When in Portland last month we visited Clive Coffee which has every coffee device you could possibly imagine. One of the people working there, or possibly the owner approached us and was very knowledgeable about all of the devices. He mentioned he used to manage the equipment for Stumptown Coffee which instantly made him a coffee rockstar in my book. Shocking everyone I didn’t buy anything but I’ve been very happy with every other coffee contraption I’ve accumulated over the years. My mom did buy a medium Sowden that made some very smooth coffee the next morning. We also ventured next door to go to Water Avenue Coffee that has some good but not great coffee based on my personal preference.
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the Internet. I think we all do these days though don’t we? We Google our symptoms and we find out we either have cancer and need to get to a doctor right away because we have a year to live, or we just need a Tylenol. Someone will tell me their symptoms and I will come back after 2 minutes and tell them what my diagnosis is for them. I went to a doctor here in the Bay Area a few years ago at a local clinic, but before I did I made sure to Google and Yelp for reviews. I ended up picking a doctor that has been practicing for over 30 years who received insanely good reviews. He only practiced medicine when I last saw him two days a week. When he came into the examination room the first thing he said to me is “OK so what in the world are you doing here?” “You are too young to be in here.” I told him my ailments and then proceeded to tell him my diagnosis. He laughed a bit at me and said something like “well now, you’re quite the scientist type aren’t you?” He then said “without even looking at you, I think you’re right”. I then told him about all the reviews I read online and he said “you really do your homework don’t you? Did the reviews tell you I used to be the personal doctor for The Who?” I said “no” and I’m sure he could tell I was thinking he was a rockstar at this point. He then sat down and asked if he minded if he drink a 5 Hour Energy and then pounded it right in front of me. I asked “aren’t those bad for you?” He then said “what, caffeine?” “Eh, all in moderation and look at me, I’ve made it this long.” He then subscribed me an insanely strong dose of antibiotics and said “this will get you all better and we won’t be seeing each other after this”. He was right.
That experience is one of the few positive experiences I’ve had in my life with a doctor. With all of the theories of what is good and bad for us, I have learned to take it all in stride and try to use some common sense. I know Doctor Oz has been recently getting some controversy for doing more harm than good in trying to dramatize health to the public, but in most episodes I like what he has to say. He also puts it in terms the public can understand. True intelligence is explaining complicated topics in simplistic ways that anyone can understand. At least in my opinion. About a month ago I was watching the episode below where he featured Dr. Soram Khalsa. I think Doctor Oz even had “controversial” in the title of the episode which sparked my interest. Dr. Khalsa is a big advocate of vitamin D and after watching the segment I have been taking his recommended levels of supplements. Not only have I not gotten sick when everyone around me is getting the flu, colds, and feeling run down but I am feeling especially great. I have been running and eating better as well, so that can’t and doesn’t hurt either. I’ve been drinking detox tea every night as well. I am the only one in the office who hasn’t been sick with everything going around, my son and wife are sick as we speak, and I’m doing great (knocking on wood). A mixture of western and alternative medicine seems to make a lot of sense to me. At the end of the day, do what your body tells you to do. If you click the images below it will take you to each episode from the Dr. Oz site (the third is the best).
I ordered this from the library and copied all the recipes last night. Great book about how to make some great ice cream!
If you know me you know I love coffee. Yesterday we went to Kona Joe’s in the 20 mile Kona Coffee Belt of Hawaii. We went on the tour which ended up being private so I got the chance to ask all my coffee questions. As you can see their plantation overlooks the ocean in Kona and it is some seriously prime real estate.
Here is what I learned on the tour:
- Dr. Joe and his wife decided to buy some acreage on Kona. They built a house and some coffee trees for personal use and used the trellis method which is used in wine making but had never been used for growing coffee. They found the trellis method allowed the sunlight to be evenly distributed amongst the leaves of the plant giving the cherries more sugar. The trellis method also increases the yield by about 30%.
- The fruit of the coffee tree is called a cherry, which turns red when ripe. Cherries do not ripen all at once so they must be hand picked.
- Most ripening happens around October, so until the 1960s the Kona summer vacation went from September to November.
- It takes 7 pounds of coffee cherries to equal one pound of roasted coffee.
- When coffee beans are drying they can take on odors so they are usually dried outside unless it is a rainy or high humid environment, which Kona has so in Kona they mostly dry their beans in non painted 10% humidity rooms for 2 weeks.
- Each coffee cherry has two coffee beans.
- If the coffee bean has one cherry (instead of two) it is a peaberry bean which is very prized because the plant gives the bean more sugar. Peaberry beans are round unlike other beans which are more oval.
- When the beans are ripe a chemist determines if it is a good time to harvest, based on the sugars in the cherry.
- When the cherry is harvested it is brought to a wet mill to be stripped of its skin and washed of the saccharine/sugars covering the bean.
- There are different coffee grades: peaberry which accounts for about 5% of Kona beans, extra fancy, fancy, and prime which each account for about 20% of Kona beans. They also have “mother beans” and I can’t figure out why they call them that but they are essentially their lowest quality beans. My understanding is they are machine damaged beans or have deformities.
- Machine sorters sort the beans mechanically by grade via screens with different sized holes.
- In addition to sorting by size you also have to sort by density because the extra fancy and mother beans are roughly the same size.
- Kona coffee belt is about 20 miles long. Coffee has to be grown within the 20 mile Kona Belt to be called Kona coffee.
- Estate coffee is not a grade but just means the beans all come from one farm. Estate coffee is harvested, dried, roasted, and hand packaged on site.
- Beans are ripe for about a week to a week and a half and then they turn black and fall of the tree.
- Unripe coffee cherries are green and when they are ripe they turn a dark red.
- Robusta and arabica are the two types of beans. Robusta has 40-50% more caffeine and more bitter taste where arabica in general tends to have less caffeine and less of a bitter taste partly due to the sugar content of the cherry.
- For coffee roasting, most roasting takes place from between 380 to 450 degrees. The longer and higher temperature, the darker the roast. The more you roast the bean the less oil and sugar. Also the more you roast the bean the more caramelized and roasted flavor you will have when the coffee is brewed.
- The darker the roast the less caffeine and less oils the bean has left in it. Darker roasts tend to be less sweet and sometimes more bitter when compared with mild to medium roasts.
- Darker roasts look more oily because the longer and higher roasting brings the oils to the surface of the bean.
- They put a little bit of nitrogen into the package which forces the oxygen out of the one way valve to keep the coffee fresh for up 2 years.
I know there are lots of coffee experts out there so if you find the information above inaccurate, or if you know of other details let me know so I can be sure and add it.