[Homeroast] When your do NOT have home roasted coffee... a Sunday post.

Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com
Sun Mar 7 12:03:54 CST 2010

A nice post reminding us why we complicate our lives with home 
roasting. I think in some sick way I enjoy traveling because there 
are always those transit days that force a person to either a. 
estimate where they can get the least-worst cup of coffee or b. get a 
cup of tea. The later was never an option, but lately I keep a little 
good earl grey or Darjeeling with me, and I have to admit it is much 
better than travel options. For example, I have to transit through 
the airport in San Jose Costa Rica a lot, and the coffee there is 
painful, at best. Oddly, as of late I would actually rather have a 
really commercial coffee, light roast, flavorless, then have 
someone's really sick idea of "specialty coffee" roasted a bit 
darker. Seriously.

This all brings me to, of course, Via. I just don't get it. The idea 
of traveling with your own mediocre Starbucks coffee because you are 
so addicted to it you can't be without, even when you go to some 
imaginary city with less than 1000 sbucks locations, well, it seems 
very depressing. It goes beyond coffee addiction, its brand 
addiction. Via is really expensive and yes, it is a lot better than 
the cup you get at the San Jose CR airport, but does that matter? If 
you are traveling, being without good coffee is temporary. Anyway, 
Greg, it's very encouraging to know that home is where the best 
coffee is at. I think home roasting still has a ways to go (roasters 
and grinder could always be better), but if it's the freshest cup, if 
it gives us choice of taste and we can craft our own idea of the 
"best cup" (even if we don't always hit the nail on the head), it 
certainly is a LOT better than being a slave to a giant chain coffee 

Which brings up traveling with home roasted coffee: sometimes I do, 
sometimes I don't. My Hario Skerton/Aeropress combo was great in 
Africa, but recently in Guatemala I preground everything. The 
aeropress is the smallest coffee maker, fit's better in my luggage, 
but is hard if you want to make cups for 2-3 others as well. The 
Clever dripper would be better for that, but it is large for my 
luggage. In Costa Rica I did not bring any coffee or coffee maker. 
You would think there would be lots of good coffee around, and there 
is at some places. Helsar farm has their own Behmor and serves very 
nice French Press coffee, as does Montes de Oro farm. I brought a 
Behmor down to the Don Mayo mill because his Gene Caffe died, and I 
couldn't get a new heating element for him in time. In CR a lot of 
the producers we work with are now home roasters! They can't afford 
Probats and the like, so in the past they never were able to 
roast/taste/serve their own coffee. That has changed, and on most 
trips I am taking down machines for someone or other. Now, if we 
found someone on the list who actually travels with green coffee and 
a roaster (!) as well as grinder and brewer, we would have to crown a 
new champion of coffee excess!!!


>Life is good ... with fresh coffee.
>As you may or may not know, I'm in one of the towns without a good coffee
>shop (Orange County, CA).  I was taking my eldest to acting class the other
>evening, and decided to take my 2 younger ones to a chain store (not $bucks)
>to try a cappucino while we waited.  They served me probably a 16 oz cup.
>All I could say was ugggh.  The milk felt like soap bubbles and burnt, way
>too hot.  I was about half foam on top of the coffee and then below was a
>weak excuse for a coffee elixir.  Reminded myself how bad coffee can be.
>The next morning I woke up as usual around 4 or 4:30.  My latest batch of
>Colombian (Colombia Platos Fuertes de Huila Microlot Mix) roasted just to
>the end of 1st crack was on it's 3rd day rest.  I whipped up a cup in the
>CCD, and all I can say was I hit the roast and brew perfect.  My experience
>with Colombians in the past has been less than stellar, so I was using this
>as an experimental roast.  This coffee turned out perfect.  Even my wife,
>who doesn't obsess about these things, noticed what a clean cup this was.  A
>nice quiet early morning enjoying a perfect cup of coffee.  Ahhhhh!
>Then, I decided to make 2 cappucinos out of my first blend ("Dr.'s Rx No.
>1").  It is a post-roast blend of 2 parts Brazil, 1 part Costa Rica, 1 part
>Ethiopian Yirga Cheffe.  Brazil & Costa Rican roasted individually just over
>the edge of 2nd crack.  The Yirga Cheffe taken to before second, and
>probably a bit too far, but I still got the lemony fruit flavors out of the
>drip cup (I'm calling it C+).  The blend was about 5 days post roast.  Wow!
>I really succeeded on this blend.  Nice syrupy shots with a good color crema
>and tiger striping.  Also made the microfoam just right and had 2 wonderful
>cups.  This was quite the eye opening experience about how far I have grown
>in my coffee tasting, quest, and roasting/pulling skills, especially
>compared to the chain from the night before.  Honestly, night and day
>difference.  I was in a good mood for the morning revelry with the troops.
>I was so impressed with myself (LoL), that a few hours later, I pulled a
>shot of the Dr.'s Rx to see if it really stood up to the challenge.  Again,
>perfect for me.  A nice buttery caramelly shot with hints of chocolate
>sweetness and fruity brightness.  I was a little concerned the Costa Rican
>might not work well, and that the combination being 50% Costa
>Rican/Ethiopian might shift the flavor off, but it worked.  I've got a half
>a pound left, and I've been enjoying each and every shot like the previous.
>I've got 12 oz of Workshop #7 resting for Tues/Wed, I can only hope that I
>continue with my success when I transition to this blend.  If not, I may go
>see the Dr. again.  :-)
>Enjoy your Sunday morning cup, I know I will.  Now to contemplate what to
>roast for a trip to England, the home of instant coffee, at least where I'm
>Homeroast mailing list
>Homeroast at host.sweetmariascoffee.com
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"Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
               Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com

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