Coffee: Is there anything it can’t do?

 

“Coffee a Miracle Drink with many health benefits, experts say.”

Just to give you something pleasant to think about, while you’re considering the decades in which we’ve been told that everything we enjoy was, to paraphrase Alexander Woolcott, either illegal, immoral or fattening.

My current book narration is a look at the Rodale Press, publisher of Organic Gardening, Prevention and other magazines and books which were foundational to the organic gardening movement. In the context of the times, self-improvement was a trope. You looked for ways to improve yourself, whether it was creating rules to live by like George Washington, or sending off for the latest Charles Atlas muscle-building book. Some of it was counterproductive, or downright goofy, but I think the individualism represented in the self-improvement movement was something valuable. We are being pushed into socialist modes of thought by the drive toward diversity, tolerance, and conservation (all of which I would define much more specifically than most of its proponents do). When you’re not trying to improve yourself, it’s easier to get you angry and manipulate you.

And sneaking in the obligatory book plug, one of my favorite titles to record was “Coffee is Not Forever,” which taught me a lot about coffee while looking at its history as a way of analyzing international trade patterns. I still have promo codes for free review copies if anyone would like to listen to it; drop me a message if it strikes your fancy. Lots of good information about how different varieties migrated to altitudes higher than coffee leaf rust would attack, and how politics affected what was available (your java doesn’t come from Java anymore!). Recently a local roaster I like got a microlot batch of Geisha beans, and as I knew why the cultivar is so rare, I made sure to score a couple of bags. It’s like being a booze snob without the guilt.

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  1. SigmaQi 🚫 Banned
    SigmaQi
    @SigmaQi

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine.  By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast. 

    • #1
  2. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine. By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast.

    Back in the day it was common to buy green beans and roast them yourself. I deal with a roastery in Rochester NY, Joe Bean, that is owned by friends. They travel to Central America and make deals for micro-lots, so you know the sourcing is honest. They have a subscription service where they roast a bag of the latest beans and send them out, so you have them within two days of roasting. Between that, and learning how to use a vacuum pot, I make good coffee.

    • #2
  3. SigmaQi 🚫 Banned
    SigmaQi
    @SigmaQi

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine. By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast.

    Back in the day it was common to buy green beans and roast them yourself. I deal with a roastery in Rochester NY, Joe Bean, that is owned by friends. They travel to Central America and make deals for micro-lots, so you know the sourcing is honest. They have a subscription service where they roast a bag of the latest beans and send them out, so you have them within two days of roasting. Between that, and learning how to use a vacuum pot, I make good coffee.

    To paraphrase from the movie Deer Hunter, to say no to good coffee is to say no to life.

    • #3
  4. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine. By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast.

    I find it interesting that the caffeine is lost if the bean is roasted longer.

    That makes sense, but it also has me wondering how it is that espresso coffee beans are as dark as french roast beans.

    • #4
  5. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    • #5
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine. By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast.

    I find it interesting that the caffeine is lost if the bean is roasted longer.

    That makes sense, but it also has me wondering how it is that espresso coffee beans are as dark as french roast beans.

    Most studies conclude that the difference in caffeine content is negligible and varies with bean variety and batch. I think that the impression the darker roasts give of being “stronger” in all respects has to do with the oils which leach out in the roasting process.  The higher temperatures and longer roasting times that leach oils from the more “darkly” roasted beans create a sticky, oily, product and taste sensation (see how the darker roasted beans get stuck in your coffee grinder, far more so than the light roasted beans), and a stronger flavor.  That’s what has probably led people to conclude that “darker” roasted beans produced stronger, more caffeinated coffee.  But there are many other variables in play.

    Other factors influencing the end product include the type of soil, and the part of the world, in which the coffee plants are grown.

    When it comes to French Roast vs Espresso, they’re both dark, but I believe Espresso Roast follows a different technique for roasting the beans, rather than simply being a matter of temperature and time.

    Perhaps our new resident coffee expert can enlighten us.

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I remember, as a small child, going to the local Winn Dixie (or was it the A&P?) and seeing the coffee grinder in the coffee aisle.  I remember the wonderful aromas filling the air as the grinder ran . . .

    • #7
  8. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    I remember as a small child riding a city bus to school in 1950s Miami that the bus would make a turn at a corner with a coffee company roasting beans. It was a distinctive and wonderful fragrance. Can’t remember the name of the company. But I remember the smell.

    • #8
  9. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    She (View Comment):

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

     

    I find it interesting that the caffeine is lost if the bean is roasted longer.

    That makes sense, but it also has me wondering how it is that espresso coffee beans are as dark as french roast beans.

    When it comes to French Roast vs Espresso, they’re both dark, but I believe Espresso Roast follows a different technique for roasting the beans, rather than simply being a matter of temperature and time.

    Perhaps our new resident coffee expert can enlighten us.

    Here’s a video of Ben Turiano of Joe Bean Roasters on the subject of espresso.

    Lots of other good coffee nerd stuff on their web site.

     

    • #9
  10. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/famous-coffee-drinkers_n_5358495

    • #10
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/famous-coffee-drinkers_n_5358495

    Thanks for the link!

    #1 mentions JS Bach’s Coffee Cantata, which is only one example of Bach’s sense of humor. Another is a fugue in D Minor where the theme comes in the pedals, so you are dancing when you play it: the Jig Fugue.

    Then, of course, there is our dear departed Professor Peter Schickele, whose first “discovery” of the existence and work of PDQ Bach was the manuscript of the Sanka Cantata, being used as a strainer in a percolator. He “discovered” the piece when in high school and played it with friends. Just the idea of high school friends who get together to play string quartets is a little boggling, especially for someone who grew up in the era of garage bands. 

    • #11
  12. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    • #12
  13. MoFarmer Coolidge
    MoFarmer
    @mofarmer

    SigmaQi (View Comment):

    I see a trend towards folks buying green coffee beans and roasting at home which produces about the sweetest scent one can imagine. By the way, the darker the roast the more caffeine is lost in the process but it is nearly impossible to find and/or buy a light/ blonde roast.

    eleoscoffee.com.  We have been buying their light roasts for years.  It is an inner-city Christian ministry in Kansas City.Their ministry is based in a coffee shop and they roast and sell to support it.

    • #13
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