Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mmmmm coffee

I had no idea coffee roasting was so steampunk.
Where: North Shore somewhere, Oahu, HI
When: August 19, 2010

This was basically the coolest day ever - it started with the sharks, then Shawn took us to a coffee plantation, which was right next to a shop owned by Bill Martin, who is a local coffee roaster. So we got to hang out with Bill and chat with him while he roasted couple of batches of coffee. And can I just say that coffee roasters are simply the most awesome looking machines ever?? I mean, how completely steampunk is that?

So the roaster has to sit by the machine and monitor the roasting process - he (or she, as the case may be) has an idea of how dark he wants the particular roast to be, so he's watching the internal temperature, the color of the beans (through a little window), and he also has a scoop that he can use to pull some of the beans out mid-roast to taste them and see how it's going. Once he decides it's been roasted sufficiently, he pulls a lever, and dumps it all into this bin:

See that wooden handle just below and to the right of where his hand is? That's the scoop - if you pull it out there will be beans on it.

As the beans fall into the bin, those big metal arms are rotating, cooling the beans off.

There is an opening on the side of the bin, which the beans gradually get pushed through, landing into the bag they get stored/transported in:

It was so cool to get to watch the whole process, and to chat with Bill about the techniques involved. Here he is in action:

You can see the opening where the beans will get pushed through in the lower right of the photo - towards the end of the cooling process there aren't enough beans to allow them to fall out on their own, so he is using a brush to push the remaining beans towards the opening.

So much fun! Plus the shop was in a big warehouse, so it had all kinds of fun things to browse through - things carved out of wood, shirts, saris and furniture, coffee and chocolate and glass art.

Then behind the shop is what I am calling the plantation but that particular section was where they process the coffee, starting with the whole beans. More on that tomorrow, hopefully with Dave's help because I am never going to remember all the bits and pieces involved.


ADRIAN September 2, 2010 at 3:57 AM  

This is a great post I appreciate photographs and a story.

misterix September 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

Hey I know that guy in the wheel chair... That's me !!
Thanks for visiting us and it was real nice to meet you guys.

Gwendolyn September 7, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

Hah - Adrian, your blog was my inspiration for these story/photo posts! I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Hi Bill! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you liked the photos. I told my parents the story of the visit and it inspired them to go to their local grocery store in rural VT in search of Hawaiian coffee. Miraculously, they actually carry it! They were so excited, and my Mom is enjoying it very much. (Dad doesn't drink coffee, he's a staunch tea person).

Allison C September 7, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

Lots of great shots. I love the machine images and the bag of beans.

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. When will JS open a Hawaii office?? :)

Gwendolyn September 7, 2010 at 9:57 PM  

I WISH! How has that not happened? Sigh. It was an amazing trip, I desperately want to go back, particularly if we can go when there are whales!


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New York City, United States

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This is my first blog attempt. It hasn't been kept up over the last year, for some reason being pregnant really ate into my creativity, and I picked up the camera very rarely. I am thinking about starting it up again, but am not sure what direction to take it in.

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