Sunday, February 28, 2010


It's chilly and gray here today. Bleh. I really, really, really want spring to come. I know, I know - me and everybody else, right?

But, we're roasting some coffee as I write this, and it smells wonderful. We started roasting our own coffee this winter after I emptied yet another plastic coffee container. I tried to reuse them, but they're ugly and we're trying to get away from the use of so much plastic. So, I started researching ways to get away from packaged coffee, and I came across Sweet Maria's. And our coffee-making was changed forever.

This is a photo of a coffee plant. I stole all the coffee photos in this post from Sweet Maria's website, and I will do penance for my theft by buying some Kona coffee beans. Wait, penance should be unpleasant, right? So maybe that's not such a good plan!

Coffee is actually very easy to roast at home. You can roast it over an open fire, on your stovetop, in a re-purposed popcorn popper (we have a secondhand Westbend Poppery popper found on Craigslist) or in a specially designed coffee roaster. And green coffee beans have a pretty long shelf life, while roasted coffee gets stale very quickly.

Look at the lovely green coffee beans - just waiting for someone to toss them into a hot roaster!

The taste of freshly roasted coffee is amazing. It's much more complex and flavorful than the national brand we used to use, and by buying from a reputable dealer we can reasonably expect that the coffee producer got a fair shake, as well. The initial set-up cost varies, depending on the equipment you use. We already owned a coffee grinder, so our only expense was the secondhand popper and a variety of green coffee beans to practice roasting. We got started in coffee roasting for under $20.
Here's a lovely dark roast! We were spoiled by living in the Pacific Northwest, where we acquired a taste for dark coffees.

A pound of freshly roasted gourmet coffee runs $5-$25 (or more, depending on the variety), so roasting your own nets a small monetary savings if you drink gourmet coffee. If you drink supermarket coffee, though, you might not see much savings. You will have much better flavor and a more environmentally-friendly coffee, though, and that does make a difference.

I took a pound of freshly roasted coffee to a party a couple of weeks ago and one of our friends said, "Don't tell me you're growing coffee out there on that farm of yours, now!" Well, no - I still haven't figured out how to grow a tropical plant in Tennessee without the aid of a greenhouse. But I can have a fresh cup of coffee on a cold gray day, and that's something!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

OK, I'm back!

Sorry, everyone, about my long break from posting. I tend to suffer from seasonal affective disorder to some degree every winter. This winter, unfortunately, has been worse than most. I just feel like I'm dragging myself through the days - I can't even explain it. It's like I'm just hanging on to a cliff with my fingernails until spring comes. I usually hide it pretty well - at least, I think I hide it pretty well. But I'm really struggling. I keep reminding myself that this will pass - spring is coming. It is, it is - even if more snow is forecast for this weekend! Ugh.

To add insult to depression, (heh), my youngest son was injured during a field training exercise at Ft. Stewart. He's okay, but it looks like he'll need surgery and will have some downtime to heal, which might affect his ability to deploy with his unit. He is NOT happy about that, but what can you do?

To all of you that I've neglected - please accept my very sincere apologies. I will do better. Oh, and Fabio says hi!

Where I've Been Secret

If you can keep a secret - I'll tell you where I've been....

If you follow my blog you know I am infatuated with dream has come true - I've been on an extended tour with Fabio, I carry his hair gel.