Mark, Director of Metal Operations at Equinix, is based in the Dallas Fort Worth metro. He likes to understand the ins and outs of nearly everything he touches, down to the cup (or three!) of coffee he enjoys each day. To record today’s Downtime is Uptime episode, Mark and I met up in his home kitchen, so he could share a beloved ritual: roasting his own coffee beans.
“Like a lot of people, coffee has been an important part of my daily routine for decades,” he told me, gesturing toward his half-full cup on the counter. “And I never paused to think what it was I was consuming. I was buying Colombian coffee because my wife is Colombian, but I didn’t think about anything else. Then I started to Google and research it and fell into the big pit of home roasting.”
We set about to make a batch of Colombian beans in Mark’s roaster, a contraption that looks a lot like a toaster oven with a couple of heat elements in the back and an internal rotating steel drum. Unroasted coffee beans are a grayish green color—many coffee drinkers would not recognize them—and they slowly change hue during the roasting process, moving through a tan shade to various depths of brown, and finally, if a dark roast is desired, a deep chocolate-colored near-black. Mark’s machine goes through this process in about fifteen minutes. “Typically, when I’m doing this, I’m alone in the kitchen,” he told me. “It’s that little bit of time that I get to not have people interrupt my coffee making.”
Mark took the beans out just as they began the “second crack” stage, a term referring to how the chaff bursts from the bean, sounding much like popping corn. An intoxicating aroma filled the kitchen as he poured the freshly roasted beans into a colander to cool. “There we have it,” he said, holding up the beans for a picture, “one pound of Colombian coffee Bucaramanga El Gato Supremo. Bucaramanga would be the region, and,” he laughed, translating the last part: “The Supreme Cat.”
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