Top Five Interesting Facts About Coffee

Well it’s no secret I’m a fan of coffee. A pretty loyal fan.

But I’m not one of those coffee drinkers. You know who I mean.

Me? I drink mine plain Jane black and as regular as I can have it. If I go to a fancy coffee shop (at someone else’s suggestion of course) I generally won’t go much further than an Americano. I know, right? So I’m a bit of a simpleton but I’m happy so why bother with flavours and milk and sugar and the like?

Recently some acquaintances started up their own coffee roasting company and are quite passionate about the whole endeavour. And I think it’s pretty neat too. Every now and then I even get to sample their “hybrid” roasts—usually a mixture of different beans coming from different parts of Latin America.

To be honest? I can’t really tell the difference between the KINDS of beans I’m drinking. But I sure can tell when they’re roasted right.

In being in a position of light observation I’ve learned five very interesting facts about coffee, which I’d like to share with you. The bonus fact being coffee beans are green before they’re roasted.

Top Five Interesting Facts About Coffee

  1. Before coffee is a green bean it is a red berry. That’s right. And it grows on trees. You have to pick the red berries, then dry them out and strip them until they’re a green bean. Maybe it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Maybe
  2. Beans are roasted at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 10 minutes you start to smell the coffee aroma and after they pop twice they’re ready
  3. Espresso is not a bean. It’s a roast (did that totally blow your mind?)
  4. Although there are over 50 types of coffee only two really make it into mass consumption: arabica and robusta
  5. The lighter the roast, the more caffeine. I knew this before but I still think this is the most interesting thing about coffee that I’ve ever learned. I can’t remember when or where I picked this up but sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who knows this. But that can’t be right. I’m not alone, am I?

As well I’m going to experiment with my coffee grounds as I’m starting to learn about what a wonderful fertilizer and slug-deterrent they can be. Already I have a bucket of grounds soaking in a 5kg pail of water and will soon test it on my giant deck tomatoes. And once that task is complete I’ll mix some sugar in the concoction and see if it will really bring my poor sick tree back to life like it’s supposed to. We’ll see.

Off to a Bad Start

My morning has left me a bit traumatized. Most if it is my own fault, I realize, but I’m disturbed nonetheless.

The reason? Subway.

I saw a sign saying “free coffee” so I went in, like a sucker. Then I saw a sign saying “breakfast,” so like the silly girl I am, I ordered a sausage and egg muffin. Except I might not have said muffin. I can’t remember, because I was so confused by the menu. It was on the other side of the restaurant, and, in my coffee-deprived state, I couldn’t really read the details.

Well, I should have guessed things were going downhill when the sandwich artist asked me what sort of bread I wanted. I looked up, confused, but chose wheat.

By the time I needed to pay, the cost was exorbitant. I actually couldn’t pay for my meal. The price I saw was $2.49, but the price on the till was twice as much. I thought at first she had charged me $2.50 for my free coffee, which seemed extreme, so I asked if I had read the sign wrong.

“No. Your breakfast sandwich costs $5.”

“What? But I’m reading $2.49. I can’t afford $5. I don’t have $5. I have to leave.”

And, I turned to go. There was 100 per cent no way I was using my credit card for what began as free coffee.

“You told me what sort of bread you wanted. You said wheat. That’s the $5 breakfast sandwich.”

And that’s when I decided I wasn’t wrong, but I had been swindled. Looking at the menu more carefully (for I was now at the other side of the restaurant), I saw there were two sandwiches called “sausage and egg” with two very different prices beside them. I was not asked which one I was choosing, the cheap one or the ridiculously expensive one, and therefore, felt justly right in my refusal to use my credit card for a sandwich I didn’t even want.

The sandwich artist told me to take the sandwich because she’d just have to throw it away anyway. I don’t know if I was really right or not, but I emptied out my change purse and gave her all I had, which was about $2.73.

And don’t worry, I made sure to get my free coffee.

Emergency packing list procrastination

I checked out the trunk of my car last night, and found a bunch of awesome “in case of emergency” gear:

  • hiking boots
  • tennis rackets and tennis balls
  • running shoes
  • casual shoes
  • hand towel and beach towel
  • full toiletries kit
  • gym bag (including fresh undies and socks)
  • travel mugs
  • scarf
  • emergency casual clothes
  • roof racks

While this is a bit ridiculous I sure could’ve used most of this stuff on the weekend. If only I had driven my car.

My emergency packing kit might have to wait a couple days because I have too many suggestions and not enough room. Plus I suspect a lot of my supplies are currently stashed in the back of my car and are in dire need of organizing.

Or, alternately, I’m going to have to buy a bigger purse.

At any rate, the logistics are a bit difficult and I’m going to take a day or two to make an excellent packing list and hopefully a chart.

I’m also planning to post photos from Victoria and of the magnificent pumpkin carving party I attended last night. I attempted a pumpkin stencil for the first time and am absolutely enamored with the art. I can’t wait to do more.

