Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Roast Comeback

A little longer hiatus than I'd intended... but we're finally settled into our new home in Vermont and my mind turns again to various roasting dreams. The big dreams involve using all the empty space in my barn for a real roaster. For now though, I'll continue with my home roasting adventures.

I always roast a little during the holidays, bringing at least one roast with me to the family gathering. But this year, with the cold weather upon us (it was 10 degrees when I got up this morning) it seemed appropriate to spend a lot more time at the roaster and fire up some beans for some friends as we head back down to NYC for the holiday.

I've gotten into a rut over the last couple years and have stuck with my iRoast. This year, however, I wanted bigger batches and I wanted more depth to my roast. So I literally dusted off my Whirley-Pop popcorn popper and tried a few batches.

One aspect of our new house that I originally found disappointing was the electric flat-top range. While it still doesn't top a gas range, after cooking on it for a few months I'm surprised at the high degree of control I have in cooking on it. And for roasting, I've found it very easy to control my temperature, especially if I put my roaster inside a cast iron skillet to help evenly disperse some of the heat.

I chose two coffees from Sweet Maria's this year for my holiday roasts:

Voila! My holiday roaster. Whirley-Pop in cast iron skillet on flat-top electric range.

Measuring out my beans... I found that 9 oz. was ideal for the Whirley-Pop and the bottom of a cocktail shaker is a great way to keep the beans on hand and drop them into the roaster when it hits its target temperature.

Starting my roast. Crank, crank, crank. Crank, crank, crank. Crank, crank, crank. A lot of cranking involved. 12-15 minutes actually. Nice meditative activity. Time to think about the holidays and all your friends who better enjoy all the mind-numbing cranking you did to give them fresh home-roasted coffee.

And the cranking never ends. I like how Vermont has helped me cultivate this Michael Nesmith meets Jarvis Cocker look.

Cooling off the beans outside. The 10 degree temperature really helps cool them down fast. And I get a chance to where my stylish down poofy coat thingy.

Blowing away the chaff. The glasses really come in handy here. Don't want chaff in yer eye.

The final roast. This is the Sumatra Peaberry.

This year I got fancy and packaged my roasts in 1/2 pound coffee bags with pictures of my daughter on them (see image at the top of this post). I chose this picture because she's got the same exact look on her face as I do before I have my first morning cup. Seemed fitting for the coffee bags.

Much more roasting to come in 2010 and many posts to follow...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Please Be Patient While I Relocate...

2009 is turning out to be much different than originally planned. When I originally started this blog last year, I expected to update it much more than I have over the last few months. Part of the reason for the sporadic posts is that my wife and I have decided to leave New York City for Vermont.

Needless to say, this move has gotten me a wee bit distracted from my blog. I'll continue posts when I can but there may be long silences until we're settled in October.

I'm going to miss the easy access to all the great coffee and coffee people in NYC. With the amazing coffee scene that has developed over the last couple of years, part of me feels like I'm leaving the party when it's just gotten started. But my job is still based in NYC so I'll still get a chance to peek in once and a while to see what's going on.

I'm also very excited to discover what a new state has to offer. I've already explored some of the Vermont coffee world earlier this year (see my post Beans in the Green Mountains). And I'm sure there will be much, much more to discover -- not only in coffee but in various types of local, sustainable small businesses. And with a new barn in my backyard, twice the size of my old NYC apartment, who knows what trouble I can get myself into.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Llama Trek Results

Been away for far too long. Here's an overdue follow up on my coffee llama trek through Williamsburg. We didn't make it to all the shops originally planned but we managed to hit three great shops in the neighborhood:
We missed Second Stop Cafe but I'm sure I'll make it back in the near future. I also found a flyer for Lucky Shot Espresso which sells Stumptown like Variety Coffee. I miss having Stumptown available at Ninth Street Espresso, which has switched to Intelligentsia. (Of course I love Intelligentsia but I can get their coffee in a number of places across the Village and Ninth Street was the only place I could find Stumptown.)

As evidenced by my Twitter updates posted below, we also managed to hit a couple bars along the way. It was hard to stay away! There are so many great placed in the 'hood. They kept calling to us. Especially the Wostyntje Torhouts Mustard Ale at Oak Cafe.

Besides continuing to appreciate all the experiences Williamsburg has to offer, I think the key impression I took away from this trip was that there are so many great places to get coffee in New York. As short as five years ago, I could never have arranged a trek with so many great coffee stops in one neighborhood. There would have been a lot more subway stops involved. Just goes to show that there has certainly been a specialty coffee explosion in NYC.

Twitter Updates during the trek:

Starting up at Beaner Bar. Faz Kaquend Brazil Cup of Excellence. Drinking it up while I have a chance. #coffee

Beaner Bar advertises itself as the first Euro-style Mexican coffee bar. And that's exactly what it's like. Fun place! #coffee

Tamales with red and green sauce at Beaner Bar. Great stuff but I should have finished my cup of coffee before having all the spice.

Rudy at Beaner Bar is awesome friendly and brings great energy to the place. Off we go to our next joint. #coffee

Made it to Vaeiety. Enjoying Kenya Ngunguru by Counter Culture. No choice on the coffee avaiable but its press pot. #coffee

Correction. Coffee at Variety is from Stumptown. The caffeine must be getting to my head. But we've got higher to go with stops ahead.

A strange beer vortex opened up in the middle of the street and sucked us in. Oak Cafe drinking Wostyntje Torhouts Mustard Ale from Belgium.

Made it to El Biet on Bedford. Enjoying Tanzania Karmaro on Clover roasted by 49th Parallel. Been waiting for 2nd cup of this for weeks
Fending off hunger with a visit to the taco truck on Bedford. Pork and fish tacos... Yum.

Ending our tour at Spuyten Duyvil with some good Belgian Beer to bring us back down. Haven't been here in years which is quite a shame.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Coffee Llama Trek: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Trying something a little new on my blog today: a coffee llama trek through Williamsburg, Brooklyn to check out all the new shops that have popped up there. I could easily call it a coffee crawl but I won't because it doesn't involve the word llama. (In case you were wondering, there is indeed something called a llama trek. Just Google "llama trekking" to find out more.)

