Monday, February 18, 2019

The War on Terror Comes Home

George W. Bush began the "War on Terror" in 2001 to battle Al-Qaeda as a result of 9/11.  Now, 18 years later, it has come full circle and fears of otherness have created a a war of terror on our own soil, with ICE agents detaining and imprisoning taxpaying citizens.  We have literally become the very enemy that we purported to fight when the WTC fell.  Rather than making our community safer, these pickups have broken up families and created feelings of suspicion and hatred of whites in the Latino community in Durham.  It is shameful to see our government using these tactics to support its political positions on the wall at the Southern border and on illegal immigration. Shame!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How to Choose and Brew Coffee

We began roasting our own coffee five months ago, so I thought I would post some tips here on how to choose and brew coffee, which has a lot more variables than you might think!


The two biggest determinants for the quality of the coffee you drink are grind size and freshness.   Coffee that is too oxidized will taste stale in the cup.   Coffee that is not ground to specifications of your brewing system will absorb too much water or not enough, making for bitter or watery coffee, depending.   

Beyond that, the roaster determines the quality of what you drink, primarily based upon the quality of cupping (tasting) done with sample batches, the freshness of the green beans roasted (beans that were harvested over a year prior to roasting are really not worth a goddamn), and the roast level (final exit temperature from the roaster) of the bean.  There are thousands of other micro-considerations, but those are the biggies when deciding on selecting, grinding, and brewing roasted coffee.

Other questions to think about:

1. Are you crushing or grinding your beans?  Are the burrs in your burr grinder sharp and changed out on a regular basis?

2. If your roast time is greater than 14 minutes, you're probably baking rather roasting your beans, leading to a flat flavor.   
3. How much coffee (by weight) are you using per batch?

I couldn't be more pleased with how the coffee at the Bakery has come out.  We are aspiring to a light to medium roast Colombian and Guatemalan.  Growing up in Massachusetts in the 80s and 90s, I was a drinker of Dunkin' Donuts, which was very good coffee at the time - in fact the coffee was as good or better than the donuts (as Dunkin grew and franchised out of state, they cheapened the product and cut corners such that by 2003 the coffee and donuts were barely a glimmer of what they once were).  Another coffee of reference would be Zabar's House Blend, which is again, a very straightforward light to medium blend varieties of which can be found in bodegas all across New York City.  Roasting and grinding fresh, I hope you enjoy these flavors that really take me back to the memories of my youth.