Jul 22, 2013


When a person lives in NW Wisconsin they can become mighty attached to wool-related study activities, as a matter of practicality. After all, wool is quite the warm and cozy fiber. But, even up here next to Lake Superior, for about 4-6 weeks, summer arrives in earnest - and, sometimes the breeze isn't off the lake! It can get sultry and we who do NOT have air conditioning become somewhat testy. We hunker down, keep all the lights off at night and don't use the toaster. That is when the woolen craft pursuits suffer due to the discomfort of it all. Thusly, The Treadler is forced to identify alternative recreational entertainment when the wee, little brain still wants to be fed information to ponder and play upon.

So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to start roasting coffee! Wait until it's real-good and hot outside then go spend some quality time roasting stuff in the garage. I'm a genius.

But, I really am a genius. I rationalize, "Here's a practical hobby that won't fade away. After all,  I can't remember a morning I've ever begun without a steaming cup of this caffeinated, magical elixir, even in the swelter of a 10 day stretch of actual summer."

Certainly, if I master this interest then, I shall have freshly roasted coffee at my immediate disposal for the remainder of my days here on earth! As luck would have it I came across this website: Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting where I found this video. Then I went to a thrift store and purchased this "sweet" baby:

Apparently all you need to initiate an entirely new odyssey for yourself is an old-timey hot air popper from the 1980's. I guess they still sell them brand-spankin'-new hither and yon, if you don't like thrift stores.
If you wish to try this please do watch the  video before dashing out to nab just any old air popper. Some of these devices lend themselves less well to this unintended use of the machine. (Some of them have the potential to create an electric silo explosion - "coffee del fuego" - not my term but, I find it fun to quote - Sweet Maria).

Even if you have no interest in coffee half the fun of this site is watching all the videos and reading all the coffee information shared. I even learned that slurping whilst test-sipping (a.k.a.cupping) makes a huge difference in distinguishing flavors. Truly! Me and Claxton have started slurping everything. It's an excellent way to really distinguish flavors in any beverage you drink! We see it as a great excuse to partake in a myriad of different beverages! Say, "Golum" after you slurp and the liquid will splash over all your taste buds at once! Now you're a real lady!

For one such as I, who primarily drinks coffee for medicinal purposes, the idea of enjoying a wealth of flavors as I sip (slurp) was a great pleasure to ponder!

Naturally, I ordered my green coffee beans straight away. And, as a new enthusiast, ( a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing) I should like to start correcting people and point out that coffee beans are actually coffee seeds. Don't feel badly. We all just call them "beans". I throw this out for when one wishes to impress upon one's  constituents how knowledgeable one is on the subject.

That having been said imagine how annoying I'll be a year from now.

The above is a lovely sample package from the aforementioned website. I have 4 varieties of beans, from 4 different continents to slurp and then "Golum" upon.

To the right is a photo of the whirring of the beans inside the popper, inside my garage and, on top of a mesh grate I created for air flow.

I'll admit it, there's a knack to all this that I haven't nearly mastered yet. I've accidently roasted a batch of the best coffee I've had in a long, long time using the Aeropress brew/steep system that I bought in combination with the all-important burr grinder I "needed".

At the same time, I have also accidentally made something that tasted like grainy, earwax-poison with a dash of lemon verbena (I think this description bodes well for my slurping abilities in distinguishing flavors!). It all spells progress to me!
Well, back to the "grind" and here I speak of the drum carder. The wind is about to shift again back off of the lake and, when it does, I'll be blending a bunch of scrumptious wool for spinning, felting and classes! I've been invited  to teach another felting class for the Duluth Art Institute and, more importantly, I also just received a scholarship to head off to Madeline Island for a week-long class with Chad Alice Hagen. I enjoy sharing what I learn but, learning from others is the ultimate! Perhaps she would welcome a cup of Ethiopian roasted at a Full City +. (Impressive right?)