Unfortunately, we don't have easy access to any live llamas to bring along on this trip, but I will be armed with my new llama tattoo so that will make it feel official.

I'm hoping to check out the following three spots today:
But who knows where the caffeine will take us. If you're familiar with the area and have other suggestions, let me know.

Follow along on my Twitter stream to hear all about the latest and greatest. I'll follow up tomorrow with the results and hopefully some good pics.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Selling Coffee with Sexism, Violence, Subliminal Messaging and Tommy Lee Jones Playing Ping Pong

My last post on the Jim Henson ads for Wilkin's Coffee sparked my curiosity in old coffee ads, which in turn lead to this post. This is by no means a comprehensive or summary review of coffee ads. It's merely the result of too much time surfing YouTube for coffee ads and saving the ones that interested me the most.

First up is this old add for Folgers. It's startling how sexist many of the coffee ads were at this time. Folgers, Chock Full o' Nuts and Chase & Sanborn all advertised their coffee with the message: buy our coffee or piss of your husband. I picked this one in particular because I liked the "mountain grown" spin. The next time I go to my favorite coffee shop, I'm going to hold my hands over my head like a tepee and ask for "mountain grown."

This one is just freakin' hilarious and I love the animation.

I like the way coffee companies try to pick something they should have been doing all along and try to convince you that it's a huge innovation. The big seller here though is Captain B.J. Hunnicutt hanging upside-down.

Apparently, in the 1980's the National Coffee Association launched this ad campaign to attract the Pepsi generation to coffee. I totally do not remember these ads. Maybe they didn't get much air time. Or maybe I have selective amnesia in order to protect my fragile brain. Although, I love the one second shot of Kurt Vonnegut (who unlike Bowie is actually drinking coffee).

I have no idea if this is an actual ad or only a brilliant short done in the style of vintage ads. Either way, it's brilliant! So I'm including it here. Although, I did think twice about my coffee beans before I stuck them in my grinder this morning.

I don't speak Italian so I have absolutely no idea what any of the talking and walking beans are saying in this ad but I love it! According to Babel Fish, "Hag" in Italian means "Hag" in English. Which just makes the name of this coffee even more mysterious...

Any fan of Escher should love this ad. Plus I've actually had this experience before drinking my morning cup.

Even if I spoke Japanese I have a feeling I'd still have no idea what is going on in this ad. And I have the sneaky suspicion that Tommy Lee Jones has no idea either.

I included this ad because I remember this commercial causing this insipid song stuck in my head. Don't click "play" if you don't want to be singing this song for the next three days. "The best part of waking up..." Help me!!!

There are so many things wrong/scary about this ad, I had to include it in this post. I realize it was the 80's but you still have to wonder what Maxwell House was thinking. "Max?" Really?

Finally, for posterity sake, I'd like to note that I did not post the new McCafe ad. If you've seen it, you know why.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Muppets + Violence = Coffee

I just discovered this brilliant ad campaign for Wilkins Coffee that was done by Jim Henson in the late 50s and early 60s. It's great to see early versions of the Muppets in these 8 second adds. It's also good to see that Henson's sense of humor was there from the very beginning.

I ran across these ads in a footnote in Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast. It mentions Wilkins Coffee as a Washington D.C. roaster from the 50s. But other than that I haven't been able to track down any more info on the company. It doesn't seem that Wilkins is still with us. But thanks to the wonders of YouTube, the ads are here for us to enjoy.

Also, this amazing/scary Muppet wiki explains it all including the vinyl puppets of Wilkins and Wotkins that the company offered in 1958. (Enter into super-scary territory by following Muppet Wiki on Twitter.) I don't know about vinyl puppets but somebody needs to make some tshirts of these guys.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Gods in Cups

In March, I stumbled across God in a Cup by Michaele Weissman at my local Barnes & Noble. If I hadn't been in the food writing isle looking for another book on coffee (Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast), I never would have found it, and today I wouldn't know of its existence -- much less have had the pleasure of reading it.

What makes this book about the specialty coffee industry so enjoyable and so insightful are the people. Instead of focusing solely on the bean or the complex global industry that exists around it, Weissman focuses on the people in specialty coffee -- specifically Geoff Watts of Intelligentsia, Peter Giuliano of Counter Culture Coffee, and Duane Sorenson of Stumptown Coffee. And as she travels with Geoff and Peter to origin in Africa and Central America, she meets an impressive cast of key players within the industry including farmers, buyers and exporters. When she visits Geoff, Peter and Duane on their home turf in LA, Northe Carolina and Portland, she also brings in importers, roasters and baristas.

This book is an examination of the specialty coffee industry as it stands today. It's a snapshot in time of the guys at the forefront of the self-proclaimed "third wave" of coffee with a glimpse at some of the giants that came before them. It digs deeper than other treatments of the industry such as Black Gold (see my previous post on this documentary). Weissman is not afraid to explore the complexity of the industry -- the drawbacks of co-ops for farmers, the controversies over the value of fair trade and the potential risks of direct trade -- revealing the struggles that exist from origin to retail.

It is clear throughout her book that Weissman obviously developed a deep respect for her subjects and their passion for coffee, which often crosses the border into obsession. In her Authors@Google appearance, she compares the subjects of her book to the wave of independent film makers of the 70's -- a band of irreverent, talented and passionate guys who fundamentally changed an industry. And the farmers at the other end of the chain? They are artists, she says. All farmers are not alike.

And as such, all great coffee is not alike -- a theme that runs throughout her book and is illustrated by the search for the next Hacienda La Esmeralda Special, a Panamanian coffee produced by a specific coffee varietal called geisha that has become the obsession of many within the specialty coffee world and inspired the title of Weissman's book. (There are many different varietals of coffee plants that produce different types of coffee, similar to different varietals of grapes producing different wines.) While this book has so much to offer, if I were to pick one aspect that resonated with me the most, it would be this sentiment that not all great coffee is alike -- the complexities of growing and finding great coffee and the stories of those pursuing fine coffees like geisha. I would pick this because it helps to explain my own obsession with coffee.

An old friend of mine recently commented to one of my countless Facebook status updates about coffee by saying: "You spend more time thinking about coffee then I spend thinking." I think many of my friends and family members (including my 15 month old) have probably thought the same thing at one point in time. Why do I spend so much time thinking and talking about a beverage?

