Monday, October 29, 2007

Coffee news

A few months ago, we were discussing coffee, and I got some good advice on home roasting and sources of green coffee. Well, not long ago, I was in Valu Village, and found a used coffee roaster for just $8. I thought at that price, it was worth a gamble to see if I could do my own coffee roasting. I already have a good grinder, so all I needed to do was get some green beans and give it a whirl. (this is the machine I have, by the way - one of the first models.)

I found a place nearby in Almonte named Equator Coffee that sells Fair Trade green coffee from some very unusual places, so I started experimenting. So far we've tried coffee from East Timor, Ethiopia, Bolivia and Mexico (I like the East Timor the best). I know they say caffeine is addictive, but I've never really been bothered by it - just headaches if I go several days without coffee. But this roast-your-own stuff...MAN! That is REALLY ADDICTIVE! Now that I've had fresh-roasted, fresh-ground coffee, I find myself thinking about coffee at odd times, thinking how good it tastes, how much I'd like some, how ordinary coffee just really doesn't have any taste in comparison, and maybe I should go home and roast a batch. It's a little spooky.

In addition, I've discovered how to make coffee with a vaccuum coffee system, and it's far better than anything else. Percolator is still fine, but on weekends, when I have time to stand by the stove and watch the process, I'll get out the vaccuum pot and make a big batch, and it really produces better flavour (and fewer grounds) than any other system. The only thing that stops me from becoming a full-time coffee junkie is that it's a bit cumbersome to set up the roaster, (and the smoke does set off the smoke alarm a lot, so that's a disincentive, too), then I have to let the beans sit and stabilize for several hours, then I have to grind it. So we have "real" coffee every few days, and the rest of the time, it's that usual tasteless garbage I USED to think was so nice! Dean scoffs at me, because he says at the office, he's used to drinking coffee that's even worse, so our ordinary coffee tastes quite good to him.


Blogger Kasia said...

You know, Dean can scoff all he likes - I was "eh" on coffee until I went to Europe, where I fell in love with it. Then I came back here and tasted the swill we call coffee. BLECH. I completely understand!

6:01 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I know - it's like when I watched the thoroughly restored Kino dvd of "Metropolis", complete with the original Huppertz score. I'd seen "Metropolis" over and over before that, on bad, fuzzy prints at the wrong speed. When I saw this, I suddenly felt that I'd never seen this movie before, it was SO different. This feels the same - it's as if I've never really tasted coffee before.

9:32 am  
Blogger Dr. Alice said...

I've never tried to roast my own coffee, but now I'm seriously interested in trying it. Only problem is, I drink too much already. This sounds absolutely deelish. You might roast a batch, then freeze some of the roasted beans to use on the days you don't use the roaster and see how that works.

6:35 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Oh, I would GO FOR IT, doc! Yes, I know you could end up drinking more coffee and that's not good for your health, but I figure that if this does me in, I'm gonna go down drinking the good stuff. I'd just recommend doing what I did, and trying it out with a used machine, if possible, before investing a lot of money in the mechanics of it. I've read that you can even use one of those hot-air popcorn poppers; actually, my coffee roaster works on the same principle, it's basically a fancy popcorn machine. You wouldn't have a built-in timer, but you could just time it yourself and turn it off after 10 minutes, or when the beans look dark enough. (I've never gone more than 11 minutes, but my machine has a setting all the way to 15 minutes for people who like it REALLY dark!) The drawback of that is that the little flakes of chaff will go flying everywhere, but if you use it outside that won't matter. I guarantee that you won't find the resulting PRODUCT unsatisfactory; it's just that some people (like my sister) don't have the space for a roaster, or they don't like the noise, or it's just too annoying trying to avoid setting off the smoke alarm. (If I had to, I'd go through all of that to get this coffee, but it isn't for everyone.)

10:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet you can quit any time. Yeah, any time. Like after the next cup. Sure.

12:27 am  

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