Thursday, January 12, 2012

Perseverance, Killarney and A Cuppa

Just cracked this tin about a month ago.  If memory serves I have now had about eight bowls of this tobacco.  It is a nice 'baccy, with an awfully nice smell (both in the tin and in the room).  The Carmel Creme flavor is nice, and the tobacco is high quality.  Here is my issue: every time I enjoy a bowl I get a mild bite.  It's in the first half of the bowl.  The next half is much nicer, even than many other tobaccos.  I don't know if it will be one that I will buy again.  I had expected something along the quality lines of "Irish Flake" (I realize the vast differences and styles that make this expectation unfair).  Nevertheless, I am determined to try this in yet a few more pipes, and treat it a bit carefully.  How often do you push through with a tobacco that the first blush isn't everything you hoped for?

In other news I see Chris at the Daily Briar ( making some unbelievable pipes and this lights the fire for a higher level of involvement yet the problem is distinct: I am no craftsman.  So the next goal would be tobacco, but I am no farmer and am certainly not patient enough to persevere through the curing process.  However, I found something a bit less involved with a similar level of DIY reward: Coffee Roasting!

I have friends who have successfully done this for some time, and my time had come.  So I ordered a popcorn popper (cheapest accurate method of home roasting - I'm told by and it seems to be the case.  However, the five pounds of unroasted coffee came a days before the popcorn popper.  Being as impatient as I am I looked for other "home roasting methods."  While no one particularly advocated it it turns out the roasting can be done on a stove-top with such things as cast iron pans or a wok.  It's messy, unscientific, but FUN!

Here is the process in pictures:
Raw Green Beans from CoffeeBeanDirect via Amazon

Some roasted and unroasted beans together

The Final Product

Said Product in a jar
  So, there were no pics of the actual roasting (there is a lot of stirring, smoke and crackling).  It was fun, exciting and interesting.  It is entertaining to get to go from "I read about this" to "Is that what the interwebs were talking about?"  You may notice that the roast is anything but even.  The black beans were between darkly roasted and a bit burned.  I figured this batch would be a throw away, but quite to the contrary it tasted nice, sweet and complex.  It was a victory, if only just.  When I had gone through this amount the popper still had not arrived, so I decided to try a wok and a lower temperature.  It went a bit smoother BUT I was hoping to go a bit darker and so I wound up with more smoke.  It will be interesting to see how that one turns out tomorrow (the coffee is supposed to set and gas off for 12 hours or so).

Anyhow, it's been a great and tasty adventure so far.  Highly recommended.  I won't be "going pro" but I do find the cost-benefit analysis comes out VERY high on the investment of time here.  You can do it.  Go for it.  Future project: finding the best roast to pair with a pipe.