photoI’m pretty astonished at how little has been published about coffee, and about coffee roasting. There are some all-you-need-to-know books out there, but they all seem to be pretty outdated. There is of course, plenty of info online, however this can prove to be challenging to compile and turn out to be an untidy read (considering all the copying you’ll need to do to).

There are a few staple books that most coffee roasters and enthusiasts seem to give collective thumbs up to: Mark Pendergrast’s Uncommon Grounds (Basic Books, 1999) is a sprawling, comprehensive account of the history of coffee and how the product achieved its global reach. I really enjoyed the pace of this book — Pendergrast makes the reading of coffee history exciting and compelling, and although the historical content is dense, I found it a hard book to put down. I have found several other books on the subject of the history of coffee, most notably: Stewart Lee Allen’s The Devil’s Cup (Ballantine Books, 1999) and Bennet Alan WeinBerg and Bonnie K. Bealer’s The World of Caffeine (Routledge, 2001).

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Gabriel de Clieu: The man who brought coffee to the new world

Throughout history, courageous explorers and adventurers have introduced rare and exotic foods that over time have become commonplace staples of our modern-day diet and culinary acumen. 

Famous men such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Sir Francis Drake each returned from their adventures in Asia and the new world to their homes in Europe bringing plants and vegetables that would later transform western cuisine; their names are eternally secure, framed in our national conscience-synonymous with having changed the globe for better or for worse. Tangentially, Gabriel De Clieu is not well known; his name is not commonly found amongst the roster of monolithic characters that are recognized as great men, and yet De Clieu is the man who brought coffee to the new world. 

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Coffee and Revolutions

photoCoffee has often played a part in revolutionary activity. It was the drink of choice for the great intellectual minds of the Enlightenment period. Coffee fueled the feverish discourse of 18th-century philosophers and thinkers who were bent on casting off tyranny and the burdens of old-world superstitions. Voltaire practically lived on caffeine, and Isaac Newton was known to haunt London’s coffee houses. The royal establishments of Europe looked askance as the great minds of the day started to question the authority of the old order, their cups brimming over with the thinkers drink, their minds sharpened, wide awake and poised for the promise of the future.

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The Two Stages of Roasting

CheckIt takes a good 13 to 14 minutes to complete a medium-to-full city roast. There are two stages that punctuate the transformation of the product from green, turgid beans to fully roasted aromatic coffee.

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Welcome To The Machine

RoasteryAs you may or may not know, McMenamins roasts its own coffee, and for nearly a decade we have been providing the entire company with our own distinctive blends and single origin coffees. Each year we craft and process about 50,000 pounds of Arabica coffee, which is carefully selected from the major growing regions of the globe. One might ask, “How do they do that…how do they roast their own coffee?”

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Guatemala Palo Alto Azul

Green BeansMy old friend Palo Alto is back in our coffee roaster. I first cupped this coffee when I was an apprentice and fell in love with its robust flavor, bright acidity and incredible balance.

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