At a recent holiday dinner, one of my wife's family friends asked me: "What's the best coffee in the world?" I didn't know quite how to answer this question. I've spent so many years drinking so many great coffees (and finding new ones every month) that the thought of pointing to one cup and saying "that's it, there are no others" seemed completely foreign to me.

But this is a question I often face from non-coffee geeks. The dilemma reminds me of an article that Malcolm Gladwell wrote a few years back called The Ketchup Conundrum. In it, Gladwell talks people's expectations and perceptions of taste and a man named Howard Moskowitz. Moskowitz was the first person to realize that what people often want (even though they don't often know it) are varieties in taste. There was no such thing as the best universal taste for Pepsi or pasta sauces or mustard. But at the same time, some tastes are so embedded in a culture that it is almost impossible to stray from them. Ketchup is one such taste. Heinz dominates the ketchup market because people expect ketchup to taste like Heinz. Any great deviation from the Heinz recipe doesn't stand a chance.

Coffee, I think often suffers from similar cultural baggage. People expect to find one great coffee that they can stick with forever. Yet most coffee drinkers I know who are also wine drinkers would never dream of sticking to only one label of wine forever. Unfortunately, most people don't think of coffee like wine. They think of coffee like ketchup. They find a label and stick with it.

Weissman manages to argue in a couple hundred pages why you should change your thinking and open your mind on this subject for coffee. Don't try to find the best cup of coffee. Try to find the best cups of coffees. Instead of trying to find God in a cup, look for gods in cups.

I've feebly tried to explain this in many of my posts on this blog. If you want to save time, pick up Weissman's book.

(Note: this post was written under the influence of Kuta, Waghi Valley, Papua New Guinea by Counter Culture and Wondo Worka Co-op, Ethiopian Yrgacheffe by Ritual Roasters.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Snobbery Revealed! Two Weeks in the Life of a Coffee Snob

I am often accused of being a coffee snob. Doesn't really bother me. 'Cause it's kind of true.

But snobbery is all relative, isn't it? I mean, it's not like I only like one particular type of coffee. It's just that I only like quality coffee. And as I've said before, especially here in NYC there are tons of great coffee to choose from.

To prove that I'm not too much of a snob (but definitely a stickler for quality) below is the list of the coffees I've had over the last two weeks. I've posted them in my personal order of preference but all of these are excellent cups from talented roasters. Check them out yourself and maybe you can become a coffee snob, too.

Valle del Santuario (San Ignacio, Peru) roasted by Counter Culture. By far, my favorite over the last couple of weeks. I stumbled across this one by pure accident at Everyman Espresso. A pleasant, well-rounded, sweet cup with hints of vanilla.

Finca El Colmenar (Guatamala Amatitlan) roasted by Oren's Daily Roast. I've been enjoying this one for the few days at work in a nice little french press I got for myself at the office. A nice fruity cup. Yum!

Ethiopia Sidamo #3 also roasted by Oren's. (As I stated in an earlier post, I also have some green beans of this which I haven't tried roasting yet. I'm hoping I can do these beans justice when I do.) Hints of berries here -- just what I like in an Ethiopian. Also check out my earlier post on Oren's if you're not familiar with them.

Panama Hartmann Honey roasted by Gimme! Coffee. I first had these beans at Cafe Grumpy (don't remember the roaster). Nice body to this coffee and syrupy taste. The great guys over at Gimme! keep blogging and tweeting about it so I picked up a bag again this week at Cafe Royal. Glad I did.

El Salvador Pulp Natural Finca Mauritania roasted by Coffee Llama (that would be me). I picked up these beans from Sweet Marias and made a decent city roast for Easter dinner. A nice mellow, sweet cup. Decent, even in the horrible drip coffee maker we used. I'm looking forward to another roast that I can brew properly and hoard for myself.

I also roasted a few batches of a Brazil Moreninha Formosa Raisin Coffee MicroLot. The first batch wasn't too impressive. Some hints of caramel but not much else. I made a second roast a little darker and it made a much more impressive cup. A lot more fruit came out under the caramel. But it was a bit darker than I usually like my beans. I have enough beans to roast one more batch. I'm going to try to get somewhere between the two previous roasts.

Anjilanaka, Organic Bolivia roasted by Intelligentsia. I used to get this coffee at a now defunct cafe on Bleeker Street. Smooth, fruity and chocolatey. Luckily it's now available at Ost Cafe. And now that Ninth Street Espresso carries Intelligentsia I'm pretty sure they carry it now, too. In truth, I probably like this coffee better than my own roasts, but I couldn't resist the tempation to list myself above Intelligentsia. :-)

All in all, I think this is a pretty good selection for two weeks of coffee drinking. Can't wait to see what I can get my hands on in the coming weeks!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Learning from Craft Beer at the Coffee & Tea Festival NYC

A lot of great things have been happening in coffee in New York City these days. Unfortunately, the 4th Annual Coffee & Tea Festival NYC was not one of them.

I try not to post negative comments on this blog. It's too easy to be negative in a blog. Instead, I prefer to focus on coffee experiences and stories that excite and inspire me. But the festival I attended today was just too disappointing for me to ignore.

I tried my best to behave myself but a few negative comments did slip out and my friends who joined me at the festival were probably getting annoyed by my sour looks and almost instant dismissal of many of the products that were available to sample.

I was first skeptical of the event when I realized it was being held on the same weekend as the annual SCAA exposition in Atlanta, where many of the movers and shakers of the specialty coffee industry are spending their week. But I was still willing to give the festival the benefit of the doubt and see what I could discover.

My next disappointment was walking into the Manhattan Pavilion. It was nearly empty after the event had already been open for two hours. A lack of participants would have been bad enough but the amount of empty space within the pavilion was the worst part. I have paid much less to attend events in the same space where I have had the pleasure of exploring products from 3o to 40 times the number of vendors that I found today. (The annual Bust Craftacular and the Chocolateshow are just two such events.)

After a quick tour around the floor, my disappointment continued as I realized I could think of at least 7 destinations within walking distance of the show where I would have a better coffee or tea experience than I would have at the festival. While this was my first NYC Coffee & Tea Festival, I have been to a number of such festivals before. I expect there to be a number of vendors offering products that don't interest me -- bottled beverages and powdered mixes are the common offerings I tend to avoid. But I realize these are part of the industry and there are attendees and businesses who are interested in such products.

