Our cast stone company asked if we would be a test subject and receive our shipments wrapped in burlap instead of excelsior, which has been the packing material for the past 13 years. Excelsior is a shredded wood product that we have tried to recycle instead of just throwing away; we have donated to the zoo for gorilla bedding material, used it in our gift wrapping, anything to not pad the landfill. The switch over to burlap has been remarkable for reduced breakage.
The burlap bags are heavy, but they stack neatly into compact piles; plus, they do not have the large amount of dust particles that the excelsior has. We joke about getting excelsior lung or all work would come to an abrupt halt when some excelsior got into an eye…it felt like an entire tree!
The burlap bags are used coffee bean bags from all over the world; the printed logos are from Brasil, Colombia, and our favorite is from Viet Nam with a Coati Mundi curled around a coffee bean.
While unpacking and stacking the bags a multitude of green (raw) coffee beans fall from the bags. They collect on the warehouse floor no matter how much we try to sweep them, appearing mysteriously when we are pushing the dolly around–causing the dolly to jolt to a stop…very frustrating or amusing.
Being curious, we thought that it would be fun to learn how to roast the beans. While unpacking again, we came across a burlap bag that had a large amount of beans still in it; a cleaner roasting opportunity! We scooped them into a ziplock.
We showed Michael From Across The Street the collected beans while we were loading up some pots for a delivery. Michael lives across the street from the store and kindly helps us with deliveries and is the occasional security guard. He builds saferooms and basements and is also a jazz singer, with his own Michael Summers Band, performing monthly at the UCO Jazz Lab. We introduce Michael to everyone as Michael From Across The Street, to which he laughs every time. (Check out Michael’s websites: michaelsummersjazz.net , greenmachinebuildings.com, and watkinshanger.com) Michael was as intrigued as we were with the green coffee beans and how they ought to be roasted. We talked about roasting them in the oven (like pumpkin seeds) or somehow roasting them using the rotisserie on his grill.
After a short time of research on the internet, we found that there are several simple home roasting methods–one of which uses an air popcorn popper! How simple is that? We have one of those. Just before closing, we called Michael over from across the street. Chloë came, too. She was still not feeling herself after a run in with a golf cart at the luau in Sapulpa…yes.
The beans were sufficiently washed, air-dried, and ready to roast. We poured the correct amount of beans (2/3 cup).
We had read about CHAFF, but were not sure what it was. As soon as the popper was turned on, we found out what chaff was; it is the thin outer skin of the beans, and it started to fly everywhere. Michael set a stop watch on his phone to time the roasting process: four minutes for a light roast, five for a medium, and six and a half for a dark roast. At three minutes we could hear the beans start to pop. It was amazing to see them start to brown, and they increased in size!
There was excitement in the air as we watched the marvel. After four minutes the beans were not all brown, so we decided that we would let them go longer. At five minutes it was still not dark enough for our tastes and we went to six and a half minutes.
Since we had read that the beans will continue to roast from their own heat, we poured them out onto a metal jelly roll pan. It smelled of real coffee! The internet suggested to not brew the coffee for at least four to twenty-four hours after roasting, so plans were made for morning coffee on the patio.
The next day Michael brewed REAL fresh coffee. It was great!
Wilda was working that day, and the three of us sat on the patio drinking coffee for almost an hour! Now we have dozens of burlap bags neatly stacked in the warehouse. We would like to gift them to anyone who can use them, so just drop by and ask for as many as you like.