Thursday, May 15, 2008

Serious about coffee

This is the back of my truck, loaded with 650 pounds of green coffee beans. A few years ago while out in the desert with our 4x4's, my friend David and I began talking about the idea of roasting our own coffee. When we returned to his house for dinner we ordered up a sampler pack of green coffees from Sweet Marias, an excellent website for the home roaster. We didn't actually own a roaster at that point, but we decided we wanted to try. The next day David's wife bought something like 7 popcorn poppers at a local thrift shop. With those poppers we began roasting coffee. Roasting on a popper is not a fun experience. It's loud, it takes a while, the batches are tiny, and it makes an awful mess. But it's a great way to get started.

These days we roast on a commercial roaster and we go through somewhere around 1000 pounds of coffee a year. A lot of that is sold to the church coffee shop which uses our espresso in all of their coffee drinks. We can provide coffee to them that is higher quality and much cheaper than they can get anywhere else.

Coffee is an amazing product. There is a tremendous amount of diversity in the flavor profiles of coffee. What you find in a can of folgers or even in the standard "pike's place blend" at starbucks is a far cry from what is out there. You can get a hint of it at Starbuck's with their "black apron exclusives" which are high quality coffees roasted in small quantities. These are the kinds of coffees that we buy and roast. The interplay created between the flavors when you blend is where the really amazing cups of coffee come from.

After unloading this, we roasted for almost four hours. What a great night!


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