We lost a great friend and rider today (July 22, 2014). Darcy was killed in a collision in Edmonton, Alberta this morning. It appears a Jeep left its lane and struck Darcy head on. Darcy will be remembered for his quiet wit, his miracle hat, and his love of riding. It was my great pleasure to ride with Darcy and to share stories at the end of the day. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him and shared the blue highways with him.
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See the update at bottom
There’s a continuing conversation among the circle of friends regarding coffee – home roasted, in particular. I’ve taken it to the next level and grow coffee at home and today was harvest day. I live in the Seattle area and coffee trees won’t survive outside all year, so my trees are indoors most of the year. And the yield is light to non-existent, but we do get 2 crops per year on average. This harvest was 24 beans about half of which are peaberrys. A peaberry is a single bean – normal beans come two in a cherry. Peaberry beans tend to taste better though, and command a premium price.
So here are the picked beans going through the post-harvest cycle.
The cherries are plump, firm, and a warm red color when ready to harvest.
This is what is left after the beans and mucilage are removed. This can be recycled.
The beans soak in water for the better part of a day. This allows natural processes to separate the mucilage from the bean. Not everyone does it this way – you can dry the beans in the mucilage but you get a better product by separating them before drying. Either way you have to remove the mucilage before roasting.
Update: It’s two days later and the fermenting is ended and the mucilage has been removed and the beans are now very dry. In the next image you can see the remaining endocarp, or parchment that still encloses the beans. In some cases this is split as seen. The parchment is removed and finally we see the actual product. A thin layer remains and is cooked away as chaff during roasting. Nature has done a good job of protecting this little jewel.
TaDA! A bean with parchment removed.
Update March 2, 2014
Today was roast day for the home-grown beans and the kitchen is swathed with the aroma of fresh hot coffee bean smoke. I had enough beans for two cups of home grown Joe and one is steaming next to my keyboard now. I have to say, it is delicious and far far better than I expected 8 years ago when I planted the first tree. This is the first cup after all that time – what the hell’s the rush! It is also the most expensive cup of coffee I’ve ever had in my life.
There’s a gap in the social calendar this year owing to there being no Snarl Partay in August, so I thought I’d get caught up on touring Washington. As they say, there’s no place like home.
Run Around the Scablands and the Okanogan!
The Washington Scablands are the result of cyclic flooding in Eastern Washington that occured when glacial Lake Missoula repeatedly broke through the ice dams that held it back during the last continental glaciation. Google it and fly over it with Google Earth.
Here’s the first cut of the route. Begins in Kennewick and ends in Tonasket. The gallery images are clickable and only represent a blowup of the full route. No stops have been figured out yet owing to there being so much to see along the way. I figured I’d take three days off work plus a weekend and just have a leisurely ride.