To México and Back

Wow. February. That seemed to happen pretty fast.

I am on my fifth winter in the Yukon. And this is the first winter I flew the coop for a couple weeks in January.

And yes, it was worth it, and yes I did some relaxing. I came back renewed and with a huge respect for the territory. We sure treat each other nicely up here. (For the most part.)

My sister and I went to México with our families, and while we were there, word got out that some Canadian coffee roasters were in town.

We found ourselves at a lovely little café where the owners had just purchased a coffee roaster. They asked if we would mind giving their son a lesson or two on the fabulousness that is roasting. We spent a couple of hours with this young man – one who enthusiastically asked questions, took notes, and seemed very happy with Casey’s gentle manner.

The thing that seemed the most different to me was a roaster that takes over an hour to produce a single roast! We are used to roasts being pulled at around 14 minutes or less, so this was new to us.

This is due in part to the fact that their roaster has fewer heat elements than ours and so they are slow roasting over an hour to get the beans up to temp. The taste is quite different – more baked than roasted, to my palate.

I spoke at length with the owner, who buys coffee from all over México.

We discussed roasting fundamentals, green bean buying, employment in México, and other small business topics.

The best part of this exchange of information, was that even though, we may live with many kilometres between us, an obvious language barrier (mine – I will learn Spanish, oh yes I will!) and some fundamental differences in roasting style – even with all that, we both seemed to be coming from the same business place: a love for good coffee, a passion for roasting and a quirky and eclectic clientele.

The day was interesting for both parties as we attempted to extract and give information to each other, using a series of convoluted hand signals (mine) and some very cheery smiles and tons of laughs on their part.

But I am glad to be back here in the North. Stepping off the plane into minus 37 was a bit of a shock, but what clean air we have, what a lovely airline we have (note to Air North: thanks for feeding me).

We also have really awesome neighbors and friends. And, in my opinion, Midnight Sun Coffee boasts possibly the best customers in the world. All it takes to be reminded of all these points is … well, to leave.

So with that in mind, I sit down to get all the paperwork done that has piled up on my desk, with a renewed respect for my fellow Yukoners. I just love ya!

But México, how I will pine for you during cold and dark months. I will miss your fresh avocados. I will miss my daily intake of java, agave and hops. The holy trinity some might say. Hold a spot for me at the espresso bar at Don Pedro’s.

When I return, I will attempt to find another travelling Méxican circus, and also real half-and-half cream – I know you exist somewhere down there.

Until then, salute!

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