Friday, October 16, 2009

Ahhh.... much better

Some quick news here... today is CLOSING day for our Pendleton house! Since we're 3 time zones apart, it won't be until 11 or so before I hear from Chris, but I'll soon be wiring money, and he'll soon be signing papers for our new (to us) house.

Also my son loves his new clarinet so much that he has already spent 2-3 hours getting to know it. There's been a lot of joyful squawking in our house lately. He even put his dad on speaker phone last night so he could play for him.

Unfortunately he woke up this morning with an awful headache, stomach ache, sore neck and mild fever. So he's home now, missing a second day of band, a field trip to the local high school (15 miles away) for their homecoming parade and a corn maze, as well as a bake sale that we contributed to. Our high school here has its' own forest as well as a huge agricultural field. Average graduating class is about 60 seniors.

As for me, I unpacked my coffee roaster this morning. I recently bought some bulk coffee beans from our local grocery store. It's a tiny store that only recently started carrying the whole beans in bulk. They were out of almost all of their coffee this past week except for one roast. Ever since I started drinking it I've had horrible headaches that feel like caffeine withdrawal headaches. Ouch! I suspect they put decaf into the wrong chute. So out came the beans and roaster this morning, and as I drink and type, I'm feeling sooo much better!!!

I LOVE coffee. I must have coffee.....

I started roasting my own coffee several years ago as a way to save money really. I wanted to drink organic fair trade coffee, but the price for such was so expensive. I found out about coffee roasting who knows where, and decided to buy a small coffee roaster from Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting Company. In Oregon, getting good coffee was never an issue. My kids' earliest memories must include going through numerous "Good Bean" coffee drive-through stands that are scattered through out Southern Oregon. There's "Dutch Brothers" too. In fact Dutch Brothers frequently has hunky cute guys that were part of the experience, while the young ladies at the Human Bean stands were my husband's favorite... But that's another subject entirely. I was hooked on Human Bean because of the chocolate covered coffee bean that they placed on the top of every coffee cup that they served. Mmmmmm Chocolate and coffee... a match made in heaven!

The world of coffee can be compared to the wine world. There are so many varieties, so many regions, several ways to process the coffee cherry to make the green bean. Each variety and region has it's own flavor and characteristics. It's really an interesting subject.

Since moving to Northern Michigan I've come to depend on my coffee roaster to make my own coffee. It's so much better, the cost of green beans, even with shipping charges are easily half what you pay for whole roasted beans, plus you can I can get my organic fair trade coffee here without having to drive a long distance. I have control over the coffee, where it comes from, how long I roast it, etc... Sure it's a bit of effort, but well worth it.

And it's not rocket science. You simply put the green beans in the roaster and turn the timer on. You have to know the different roasting levels... As the beans roast, they expand, and "crack". It sounds a bit like pop-corn popping. After the first crack, the beans can be ready to grind into coffee, if you like that style. They'll be light brown. Most people prefer a fuller bodied coffee though and continue the roasting a bit further. If you roast long enough, you'll get to the "second crack" stage. Once again, the beans make their distinctive crack, but this time the oils in the coffee bean are released. This makes it very easy for them to burn. Not good. Once that second crack is done, you need to remove them from the heat and cool them. Then your fresh home-roasted coffee is ready to brew into my favorite beverage... Mmmm coffee....

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