However, when it comes to pure coffee, I do have some high quality standards. I don't expect everyone to follow them, but when someone tries to sell me their coffee based on the benefits of its origin but only offers that coffee to me in a Viennese roast, which has burned away all the characteristics of origin, how can I possibly get excited? When another vendor across the room was pouring yet another dark roasted coffee out of a glass carafe kept on a warmer under a cheap drip coffee maker, I didn't even bother with a sample.

The find of the day was the booth for NY Craft Beer Week. They had a number of coffee-themed beers on display and were pouring samples, including Brooklyn Brewery's Intensified Coffee Stout. Not only was this a great beer (made with Stumptown Coffee) but the guys serving it at the festival took the extra time and effort to pay attention to how it was served. They didn't just have a keg sitting up on the table. They tapped their keg into a cooler full of ice. The beer pulled up through a metal coil embedded in the ice, which cooled the beer to a perfect serving temperature. I found it ironic that the beer guys were some of the only ones at the entire festival who understood the importance of these details when serving their products to new patrons.

Two other beverages of note at the festival included Zen Green Tea Liqueur (very smooth and light) and Gillies Coffee (which was brewed with a French Press and served for the coffee cupping demonstration).

For any New Yorker looking for new experiences in tea or coffee, you are probably better off checking out the coffee and tea isles at WholeFoods for free. Or for less than the price of entry to the festival, you can sign up for a cupping class at the Intelligentsia New York Training Lab.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fresh from Oren's Daily Roast

Not too many years ago, while I was already living in the West Village in New York, I thought my only options for coffee were Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and the coffee cart that parks on the corner of 14th and 7th every morning.

Then I found Oren's Daily Roast. The first shop I visited is down on Waverly Place near Washington Square Park. They keep their glass jars of fresh roasted beans in a glass display case at the back of the store. Being there for the first time and watching my beans scooped out of those jars, I knew I'd discovered something special. This was a totally different experience than grabbing a shiny pre-sealed bag off the shelf. These seemed like fine specimens kept in precious small quantities only for the discerning coffee fanatic.

At the time, I knew very little about coffee (other than how much I liked it) so I was convinced I only liked dark roasts. I asked for the best dark roast they had and got their Beowulf Blend. It's really their espresso blend, but I brought it with me to my in-laws for the holidays and proudly poured the fresh grounds into their drip coffee maker and shared a pot with the family.

I think that may have been the day I first grew hair on my chest, but I was hooked. This coffee was certainly a whole new world for me. I didn't know of any other shops at the time that claimed to have roasted their coffee within the last 24 hours. Since then, I've discovered more great coffee in the city and of course there has been a slew of newcomers but Oren's is still one of the best.

I stopped by today for a couple new samples.
I've added the links for each because they all include a description of the coffee and a story of origin. (And if you're a reader of this blog, you know how much I appreciate the stories that come with every cup of coffee.) I also have some green beans of the Ethiopia Sadamo which I'll roast later this week.

I'll post again once I've brewed and roasted and tasted. In the meantime, I'm just going to continue dipping my nose into the bags that they came in. That's the smell of real fresh coffee my friends.

Thanks Oren's. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Coming Up: New York Coffee & Tea Festival

While I'm not making it to the SCAA exposition this year, I am looking forward to the upcoming New York Coffee & Tea Festival.

I'll be attending on Saturday, April 18th and plan on tweeting my experiences at the event. So keep an eye on my Twitter feed that afternoon if you're interested.

If you are in the NYC area and would like to attend, you can order tickets in advance on the festival web site. But don't be like me. Use the discount code featured on the Imbibe Magazine web site to get your tickets for half off!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sweet, Sweet Maria's

I'm ashamed of how long it's been since I've visited Sweet Maria's to buy my green beans for roasting. I've gotten lazy and have been buying my green coffee (of relatively unknown origin) from The Roasting Plant around the corner from my apartment for months.

Given all my talk about origin on this blog lately, I figured it was a bit hypocritical of me to keep buying and roasting "Ethiopian Yirgacheffe" that I knew nothing about -- despite repeated requests for additional information on origin.

So I visited the standard source for any serious home coffee roaster, Sweet Maria's. Not only is their selection amazing, but their site is packed full of information (although even they admit it's a little hard to navigate).

Here are the three coffees I purchased. The link for each brings you to a page with everything you would ever want to know about the coffee including the farm, processing method and cupping score.

El Salvador Pulp Natural Finca Mauritania

Brazil Moreninha Formosa Raisin Coffee MicroLot

Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process Birbissa

While I'm eager to try all of these, I'm particularly interested in the Brazil since it is tree dried, a process which is new to me.

I'll post more on each once I've roasted and tasted them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You Say Tomato, I Say: Are They in Season?

I admit I've become a bit obsessed with fresh produce in the last couple of years. There is no doubt that the wonders of modern technology have enabled us to have fresh produce all year round, no matter what the season, but if you think seasonality no longer matters for produce you're kidding yourself. Tomatoes are the perfect example. This time of year, anyone in NYC would be hard pressed to find a really fresh tomato. Of course, you can find them in your supermarket and of course they look fresh but the taste can't even compare to the mid-summer tomatoes you can pick up at the farmers market.

Since coffee is a produce, it also has seasons. Getting fresh coffee in season is definitely not as easy as getting a tomato in season but depending on your roaster, you can certainly get fresh roasted coffee that's in season.

The seasons for coffee differ based on its origin and the seasons shift based on the growing conditions in a given year. I found a great little post on coffee seasonality on the Counter Culture website. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Be Patient with Your Drip -- Please!

Dear bakery shop attendant:

When pouring my cup of coffee, please be patient and wait for the full pot of coffee you are preparing to finish brewing. You may be surprised to know that putting my cup directly underneath the drip as soon as the coffee starts to brew, means you are filling my cup with coffee brewed from all the grounds that are in your filter. In other words, you are pouring me super-concentrated coffee! If your pot holds 20 cups of coffee, you have just handed me a cup brewed from the same amount of grounds meant to brew all 20 cups.