Oh, and I have a new math project, which is really good. It requires a lot of statistics and random variables. I’ve talked it over with a couple math-savvy friends who walk on the creative side of life and when the equation is ready, I will share the project with everyone.

Turkey Time

turkey time

Turkey Time Roste Style

Thanksgiving with the Roste’s is always Family Time, but not just Roste Time.

Canadian Thanksgiving is one of the more elusive holidays, which no one is really certain of the origins. Unless you’re a Saskatchewan farmer, of course.

But who knows how many of those there are anyway (44,329).

We usually celebrate by inviting family, friends, and anyone around who may not have a place to go for the holiday for turkey dinner, hockey (on TV) and games. It’s really fun to see who shows up and I love that people feel welcome enough to join us for the usual: too much food, coffee overdose and just a touch of insanity.

Anyway, aside from turkey and family, this weekend I also was focused on my neck soreness.

Snap

It was so sore! And what a strange thing to happen from sleeping!

My mom told me it’s because my body is old. Like, nearly 30. Yikes. Don’t remind me.

My dad told me to get out and do something. I felt more like whining than doing something.

So, I spent all day Saturday feeling sorry for myself and all day Sunday trying to feel better. By the time we went to my aunt’s for feasties, my neck was slightly better.

After dinner, I went into the kitchen for some coffee. My aunt was doing the dishes and I must have reached for the coffee pot awkwardly (OK, fine, I said “Boy my neck is sore”) because she walked up and put her hand on my neck, pressed her fingers into the muscle for a second and……

Pop

All the tension melted from my neck and shoulders and the pain was noticeably lessened. It was a turkey miracle.

“But the pain will probably come back,” she said. It did, but not as bad.

On Monday the pain was even less, and I was confident enough to go out hiking and be what the locals would call “active,” despite my strain.

Everything was going swimmingly until my sister asked me to play Wii. Oh yeah, we bought my mom a Wii for her birthday. She has yet to play. Wanxiety I say.

Crackle

So we played some tennis and I didn’t really think about anything else. But then on a particularly difficult backhand, my entire back cracked.

I paused, accessed the situation and now…the sore neck is a distant memory.

Conclusion: keep your family close, but your Wii closer.

Turkey Time!

Saskatoon part two


“Robyn, you made the arrow point the wrong way. People won’t know where to go.”

Confused I looked down at the mock sign Jeff had drawn on the cardboard for me to permanent ink (apparently I can’t be trusted to point). I had drawn perfect black arrow in the exact direction the instructions said.

What the…

“Give it here.”

Grumpily I handed the sign over, feigning needing a coffee refill and wandered over to the sink.

“Robyn… you made the sign upside down. Seriously. It was an arrow.”

Grumble grumble grumble.

“Don’t worry, I can fix it. I’ll just make the arrow really big and pointing the other way.”

I’m terrible at garden/house warming/renovation showcase parties. Clearly.

And then Kelly told me I had to wear a dress.

“I’m wearing a dress. Support me!”

That cheered me up.

A cousin came over first.

“I brought 180 Jell-o shots!”

I didn’t have much to say in response but I was curious what the other guests would bring.

Well, it turned out no one else brought anything as interesting. Actually I’m wrong. Neal brought over 500 tonnes of fried chicken (and much to the relief of random house guests, it was NOT KFC) and an aunt made this amazing trifle, which I was happy to have two helpings of, despite the four pieces of chicken and 32 Jell-o shots I had already put away.

I may be exaggerating. I think I only had three pieces of chicken.

After a while one of the neighbours got classy and brought over his new kayak-in-a-backpack. Off-the-rack for a mere $5,000, this guy actually builds them. So we got a yard presentation and everyone had a great time trying it out.

As the light slowly faded into evening, people also began to fade away. It had been a long, hot day, filled with family, folding boats and chicken. I also took the opportunity to fade out of the woodwork, in which I had been hiding with Jeff and a couple other comics for the majority of the day.

Hey. I can play the shy card sometimes.

The evening finished with a fire (you can have backyard fires in Saskatchewan. Apparently their province is not flammable) and celebrity gossip. It was pretty fun and I am also sure I was speaking a little Ukrainian by the end there.

Early the next morning I had to leave to catch the bus to Guelph. As I left I saw a neighbour sleeping on his deck.

It was pretty random for 6am so I took a picture.


Jeff graciously agreed to drive me to the bus depot to save me a $10 cab ride. It was a pretty uneventful drive, as no one drives in Saskatoon on Sundays.

At least, that’s how I remember it from last year.

I arrived at the downtown depot with five minutes to spare (first close call of… many), which didn’t matter since the bus was being cleaned from its drive up from Vancouver.

“Did you want any breakfast?” Jeff offered as he wandered over to Baskin Robin’s.

“Honestly? I’m still full of chicken.”

And then, the bus began to board.

Obviously I spilled my coffee down my top at this moment. Just in time to place my luggage under the bus–its home for the next 48 hours.

Jeff waved and I shrugged. This was going to be a long day…s.