Friday, August 1, 2014

Roasting Green Coffee Beans



Miriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who had been imprisoned and sentenced to execution for refusing to recant her Christian faith, has arrived, along with her husband and children, safely in New Hampshire, where they will make their home. What wonderful news. Praise God! Read story HERE.


I visited a friend the other day and watched her roast green coffee beans in a cast iron skillet on top of the electric range. Looked easy enough to me and what fun to roast one's own coffee!

She had the largest burner on Medium and constantly stirred the beans with a wood paddle. Soon we heard the significant 'first crack.'  Stirring constantly, after a while the beans went to 'second crack,' which seemed a little indistinguishable to me from 'first crack,' but I'm sure one gets the hang of this after a while. Evidently 'second crack' is a much sharper crack, so if you are very attentive (not my strong point) you can probably figure this out.

From Wikipedia:

Sound is a good indicator of bean temperature during roasting. There are two temperature thresholds called "cracks" that roasters listen for. At about 200–202 °C (392–396 °F), beans will emit a cracking sound much like popcorn does when it pops, only much quieter. This point is called "first crack," marking the beginning of light roasts. When the beans are at about 224–226 °C (435–439 °F), they emit a "second crack." During first and second "crack" pressure inside the bean has increased to the point where the structure of the bean fractures, rapidly releasing gases, thus an audible sound is emitted.

From YouTube, here's a little video of that roasting and cracking.
Quite entertaining.

Yes, that is smoke. The beans will smoke and you'll need to have a really good range hood on your stove to avoid filling the house with smoke. Because my range fan is far above our electric range, and not adequate for this kind of project, I'm going to purchase a hot plate that I can use outdoors for my personal bean roasting. I have quite a collection of cast iron skillets that have been in the family for years, so I'm all set on that point, and I just bought a wood paddle for the stirring.

This is a photo to show you the chaff that pops off the outside of the beans. You can just blow them off the beans (and have chaff everywhere), or I suppose you could leave it until you get outdoors. This is just a photo so you can see what the chaff looks like.

When the beans have reached the desired color - and it will not be uniform - then you can pour them into metal cake pans and set outdoors to cool and off-gas. The beans will be ready to use in about 24 hours.

Brewed from home-roasted coffee beans

Of course I've now ordered my own green coffee beans and can't wait to try my hand at the skillet roasting process! The beans I bought are from Honduras, Mexico, and Ethiopia, because I liked the descriptions, but mostly also because I love pronouncing the names.

Hondoras, Ocotepeque Manuel Espana
Mexico, Oaxaca La Lagunilla
Ethiopia, Dry Process Gr. 1 Yirga Cheffe Konga

Beans are about $6.50/Lb. at  Sometimes they run specials. When I purchased mine, they had a special on shipping, so that was helpful.  I need to spend more time learning the coffee lingo at  There one can learn all about the various roasts - City, Full City, Vienna, French, Spanish, etc. etc.

For example, from

*City, Full City note: I have been dividing up the roasts around City and Full City into finer distinctions using the + sign. So City (or sometimes I write "true City roast" means the coffee has fully cleared 1st crack, and the roast is stopped (about 425-430 f). City+ means the coffee has cleared first crack, and time is allowed for an even bean surface appearance to develop, about 435f usually. Full City, or "true Full City" is where the coffee is roasted to the verge of 2nd crack without entering it, which is about 440-445f. Full City+ is where the coffee is roasted to the verge of 2nd crack and enters it slightly, but the coffee is dumped/roast is ended at that point, so the batch has no momentum to truly enter 2nd crack, roughtly 445-448f. 
Beyond that and we are talking Vienna roast in my book.'

And you thought it was just a cup of coffee.

My friend gave me some roasted beans to take home. I brewed the coffee in my cool French press. I mean, after all, how could I possibly brew them in a plain old coffee maker? Now I'm hunting for some Icelandic wool so I can knit and felt an artsy insulating sleeve for my French press.

Thank you, Beth. Winter is starting to look promising.


For more information on purchasing green coffee beans and the roasting process, go to Sweet Marias. There's everything you'll need to know - and more - on that site.


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Although I usually forget to do it, there is a chance that this post will be linked to one or more of these great linky parties: Inspiration Monday and Make it Pretty Monday and  Making the World Cuter Mondays and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Artsy Corner Thursday and Treasure Box Tuesday and KatheWithAnE and Rubbish Tuesday and Tuesday with a Twist and  Knick of Time Tuesday (vintage)  and   Tweak it Tuesday and Adorned From Above  and All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and Good Fences on Thursdays and  Time Travel Thursday and Freedom Fridays and Junkin' Joe and Vintage Inspiration Friday and A Favorite Thing Saturday

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hodgepodge with Zinneas - Update on Noah

Happy Zinnea

Original post HERE.
It looks like Noah will be moved out of ICU today and into a regular room,
only 1 week after falling 6 stories onto concrete.
The only tubes remaining are an IV. This is such wonderful news! 
Thank you for praying, friends!

 Praise  God!


Join Joyce and the Gang over at
From This Side of the Pond
Click on the button below
and add your own
Wednesday Hodgepodge post.

1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon."~Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.

I loved riding my horse, jumping him over stacked hay bales; running across a freshly cut hay field stubble on my bare, calloused feet; smelling the fresh hay; going swimming at Silver Lake after chores. Ah, yes. Sigh. Wonderful memories.

2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix, etc? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this?  Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?

I know nothing about cars and can distinguish them only by color and size, usually. You know, 'It was a big red car, Officer.' I don't get excited about different makes and models unless it's an olive green Mazda Miata with tan leather seats. Other than that, they're simply a means to an end.  While others are watching NASCAR, I'm watching a British Mystery DVD. But, when I was a kid I went to a few local stock car races. Those were fun. The other night our son showed me a video he had taken at the Barron County Fair demo derby. That was fun to watch, and not something I'd bother to go to, EXCEPT it's definitely something I'd love to take our grandsons to. I know they would love it! Maybe next July.

