Coffee with sugar and cream and the beans that hail from Peet’s Coffee and Tea assist in the formation of my thoughts for this day. “The UNCOMPROMISED CUP: There’s only one way to craft great coffee and tea—with an obsessive commitment to doing things right.” This statement pulled right from their “craft” navigational link on their home page sits perfectly with me and my thoughts about how EVERY TIME I come back to a bag of Peet’s beans, I am the most satisfied morning coffee drinker on the planet…until it runs out and rather than go immediately back to Peet’s to buy more, I try yet another craft coffee bean producer who claims to do everything right, but it never tastes just right. ONLY Peet’s makes the finest for my buds. FIVE DECADES with three roast masters is one key to their success and I have to admit that I like that they opened their first store in Berkeley, California, USA in 1966. What a grand year. I was four, so it was long before I landed in Berkeley to go to college and thus become a lifelong Peet’s fan and morning java sipper. Check out this fantastic video the next time you have a cup in your hand.
I’ve been cooking a lot more lately and taking particular stock of my spices. I use a mortar and pestle to grind down various savory spices along with a Oxo Pepper Mill to select that perfect flavor for the food. There is nothing like the taste of freshly ground pepper. With this in mind, I set my fingers to pad to discover a world of specialty peppercorns. I found the extremely limited supply of organic Kampot Pepper most of which goes to France which makes me feel like I’m of special nobility with my world explorers having returned bearing gifts from their Spice Trade encounters. These are rare Cambodian peppercorns that have arrived in air tight shipping bag. OOooooh. I must digress a moment to bring you an important point from the Spice Trade wiki: “The economically important Silk Road (red) and spice trade routes (blue) blocked by the Ottoman Empire ca. 1453 with the fall of the Byzantine Empire, spurring exploration motivated initially by the finding of a sea route around Africa and triggering the Age of Discovery.” COOL. I’m a huge fan of maps and cartography, so this excited rush from pepper arriving via US mail has me reeling. (It doesn’t take much, I know.) Heading over to the Kampot Pepper website, I find a very informative video about the region, the growers, and the trade that I’d like to share with you.
So, I look at the two things that have given me great taste bud pleasure and I realize that they look very similar when seen up close. Whoever thought to pick these little treats, dry them out, roast and grind them up so that the physics of the molecular change that occurs in the grinding releases a very potent pleasure wins the smartest human award. I looked up the physics of grinding and found this extraordinary 145-page dissertation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute on “Modeling and simulation of grinding processes based on a virtual wheel model and microscopic interaction analysis”. Well, there goes my Sunday night! Nerd-ville Central. I will pull this one line to share from the Introduction on page 14: “As a material removal process, grinding has a long history ever since the Stone Age.” Cool. My kitchen has an appliance from the Stone Age that I use every time I cook. YES! I read further about the Kampot Green Pepper: “Harvested when still young on the vine, Kampot green pepper aromas literally explode on the palate with a very mild pepperiness. This fresh pepper accommodates perfectly a grilled squid dish.” Hmmm, good to know. And “Kampot black pepper delivers a strong and delicate aroma. Its taste, which can range from intensely spicy to mildly sweet, reveals hints of flower, eucalyptus and mint.” Perfecto! Abbondanza!