Monday, September 29, 2008

Birthday Presents

We celebrated Mrs. BigKat's birthday yesterday. Want to guess what I got her? I'll give you some hints...

1) Part of it came from Home Depot
2) Part of it came from PetSmart

So far, sounds like a present any wife would love, right? Did you guess what it is?

Ok, here are some more hints...

3) The thing from Home Depot is a power tool
4) The thing from PetSmart is for a dog
5) We do not have a dog and are not planning on getting a dog

Did you figure it out? Need more hints? Ok fine, I'll just tell you what I got...

6) The thing from Home Depot is a heat gun
7) The thing from PetSmart is a stainless steel dog bowl

It all makes sense now, doesn't it? Ok, so Mrs. BigKat was less than thrilled when she opened her gifts. She was actually a little bit confused. But the next part of the present cleared things up for her a bit.

9 pounds of green coffee beans!

Mrs. BigKat loves coffee. A while ago, I had planned on getting her some sort of a coffee roaster so that she could have fresh roasted coffee any time she wanted. I did a bunch of research and came across what is known as the heat gun/dog bowl (HGDB) method of roasting coffee beans. It seemed pretty easy, so I thought it would make a great birthday present. If I can roast coffee beans for her at home, she can buy green beans from places like Sweet Maria's. Green beans not only cost less, but they store longer. And she can buy all sorts of interesting beans from all over the world. And I can roast them in small batches so that she can always enjoy them freshly roasted, never stale.

I tried my first roast yesterday. It was pretty easy. I put about a cup of beans into the stainless steel bowl. I heated the beans up using the 'Low' setting on the heat gun for 5 minutes. Then I switched to the 'High' setting for the rest of the roast (the total roast time was about 11 minutes or so). The whole time I did this, I was constantly stirring the beans with a wooden spoon. I stopped the roast a little bit into what is apparently called the '2nd crack' stage. To cool the beans off, I tossed them into a cooling contraption I made using a cardboard box, a colindar, and my shop vac (the beans went into the colander which was sitting in a hole in the box. The shop vacwas plugged into the bottom of the box and sucked the air through the beans as I stirred them with my wooden spoon). In the end, I had with something that definitely looked like roasted coffee beans. We don't know how they taste though. Mrs. BigKat is going to give them a try later today (from what I've read, letting the beans rest after roasting for a little while is a good idea). Hopefully, they'll turn out good! The whole process was very easy and fun too. Next time I try a roast, I'll remember to take some pictures and put them up here.

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