The Advent, as a part of their Arts + Culture Series, and the Birmingham Creative Roundtable co-hosted an interactive teaching by John J Thompson on coffee, coffee beans, roasting your own beans, and preparation. He spoke about his son's unique drink creations, and how he went from drinking coffee at a gas station and hating it to roasting his own beans twice weekly, and inviting friends to share in his enjoyment. With his deep appreciation for and understanding of the gospel and how it relates to what we consume, he wrote a book entitled "Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate" which has an entire chapter devoted to coffee.
We went around the room and shared the tales of our first cups of coffee, mine being at 12 years old and surely shared with my dad, who drank (and continues to drink) coffee daily. Growing up for me, the sound of coffee beans being ground was the sign that my dad was awake and starting his day, and I probably should do the same. I began drinking coffee daily - quickly - and loved my cream and sugar. I still do like cream and sugar with a bitter cup of coffee, or really, I prefer a soy latte... but I've come to appreciate the nuanced, sweet taste of a well crafted home brew coffee.
If you're a coffee lover, want to enjoy coffee more, or just like the idea of using a paint thinner and risking burning off your arm (or not, you can also purchase a more controlled home roaster machine with different settings and a fan to cool it off, etc.)... I think you'll enjoy this!
For a video recording and written piece by AL.com's writer, Carla Jean Whitley, check out this link: Drink a lot of coffee? Consider Roasting Your Own!
Here we are discussing our first cups of coffee, and getting warmed up to one another:
There was a really neat energy as we all gathered around, laughing over how it was like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. With this method, what JJT called "the McGyver method" ;) ... You have to shake the cup of beans and keep them moving around so as to disperse the heat as evenly as possible. Even so, some beans roast much faster than others this way, so the roast is not as uniform as with a machine.
Carla Jean was doing a great job recording bits and pieces, and sharing it on Periscope as we worked... but when it was her turn to be up, James took over and held her phone for her, ever the gentleman!
As you can see below, our beans are not uniform and some are much darker.
After having melted part of the cord to his paint thinner and feeling committed enough to his hobby of home roasting and enjoying a sweet, black coffee without additions, John J Thompson invested in a coffee roaster that he recommends if you're not up for the adventure of the outdoor power tools. He told us about the Behmor 1600 (shown below) and then shared with us his preferred settings, and how to use it.
After much laughter and experiencing different methods of roasting, we were fortunate to be able to try two different coffees: the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (the clear favorite due to its sweetness), and I believe a Columbian Arabica. It was such a fun morning, and now of course, my husband will be roasting his own beans, soon, too ;)