Archive for May, 2011

35 pounds of Green Coffee Beans

Let the roasting begin…we were dangerous low on coffee last week…less than 1 pound in the entire house.  Then Bart our wonderful UPS driver dropped off the above shipment.  The large bag in the lower left is 5 pounds of Monsooned Malabar AA the stuff on the right is 10 pounds of the Monkey blend Espresso and  20 pounds of Costa Rican Hernan Solis Villa Sarchi.  This week we have bee drinking the Monkey blend.

I get some of my beans from Sweet Maria’s  in Oakland CA,  One of the beauties of roasting your own is the economy of it…even with shipping I can get this great stuff for less than $6 a pound.  By comparison the stale stuff at the supermarket runs 11 to 13 a pound.  I have been a fan of the monsooned for years and I also have a weakness for the brightness of Central American coffee like this Costa Rican private estate lot.

The above cupping score is for the Hernan Solis lot.  The description from Sweet Maria’s is as follows:

“This is a microlot is processed at Helsar del Zarcero mill, but is not a blended mill lot. It is from the farm of one producer, Hernan Solis, and is entirely one varietal of coffee, Villa Sarchi. Villa Sarchi cultivar is a natural offspring of the old Bourbon type coffee, adapted to the climate of Costa Rica and the Naranjo area in particular. Hernan’s farm is at 1600-1700 meters in a zone called Llano Bonito de Naranjo. The significance of the Helsar mill handling all Hernan’s coffee is key to the cup quality as well. You can grow great coffee from a great varietal at great altitude, then ruin it completely in the wet-process or drying. Helsar is a farmer-owned mill that has produced great coffee every year we have worked with them, and has continued to invest in their neighbors’ coffees as well by building more capacity to process small lots separately. The care put into this coffee at all stages is proven out by the taste. It’s a bright cup and also possesses nice body and balance. It’s a screamer, a high-toned coffee at City roast, but quite balanced at Full City roast level. It is versatile.

The dry fragrance has a lot of milk chocolate and caramel sweetness at Full City roast, with toasted almond and buttery sweetness at lighter levels. In the wet aromatics, there is the scent of roasted hazelnut and orange peel. City+ roast has the best aromatics, with complex hints of citrus flower, hibiscus and plum. There is an intriguing winey fruited note in the aroma as well. The cup is outstanding: There are grace notes of peach tea, plum, citrus, a little lemon rind, and plum (at FC roast). Light roasts have a more almond-hazelnut roast tone, fading to tangy and crisp chocolate flavor in the finish. It changes quite a bit as the temperature drops, and stone fruit flavors come out. The cup character is very balanced in body and brightness at darker roast levels. The body isn’t that heavy, but has a very syrupy quality. My lightest roasts, City level, tasted fairly thin but had a great zesty brightness. I suggest City+ roast for the best cup, a marriage of brightness and sweet cup flavors.”

A lot of people consider me a little bit of a coffee snob…but in actuality we are just fans of good stuff and love the great deals by roasting your own.  Life is too short to drink crappy coffee, and crappy beer for that matter.

We have been slumming it a bit lately as we ran out of our maple syrup last week too, we have been using just a dash of brown sugar in our Cappuccinos, If I can remember to bring the jug down with me later this week, I can stock back up next time I’m in the flats.

The weather these last few days has been total “yuck-o”…today we have had off and on rain / snow and a few minutes ago it was actually thundering. I have missed the thunder these last wintery 8 months  The snow in the yard is nearly gone…and if this rain keeps up tonight it will most likely be gone by morning.  People in other parts of the country or even down in the flats do not fully understand what it is like live in the Mountains.

This video below I shot on Saturday…yes…just a few days ago. The date was MAY 14

Thursday the 19th update…the snow IS NOT gone…in fact we got about 6″ last night…if you did not know differently it could be Jan.

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One of the furry ones from a few years ago, heading up my neighbors drive

Last night we got a visit from one of our local bears.  It was about 12:45 and Miss Maybelle was vocalizing with her “The Bear is outside Voice”.  The motion light had tripped in the drive,  and I could see out through the laundry window that the trash can was tipped over and a big furry one was digging his way inside.  This phenomenon happens a lot on  Sunday nights, since the most common neighborhood trash pickup day is Monday morning.  We had a visit a couple of weeks ago, and had some minor trash scattering, so last night was only the second time this year.

Some people put their trash in a shed or garage if they have one, and I have seen many sheds ripped apart because of this.  The choice of a damaged $20 plastic trash can or repairing the door to a $2500 shed seems like a no-brainier to me.  We generate a very small amount of trash, so it is not uncommon to only take the can to the green boxes once a month or so.  The weekly service that most of my neighbors subscribe to is simply a huge overkill and unnecessary expense for us.

This is the disclaimer part….

I love having wildlife in the neighborhood, and bears, mountain lions and foxes are the more common and larger animals.  I just don’t want them to become “trained” to feed on man-made food, trash etc.  They are wild animals and should eat wild food.  Some of my neighbors actually “feed” the foxes.  The only animals we feed are the birds.

To “retrain” the local bears I have been going outside and smacking a broom on the side of the house when they visit…my presence and the noise drives them off.  Miss Maybelle’s barking has no effect as a deterrent, nor the peeps from the little dogs.  I could take out one of my revolvers and fire a shot into the hillside or the ground to drive them off…but this is both dangerous to them and illegal (my house is in the city limits and the discharging of a fire arm is a no-no).

Plan “B ” was hatched as an automatic and nearly instantaneous event that will allow “re-training” to occur while we are here or not.  The MacGyver in me had me design and build a device today…after being awake some time last night….I picked up the materials at Home Depot today…cost was about $4.50.   I did some prototype testing and found a method that is both quick and harmless.  The idea came from how people have made “dry ice bombs” with soda bottles.  My modification uses a minute charge of black powder with an electric ignition.  Just enough charge to rupture the bottle’s bottom and make a bit of noise. This powder charge is less than 1/2 of what I would use for a single .44 cal.  round in one of my black powder revolvers…and of course there is  NO projectile.

The trip wire is connected to the garbage can lid and its mere weight will flip the switch that ignites the charge.  The string that is connected to the switch is actually tied through a 1/8″ hole drilled through the toggle. My hope is that any tampering with the can will release the lid.  The lid trigger is well out of the reach of any of our dogs so there is no risk of a “false alarm”.

In the video I temporarily hooked up the dog cable to test the firing. The noise charge is now taped to the side of the shed and directed downward.

Trip wire on the lid, with a simple disconnect for loading / unloading.

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