3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or do you think anything and everything is fair game?

Death. Usually. Generally speaking, there are a few cute jokes out there, but more like the old Milton Berle silly jokes, and certainly no personal jokes. God is serious business, but I have heard a few cute jokes about Heaven. Personally, I don't think anything and everything is fair game, but people have to use their own judgement. If we're trying to decide whether something is appropriate, it is probably a good rule of thumb to just leave it. Leave it!

All Ole and Lena jokes are out of bounds. Not because I'm sensitive about being of Scandinavian descent, but because they are so lame. So lame.

4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?

I love lasagna. I make it with Tinkyada gluten-free noodles. I think it's time to make it again. Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, what's not to like? Actually what's not to like is the amount of salt in the cheese. Then again, it's not like we have it every day. Making lasagna is such monkey business, though, that I always make two pans, one to freeze and one to eat. Too much work to go to for one measly pan of lasagna.

 When I woke up this morning, it felt like
I should build a small fire in the stove.

5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?

Enjoying wood. Our barn is made of wood, our furniture is made of wood, our bookshelves are made of wood, our books are made from wood, we burn wood to stay warm in the winter, we look at the beautiful trees year 'round, etc. Wood is an amazing thing. 

Drinking coffee in the early-morning quiet with the dogs lying at my feet.

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?

None, thank you. Well, maybe Exxon Mobil. Then I'd immediately resign after giving myself a huge severance deal of several million dollars. Would they even notice?

7. August is just around the farewell to July in exactly seven words.

 Family coming August. Hasta la vista July. 

 The grandsons
Taken at last August's family reunion
Can't wait to have them together again!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Our daughter is traveling to Austria next month, alone. I'm happy for her to have this trip, but I don't really like it that she's going alone. Our youngest son gave us a movie to watch, 'Taken.' I refuse to watch it until our daughter is once again safe at home.

Neighborhood coyotes kept me awake last night with all their crying and squealing.
I've got the Today Show on as I type this and Lady Gaga (never seen her before) is on with Tony Bennett. She reminded me of someone...who?...and at last I realized it was the secretary from Doc Martin. Yeah, she reminds me of  Pauline. But kinda like Pauline got carried away with the crayons. And Pauline's funnier. I miss her.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rusty Stuff and Wisconsin Barns

Running Board

I would have had this blog post up sooner, but I was distracted by the fun goings on at Donna's Cottage Days & Journeys blog today. Go see for yourself. Don't weep, Android users. Surely soon they'll come up with stunning apps for us as well. Right? And iPhone users, please don't gloat.

Side Mirror

Another Wisconsin Barn
Just off Hwy O

Thank you, friends, for your prayers on behalf of Noah and his parents. I will update you when I have new information.

It looks like a beautiful summer day here in Wisconsin. Right now it's 56 degrees and sunny. It feels warmer than that.

This post is linked to


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Noah Was Ten Years Old

View From Our Deck

Who says miracles don't happen? 

If you need to be reminded that they do, read the following Facebook message that our nephew posted late last week:

Italics are mine.

"Monday, [July 21] our 10 year old, Noah, fell off the balcony 6 floors onto concrete.

We were told not to get our hopes up. He is still in the ICU but the CT scan yesterday [Friday, I think]  showed that other than the damage to the lungs there is no damage to the heart, liver, brain and other internal organs. The bleeding in and around the lungs seems to be subsiding. He was in line for an MRI this morning to try to identify the cause of the pain in his abdomen but got bumped because of an emergency. His neck, back, tailbone and pelvis are broken but there does not seem to be nerve damage. His lower left arm is fractured and his upper left arm has a compound fracture. He is in a lot of pain and is a bit scared but is holding up remarkably well. He is off the respirator but still has a chest tube. He was doing fairly well this morning but he is a bit down this afternoon. Anyhow, all is not well and safe but we are all just a small part of something that is very good.  It’s not the way I would have done things, but God gets better results.

An update via Noah's grandparents:

'This came Saturday:
They are giving him pain medications but are not keeping him sedated.  He says it is hard to sleep at night because of construction noise so he has to get plenty of sleep during the day. He doesn't like to call mom at night either for fear they won't let her visit as much during the day. He said most of today was pretty good but there were some rough patches.  He was pretty tired and looked it during the middle of the day and was in quite a bit of pain..."

The following message was in response to a friend who (probably hadn't heard about the fall) sent a message "Hope all is well and safe".

“Not safe and well, but good.

God is using Noah to reach people. Many acquaintances have come to visit and give comfort. They leave having heard the good news that is changing their lives."

We have spoken with Karl this morning (Sunday) and he reports that all of the tubes have been removed except the catheter and IV.  He is still in ICU. They are starting to feed him food. Praise God.

Again we thank you for all your prayers that have helped make this possible.'


To my blogging friends,
please pray for this little boy and his parents
and siblings
and grandparents
and the doctors
and those who may come in contact with the Good News
of Jesus
because of this incident.

Noah's not out of the woods yet, but whoever heard of a kid falling 6 stories onto concrete and less than a week later is bumped in the MRI line because someone else has a more acute injury!

Miracles do happen.

And when you think about it, 
isn't it a miracle that each night when you go to sleep
your heart keeps beating
your lungs keep breathing air
the blood keeps flowing through your circulatory system
your hair keeps growing
your digestive system keeps working
your brain keeps working, even giving you dreams
your cells are repaired
and somehow that time of sleep rejuvenates your body.

And we hardly take notice.


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