Just when I thought my addiction to coffee was slowing down, it got even nuttier.
In the past four months (happy anniversary to me!), I’ve managed to really immerse myself in the coffee culture of Wellington. Not only does everyday start with an espresso or long black, but the beans themselves have become an experiment. It’s basically a tasting tour of roasters in New Zealand and some of our own home-roasted beans.
Picture this: A high-pitch squeal coming from the kitchen followed by a punch to the face from the smell of burning in the kitchen. Except, it’s not quite burning. It’s slow roasting of green beans on a popcorn popper on the electric element. The squeak comes from the constant turning of the aluminum Whirley-Pop popper followed by the rustle of beans inside. The windows are open but the smell won’t escape. It’s getting stronger as the beans roast to a dark caramel color. Is it burning tires? Did someone leave the oven on? An occasional pop from the popper excites you but you can’t move your hand away from the wheel. You keep turning the popper handle, peeking at the color of the beans, and finally, 8 minutes in, the job is done. Time to cool the beans. The smell of sweet success. More nuttier, fruiter, chocolatey, tongue tantalizing tastes to come. And we’ve done this five times.
Albeit, I’m no professional roaster. But I know my way around an espresso machine and enjoy the process from plant to cup thoroughly. I’d love to get to the point where I grow my own beans, do my own roasting, and serve my own to the public but that’s a bit further down the line, I suppose.
The next craze to perfect is the cold brew. Not to be confused with iced coffee (coffee and ice cream or cream) or the often-mistaken hot coffee watered down with crushed ice or cold water. This is painstaking hours of drip by drip madness into a cup at room temperature. It’s concentrated coffee (espresso, if you will) served cold. Not many people do it here in New Zealand. But global warming is allowing others to catch up to the trend. And the latest experiment resulted in two empty Pepsi bottles (I know!) and filtered coffee concentrate after 24-hours. Cold brew, meet Wellington.
We travel with our ROK espresso machine and are headed down to the South Island in nine days. It’s a tour of more coffee with postcard-like scenery. And hopefully a few more experiments and learnings in the meantime.