Black Gold- The right way to drink coffee

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 Are you drinking your coffee all wrong???

I was. I have been my whole life and I am MAD!

As a child, it was a special treat to pick out one of my grandmothers precious china cups and saucers, sit down with a sugar cookie and bird watch out the window with a steaming hot cup of coffee. Of course, as a child I couldn’t stand the bitter taste so I would sneak in more sugar and cream than actual coffee. Fast forward 35+ years and  I’ve grown a deep relationship with my dark, bitter friend and find myself longing for our time together as I lay my head down at night.

I find it a pleasurable part of my morning routine and often blame my many faults if I have missed out on the daily ritual. The additives I use have changed over the decades and I am not loyal to any brand or flavor but I still mask the naked liquid to please my pallet.

Coffee has become such an integral part of our daily lives that there are actual personality traits associated with how you drink your coffee

What Your Coffee Says About You

Regular coffee, black: you’re a very direct, no-nonsense kinda person. You prefer to experience life in its truest form. You care less about fads and more about integrity.

Regular coffee, light (that’s sugar and cream, for those of you outside New York City): you’re a dreamer whose feet don’t touch the (coffee) ground(s). You believe people are generally good. You seek beauty and a bright (sweet?) side to every situation.

Espresso, short (ristretto): you’re very headstrong; a clear thinker who knows what you want and goes for it. Some people say you rush into things, but you’ve got a plan and won’t be swayed.

Espresso, long (lungo): same as above but you take a little longer to get what you want.

Grande decaf coffee: the head says, “Go out and get ’em!” The body doesn’t respond. You often feel torn between doing what you want and what others want of you. If you take your decaf with sugar and cream, the head doesn’t even say, “Go get ’em!” The head says, “Relax, be cool, things will go your way…” The body says, “Okay.”

Latte: you sometimes feel like Peter Pan — you long to return to your simpler childhood days, when a fun time meant picking out your Trapper Keeper for the next school year.

Cappuccino: if you consume this drink in the morning, you’re an authentic person who likes to relax and enjoy all the ups and downs life tosses your way. If you down this after dinner, you strive for truth, which sometimes eludes you and gets distorted along the way. For a life change, switch to espresso or regular coffee after your evening meal.

Chai latte: you often feel reticent to decide. Stay or go? Do or die? Coffee or tea? It’s all too much for you! You find yourself carefully tiptoeing across life’s tightrope, trying not to be swayed one way or another, but taking the middle road to keep yourself and those around you happy. You try to stay neutral, especially when it comes to dinner table discussions between Grandpa Joe and Uncle Bob.

Hot chocolate: there’s something missing in your life that leads you to seek warm, delectable chocolate sweetness in a cup. The Aztecs, after all, considered chocolate an aphrodisiac and an aid to spiritual development. If you order your hot choc with whipped cream, you’re really in trouble!

Any drink made with skim milk (or “no foam”): you feel better about yourself if you deny yourself even the simple pleasure of creamy milk or a foam-coated upper lip. But there’s still hope for you…unless you opt for artificial sweetener, too.

Hopefully this study will enable café goers to alter their lives simply by their beverage choices. It’s also my desire that these theories will help people begin to understand each other, at least while in line at the café. When the pushy bow-tied broker before you orders a skinny no-foam latte, you’ll now know what lurks in his deep unconscious. You’ll know his psyche’s secrets. And be privy to his private shortcomings.

 

Who knew, right???

In my quest to become closer to sustainable, healthy living and developing homesteading skills, I have been learning to make everything from scratch one item at a time. Working hard to replace bar code items we typically buy at a store and buying straight from the producer in effort to remove toxins and chemicals from our lives.

I’ve mastered almost all of the condiments, dressings, breads, cereals, and more, it never dawned on me to consider my bitter friend. That is until I realized I was drinking it wrong. I first read this article in Mother Earth News about roasting your own coffee beans which I always considered too intimidating but the article made it seem easy. Then I read about the different  roast levels (click here to see chart)  City Roast, City +, Full City, Vienna, Full French Roast, Spanish Roast, etc.

You’ll never learn this stuff in the grocery store aisle, all I was used to choosing from was  Light, Medium, Dark or Vanilla!

I’m a research kinda gal and I wanted to see the benefit of using my time and the necessity of making my own coffee vs buying in the store. I mean there isn’t i list of multiple ingredients on a can of coffee that make it harmful, right? Well upon my findings the biggest thing that stood out was rancidity. Nicholas Thompson explains it best here in an article on the Huffington Post “Do Me a Favor. Stop Buying bad Coffee.

The oils released in coffee while roasting can cause it to go rancid, like many oils after time, and thus result in a bitter flavor also caused by over roasting. The integrity of the coffee bean diminishes shortly after grinding as well altering the intended taste.  Ahh Haa!!! In fact, properly roasted coffee has a smooth, slightly sweet taste, nutty aroma and an altogether pleasurable experience even without all of the bells and whistles of cream and sugar.

How old is the coffee in the stores anyways?

I shudder to think, not to mention all of the “other” things that can be added as filler or accidentally be included in the end product. the time it takes to go from farmer to manufacturer, processing, distributor, grocery store and then to the consumer.

So I decided to take matters in my own hand and try my hand at coffee roasting. I will confess there are things I have made from scratch with less than favorable results and things that I did make successfully but the effort, time and money did not justify further production (i.e. dish soap) when an equally earth friendly product was available to purchase at my Whole Foods. However, home roasted coffee was not one of them. I am pleased to say the end result was so amazing that I am completely converted to home roasting and hope to never again have to drink the rancid, bitter liquid that store-bought coffee produces.

It was easier than I thought and took less than 30 mins.

The method I used was a cast iron skillet. Here is a great guide on how to roast using a cast iron skillet 

Another inexpensive method is using a popcorn popper/nut roaster like this one 

 

I did a little research about the beans as well. I decided on the 100% Organic Green Arabica Coffee Beans from Costa Rica. Click here to view or purchase

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My roasting experience:

To roast coffee beans on a cast iron skillet you must roast outside in a well ventilated area. Heed my warning, I am talking from experience. I didn’t listen and figured how bad can it be? Well, at 6:00 am in the morning all my windows were open, fans were blowing outside, smoke alarms going off and a lot of coughing. you can chose not to listen like I did but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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First stages of smoke, gets better from here!

 

 

 

 

 

I used a cast iron dutch oven and pre-heated it on med-high heat until water danced across the top but not so hot it would scorch the beans.

20140630_063611 Add just enough of the green coffee beans to coat the bottom of the pan. Next, use a wooden *(not metal) spoon or spatula to CONSTANTLY stir the beans. Read above articles about color and desired roast. The beans will pop/crackle when roasting called the first pop. My desired roast was achieved shortly after this stage so I removed them from the heat and immediately transferred them to a metal colander. Using my wooden spoon I stirred the roasted beans continually to remove the chaff (the outer skin of the beans) and cooled. This took about 3 mins.

Roasted coffee beans are best when used shortly after grinding so only grind what you will use that day and store the remaining beans in an air tight container in a cool dark place.

 

 

 

It is easier than you think and ohhh sooooo worth the little effort.

 

 

 

If you really want to add to your experience and your hand at making things from scratch visit Rural Spin here to see their list of ten coffee creamer recipes, yum!

 

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