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‘Machina (It.) – “the machine”
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Good Top of the Morning to you! Time for a cuppa!
Today’s series begins with what the Italians call, machina, “the machine.” It takes the best mano “hand” of the best hand to bring out the best flavor of the best beans and Joe was and the best mano (“hand”), and the best machina (“machine”), to do it. Beans begin when what they are called, “green.” Then temperature is used to roast them to perfection. Each bean and each batch can have many variables and nuances of flavor. It takes a master; an artesian, the mano (the “hand”), to do this. This was Joe. But there was much more and there is much more to this.
“green” (un roasted), beans
under roasted – purrrfectly’ roasted 🙂 – and over roasted (“burnt”), beans
One has to know what the various coffees and blends of coffees are supposed to taste like. Joe knew. And he knew all the popular nomenclature of coffee like latte, cappuccino and espresso and etc. Joe knew what they are supposed to taste like and how each are supposed to be made. I will offer proof of this as this series continues.
But Joe mostly liked expertly roasted, rightly ground and with the right equipment (machines), like brew pot and espresso machines. Remember, when he came back to Rochester and having been in Hawaii and he tasted and favored Kona, when he got back here, no one had any decent coffee. So, he decided to roast his own. He liked his own work and coffee or espresso, he drank his coffee black. He found no need or reason to screw up a good cup of coffee or espresso, by adding sugar and cream and frothy milk poured out in some fancy-schmancy artsy fartys design, which is more for show than for just plane-O good coffee. But Joe accommodated different tastes. Again, more proof about this too, as this series continues.
All in the coffee business use some type of machine, but did you know, most of the familiar, store-bought and big name coffee companies, don’t actually roast their beans, they bake them. They would say it is part of their brand’s consistency in taste and quality control. Joe would say, they just “burn” the beans. He would be reluctant to use the word roast, when the beans are all mostly baked. I came to understand exactly what he was talking about. As he taught, I learned. As I learned, my sense of smell and my palette evolved—got trained, got educated. Since Joe started, coffee (micro-roasted coffee), took off in the Rochester area. There is an area around Henrietta that as you drive by, you can smell it being cooked. It is actually being baked and I learned from Joe, to tell by the smell in the air, just like Joe said, it is being over-roasted, or as Joe often said, “burnt.” Some people might think this is just strong coffee being produced. No, it’s just coffee being burnt, just like it tastes after it sits all day on a warming plate. You who know what that tastes like, know exactly what I’m talking about! More about that later, as this series continues.
But Joe decided from the beginning, to use some other machina (“machine’), like what, I dunno, like a COFFEE ROASTER?! 🙂
Joe found and developed a unique roasting method: turn-of-the-century style coffee roaster. This is turn-of-the-century style roasting with the highest quality beans available, to micro-roast coffee in small batches. This unique roaster enables your coffee to be expertly roasted, using a direct flame process, instead of convection ovens. Joe was, one of the only roasters in the United States who actually roasted– not baked – coffee. This method of roasting takes much more skill to produce – but all coffee lovers, tasters and aficionados believe, it yields, unsurpassed flavor!
Choose your figure of speech (simile or metaphor), but Joe was, “like” a machine or he “was” a machine, when it came to roasting coffee! The Master Roaster and Grandfather of Fresh Micro-Roasted Coffee: Java Joe. In 1975, long before anyone even thought about micro roasting, Joe was in Hawaii clearing an old abandoned coffee farm with machete in hand. He literally learned and understood coffee from the ground up. OK, that was kind of pun-ny’, but it works. 🙂
When Joe returned to his home town of Rochester, NY years later, he was way ahead of anyone in this field and the present social phenomenon, surrounding coffee. He was amazed at the attention to detail, the time and money spent by the finest restaurants. He was even more shocked to realize that virtually no consideration were given by these same restaurants, to the last thing a customer has to remember their dining experience there by, a cup of coffee! Well, my friends, the visionary Java Joe enlightened many of theses chefs and owners. Today, there are not a few of the finest restaurants in this area that did not serve his coffee. And there are others that due to him, do roast their coffee. Others do roast their own coffee in this area, but not as good as the One and Only, The Original, Java Joe! To my great delight, Joe taught many his craft and his namesake still offers Joe’s coffee at, Java’s Café and many other places locally.
Click the image to visit their site
16 Gibbs Street, Rochester, NY
For those that are local, you can still buy a cup or bags of beans, still roasted, literally, with Joe’s machina, Joe’s “machine”! And his mano (“his hand”), is still evident, in the hands that roast coffee, the hands of those he taught and taught well!
Dahni at The Gathering Place
Next time: ‘Macinato’ (It.) – “the grind”