Robert Thody, Education Officer | May 21, 2018
Legend has it that after a vigorous battle against the Arabian army, the European conquerors seized the loot, which included a large quantity of burnt baked beans. A decision was made to set fire to the lot, along with the rest of the useless carnage. At that moment a boggle eyed bystander appeared and offered to cart it away for fertilizer. It was, however, never his intention to cast it on the ground, but instead, to grind it. The true identity of his find was roasted coffee beans and their quality was Arabian, used in battle to strengthen fierce warriors.
Let’s now imagine our thrifty boggle eyed friend carting his precious wagonload back to France and promptly opening a modest store in the city. He thenceforth offers a cupful of the brewed beans at a handsome price, to an inquisitive group of city socialites. Unlike burnt baked beans, these patrons found it to be an exquisite tasting stimulant that enable them to focus their mind and boundless energies beyond the norm.
Coffee became the stimulating drug that instigated heated debate, forming liaisons between all classes that would eventually pour out onto the city streets and challenged the status quo. This was the era of coffee houses. It was also how the French Revolution began. Likewise, in certain English cities, coffee houses set a price of one penny a cuppa to better enable those from different classes to sit together and parley from dusk till dawn. They became bustling meeting place with lively debates on matters of science, art, politics and revolution.
The roastmaster regards coffee as the second most valuable commodity, behind oil. He pays handsomely for the choicest imported fresh green beans and then adds subtle nuances through ingenious experimentation and meticulous roasting procedures. He knows each bean must be roasted to an acute color, burr ground, and properly extracted. His mission is to create a taste revolution, promoting the next wave of artists, philosophers and free-thinkers.
Images of roastmaster Graham Braun of Monigram Coffee Roasters highlighting the roasting process from beginning to its delicious end.