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Showing posts from May, 2014

Pour Over Coffee Station

I posted on Twitter that I was going to try my hand at roasting again over the long weekend but focused on building my pour over station instead. It wasn't hard, but did end up costing me a little more than anticipated. Here is what it took to make it:

Coffee and War

I have been reading the book Uncommon Grounds by Mark Pendergrast. This book is packed full of information as it follows coffee through the ages. I am currently reading about coffee in the era after WWII. There is a theme that seems to run through a lot of these pages and it is that coffee has played a major role in all the American wars. So, as it is Memorial Day here in the US, I thought I would share some of that info and ponder to consequences of coffee for our troops.

So first, let me redefine "major role." Coffee did not ever win a battle. No coffee bean jumped up and resolved the civil war. The role that it played was on the human level, with the individual. Revolutionary and Civil war soldiers would save their fire starting materials for coffee. It was their one refuge. Marching long days through freezing conditions, the only thing they had to look forward to was coffee. In the more modern wars, coffee remained the drink that helped get troops through their time. The…

First Attempt at Roasting

I have tried my hand at roasting for the first time. It was a good learning experience on both roasting and the coffee I drink.

I am not exactly a rich man, so I am starting with the old school: Pan Roasting. Everything I read said that it makes terrible coffee, but I wasn't buying it. The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, that continues to this day, is done by pan roasting. I told myself that there has to be some merit in pan roasting. (The question by the end will be is the value worth the cost. Hint: it's not.)

I got my wok and turkey fryer out. I used a wok because I thought the beans would move better in the wok. I immediately recognized the issue with using a wok. The center was 600°F, an inch out was 400°F and the top was 200°F. Right off the bat, I had no consistent cooking surface, and my cooking surface could drop 100° with a strong gust of wind.

Charlton's Coffeehouse

My wife and I recently made a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Va. Having just started my blog, I thought, "Great! An opportunity to review some coffee shops outside of Az." The coffee shops I went to were...underwhelming. I even went to a shop that did their own roasting in house, but they somehow managed to serve a flavorless coffee. There was one surprisingly delicious cup of coffee and it came from the most unexpected place.

Adding Value

I am an operations person, so I tend to like things that add value. If something doesn't add value, I want to "lean" it out (remove it for efficiency). How does that relate to coffee?

Let's be real, coffee is just dirty water to majority of Americans. We have had a surge in specialty coffee that is MUCH better (in every way) then what our parents drank. So why do people still buy coffee at Circle K (or other gas stations)? My position is that they do not see the value in specialty coffee.

Vacation time!

I won't have any posts till next Thursday because my wife and I are going on vacation. I hope to find at least 1 great coffee shop in the Williamsburg area.

Review of Cafe Sarajevo

My buddy and I have been talking coffee for a while and we often discuss the different types of coffee. He spent quite a few years in Brazil and tells me how they brewed it there. The only cultural coffee I knew of was Turkish coffee, so I decided to seek some out.
Living in Arizona, I have a very difficult time finding good cultural experiences. They are here, but they are in hidden pockets, and often in bad parts of town. I finally found a place that served Turkish coffee, Cafe Sarajevo ( It was rated 4.5 stars on Yelp and the pictures looked great, so my friend and our families met for dinner and coffee.

What is a coffee shop?

I have been a coffee drinker for about 10 years now. A little while ago I decided to take an idea of a coffee shop and run with it, see where it goes. I made it a few weeks in and realized I had no idea what to do. Frustrated with not being able to wiggle my nose and make myself awesome, I decided to slow down and start learning more about coffee. I want to make sure that coffee is something I'm passionate about through and through, make sure this isn't just a phase (which I may be prone to).

SO...I went to my local library to get a couple of books. One is 500 pages long and the other is a recipe book. *sigh* There are not a lot of options in the library circulation, at least here in Az. I decided to start with the smaller one, the recipe book. It is Starbucks Passion for Coffee by Dave Olsen, Senior VP for Starbucks at time of publishing.