Frozen latte

As silly as it might seem for someone who claims to avoid sugar, I made ice cream. And… the recipe came from Martha Stewart Living.

frozen latte

It was creamy, very sweet and had a very strong coffee flavor. The rest of the family thought it was a hit! It is so rich that we only had little cups.

Coffee Ice Cream

Makes 6 cups

* 2 cups whole milk
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup brewed espresso (I used 1 1/2 cups I think. A whole Moka pot.)
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* 8 large egg yolks

1. Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, the espresso, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.
3. Gradually whisk half the hot milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture. Pour egg-yolk mixture into saucepan, and whisk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
4. Pour through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Place plastic wrap on surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate 2 hours.
5. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, and freeze for at least 1 hour before serving.

New! Expresso!

Normally I don’t buy new things. Goodwill, St. Vincent du Paul, and eBay are our primary suppliers for most non-food goods. Our first coffee maker here was a hand-me-down from B’s parents, but we bought another at a garage sale for $2.50. Sure it needed a bungie to keep the basket in place, but it still worked fine for a while. Eventually that one quit (problem with the electronics) and I did some research into good drip coffee makers. The Presto Scandinavian Design coffee maker had great reviews for a cheap model, looked nice, and could be found on eBay for less than $40. So we ordered a used one. It did make great coffee, but it also quit (problem with the electronics). So, I again found myself faced with looking for another coffee maker. Presto is not making that model any longer, and any that I can find for sale online are going for ~$80. Nah. So I looked at espresso makers. Too expensive for all the upkeep. What I really wanted was a coffee maker that did not have those faulty electronics…


So I bought a brand new Bialetti Moka Express pot. It does not need electricity, it makes a nice smooth espresso, can be easily used while traveling/camping, and is not likely to fail for a long long time. Why new? No one was getting rid of them on eBay for cheap.

Now I just need a turkish hand grinder and I will be all set.

Extract of coffee

I have added some coffee pages to the site, and you can find them up at the top. I have gotten a little more serious about coffee lately… Not really drinking more of it, but as the weather warms, I am thinking about building a better roaster. I have begun collecting for the spring (since there happens to be a bit of good coffee available right now), and I am looking forward to experimenting with new roast methods.

That is all… go to the coffee pages.

Remarkable milestone

We have reached a point where we have a new coffee drinker in the house. She has arrived at this point according to the rites and traditions of the family.

I remember my graduation to coffee drinker in Butuan (yes, at 12!) when I began dumping nescafe, sugar and powdered milk into hot water. I now shudder at the thought, and know that my daughter will know good coffee before she even starts heading for Starbuck’s when she has her own car.

Some beans are better than others, some beans mothers are better…

…than other beans mothers. I gave the supposedly mighty-morphin’ Malawi a few more tries. I roasted lighter (City), and it tasted under roasted. I roasted it darker (Full City+) and it tasted too bright, and to much like “normal” coffee. I also roasted some Ethiopian Lekempti and some Burundi. Both ended up “Ethiopian” roast, which is just out of first crack, but before any beans are dark (City-?). I let them rest for about 4 days and they began to bloom. The Lekempti smells like honey to B, and to me it smells like muffins. Quite nice. The Burundi is more fruity, and does have a distinct sweetness like apricots. They are great on their own (if a little thin) and make excellent additions to any mild base.

Tonight Peter and I made Vietnamese coffee with the Vietnamese espresso makers that Nathan and Carol gave us several years back. Started with sweetened condensed milk, added coffee and then more milk. I have not had sweet coffee in years. It was very good. It might be a staple during the warm summer months…

I am thinking of trying the cold soak method one of these days (1 lb. coarse ground coffee + 9 cups cold water + 12 hours = 6 cups of 3x strength coffee). It produces a concentrated, but more mild and less acidic brew. Might be nice for iced drinks and afternoon delight…

Mighty rearranging

B is at it again, and we are working on changing the layout of our house. We are not used to being in the same house for so long, and we usually wait for a move to do a thorough cleaning and furniture reconfig. Since we have not moved, we have to work up the potential energy to do it anyway. The sun is out, it is a little cold outside, Christmas is coming, and the new rug arrived (I will wait for B to tell about that one). That was enough potential to get the ball rolling…

I have a roast event today, so the garage is all set up. The 40 lbs. of green coffee that have been sitting in the studio should get distributed today. I will also roast samples to see what they are like. I have already roasted some of the Daterra (from Brazil) and it is the base for my Christmas blend. The other two are both Ethiopian, Lekempti and Yirgacheffe. These are both varieties that I have not had before, but they both have good reviews. The Yirg is supposed to have a bit of apricot in it…

Anyway, that is the news from Round Lake.