Yes, that's right, when the coffee first starts to pour from the machine, it's stronger than at the end of the brew. That's because all the grounds are typically soaked before the coffee begins to pour through the filter. So the coffee in the beginning will be much stronger than the coffee at the end of the brew. When it all ends up in the same pot, these different strengths will even each other out. But that does not work when you stick my cup directly under the drip in the beginning of the brew.

In addition, please don't be surprised when you do this and I then refuse to pay $2.00 for your crappy French Roast Sumatra which I should have known better than to order anyway.

Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Exploring the Coffee Trade

I finally got around to seeing Black Gold, a fabulous documentary from 2006 about the coffee trade. This is a movie that I should have seen a long time ago and I'm ashamed to say it took me two years to get around to seeing it.

If you drink coffee, you must see this movie. The link to the trailer is below. There are links to view the full movie on the web site. It's also available on YouTube. And if you want to go the DVD route you can check it out on Netflix.

For more discussion on the topics covered in the film, such as fair trade certifications, coffee cooperatives and the view of coffee industry leaders on the movie, be sure to check out the forum on the movie web site.

In the spirit of the movie, I also began reading God in a Cup by Michaele Weissman. For some reason, I have heard nothing about this book. I found it hidden in the cookbook isle at Barnes & Noble. This book explores direct trade with Counter Culture's Peter Guiliano, Intelligentsia's Geoff Watts and Stumptown's Duane Sorenson. I've just gotten started and am really looking forward to this book. Check out the author's site for more information on the book and her blog.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Coffee Family Tree, Part II: Oma's Coffee Pot

Following the popularity of my last My Coffee Family Tree post, I asked my mom about an old pewter coffee pot that belonged to my grandmother. For me it was one of those old antiques that have always been present in my family, sitting next to the telephone in my grandmother's living room for as long as I can remember. I had always assumed it was for tea, but it is actually a coffee pot dating back to the 19th century.

It turns out, Mom knew very little about the pot but this did not deter her. In her second guest blog post, Mom details the history of the pot both within our family and within the tradition of coffee drinking in Holland. Enjoy!

"This lacquered and hand painted pewter coffee pot, known in Holland as a kraantjeskan, has been in the family for as long as I can remember. When André asked me about it, I turned to relatives in a quest for more information. They, however, could only confirm that this family heirloom had belonged to our grandmother (Oma). No one knows when or how Oma obtained it, or more importantly, how she made coffee in it. With the help of the internet, I found some answers.

History: In the late 17th century the popularity of coffee spread throughout Europe. The drink quickly became known as a “sociable drink” because it was only served in public coffeehouses, a place where gentlemen gathered to drink coffee and talk politics. At about that same time, the Dutch invented a coffee pot with a spigot, aptly named kraantjeskan (spigot pot). For centuries this coffee pot, which was used almost exclusively in Holland, was the country’s most important coffee brewing device. Later, as coffee moved into the home, nicer and more decorative spigot pots were made. Of those, the lacquered and hand painted kraantjeskan from the northern province of Groningen, was especially well known. In the middle of the 19th century, the traditional kraantjeskan started to disappear as newer coffee brewing techniques like the “drip” and “filtration” methods gained in popularity. In rural areas, however, farmers continued using the kraantjeskan until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, replicas of the kraantjeskan are used in specialty restaurants in Holland to serve coffee.

Brewing: Coffee was brewed in a kraantjeskan by placing the grounds, usually in some sort of linen holder, in the coffee pot and pouring boiling water over the grounds. Hot coals were placed in the cup underneath the pot. The gentle heat let the grounds steep and kept the coffee at temperature. When the desired strength was reached, the coffee was served. Cream and sugar were added to taste. Traditionally, this cup of coffee was served with koek, a gingerbread-like cake.

Age: The age of this particular spigot pot is difficult to determine because there is no trademark. However, this lacquered and hand painted kraantjeskan can be traced to the 19th century. In estimating the age of this piece, we must also keep the following points in mind. First, the paint has completely worn off the handle and spigot, a sign of a lot of use. This could not have all come from Oma’s use because, according to my mother, Oma only used her coffee pot on special occasions. Second, this coffee pot has a coal cup as a heat source instead of the small fuel burning units usually seen on later models. Third, Oma was born at the end of the 19th century. By the time she became an adult and was married, these coffee pots were no longer being made. Therefore, I feel this coffee pot was passed down to Oma, possibly by her parents or maybe even her grandparents, making this kraantjeskan between 110 and 160 years old.

Mom’s Memories of Oma’s “Kraantjeskan:” To Oma her kraantjeskan was special, something to be prized and used with great care. In 1939 when my mother met her future parents-in-law for the first time, Oma made coffee in this pot. My mother was so touched by this gesture that she instantly formed a special bond with both Oma and the kraantjeskan. And so Oma passed the coffee pot on to my mother. In 1969 this kraantjeskan made its way from Holland to California. Since then, it has proudly graced numerous rooms as a symbol of our Dutch heritage and a loving tribute to the generations who came before us."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Beans in the Green Mountains

My wife and I have been spending a lot of time in Vermont and considering making the state our second home. During our travels, it's been good to see quite a number of Vermont-based roasters. Here are a few I've discovered, in no particular order:
(Note: The day after I originally completed this post, I found an article in Vermont Life Magazine featuring many of these roasters -- and more! The article include a brief summary on the founders of each company.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Small Step for Home Roasting, One Big Step for Taste

I haven't tried every home roasting method available (I haven't yet roasted on a backyard grill or a camp fire or built my own home roaster) but I have tried a number of different roasting methods in my NYC apartment and my favorite roaster continues to be the iRoast. I like this roaster because of it provides a lot of control over the roast. I can input a curve, I can adjust on the fly and I can easily see, hear and smell the beans so I can keep track of their progression. (It's also extremly easy to use, so perhaps I like it because I'm a lazy roaster.)

But the one aspect of the iRoast I've never been happy with is the lack of depth in many of my final roasts. I often get excited over new beans only to taste the roast a day later and find it a little flat. I try different roasting times and curves and I'm not always able to correct the problem.

Lately though I've tried something new and have been pretty successful. I roast the same bean twice, using the same curve but push one of the roasts a little further -- not much, just 30 to 60 seconds more. Then I blend both batches together and voila: I get a deeper, more complex cup. I did this most recently with some Papua New Guinea that I purchased at the Roasting Plant and I've been enjoying the beans all week.

