Friday, February 27, 2009

Togo Joe

When you need a buzz...
When you live in a place that grows and harvests the real stuff yet there isn't a coffee house around where you can get a good cup of take matters into your own hands.
I have mentioned before my work transforming cocoa beans into chocolate, now I will like to take a moment to show you what is neccessary for a girl who loves a strong brew in a country that grows the real stuff yet only offers instant coffee. Granted the pace of life here does not demand that I power up on coffee to get through the day, as well as the fact thatit is so hot here one more steaming cup of something is not needed. But I miss the taste of a nice brew from time to time so I decided to take matters into my own hands...
I took the robusta (yup 2x the caffiene with a taste that is not as rich and bold as arabica, but its all that grows well here) green beans from my agricultural cooperative to roast at home. There is only one local roaster here who, by the help of a former Peace Corps volunteer started bagging and selling the goods locally. Cafe Kuma is the name and Togolese coffee is thier game, yet I still wanted to give it a shot myself. Here is a couple photos of me back in my little den of a kitchen brewing up mischeif.
the coffee cherries or "peaberries"
Here is the coffee on the tree, the red “cherries“ turn dark brown after drying in the sun. The course is then removed to reveal the green grain of coffee.
After drying the beans are taken to the mill where the husks are removed revealing the green grain (bean). The beans are then taken and poured from pan to pan, removing any remaining parts of the husk.

Here is the method Cafe Kuma uses to roast thier coffee. It is similar to a whirly pop popcorn maker. The constant agitation is what keeps the beans from burning and creates an even roast.

I just used a pan rasting method to roast the beans to the richness I liked. This of course caused a lot of smoke and soot as the beans cracked and popped thier way to a dark brown.
Here is an image showing the different levels of roast, from green to “cinnamon“ to dark rich and bold (well with hints of a smoky aftertaste)

From start to to brown.

I will be posting more of the behind the scenes process in the coming days. I recently went up the mountain, through a winding dirt path in a cargo truck to collect sacs of coffee from the members en brouse. To be continued...cheers!

got coffee? Togo does....

1 comment:

Dave said...

Cool stuff Meg! I've fallen behind on your posts and need to catch up!