Cheyenne Coffee Company owners Kris and Bill Born dump green coffee beans into their roaster to prepare them for a customer. (Photo/Pat Mitchell)
WHEATLAND - For those whose morning ritual requires that Cup a Joe, there just may be a business with a Wheatland address you don't know about-The Cheyenne Coffee Company- originated, owned and operated by Bill and Kris Born.
(Countries that grow coffee are within a 1,000 mile distance between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.)
Bill, a coffee connoisseur, just couldn't get the taste he wanted so he began with buying a Whirley-Pop corn popper, inserting a thermometer and roasting his own beans. That popper of five years ago when the Borns started this venture is a far cry from the computerized roaster in the food-grade, licensed, sealed kitchen from which he now operates. Wyoming Workforce Development grants provided the funds to go to school to learn how to operate the roasters and computer program that provides the consistency of desired coffee tastes. Their own outlay of capital provided the bulk of funds to get this business up and running.
(A coffee drinker averages 2-3 cups/day.)
"We wanted something we could do together after retirement [Bill from Missouri Basin, Kris from the US Postal Service]," Bill said. "This was the perfect fit. I roast the coffe; Kris takes care of all the other aspects of the business."
(To reach your cup, most of the coffee beans are transported from the major growing regions by ship.)
The process begins with the purchase of beans from Café Imports, a bean importer who only buys the best high-altitude arabica coffee beans. In this stage the beans look like small, green pumpkin seeds with a soft, pleasant fragrance, not a coffee smell at all. From the 132-150 pound burlap bags from places like Rwanda, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia and Sumatra, Bill develops and blends the beans to meet the flavors desired by their customers.
(Brazil is the largest coffee-exporting nation.)
The beans are released from the hopper into the propane-fired roaster. They start tumbling as the heat increases to between 375˚and 385˚ when the beans start to pop (crack). They have swollen to twice their original size, turned dark and then crack again at 420˚. The coffee flavor and taste is released between the 385˚ and 420˚ cracks. At this point the oils and sugars are released to make the beans fragrant and alluring.
(More than 90 species of migratory birds find sustenance and shelter in the coffee forests of Guatemala.)
The roaster automatically deposits what are now beautifully browned beans into a tray with pencil eraser-size holes and turning paddles. Air passes through the beans cooling them, quickly stopping the roasting process. This process has taken just a bit over 14 minutes for eight pounds of beans. Because of the expansion of the beans and released chaff, every pound of raw coffee beans yields12 ounces of roasted beans.
(The coffee plant lives about 40-50 years.)
There are 16 businesses in Guernsey, Douglas, Casper, Cheyenne and Wheatland (Espress-Oh, Thrifty Foods, Simply Creative, Drube's, Fig-U-Rose, Wheatland Country Store) who sell their roasted coffee beans or coffee made from Cheyenne Coffee Company beans. Bill will grind the beans but for a really fresh pot of coffee, grinding should take place just before brewing.
(A mature coffee plant yields about 5 pounds of green coffee beans per year.)
For 48 hours, freshly roasted coffee beans release gas that can destroy the taste and flavor of the final brew. Therefore the roasted beans are packed in brown bags with one-way air release valves.
For the complete article see the 11-21-2012 issue.
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