Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Off Topic: Coffee Roasting

Photo: Jeff Kubina.  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
 Thursday I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Will Benitez of Katz Coffee, a local coffee importer, roaster and wholesale purveyor.  I only wish I had good pictures of my own.

Illustration public domain.

Will showed me the roasting and production area and explained how coffee is selected, graded, imported and roasted.  I had never seen green coffee beans before, and I didn't know that the darker the roast, the less caffeine remains in most beans.  As a gardener, I have seen coffee plants (very handsome) and other tropicals in the coffee family, but only as ornamentals.  It's too cold here to grow coffee successfully -- did you know that all coffee is grown within 1000 miles of the equator?


We then visited the cupping room and tasted a wonderful Guatemalan-Sumatran blend.  I'm partial to Sumatran coffee anyway (at least, when I'm flush), but this blend seemed brighter and fruitier.  See how sophisticated I sound already?  Will demonstrated Le Nez du Café by Jean Lenoir, a professional coffee tasting training tool.  There are 36 little bottles of concentrated aromas that comprise the essence of coffee.  I tested myself on #17:  I guessed "almond" but it was "apple."  It's harder than it sounds!

Photo: Wolfie, licensed  under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Katz is the roaster behind great coffee-house beverages at places like Onion Creek Café, Benjy's and t'afia.  As someone who grew up against the scented backdrop of Maxwell House, roasting over on the East Side, I love that there is a local, independent alternative.  Kudos to Katz!


  1. I am Jonesin' now for a hot cuppa. OMG! Will certainly was knowledgeable, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful...you name it. I'm trying to figure out ways to do business with him!

  2. It may be too cold to plant them in the ground, but they're decent container plants, and I've seen container-grown plants flower. My own personal plant isn't big enough for that yet, but it's been growing inside for almost four years, and it's gotten easier as it's gotten older. You could probably manage an indoor-outdoor plant, if you have a bright indoor spot for it during the winter.

    If you wanted to. No pressure.