For those not into home roasting this probably sounds really boring. For those who are experienced roasters, this might sound all a bit silly. But for any other amateur roasters out there, I'd be curious to know if you've experimented along these lines.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicory: Still Just a Coffee Substitute?

Last night the subject of chicory and coffee came up while I was out enjoying drinks with some friends. A New Orleans native brought up Cafe Du Monde, which of course led to the chicory conversation.

I had to admit I knew absolutely nothing about chicory other than Cafe Du Monde's famous coffee blend and chicory's historical use as a coffee substitute -- especially when real coffee was scarce (such as during the Civil War).

So of course, I had to look up chicory today, starting with good ol' Wikipedia. And here, for your reading pleasure are some of the facts that I uncovered:

  • Chicory is the root of the endive plant.
  • The use of chicory in coffee is said to have begun in France where it was first introduced by Napoleon's army.
  • At one time, people believed that the consumption of too much chicory damaged retinal tissue, leading to blurred vision.
  • Chicory is "well known for its toxicity to internal parasites."
  • Sweet Maria's warns that stale roasted chicory is just as bad as stale roasted coffee. If you're going to use it, get the good stuff. And they even offer it on their site.
Outside of Cafe Du Monde, I don't believe I've ever had coffee and chicory. I've certainly never tried blending it with my roasts. Being the purist that I tend to be with my coffee, I've always relegated it to the same category as French Vanilla, Hazelnutt and Snickerdoodle coffee. I'm curious to see if others agree.

If you have any thoughts, insight or opinions on chicory and coffee, please post a comment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Information Means They Care

I've been buying from Gimme! Coffee for a while now and following the gang through their blog and their Twitter updates. I recently bought a pound of their Brazil Sao Joao Estate which was like a cup of peanut buttery goodness. I went on their site to see if there was more information on this coffee and of course, their site posts not only a desription of the coffee but full details on its origin. By details, I mean full details, including the estate's location and sustainability practices.

Just last week I posted on "From Soil to Cup: What's in Your Coffee?" This is exactly what I was talking about. Thank you Gimme! You're spot on.

If the place you buy your coffee doesn't have this type of information available (either online or in their store) they probably don't know much (or appreciate much) about where their beans really comes from. You might want to consider finding someone who does.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Coffee Family Tree

I've blogged before about the importance of coffee in family (See: "My One Year Old Can't Say "Coffee." Should I Be Worried?"). Coffee has always been part of my family. A pot of tea in the morning followed by a pot of coffee was always the standard when I grew up. (I've forgone the tea and go straight for the hard stuff myself.)

My mom has been sharing coffee memories with me over email and she's generously agreed to share her memories here on my blog. (Turns out Mom is a devoted follower of Coffee Llama.)

My family is from Holland and most of the post below regards an old stone coffee pot that my grandmother (Oma) brought over from Holland. I have never seen these types of pots outside of my Oma's house. I've included Mom's description on how to brew with these pots.

Take it away, Mom:

"Coffee is a very important part of everyday life in Holland and has been for many generations. Therefore, it is no surprise that I have vivid memories of your Omas, as well as my Omas, making lots of coffee. In the 1950’s, I remember coffee being made manually in a stone coffee pot like the one pictured here using the method below.

This coffee pot had a ceramic filter. The bottom of the filter consisted of two ceramic layers. Each layer had a series of evenly spaced, slender, slightly oblong slits. The layers were assembled in such a way that the slits crossed over one another resulting in narrow openings which allowed the water to drip through very slowly.

Brewing Coffee: Separate ceramic filter and coffee pot. Remove the lid from the filter and put in desired amount of coffee. Use the flat disk to stamp down the coffee, remove disk. Place disk with holes on top of filter (fits just underneath ridge for the lid). Rinse coffee pot with boiling water and place filter on top of pot. Slowly pour boiling water over the disk until water bubbles back up, letting coffee drip into pot. When dripping has slowed to a trickle and coffee grounds are completely saturated, add more boiling water if needed, make sure water does not overflow top of filter. To serve, pour coffee cups 3/4 full, add boiling milk, add sugar to taste.

When electric percolators and drip coffee makers came out, Oma Mol was quick to put manual coffee making behind her. Oma Venema, on the other hand, continued with her old faithful method until she moved into an assisted living home at the age of 84. When Oma Venema lived in California, her ceramic filter broke but by then those filters were no longer being made. Oma Mol came to the rescue as she gladly passed on a ceramic filter she had kept. Now Oma Venema had a pot and filter from two different manufacturer, resulting in a coffee pot that did not fit together properly. That didn’t matter to Oma, the important thing was that she could continue making her coffee the way she was most comfortable with – the manual way. I can still picture Oma’s brown coffee pot standing on top of her stove. When we lived in California, we gave Oma Venema an electric coffee maker to use when she had company - that way she wouldn't have to spend so much time in the kitchen away from her guests. That coffee maker stood on her kitchen counter for at least 15 years......she never used it.

Childhood “Coffee-Making” Memories

• I remember my Oma’s kitchen as being a happy place where the women congregated, a room full of laughter and chatter. The kitchen itself was tiny but that didn’t stop the women from gathering, lending a helping hand where they could, and enjoying each other’s company. This was especially true when dishes were being done, or better yet, coffee was being made.

• My Oma ground her coffee using a manual coffee grinder. The manual grinders were held between the knees with the drawer, which caught the grounds, up against one knee to keep it from flying open and spilling the contents. As a little girl, my Oma would let me grind her coffee. Inevitably I would forget about the drawer and have it facing forward, resulting in the drawer flying open and spilling the grounds. My Oma would have to clean up and start over. I remember my Oma as a very understanding and patient women – a real sweetheart. I feel sorry I didn’t get to know her better.

• Boiling milk for the coffee was a problem for my Oma. I always remember her having to clean her stove top because the milk boiled over. She got so involved in conversation that she would forget to keep an eye on the milk until it was too late, even if she was standing right next to the stove top. Your Oma confirmed this fact but did not mention that she found herself in that same situation more times than she would care to admit."

Thanks Mom for sharing the coffee memories!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

From Soil to Cup, What's In Your Coffee?

