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This is the Roaster...This is Destoner

I origionally posted this on my blog a couple of months ago, but Brunch w/ Barrett & Co. this morning prompted me to re-publish it to PDD...

This Is The Roaster...This Is Destoner...

It may seem a bit weird, but I enjoy sifting throught the bits of stuff among the roasted coffee beans that don't get sucked up into the destoner hopper on the roaster I work on. Instead, the heavier matter remains on a hinged gate and eventually gets dumped into a shallow metal tray below.

Bits of glass and quartz; sometimes small pieces of bone, which have been almost polished smooth by heat and a few minutes tumbling around inside a drum with a hundred thirty or so pounds of coffee beans; the occasional rivet, spring, nail...all of them travelling from some faroff country...from some estate farm...a button from a shirt or a coin from a pocket...

Chili beans and corn. Seeds from a piece of fruit...all of it coming from someplace that isn't here, and unless we're extremely fortunate to have travelled afar-from someplace that both culturally and geographically exists for us only in books and magazines and in our own imaginations.

What I pick out of that tray puts a personality of sorts on the finished product now waiting for its final journey into a cup in some shop in some town or city in Minnesota.

Someone lost that button off his shirt perhaps-on some farm in Colombia, or Guatemala...some girl who's never even been off the island she grew up on dropped the seeds from her fruit on a hot summer day during the season's harvest in Sumatra, or lost a bead off her necklace in Ethiopia...

Then again, they sometimes dry the harvested green beans on huge concrete slabs and turn them with rakes-or in some countries, they dry the beans right on the side of the road...the jetasm I find then being the tiny bits of gravel and glass that falls through the holes in the cooling tray and transition to the destoner.

There is a circle that is completed in a way when I remove that debris from the remainder of the beans in the tray and toss it into the small cardboard box that sits on top of the destoner-joining the other bits and pieces of other people's lives, or other people's countries, or other people's meals...

I suppose if anything at all, I am humbled in a way knowing that I am one of only a very few who get to see that "face." By the time the coffee makes its way into a bag, coffee shop, or kitchen coffee maker, that image disappears into the steamy vapor of a freshly brewed cup.




great insight into the connectedness of our world. Our coffee doesn't just come from down the street, our cotten doesn't just grow down south, our gas isn't just pumped from the gas station. These things come from somewhere else and have a story, thanks for sharing this one.

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