Beans and photosnaps.

I took a break from roasting during a particularly unfriendly spell of very cold weather. I am not sure if the beans would have even roasted with ambient temperatures around 5°. I admit, just before the temperature dropped, it was up in the 50s, and ideal for winter roasting. B even reminded me that it was a sort of last chance to roast for a while, but I declined. So lately we have been drinking some of TJ’s Ethiopian. I kinda like it, but B does not.

Last night I got back at it, and roasted up a batch of a blend I am working on. It is a sweet base of El Salvador Santa Rita, with some distinctiveness from small amounts of Yemen Mocha and Sumatra Mandheling. The first batch was a little heavy on the distinctiveness, so last night I added more Santa Rita. I am looking for a mellow and sweet blend with some chocolate and musky interest.

As I roasted I recalled a recent conversation with Nathan about the difficulty of photographing roasted coffee beans. They are always dark, and if you put them on a light background, the contrast throws the light metering and white balance off. So I thought it an interesting challenge for Max. The best results were achieved using a flash, with a darker background.

I was also trying to see how all the automatic settings fared in a low-light florescent environment.

Not too bad, I think.

Mediocre blend (Now with PNG!)

I did some more roasting yesterday. I did a batch each of Kenya Kiangundo (huge beans) and Panama Bouquette. Both should be great on their own. The Kenya is roasted full city+ or so (a little darker than I intended) and the Panama is full city. Someday I will get serious and buy a thermometer to guage the temperatures. And a stopwatch. Ok, maybe not. I kind of like the intuitive roasting, where the cues are subliminal, and you just know that the roast for this particular bean should be just a tad darker. But then again, that is how I feel about just about everything.

I also threw together a blend of coffees that I don’t really get excited about on their own. It consists of El Salvador Everest (a peaberry), Ethiopian Sidamo, and Papua New Guinea Agoga. In case you are wondering if the blend turned out exceptional, it didn’t, but it was alot more rounded than each would be on it’s own. To tell the truth, it was more of a way to use the PNG in a blend that would be palatable. I have nothing but trouble trying to get the PNG to taste good, so I though maybe it would work out in a blend that I did not expect a lot from. In that sense it was a smashing success. It truely was a mediocre blend, which we will drink without comment.

Sta. Rita

While roasting with Nathan the Sunday before last, I discovered that I still had some Salvador Santa Rita left. Most of you might not know to care, but this is definitely the dessert of coffee. As Nathan puts it “I name this coffee ‘sweetness’.” It is a wonderful base for any blend, and really blends well with the chocolate of Honduras. So finding it at the bottom of my box was a real joy. The peculiar thing is that I have enough coffee in that box that a whole 4 pounds could get lost. I wanted to have enough to last me through the winter, so I bought a big load in September, but then Christmas was coming around, so I bought 15 pounds more for gifting. It was a slight over calculation, in both cases, but the benefit is that I have a very well rounded stash. I am thinking that I will not need to reorder until well after the anniversary of my first roast in March.

Tonight I roasted in the Poppery:

2 Batches Honduras
1 Batch Mexico Portifino
1 Batch Salvador Santa Rita

All are at City+ (Medium Dark Roast)

Note to Nathan & Nathan:

I did not have to force the batch of Mexico into second crack by recirculating the hot air. It roasted beautifully, and trotted right into second crack on it’s own.


One of the joys of having elementary aged kids is the bugs they bring home from their classmates (or teachers, I guess). Ethan was out all last week with an awful cold. He is still trying to recover. I worked from home on Thursday to take care of him while B ran out to take care of some errands. That night I woke up at about 12:30 with a bad headache and congestion. I have been out of it since. Shoveling snow probably did not help, and that is the most likely cause of the backaches today. I was planning on roasting coffee this weekend…

On that topic, one of the things that B picked up while she was out was a Poppery! We have now spent about $25 total on roasting equipment. $19 for the dog bowl and heat gun, $3 each for the popcorn poppers. If this Poppery lives up to its reputation, it should produce good even roasts, and deposit all the chaff into a bowl. Nice!

[Edit:] It is a Poppery II, and it made good popcorn last night.