#227 – New Beginnings

I’ve tried home-brewed beer on a number of occasions, and I’ve liked some of it. Once, I tasted homemade wine and thought it decent enough as well. Now, thanks to my friend Jimmy, I can add basement coffee to my testing list. Except, unlike the other beverages, I have no desire whatsoever to repeat this morning’s Arabica bean experience.

Don’t ask me how or why, but Jimmy convinced himself he could grow better coffee beans than store-bought in the bowels of his house, and then sell them under his own micro-label. He named his product even before he’d purchased a single coffee tree. Certain his home-grown brew will taste like no other, he decided to call it “New Beginnings.” He also came up with a marketing catchphrase: “In the end, it’s New Beginnings.” 

To save growing time, Jimmy purchased several mature coffee trees and created an appropriate environment for them in his basement. He waited for the berries to ripen and then employed a “dry fermentation” process to extract the beans. That is, he laid the berries in the sun or under heat lamps to dry until only the beans remained. He’s been letting the first batch “mellow out” for the past few months, to “realize their full potential,” so he said. Finally deeming them ready, he invited me to join him today in sampling the inaugural brew. 

A single sip convinced me Starbucks has nothing to fear from New Beginnings. As promised, Jimmy’s java definitely possessed a unique flavor. But that’s because his is the only joe I’ve sampled which more properly belongs among a grocery store’s cleaning products than on its coffee shelves. Naturally, I had to ask: “Why’d you marinate the beans in ammonia?”

He insisted he’d done no such thing and offered to show me his growing and preparation areas to prove it. After strong-arming me downstairs, he showed me his trees, making sure to highlight the absence of any chemical products in their vicinity. Then he walked me to a table beneath his basement windows, atop which rested a large flat pan containing his latest batch of nearly dried beans. We arrived just as his Siamese cat was leaving … having used the pan as her substitute litter box.

I feared Jimmy might puke, given his blossoming green complexion. As for me, I’d ingested far worse than a hint of feline urine in my younger days, so I managed to focus on the humor of the situation. While my friend concentrated on keeping down his breakfast, I cheerfully suggested: “I think you need a more appropriate marketing slogan — something like: “From a cat’s rear end, it’s New Beginnings!”

Coffee berries, before drying and extra fermentation

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