Coffee Notes, by Jay Spencer Seiler

How Coffee is Made.
January 27, 2010, 2:15 am
Filed under: Coffee | Tags: ,

Do you ever wonder how coffee is made? It’s not a simple process. Coffee comes from various regions around the world and doesn’t start as the fragrant bean you are familiar with. In fact, coffee doesn’t start as a bean at all. It is a fruit, a cherry in fact. Inside the cherry are two coffee beans (sometimes it is only one bean and these are called peaberry beans).

Coffee trees take 3-5 years to produce their fruit and they require special attention to soil, light and climate to produce a quality harvest.
The cherries are either picked by hand or machine harvested. Once harvested, the fruit must be removed from the cherry to get to the beans.

Very soon after harvest, the beans have to be processed to avoid the sticky fruit from fermenting and spoiling the beans. There are two ways of processing beans: wet and dry.

Dry processing is a centuries old method in which the harvested beans are laid out in the sun to dry for about 15 days or so. They are periodically turned and spread to dry evenly.

Wet processing is a more modern approach that takes place just hours after the beans have been harvested. It involves a cycle of washing and fermentation. This allows the pulp left on the beans to soften making it easier to rinse the fruit off. This processing method is preferable because it causes less damage to the beans.

After processing, the beans are sorted through and “bad” beans are discarded. The beans that are left are bagged up and shipped.

The final and most important step is the roasting. Roasting beans requires an exact science of time and temperature to arrive at the perfect roast. Roasting is actually cooking the beans to a certain roast (Mild, Medium, and Dark Roasts). During the process, the bean splits and the waxy coating called the “chaff” is released and discarded. The longer the beans are roasted, the more their flavor and fullness are released. This is why lighter beans tend to be milder and darker beans tend have more fullness and flavor.
This great article was from Coffee Illuminated, Another great Coffee Blog.

NOW! Go here and buy some great COFFEE! woohoo!


A little Starbucks History
January 17, 2010, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Coffee

If you like coffee, you probably like Starbucks. Here is a little history of the illustrious company from

In April 1971, Starbucks Coffee opens for business in the Pike Place Market, selling high-quality coffee, dark-roasted in small batches, the European way. Starbucks does not sell or brew coffee by the cup, but sometimes offers brewed samples.

Writer Jerry Baldwin, English teacher Gordon Bowker, and history teacher Zev Siegl had been buying their coffee from as far away as Berkeley, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and they saw a business opportunity. Each contributed $1,350 and borrowed another $5,000 to open a store that sold coffee beans, which they ordered from Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Berkeley. They wanted to use a nautical theme and looked for names in the nineteenth-century novel Moby Dick. In researching Puget Sound history they discovered a mining camp on Mt. Rainier called Starbo. This evolved to Starbucks, after the ship’s mate in Moby Dick.

At first, Zev Siegl was the only paid employee. Bowker and Baldwin kept their day jobs. Sales exceeded expectations and late in 1972, a second store opened in the University District. Siegl sold his stake in 1980 when Starbucks had four stores.

Howard Schultz (b. 1953) entered the scene in 1981. He was a New York-based vice president for a Swedish housewares manufacturer. He was “bowled over by his first sip of the dark-roasted coffee and urged Baldwin to hire him” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2000). In 1982, Schultz signed on as director of marketing and retail stores.

In 1987, Howard Schultz led a group that bought Starbucks from its founders. By mid-2004, Starbucks had more than 8,000 retail outlets worldwide and was opening new stores at the rate of about three every day.

The company planned to open about 1,500 new stores in 2005, including 425 to be located outside the United States. “I believe that we will double the size of this company at least within the next five years, perhaps within the next three,” Orin Smith, chief executive officer, told a group of Costa Rican coffee-farm owners and political officials in January 2004 (The Seattle Times). Schultz has set an eventual goal of 25,000 Starbucks outlets around the world, putting the company on a par with McDonald’s and its 30,000 locations.

Sweet eh? Well go get your Starbucks here. Starbucks.

Howard Shultz, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, (New York: Hyperion, 1997), 28-35; David Wilma Interview with Patricia Howell, Director of Marketing for Starbucks Coffee International, January 15, 2000; “MetropoList 150: People Who Shaped Seattle,” The Seattle Times, October 14, 2001(; Jake Batsell, “Starbucks Turned a Shot into a Grande,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 4, 2001 (; Christine Frey, “Starbucks’ Profit Jumps 44%,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 22, 2004, p. D-1; Jake Batsell, “A Bean Counter’s Dream,” The Seattle Times, March 28, 2004, p. E-1.

Let’s talk about Cat Crap Coffee…..
January 8, 2010, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Coffee

Kopi Luwak Coffee is that coffee that is collected and roasted from the dung of a weird Indonesian Monkey cat Raccoon hybrid called a Civet cat. The Coffee is sometime called Civet Coffee . This coffee is quite rare and cost around 400 to 600 dollars a pound. Apparently the Civet Cat is very fond of Coffee cherries, those cherries that are typically picked by some Juan Valdez guy. After eating them they pass through the cat’s digestive tract and while making the journey they impart something ‘special’ prior to being excreted. Here is what I want to know, how do they recover these beans? Does someone follow one of these cats around with a baggie? Do they walk through the woods looking for cat crap? And how did someone get the great idea to even try this out? Was somebody really really bored one day and said to themselves, hey I think I will try brewing a pot of this cat crap and see what I get? Those crazy Indonesians! What will they think of next?

All joking aside it seems that the digestive process of the cat breaks down the enzymes that give coffee it’s bitter flavor. Huh, who would have thought of that? I think those dudes in indonesia were hitting the bong one day, got the munchies and got something mixed up with a Nutty Buddy. Anyway believe it or not this Kopi Luwak has been researched a lot, for what I think are obvious reasons. The beans washed thoroughly with a special wash before they are roasted to kill any bacteria before the beans are ground into coffee. Special analysis by labs have surprisingly showed roasted Kopi Luwak beans have lower bacterial levels than normal coffee. Scientific study of the chemical compounds in the cat poop coffee also reveal how completely different Kopi Luwak coffee is. This might account for the incredible taste, isn’t that amazing? hehe.

Before you rush over to Starbucks or your local roaster to get a pound, know this. There are only 1000 pounds produced a year. This rarity and increasing world demand have pushed prices to about $450-$600 a pound or $50 dollars a cup. Holy Crap! (no Pun intended)

Most people if they are going to spend $600 dollars on a pound of Kopi Luwak want the real thing. This is a matter of concern as scam artists have been passing off coffee digested by humans as the real thing. Ewwwwww! Experts (experts? How do you become a cat crap coffee expert?) suggest ordering the beans still unroasted in the cat poop as proof. You mean to tell me you can buy this shit while it’s still in the shit? We live in a strange world. Why not buy a civet cat and feed it yourself with coffee cherries? Then your coffee is really fresh. I mean how can you tell civet cat crap from other crap?

Here is what I think you should do. Go to this website, and order your coffee there. It’s safer that way, and cheaper. Get it here!