Coffee in Period class at Pennsic 2012

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This is the overview with out the pictures.  For the full research, check out Medieval Research Papers > Coffee in Period.  The class was hands on with lots of discussion.

Highlights from the class:

One gentleman comment how he was instructed to let the coffee boil, and then pull off the fire for the length of a prayer (roughly 1 minutes) and to repeat twice more with sugar added.  Also the adding of sugar to the coffee while making.  Boiling 3 times was the suggested by  current connoisseurs of yummy Turkish coffee,(I could only find references to boiling twice at most in period but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t boiled 3x with sugar!)

There was a lively discussion on types of pans used for the actual roasting of the coffee.  I described the picture of one period dish looking much like a modern wok, though Hattox ( Coffee and Coffeehouses author) mentions a metal sheet on several occasions also used to roast beans over hot fires.  (Metal sheets used for cooking can be found in several of the cooking text…seems to be an easy item to use and carry!)

One young gentleman did an impromptu, and much welcomed, display on recreated deep ceramic/clay dishes from which men at the coffee houses drank from.  This young man brought in 3-4 cups that looked like small painted clay soup bowls that were recreated from archeological digs of re-discovered coffee houses ruins.  His replicates were estimated by the experts who recreated them from the original fragments to be roughly 7mm off (either lager or smaller) then the originals.  I had to say this was one of my favorite parts!  The sharing of knowledge and actually being able to handle an item that would have been used in period.  That was my “Squeeee!” moment of the class!

One lady came up after class to point out that, as a barista, not all blonde roasts give more caffeine then dark roasts.  Some do, some don’t, though the rule of thumb is the lighter the roast the more oil still in the bean equaling more caffeine with a darker roast having more flavor.

I must say the class was very enjoyable and I have to say the people who came to talk and watch the roasting of beans was just awesome!