My life in cups of coffee
My family didn't drink coffee when I was growing up. They kept some Taster's Choice around for parties, but no one in the house had their daily morning brew. My grandparents on the other hand have not gone a day in their life without coffee, as far as I can tell. I remember mornings at their house when my grandpa would make pancakes and the wonderful smell of coffee would fill their small kitchen. My grandma would let me try a bit with lots of creamer, probably much younger than I should of had it. But growing up, coffee was a special thing I shared with my grandparents and no-one else. Mind you, my grandparents are not coffee gourmands, a simple can of Folgers is good enough for them, but they love coffee. And I owe much of my love of coffee to the foundation they gave me. (Consequently, they love Fort Bend Coffee, what a shock.)
In high school, it was all about Starbucks. The best conversations I had were all over a cup of Starbucks. In many ways, I feel like Starbucks is where I learned to think. In the idealism of our youth my friends and I hatched up plans to fix the world's problems. Though, I don't think any of those ideas ever got past the cup of joe.
At college, a friend of mine who worked at Starbucks got me a French Press and shared his stash of free coffee beans. This is where I learned about grinding coffee before brewing. I found I could drink a cup of coffee black when it was made in a French Press and I started using it exclusively. That French Press got me through many a late night. Also in college, I met my wife, also a coffee fanatic. We hatched up a plan to one day open a coffee shop/music studio. It's been 5 wonderful years of marriage, no coffee shop yet, but coffee roasting sure is a great start.
While we were living in Colorado, my wife's parents came out for a visit and my father-in-law and I went on a search for a popcorn popper. I had been toying with the idea of trying home roasting for years, but I finally decided to do it. With a $20 popcorn popper and a cooking chopstick for stirring I roasted my first batch of coffee from Nicaragua (we purchased the green coffee from a local roaster for way too much money). The batch came out all over the place in terms of roast, but I separated out the beans that looked like they were at least drinkable and ditched the rest. I had just enough to make half a French Press. What my father-in-law and I tasted the next day was the best cup of coffee we had ever had. He still, to this day, talks about just how good that coffee was. It was the first time either of us had ever had a cup of truly fresh roasted coffee. The aroma was amazing, the flavors were delicate and not over bearing, and the usual strong bitterness found in stale coffee was just a hint in the back of the flavor that gave the coffee balance. This is when I learned that even with a lack of experience and cheap, jerry-rigged equipment, a fabulous coffee is possible with good beans and fresh roasting.
I have learned a lot since that first roast and I have ruined my share of batches. But I have learned to love coffee more and more though it all. All this to say, that is why I am here bringing coffee to you. I want to share my love of this simple bean with you. I hope to give people the same experience I had when I drank coffee at my grandma's kitchen table, when I sipped a latte in Starbucks, when I downed thick black coffee late at night to get through finals, and when I first tasted freshly roasted coffee made with my own hands. If the coffee is so good that you can't help but savor it, when it causes you to linger till the last satisfying drop, won't that make for more interesting conversations, more time to think, a chance to slow down and enjoy something truly unique? Well, maybe not all that, but awesome coffee sure wont hurt.