in Africa
in Wales
in History
the Beans
the Grind

Beans in Wales ...

The green unroasted coffee beans having had the flesh of the berry and the thin parchment covering them removed, washed in the clean mountain Yes its mewater and gently dried by the
warm African sun are then packed in 60 Kg (132 Ib or just over a hundred-weight) hessian sacks.
The sacks of beans are loaded onto trucks and leave the Coffee Farms to make their way along the bush roads of Tanzania to the docks in Dar-Es-Salaam. Here they’re loaded onto freighters which set sail across two Oceans to make landfall in UK, where the sacks are unloaded into cool warehouses to await buyers to take them to their final destination.

This is the bit where we come in….
Having paid the full market 
value for our sacks of beans, we arrange for the sacks to be road-freighted across both England and Wales to arrive at our home in the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.

Blending ... Preseli Coffee's Bluestone Blend.

Whilst on duty at our Coffee Stall at Food Fairs and Summer Events we are frequently asked what is the difference between the Single Bean and our Blend.

Other than the price (the Single Bean is more expensive) quite simply, a cup of Preseli Single Bean is brewed from only Coffee Beans cultivated from that single farm.
Our Bluestone Blend combines the Single Beans with Coffee Beans carefully, patiently and lovingly selected  from Farmer's Cooperatives in Ethiopia.
Our Bluestone Blend works particularly well with a milky coffee, like our Caffe Latté Cappuccino.
   The gentle flavours of the Single Bean are driven, whilst being maintained, through the silky smooth hot textured milk, by the round classic chocolaty flavours of the Ethiopian Coffee Beans.

And here comes the magical bit Roasting.

I was first introduced to roasting coffee when I was just a lad,  living in the Coffee growing region of North Tanzania in East Africa, around Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. The school I attended produced it's own coffee and one of  our chores was to hand crank the steel drum which roasted the beans over a charcoal fire.

Today I roast our Coffee in a similar manner, no commercial machinery, no computers, no set timers, it's simply roasted by experience and by intuition (Just like the Who's Pin-Ball Wizard..!) and a little elbow grease...!

A few of kilos of green beans are poured into our roasting drum and some twenty minutes later they are transformed from a greyish green pip to a shiny brown, aromatic coffee bean.
Each bean doubles in size and looses a third of its weight. 
Our Coffee Roaster and roasting procedure closely resembles the traditional methods used in Africa and other parts of the World to this day.
It simply consists of a perforated steel drum over gas burners, enclosed by a metal box.

Through the length of the drum is a steel shaft with a handle one end, when the handle is turned the drum rotates and the beans gently roast.
Simplicity in its self....................

But please don’t try this at home It’s VERY DANGEROUS..!

When coffee beans are subjected to high heat they shed their thin outer layer, the parchment, also known as ‘chaff’, this is extremely volatile, as anyone who roasts coffee will know, as everyone who roasts coffee in this way would have experienced at least one coffee drum fire ............…its scary stuff...........!

If you still intend to roast coffee beans traditionally in a drum, I must stress that you obtain as much information about drum roasting as you can, check all the equipment is sound and definitely don’t roast indoors.

For safety’s sake you can’t be safe enough        

You must be able to Turn Off the Heat Source quickly and safely. A fire extinguisher is essential so is a fire blanket.
Have a two gallon bucket of water close at hand to tip over yourself, if needed.
Don’t wear loose clothing.
Wear gloves that are high heat resistant, as all roaster surfaces are Very Hot.
And if you’re a little superstitious like me,
hang up a picture of the saintly guy over there it might offer a bit of comfort.                 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Once the beans are nicely roasted, they are quickly cooled then stored in a coolish place in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

Pan Roasting ...

There is nothing stopping you home roasting just a handful of green beans. But be advised....it can get VERY smokey...!
All you need is any pan that will accommodate a single layer of green beans and an upside-down wooden spoon, if you haven't got an upside-down spoon you can always use a normal one and turn it round...!

Put your pan on a maximum heat source, kitchen hob, barbecue, coal fire, etc., what ever is your heat source it must be hot...! You're  looking for a minimum of 400 deg F / 205 deg C to a high of 550 deg F / 290 deg C. To test the heat, put a single bean in the centre of the pan and when it starts to get agitated, the pan is ready for the rest of the beans.
Once the pan is hot in go the beans.
And start stirring, from the middle to the outside and back to middle and so forth at a speed of about one revolution per second...
Give the pan a shake now and then, you're looking to get 
your roast as even as possible.

The roasting time for a handful of green beans is around 12 minutes from the time they go in to when the come out.
If it looks like it is going to be less than 10 minutes, take the pan off the heat for a couple of seconds a few times this will help lower the temperature, but keep stirring.
When the beans have arrived at the colour you want, take the pan off the heat and cool the beans.
Either cool them by putting the pan outside on the window ledge, but they will keep 'cooking' for a few more minutes and get a bit darker.
Or as I do do, toss the beans between two saucepans, until cool.

Wait ten minutes for them to s-t-a-b-i-l-i-s-e, then enjoy...!

And when a cup of coffee is called for, the beans are ground fresh to order.

A quick note here on freshness ...  Green Beans can be stored for up to Two Years

                                                                      Whole Roasted Beans up to Two Months

                                          Ground Beans, ultimately the time it take to grind them, make the brew and drink the cup