HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Welcome Kent (9 msgs / 196 lines)
1) From: Barry Luterman
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
You came on the list at a bad time. It's really not like this . It is =
about coffee. People here are really well versed on home roasting. Stick =
with us for a while we can help.

2) From: Aaron
then roasting your own should bring back fond memories for you I bet 
Kent.  Some of the methods today might be a bit more sophisticated than 
a cast iron skillet but it all turns out the same.  Good coffee roasted 
to how YOU want it to be.
Stupid ? for you.  You said you worked with bees, did the bees pollinate 
the coffee tree's any?  if so, how did that flavor the taste of their 
honey?  Just curious.

3) From: Kent Lind
Hi Aaron:
Yes bees were used for coffee pollination.  Most of the large coffee 
plantations in the area I worked had full-time beekeepers who would 
maintain apiaries scattered throughout their plantations, mainly for the 
purpose of pollination.  The honey from coffee plantations was not 
particularly good though.  Rather strong and with a somewhat bitter 
aftertaste.  I think that was mainly due to the flowering Gravilea trees 
that were used for coffee shade in that area.  I'm not really certain 
how much nectar was produced by coffee bushes as opposed to pollen.  I 
think the honey was more from the Gravilea than coffee. We got better 
honey from higher elevations where there were more fruit orchards and 
less monocrop coffee, and also from lower elevations where there was 
greater mix of vegetation.
Aaron wrote:
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4) From: Aaron
Very interesting kent, I kind of figured they might keep bees to ensure 
pollination, since that I think would be necessary to produce a bean.  I 
use honey for making my home made meads and cysers and I get it right 
off the beehive, and while it's wildflower and clover honey, I do know 
that different plants of origin for the nectar/pollen do make the honey 
taste very noticeably different.
This brings another interesting question,  would the pollen or more 
specifically nectar from a coffee plant contain caffeine, and if so, and 
bees did their honey thing with it, would the honey now contain caffeine 
as well?

5) From:
Welcome Kent. This is a great list and people are wwell versed on ANY subject, just as us?

6) From: Jim Mitchell
Welcome also, Kent - I enjoyed your Peace Corps memories...
Jim (just a suppository of worthless information) Mitchell

7) From: Kent Lind
Just be thankful you don't have to sit through my slides ;-)
I do have lots of very cool slides about growing coffee on the hillsides 
of Guatemala.  But my friends are usually bored to tears to hear me talk 
about the difference between Caturra and Bourbon and watch a 50-slide 
series on how to wet process coffee.
I would love to go back and see how the guys are doing.  Haven't been 
there in about 5 years.  The little cooperative I worked with is 
probably never going to show up in the high-end markets like Sweet 
Marias because they don't have the quality control and deliberately so.  
That was one of their big struggles.  The Mayan culture is very 
egalitarian and the cooperative I worked with was made up of very small 
scale Cachikel farmers who had mostly fringe and difficult to farm land 
on steep hillsides along the Almolonga valley south of Antigua.  The 
established plantations have long since snapped up all the really good 
land so the guys I worked with mostly had tiny plots clinging to the 
hillsides of Mt. Agua and Mt. Acatanengo that were only reachable by 
foot or horseback. 
Some of the really savvy guys were producing top quality beans but 
others in the cooperative had more marginal land or just didn't have 
their act together enough to keep up the quality.  But because the 
cooperative was a community-funded project and had the only 
wet-processing beneficio outside of the large plantations they operated 
in a very egalitarian fashion and paid everyone the same for their ripe 
beans and ended up producing a product of mixed quality for sale.  I 
talked to them about being more careful with their grading to try to tap 
into the high quality niche markets but they were reluctant to go down 
that path because it would end up subordinating many of the founding 
members of the cooperative who didn't have the wherewithal to produce 
top quality beans.  I had to admire their egalitarian approach even 
though it cost them money.
Jim Mitchell wrote:
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8) From: Gene Smith
I think some of us fanatics would really appreciate it if you could put 
those slides up on the net somewhere, Kent...I know I would.
As to the egalitarianism of the growers...  That is an entirely cultural 
and social thing and not for me to criticize, but it does seem that the 
"better stuff" could be segregated and sold differently without necessarily 
changing the price structure to the growers.
If it's not just the money but it would "hurt their feelings" not to be 
graded A-1, then I think they all just have to sink or swim together.  I 
hope they don't fight their way back to the surface for one last breath and 
a chance to blame all their troubles on coffee consumers, though.
Gene Smith
who doesn't blame the Debbil for any of his difficulties, in Houston

9) From: Kent Lind
I don't have a slide scanner but my Dad does and he'll be coming out 
next month.  I'll ask him to bring it along so I can put some stuff up 
on one of the photo sites.
Regarding the cooperative.  I gave them my opinion but they are all 
intelligent adults and govern by consensus.  They could certainly all 
make more money in the long run by appointing a strong president who 
would be willing to make those sort of tough decisions needed to raise 
the quality of their product.  But that's not their way of doing 
business.  That's the way business is done on the big Latino (e.g. 
non-Mayan) run plantations that surround them.  Their approach was very 
thoroughly thought through and I had to respect them for it.
Gene Smith wrote:
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