This photo sums up two of the most significant passions in my life (my family topping the list of course).
While they represent two completely different realms, for me, they are intimately connected. I was introduced to the idea of coffee roasting while on a motorcycle trip. I stopped in a coffee shop in Ohio to take a break from the day’s ride. Sitting in the middle of the shop floor was this dominating piece of equipment…a coffee roaster. It is the first one I had ever seen in person. After eavesdropping on a conversation between the barista and a customer, I purchased a bag of coffee that he said had been roasted the day before. It was without a doubt, the best cup of coffee I ever had.
After some research, I learned the connection between freshly roasted coffee and quality. I discovered that coffee loses around a quarter of its flavor after about two weeks from its roast date. Makes sense when you think about it. After all, how many food products really stay fresh for long? Sure, we can “preserve” some items indefinitely, but does that can of green beans really bear any resemblance to the green beans your parents grew in their garden, or purchased from the local farmer? Not even close. I was raised on a farm and never had a can of grocery store vegetables until I moved out on my own. Everything came from our garden. Even much of our beef was home grown.
When I was in my twenties, I was a hobby baker. I learned to bake all sorts of doughs including, pie crust, biscuits, phyllo dough, cream puff pasty and some pretty serious yeast breads. In fact, I am still the designated bread maker. The kids in our family are crazy about my slightly sweet white bread. We are not talking bread maker bread; my mother taught me to make everything by hand. At age 85, she still hand rolls and cuts her noodles. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing like fresh. You just have to accept that fresh has a time limit. You need to eat scratch yeast bread within about 2 days. My fresh strawberry pie (another family hit with homemade glaze, not bagged) is only good for about 2 days as well. The same holds true for coffee. It holds up better than bread, but it has a quality expiration date…and its not the one stamped on the big companies packages either. I’m not saying that three week old coffee beans are bad; what I am saying is that beans two weeks old or less are exceptionally superior. And why would you not want a superior product? Aren’t you worth it? Find yourself a local roaster are discover a whole new beverage…freshly roasted coffee. Once you treat yourself to the real thing, coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed, you will never be satisfied with less.