Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today's image of the Sun

I used to do this with my Son when he was young. The object was to track Sun spots over time. I would set up the telescope and project the image of the Sun on a piece of white cardboard, much like the suggested way to view an eclipse. You should never look directly at the Sun much less through a telescope, unless you have the proper filters.
Dylan would then look at the image and draw, in a notebook, a circle and trace the Sun spots. He's older and doesn't have any interest in tracking Sun spots so I decided I would try using my digital camera. The results came out pretty good. I wanted to do this because of news articles I've read about there not being any Sun spots and that this could mean the Earth is cooling instead of warming. The thing I like about this project is that anyone can do this in their own backyard and see for themselves, there are no Sun spots.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yesterday's coffee roast

I ordered a couple of different types of green coffee beans from SweetMaria's recently. It's a very good source for home coffee roasting. This is the first time I've ordered beans from them, my favorite is HulaDaddy, you can get green Kona beans straight from the farm in Hawaii. This recent order was for Ethiopia Moplaco Yirga Cheffe and Colombia "Platos Fuertes de Huila" MicroLot Mix. I've tried African coffees in the past and found it too "earthy" for my taste. I later found that the "earthiness" comes from dry processing and that I might prefer a water processed bean. Sweetmarias had rave reviews for this Ethiopian, especially if it's roasted to a City Roast, which is my favorite. I roast on my gas grill with a custom drum that's attached to a rotisserie, it can handle 1lb of beans. I decided to try something new to roast the Ethiopian, I normally roast with only the front and rear burners on medium. This time I left all three burners on full blast. This turned out to be the perfect temperature, the first crack came at around 12 minutes. I let it continue just until I heard the beginning of the second crack, then quickly poured the beans into a colander to cool. I pour the beans from one colander to another in front of a fan, cools down and blows off the chaff. I wasn't able to get every little bit of chaff off but no problem, it didn't affect the flavor of the coffee. After leaving it uncovered overnight, lets off excess CO2, I ground some this morning and made a pot of some of the best coffee yet!
I was a little worried at first, the beans were of varying sizes which can lead to inconsistent roasting. I took a photo of some of the various sizes after the roast. It didn't seem to matter, it tasted great.

My first post.

I really wasn't interested in creating a blog. Over the past few years I have been creating videos of new things, cooking, grilling, gardening, etc. I mainly created the videos for my own recollection, if a project turns out well it's nice to have a video to fall back on to jog my memory. I guess that was a type of video blogging. My videos are posted on youtube and many people have found them interesting and helpful. I decided to create this blog for the same reason, memory jogging. With text I can add more detail to my projects, starting with home coffee roasting. I have roasted several different coffees and want to be able to keep track of what was good, what wasn't, the roasting method, the source of the beans, etc.

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