I’ve been tasked with the creation, care and feeding of a periodic production of thoughts and ruminations of my relationship with Coffee.

We operate The Grey Swan Inn Bed and Breakfast in Blackstone, VA. We began the effort officially on September 1, 2007.  I had the initial thought we would have only the best coffee for our guests, so I insisted we only serve “STARBUCKS”. I wasn’t interested in “flavored” coffees. I only wanted to serve up the “high end” stuff. At the time, I considered Starbucks to be the high end stuff. I was to be educated

In 2011, we had the good fortune to visit my Peace Corps associates on the wonderful Island of Hawaii. During that glorious visit we took a tour of the island and came upon the Hula Daddy Coffee plantation. They not only carried the coolest T-Shirts, but they offered up the best coffee I had ever tasted. I proclaimed at that time “This is how coffee is supposed to taste”. My love affair with Starbucks was over.

We returned to the mainland with some coffee on board but not enough to cover the demand. Fast forward to Christmas. My dear wife presented me with my first Coffee Roaster. I was hooked. I began my search for the coffee I had left in Hawaii. I began a serious affair with the art of Roasting Coffee.

My first Roaster was a Fresh Roast SR540 Coffee Roaster… I tried my best to meet the flavor profiles as described by the Grower. I found an coffee import company who brought beans in from all over the world.. I trusted them to advise me on roasting strategies.

Now coffee roasting is, indeed, an art. It tests skills in observing the bean change color from pail tan to yellow, to brown, to black; smell the transition from a burnt grass to a roasted finished product that is just this side, of burned…. and listening…the coffee bean goes through two stages of roast as signaled by the first crack (the initial “done” stage where the coffee can be taken off the roaster). And the second crack…where the coffee should be closely monitored to be taken off before the coffee is over-roasted.

Innkeeper Jim

One might think the coffee is ready to grind up and serve but not so…. the coffee must de-gas…that is, permit the carbon-dioxide to escape and for the oils to emerge from the bean..this usually takes at least 3 hours… after that your creation is ready for consumption. Bon Apetite…

~Jim Hasbrouck, Your Innkeeper