The Coffee Can Confessions in my last post makes me think of one of the best books I read last year, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. If you care at all about where your food comes from, you need to read this book. If you don't care where your food comes from, you should definitely read this book.

Pollan begins the book with: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He decries the evolution of “food science” and makes the argument a that we need to get back to appreciating whole foods, not food products. For me, the biggest message in this book is: learn and appreciate the true source of all your food. In other words, don’t by the processed pork product. Buy the pork fresh from a butcher who deals directly with farmers – or better yet from the farmers directly. And then get to know that farmer and their methods for raising their hogs. How do they feed them? Where do they get the food for their hogs. Where and how is that food grown?

But following your food isn't always an easy task. Even in NYC where the locally-grown food movement has taken hold through numerous farmers markets, finding and getting to know the source of all your food, especially meats isn't always simple or possible. You have to do your research and you have to ask questions. And with coffee, it's much tricker. After all, in the US (except for Hawaii) and most of the western world, there is no such thing as locally grown coffee. Unlike wine, where you can visit a vineyard to see how the grapes are grown and the wine is made, at best in the US you can visit a craft roaster to see how the beans are roasted and shipped. Most consumers, even those who take the time to know their coffee's origins have never seen a green bean, much less the plant it came from or the farm on which it was grown. (Conversely, many coffee farmers have never tasted a cup of coffee made from the beans on their own farm.)

In the nineteenth century, green coffee was a home staple in the pantry of most coffee drinkers. Coffee was roasted at home on the stove or in small roasters over fires. In urban areas, small town roasters supplied the coffee.

But this fact can be a bit deceiving. Just because green coffee was more prevalent in the home doesn't mean everyone was drinking superior coffee. The handling of green beans, from their original processing on the farm through shipment, was often questionable. Green bean consumers probably knew nothing of their origins or quality of handling. And given the crude equipment used in the home to roast the beans, the quality of the final roast may not have been anything to get excited about. Like searing a steak in a skillet over a state-of-the art gas-top range vs. searing a steak on a wooden stick over an open flame in your back yard -- if you really know what you are doing you might get the same results, but chances are the gas-top stove will produce the better steak. I'd guess that home coffee roasters in the nineteenth century were probably drinking some pretty bad stuff.

Then, in 1865, along comes Arbuckle's Coffee. Not only do they promise high quality beans and a fine roast, but they promise fresh taste through their patented process of coating the roasted beans with sugar and eggs to "seal" the "flavor and aroma." Easy for us to scoff at today, but in 1865, this process probably resulted in a very impressive taste much preferred to mess that might have been called coffee in many homes.

So the modern concept of mass-produced, processed coffee was born, bringing consumers not only convenience but better quality to their cup. And while the technology for preserving the coffee improved beyond patented seals of sugar and egg, so did the technology for roasting coffee in large batches, eventually bringing the pre-ground, canned coffee to the world's grocery shelves -- the stuff I grew up on and still the stuff most people call coffee today.

It wasn't until the 1960's and 70's when small roasters like Alfred H. Peet and Starbucks began to bring back the concept of fresh roasted beans to consumers. And it wasn't until the 90s's when Starbucks became global that most consumers were introduced to the concept. (Incidentally, Alfred Peete was the inspiration for the original Starbuck's chain before it Linkwas sold to Howard Schultz who make Starbucks into the current industry giant it is today. The original Starbucks founders Jerry Balwin, Zev Siegel and Gordon Bowker kept the Peet's Coffee & Tea chain when they sold the Starbuck's franchise to Schultz. See Starbucks entry in Wikipedia for full details.)

But the mass production of large chain coffee roasters still makes it difficult for consumers to know the exact source of the beans in their cup. True, it's possible to know the country of origin and possibly see that there is an organic or fair trade label, but what about the farm, the farmers? Companies like Starbucks do hold a high level of quality standards in sourcing their beans but it doesn't get to the level of Pollan's vision of knowing the source of your food.

It's the post-Starbucks wave of small coffee roasters that most excites me and allows consumers to get as close to possible to the source of their beans. And the internet empowers consumers with a wealth of information and resources at the click of a button. If I had been a home roaster just ten years ago, I couldn't even dream of logging into Sweet Maria's and ordering a pound of Cup of Excellence award winning coffee to butcher in my kitchen. With the internet and modern coffee technology, this could arguably be the best time in the history of coffee to be a consumer. The beans and all the information you could ever want are right at your fingertips. You just need to login and find them.

So what's my point? Look again at the drawing that started this post. Here, you don't even have to scroll. I'll show it again:

The next time you sit down with a cup of coffee, think of everything that went into making that cup -- from the soil all the way through the finished coffee. There are probably few foods you consume on a daily basis that rely on so many people from such disparate portions the globe to get it in your hands.

Start with that appreciation. Then, if your can of coffee doesn't tell you anything about its origins other than that it's 100% Arabica, search out a product with more information available. Go online. Find a local roaster who prides themselves on sourcing fair trade (or better yet direct trade coffee). None in your area? Order online.

There has never been a better time to discover exactly what goes into your cup of coffee. The more you know about it, the more you will appreciate it, and the better the world will be for all the people involved in creating it (and drinking it). Spread the word.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coffee Can Confessions

I cannot tell a lie. I have drunk coffee from a can. And I liked it! (At the time.)

Before you stone me, let me explain.

Until college I didn't know that mashed potatoes could be made out of whole potatoes (don't they come as flakes in a box?) Or gravy could be made from scratch (doesn't it come in a jar?). And I certainly did not know why anyone would bother buying coffee outside of a can.

Occasionally, someone would give my parents a special gift of whole bean coffee and my mom would grind it in a little bur grinder she kept above the refrigerator. But that was fancy stuff and I didn't quite get why anyone would bother with all that fuss. After all, the enchanting hiss that the can of Maxwell House made when I pierced the lid proved to me that it was fresh as can be. It’s the sound that said it was morning! And, according to the can, it was 100% Arabica beans. What more could you want?!?

Even then, though, I didn’t really drink coffee until my senior year in high school when class got stuck in Philadelphia airport during a massive snow storm on our way to Florida for our class trip. After a great night of sleep on the airport floor, I headed down to the hotdog stand to get a nice black cup of airport, hotdog coffee.

