“I” of GAIN and I had a lovely time at the local coffee roaster last week.
We learned about coffee farms, processing, buying, storing, taste profiles, artisan roasting, and the specifically about the Friedrich’s retail business. I was very impressed by the passion and knowledge that the owners had for coffee.
Gems and miscellany gathered:
- The Tropic of Cancer is above the Tropic of Capricorn. The order of the Tropics is alphabetical like a phone book.
- Hawaii is the only state in the Union that can grow coffee, Kona. Naturally cloudy skies every afternoon gives a special flavor.
- Cupping is a profession.
- The roasting area smells heavenly. The natural sugars caramelize upon roasting, so the air is…aromatic. One mom thought it was like chocolate.
- Friedrich’s buys coffee of grades 85 and up.
- One buyer Friedrich’s deals with graduated from Des Moines Roosevelt High School.
- The owners are Christian, with four kids, who spent some time home schooling.
- People with ADHD can be successful. And entertaining, too.
- Coffee trees produce ONE POUND of coffee each.
- Handpicked coffee is best because humans can discern ripe from unripe. Machines cannot.
- Handpicking means up to three pickings per tree.
- “Bird friendly” coffee growers create an ecosystem of biodiversity on the coffee plantation.
- Coffee comes in 150 pound bags made of burlap. There may be a plastic liner inside to keep the beans wholesome for a longer time that without the plastic.
- Friedrich’s gives the bags away to customers. They cannot be sent back to the packager; they are cut with a knife; the owner hates throwing them in the trash.
- Decaffeination occurs in Germany with the solvent methyl chloride. This method gives the best flavor. The owner says it leaves no chemicals behind. He explained the process, which was a lot of steps involving solutions.
- The TRANSLUKER from SpyKids is real! It is a measuring tool used to grade the coffee after roasting.
- “Shade grown” does not indicate quality, but a taste preference.
- My favorite line: “Turkey is the Mexico of Europe.”
There was much, much more. Coffee is very complicated. I will leave you with photos.
I have an awesome photo from the end, but darn, I didn’t ask permission to publish it. Our field trip ended with tasting one light and one very dark roasted coffee and a “ritual” of putting espresso beans covered with dark chocolate in your mouth. Chewing was optional. In honor of Ethiopia, which has a coffee ritual. I had a few kids make a toast for the camera, very humorous and in the spirit of the trip. I will definitely be visiting Friedrich’s more often.