a premium American coffeehouse chain you can become the proud owner of a coffee maker that makes one of the cleanest and tastiest cups out there.

 

When you can't get a decent cup of coffee on holiday (think camping, motel or hotel, come to think of it, everywhere) this device can make all the difference. Grind, fill, pour and push down. Ninety seconds later, you are done.

 

The best thing? With this brewer, any day can feel like a holiday if you use it at home...

for the price of seven coffees you can own one of the best coffee makers out there

Sure, we would all want to be more active but going for a run or visiting the gym is just not always possible.

 

I for one experienced that sticking to a running schedule to achieve a certain goal simply proved impossible without a treadmill.

the jacuzzi of fitness equipment?

Now I combine running outside (longer runs) and inside (interval and HIIT) and the frustration about bad weather or shortening days has vanished completely. 

A rag is a rag is a cloth, right? No, not quite. This does not apply to these microfiber cleaning products. Just add water and start cleaning.

 

When I first heard people rave about these, I remember I was quite skeptical.

a rag is a rag is a rag, no?

Then I used them in my kitchen... and now they are in my list of top products.

Yes, the Swedes have the most subscribers, but this French service proves that you don't have to be big to be great.

 

The combination of a-less-is-more approach and a focus on top-quality sound makes this music service truly unique.

bigger is not better 

Although they mostly tailor to jazz and classical music aficionados, with their 40 million songs they arguably have something for everybody. 

 

You know what this service reminds me of? Remember that friend in high school long ago who had impeccable taste in music and used to make you mixtapes?

 

Well, guess what? He is back.

Making a pair of jeans is a dirty business and a very wasteful process. Many factors are negatively affecting man and nature but I will rest my case by giving you one telling number: 10,000. That is the number of liters of water that are used during the lifetime (growing the cotton, dyeing, consumer care) of your favorite pair of blue denim.

If you are going to stick with jeans and wear them every day for the rest of your life like I do, it might be wise to find a way to limit some of the negative effects attached to this great piece of clothing. Luckily you can. Start by investing in a pair of raw selvedge jeans.

 

The organic cotton (no pesticides) used in these pieces of denim is of a higher quality and since they are woven differently than conventional jeans, they result in a stronger pair of jeans that will last much longer.

 

They are dyed with natural indigo, not with synthetic coloring.

 

Typical finishing processes such as acid or stone washing and sandblasting use yet more water, chemicals, and labor. Raw denim, on the other hand, does not undergo any pre-washing or distressing and so produces a stiffer pair of jeans that will need to be broken in until they are molded around the wearer.

save the climate (a little) 

wear a lot of selvedge jeans

Finally, wearing raw selvedge jeans does not only save water on the manufacturer's side but also on the side of the wearer since to achieve good wear and fade it is recommended to only wash raw denim when it is really necessary (no more than twice a year).

 

Racking my brain, the only downside I can think of is that you have to be careful where you sit down when you are wearing a fresh pair of raw selvedge jeans. When rubbed, traces of indigo dye come off the fabric resulting in the sought-after and very personal fading patterns. Now I come to think of it, that is not a real downside. It is just common sense to be careful where you sit your ass down.

I used to be that guy who found out about concerts the day after. I read about them in the newspaper or heard about them on the radio but never did I manage to be where you had to be when tickets went on sale.

 

I am too old to know FOMOB, but when it comes to live music I do.

 

No longer! In this app you create a list of your favorite artists and when these artists play near you, you are the first to be notified.

 

In the past year, I experienced three magical performances (Rhye, Phosphorescent, Cigarettes After Sex) that I would have hated to have read or heard about the day after...

no longer am I the guy

who wasn't there

we don't fear the wet autumn and cold winter days anymore 

In wintertime, we get home from the cold wet streets, dry our coats on and our shoes next to this cast iron stove. We pet the sleeping cat who pretends to sleep against it, while we open and close the ovens to prepare supper.

 

This pastoral scene is not an ad campaign but thanks to the AGA it is a true depiction of a daily scene at our home during the cold autumn and winter months.

 

Summer is an altogether different story...

the best solution for my need and my life got better, instantly

I would not call myself a huge Apple fan. Still, I notice that I own quite a few of their products: an Imac (2012) and a MacBook Pro (2014), an iPad (2015), two Apple TVs from different generations and an iPhone 5C. These products, however, have not wormed their way into our house based on the Apple brand name. Instead, all of them earned their place because at one point they proved the best solution for a need and by doing so they made my life better.

