‘Magic Beans’

Burn baby, burn!

Bu Zuhro, my host mother, brought back a plastic bag filled with white beans the other day.  I love beans, so I was excited to see them.  When I found out they were the kind you drink, I became even more intrigued.  I’d never actually seen coffee up close and personal before it hit my morning cup, so witnessing the process was special.

Before the beans are roasted, which the Indonesians, or at least Bu Zuhro, refer to as groreng (to fry), they were odorless.  Once they were placed in a pan over an open flame, however, they became something else entirely.  The aroma of those beans soon filled the air and, in turn, my nostrils, with pure joy.  The darker they got, the stronger the smell and the stronger my desire to consume them.

I thought it might be fun, since it was such a novelty for

Grindig ol’ school

me, to smash the beans myself with this archaic contraption, but Bu and Pak Hadhi insisted that it would take way too long and that they would take the freshly roasted beans to a grinder off the premises instead.  I suppose I would have felt the same way if I HAD to do it manually on a regular basis, as they once did.

The finished product

When it was all said and done, I lifted the ban on my coffee consumption (I haven’t been drinking it here) and indulged in three, sweet cups of it.  It was good, but nothing I can’t live without for the time being.  It does make me miss making coffee at home with my french press though.  Often times, there is great joy in the little things.

My new editor


4 thoughts on “‘Magic Beans’

  1. Joe, not only are you a gifted story teller but you have a natural eye for photography. Some great pics throughout.
    BTW – your new editor reminds me of a little friend you had back in japan who you used to post about. was that a spider also?? think you may have given him a name too??

    • Bronwyn, you’re too kind…thank you! Just wait til I write about my visit to Australia. And you’ve got a good memory! That spider in Japan you’re referring to was named, “Pasqual,”…たぶん。Speaking of Japan, I was strolling down memory lane this afternoon and it was glorious! I miss walking the city, listening to music, thinking… I’m afraid to walk around the block here, lest someone try and engage me in conversation. 🙂

      • Pasqual! That’s hilarious. Wonder what he’s up to these days? I can only imagine the stark contrast between your life in Japan and where you are now. Even I miss that about Japan. There’s a certain atmosphere in the streets there and I especially loved it at night. Could walk for ages just doing the same. Just think at least you have an experience like that you can look back on when situations maybe aren’t as ideal.

      • If he knows what’s good for him, he is up to the same thing he was back then…living the life of a privileged bachelor! The contrast here is stark, Bron. It has it’s own charm, but I will always be a little partial to Japan. There are things here that I would love to check out though, namely the unique nature opportunities, but that’ll have to wait for the time being. I AM trying to make the most out of my early mornings (2:15, today) by getting out and enjoying the solitude. It’s by far the best part of my day!

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