And there was no heading back! I was hooked! To me, the only thing better than airport, hotdog coffee was a nice fresh can of Chock Full o’Nuts.

So what turned me and started me down the road of becoming a home-roasting coffee geek? What made me chuck my coffee cans and never look back? Starbucks.

Yes, Starbucks. During college, in the middle of my 2 pots-of-Chock-Full-o'-Nuts-a-day habit, I got a job as a barista in a little Boston based coffee company called The Coffee Connection, which had just been acquired by Starbucks. It was The Coffee Connection/Starbucks that taught me all about the dangerous life of coffee can coffee. And for that, I will always be greatful to the big green mermaid for saving me.

There. I've said it. It's off my shoulders and I'm feeling so much better.

How about you? Ever had that craving that can only be cured by the hiss of the ol' coffee can? Get it out in the open and share with Coffee Llama! We won't judge. Promise.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coffee Causes Children to Run Away from Home; Demise of Coffee Substitue Leaves Superhero without a Job

A coworker recently brought to my attention the demise of a product that I thankfully never experienced while it was still on the market: Postum, a "powdered roasted grain beverage" that was sold as a coffee substitute.

According to Wikipedia:

"The caffeine-free beverage mix was created by [Kraft] company founder C.W. Post in 1895 and produced and marketed by Postum Cereal Company as a healthy alternative to coffee. Post was a student of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg who believed caffeine to be unhealthy. Postum was made from wheat bran, wheat molasses and maltodextrin from corn."

It's that ingredient list that almost makes me sad that I missed it. Unfortunately, I have had more than one horrible experience staying with friends or family and waking up in the morning to discover that I was in a house of non-coffee drinkers. In the worst cases, I was not even near a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. Inevitably, someone would dig out a dusty jar of Nescafe from the cupboard and in desperation I accepted the cup and tried to convince myself that it is at least better than Maxwell House. Maybe I would have been better off if I carried a jar of Postum with me.

But the best part of Postum by far was it's one-time advertising featuring "Mr. Coffee Nerves," a superhero who helps save the world from the horrors of caffeine. In one series of strips, he helps a mother track down her boy who has run away from home because she has become a "caffeine susceptible" and is "nervous" and "irritable."

Now that Postum is gone, I'm wondering if Mr. Coffee Nerves needs a job. Maybe instead of caffeine, he can help save humanity from the horrors of pre-ground canned coffee. More thoughts on that horror of the food industry in my next post.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My one year old can't say "coffee." Should I be worried?

In the competitive sport that is childrearing, I'm learning that the first twelve months is a time to brag about the significant milestones, especially with other parents you don't know. The bragging rights are awarded to the parent in the room who can prove that their child hit the milestone first. For example, my daughter started walking at nine months, which is relatively early. This turned out to be the best time to parade her in public, or better at the local Gymboree, where she could toddle around in front of the children her age who were still drooling on themselves while struggling to get their feet under themselves.

My favorite reaction was one woman who came up to me at the local market while I was encouraging my daughter to walk in my direction. "She's too young to be walking," she scolded me as my daughter confidently made her way toward me with steady steps -- implying that I was in some way forcing my child to walk before she was ready. (If only this woman had seen me discouraging my daughter to walk knowing very well what tortures were coming our way as soon as she became mobile in our small apartment.)

The woman in the market exemplifies an attitude that appears to be very common in New York City: unsolicited advice from absolute strangers. I first experienced this when I got my dog. It's worse with parents. I've also been told that my daughter will burn on a sunny day even though I have her slathered in sunscreen and I've been told that she will freeze in the cold when I've given up on putting her hat back on her head after she repeatedly unties it and throws it under the wheels of the stroller.

But my absolute favorite advice has been the people who have suggested that I am teaching my daughter bad habits because I drink coffee in front of her. Really??

Let's stop for a second to think about all the behaviors that my daughter experiences through my coffee habits. First, let's examine the caffeine. I'm cranky and sluggish without it. My wife often refuses to talk to me until I've had my first cup in the morning. So maybe they have a point.

Aside from the caffeine though, what else does my daughter experience? Almost every day that I am home, I make a point of taking her with me to one of our many local coffee shops. I have been doing this since she was two weeks old. In these places, she meets and interacts with new people and experiences new sights and new sounds. Often we will site for a few minutes while I drink coffee and she drinks her bottle. Now that she's older we often split a muffin or part of a bagel together. And most of the time, she ingores me because she's too busy looking at all the people or staring in wonder as the baristas fix drinks for the customers.

At home, of course, I roast my own beans and brew my coffee by hand in a press pot. Since she was born, she has been around the sights, smells and sounds of coffee being roasted and brewed in our apartment. And she has experienced all the rituals that go along with this process starting at day one. As she has grown, I've seen her get more and more engaged in my activities. I often bring her into the kitchen to watch the beans come out of the roaster or smell the fresh grounds coming out of the grinder or watch me press the coffee and pour my cup. No mirowaves, no easy food out of packages, no instant gratification. Instead, she sees the whole process from green bean to cup.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I am proud that coffee plays such a prominent place in my home life. Over time, I hope my daughter looks back at all of these experiences and appreciates the enjoyment of the ritual and the satisfaction of all the work that goes into one small cup of coffee. And let's not forget the fact that I try to control as much as I can about the processes that occur before I get my beans by buying as much organic, fair-trade/direct-trade coffees from local businesses as possible.

I wonder if all these things are good enough to outshine the inarticulate grumpy dad she sees before the caffeine hits my veins in the morning.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Home Roasting from Imbibe Magazine

Just picked up the latest issue of Imbibe Magazine and they have a one page review of home coffee roasters. At the top of the list is the Behmor 1600. I haven't roasted with this machine myself but I did catch a glimpse of it in action at the SCAA conference back in 2006. Roasts a much bigger batch than the i-Roast that I use and really cuts down on the smoke (which is important for those of us roasting in small apartments!). The only complaint I've heard, which Imbibe mentions in their article is that it can be hard to see the beans as they roast. I would imagine though, that over time you'd be able to get enough information through the small window combined with the smell and the sounds of the roast.

Imbibe has also been generous enough to post a great list of home roasting tips. Check them out here!