The same I can say about the latest product I bought from them. Hooray for their Airpods! Bluetooth earphones already existed when they came out, in fact, I had a pair that I used for running, but they were nothing like the Airpods. The Airpods charged better, connected better, sounded better, in short, they were better in all circumstances.

What made them one of my all-time favorite products is the way they changed how I live my life. Thanks to them I enjoy my music more and I listen to more podcasts and audiobooks. This is an accomplishment only the best of friends are capable of.

Do you want the convenience of a streaming service as well as the sound quality of conventional sources like CDs and LPs? Don't let people tell you that you are someone who wants to have the cake and eat it too. You are not, you are just a sensible person who wants a DAC.

A DAC takes a digital stream, improves it and translates it into analog sound. It is that simple. Now, sensible as you are, you understand that what is performing this magical hocus pocus is basically a box with a computer chip onboard. You therefore reckon that paying an arm and a leg for it is just bonkers, especially when your source, amp, and speakers are not on par with the DAC.

by sensible people

for sensible people

like you

Beresford people are sensible people like you who make great DACs. Tada! You buy their DAC, you plug it in, it greatly improves your music. That’s it.

their tiny footprint makes these speakers ideal contemporary companions

I thought I knew my music well until I listened through these speakers. Suddenly it was as if I had received a new set of ears. I heard new things in the songs I thought I knew by heart. The music was more transparent, more spacious, had better imaging and a more open soundstage, in one word, the whole listening experience had become truly musical.

 

Generally, vintage equipment has this effect on modern listeners, used as they are to hearing compressed audio. Why then don't we all go back to vintage HiFI? We don't and there is a simple explanation for this.

 

The downside of vintage equipment is its footprint. Some of the best speakers in history are so heavy they need to be moved with a crane. The rules of physics are unequivocally clear on this point: great sound means great mass which translates into big and hefty speakers, heavy-duty amplifiers and humongous power supplies. There is just no way around it. Or is there?

 

Back to these Rogers speakers. Rogers speakers defy this logic. They provide great sound that will charm dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles, but they do so in a small package. Hence, they possess a rare quality that not many vintage products can boast of: they are easy to integrate into any modern-day decor.

Streamers are supposed to stream yet sadly some of them don't or they don't do it properly. This product does and in a big way. It delivers audio in the best quality from wherever you are to wherever you want: dedicated HiFi or active speakers.

The Soundstream works as a stand-alone or a multi-room solution. Do you want the same or different music in different rooms? You choose, it does it all. You can even appoint speakers to only play the left channel while other speakers play the right channel. In my kitchen, for instance, located between the dining room and the music room, I use this feature to combine the sound of the two HiFi systems for an unbelievable stereophonic sound.

ChiFi at its best

The app that comes with this device (or devices, because I doubt you will be able to content yourself with only one) serves as a hub for streaming services and Internet radio so switching between apps is no longer necessary.

Forget all the bad things you heard about Chinese products. When it comes to this device they are certainly unwarranted. Instead, I would go as far as to predict that if manufacturers like Ieast keep creating quality products, Apple and Google will have to step up their game. By the way, this Soundstream device supports both Airplay (Apple) and Chromecast (Google) audio protocols. Do you see what I mean?

 

ChiFi is real and it is here!

a friend for all seasons

'To Build a Fire' is a famous short story by Jack London in which the main protagonist fails to build a fire and perishes in the subzero boreal forest of the Yukon territory.

 

It is a heart-breaking story that speaks of man's arrogance when in conflict with nature. I would not quite put my life-long struggle with starting my barbecue in the same category as Jack London's main character but I recognize the angst of the unnamed man of not being able to build the fire.

 

I am certain that with a Looftlighter (and an electric outlet) Jack London's reckless man would not have died. Starting a fire with this device that looks like an oversized hairdryer is child's play. Even I can do it.

Direct the Looftlighter at the coals, turn it on and keep it near the charcoal until it starts to glow. Pull back your hand as if you are performing a magic trick and the pit is lit. It is so convenient that it has made barbecuing something of a daily thing in our household. I now use it to bake bread, to stir-fry and to grill vegetables. All thanks to the easy way of lighting it.

 

This tool can be used year-round because once you retire the barbecue for the winter, you use it to light the fire in the fireplace. It is truly a friend for all seasons.

info@first-world-products.com

 

© Passionately created in Brussels, Belgium 2020

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