Bean Smoke was born in Guerneville, California. Nestled on the banks of the lazy Russian river, under towering redwoods, 12 miles as the crow flies from the wild Sonoma coast. Born out of an obsession with the delicious. With background in food and wine I had come to cherish the ritual of gathering around the table with family and friends to share in nature’s bounty.
As the years passed I explored, and continue to explore the splendors of garden and farm, and the alchemy of fermentation. Pinching pennies only to happily squander them on some transcendent fare or heady nectar beyond my means.
Yet all along there it was. Warming our grandmothers hands. Wafting from the kitchen as mother woke us for school.
The first taste is shocking. Too bitter, to grownup. The road is just the road, and eventually you rise to meet it. Then the mocha. The french vanilla cappuccino from the gas station. Training as a chef in a hotel brought a french press. Wow this is different. Coffee began to take on a new dimension.
Working as a chef brought wine into the picture. The nuance of terroir and the range of flavors and textures was captivating. It became an obsession. An obsession that led three thousand miles to west Sonoma County.
I had fallen in love with Pinot Noir and found myself on a small metal catwalk, punching down a fermentation tank, swooning at the aroma!
But there it was again. In the cool fog shrouded morning as grapes arrived at the crush pad, we stood united by the warming cups in our hands. We drank far more coffee than wine at that winery, perhaps never giving it the attention it deserved.
Sometimes the forest can be hard to sight through the trees.
It was a Natural process Ethiopia coffee that woke me up. It was so different and wild, you could believe it was flavored in some way. Then a Sumatra. Smokey, humic and rich.
Soon i was roasting small batches on my porch. Buying the best beans I could find from every place i could find. Roasting, grinding, smelling tasting. I could not believe how good the fresh coffee was. I knew i knew very little about roasting and the range and quality coming out of the little machine shocked me.
I needed more control, and more knowledge! And more beans!
There have been over 800 volatile aromatic compounds recorded in coffee. More than have been recorded in wine.The range of flavors, textures and aromas is staggering.
Tons of coffee later I am still searching. Searching for the next mystery, that next surprise. Join me on my search, follow the Bean Smoke!