Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company in Reno NV

Several months ago I stumbled upon Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company’s Facebook page. A little intrigued, I decided to Google them and find out a little bit more. After a perusal of the website, I told Mr. SBF that this was definitely a place we should check out soon. But, as so often happens in life, soon turned into, “Oh my goodness, we still haven’t checked out that coffee place.” Ugh.

However, having followed their Facebook page, I’ve been able to keep up to date on what’s happening over at Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee in Reno, NV and when I saw that they had created an event for an upcoming coffee roasting demonstration, I “saved” it and put it on my calendar to attend.

 

On Saturday, Girl2 and I attended their coffee roasting demonstration and we’re so glad we did! In case you didn’t know, we are a coffee-loving family. When Mr. SBF and I first met, he wasn’t crazy about the stuff but he eventually crossed over to the “dark side” (pun intended) and is now as much of a “coffee snob” as the rest of us.

In addition to being coffee lovers, we’re also into attending demonstrations, taking factory tours, and finding out how things are done, so going into the roasting demonstration, we knew we were in for a treat.

Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company is located in an industrial area and since they regularly encourage people to stop by for a cup of coffee, Girl2 was skeptical that we were in the right place. But having done my research, I knew we were where we should be.

When we walked in we were warmly greeted by Tim, the owner, and his (only) employee, Myra. Myra was busy brewing their Ethiopian coffee for us to sample.

Since we were the first ones to arrive, we had time to ask some questions and get to know a little bit about them.

Tim had previously been in the restaurant business and was toying with the idea of opening a coffee house. Figuring he should educate himself a little more about the subject, he bought a book about coffee and became intrigued by the roasting process. So, he ordered some coffee beans and late one night after work he decided to roast them on his stove top. With one taste, he knew that he was hooked.

That was in 2001 and he’s been roasting coffee ever since.

What makes Tim’s coffee stand out is the fact that it is roasted in a wood-fired coffee roaster. A wood-fired roaster enhances the coffee bean’s natural flavor profile. I asked Tim how many people in the United States use firewood to roast their beans and his reply was,

“Not very many. Wood-Fire roasted coffee is an Old-World tradition and not very many people do it here in the U.S.”

And he’s right. I didn’t delve very deeply into trying to find other wood-fire coffee roasters but my initial Google search only turned up six results. And Tim’s website was right at the top!

Another thing that I believe makes Tim’s coffee stand out is his roasting process. Though there is a general method to it, Tim has discovered some tricks regarding heat temperature, timing, and flavor development which allow the brewing of his coffee to result in a smooth, low acid, well-rounded cup of coffee. Tim’s coffee has received one of the highest ratings by Coffee Review in a blind tasting.

I mentioned before that when we arrived, Myra was brewing some Ethiopian coffee for us to sample using the pour-over method. She was very precise with her brewing technique, carefully grinding the beans, weighing it, heating the water to a specific temperature and pouring the perfect amount of water over the beans. The results were great. Ethiopian coffee has a bright flavor with a little hint of lemon.

But it wasn’t up to Tim’s standards so he had Myra tweak the grind just a bit and then brew another batch. And oh my goodness, much to our surprise, there was a difference. With just a slight adjustment to the grind, we were able to taste its complete flavor profile with its lemony smoothness!

After the Ethiopian brew, Myra and Tim treated us to the Sumatra coffee. Again, after precise brewing, Myra handed us another cup of delicious coffee. This time we tasted the Sumatra’s cocoa profile with just a hint of smokiness from the firewood. It was, by far, the best Sumatra I’ve ever tasted.

When everyone arrived, Tim began his demonstration by giving us an overview of the general coffee roasting method and then told us how he had discovered certain tricks to making his coffee better than others (besides just using a wood-fired roaster). I could go into the details but his website does a much better job of it and if you’re interested, please visit his site after you’re finished here. My purpose is to tell you how amazing Tim’s Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee is!

Generally, Tim uses oak wood to roast his coffee, but for our demonstration, he chose to use some cherry wood that he had access to. He used a blend of Ethiopian beans and Guatemalan beans to create a smooth, creamy coffee with hints of hazelnut, cocoa nib, and raw sugar. This would make a delicious dessert coffee, but we’ve been drinking it every morning since we bought it! It’s so good!

Mr. SBF wasn’t able to attend the roasting demonstration with us but he got to hear all about it later that evening. The next morning when I brewed him some, his response after his first sip was, “Oh, my. That is smooth!”

As I mentioned before, Tim’s place is located in an industrial area and isn’t your typical coffee house. You won’t find any sugar-laden coffee drinks in his shop. Though Myra prepared our coffee via the pour-over method, they usually serve french-pressed coffee which is equally delicious. His hours are Monday-Friday 9am-2pm, but if you can’t make it to the shop, you can experience his coffee at other places around the Reno area since a large portion of his business is through distribution. Check his website to find his coffee partners. And if you don’t live in northern Nevada but are eager to try some of his coffee, the good news is that his coffee is available on his website and you can even join his   Coffee of the Month Club!

It doesn’t take an expert to brew a good cup of coffee. A good cup of coffee essentially comes from the beans and how they are roasted absolutely makes ALL the difference. We were able to taste excellent coffee that was brewed with great precision, however, when we took it home and brewed it in both our espresso machine and in our french press, the coffee was still fantastic!

Tim recommends that you purchase coffee that prints its roasted date on the label and to make sure to use it within three weeks in order to get the best-tasting coffee. I think we’ll take his advice and buy smaller quantities of freshly roasted coffee from now on.

If you’re a coffee-lover and have a coffee roaster in your community who offers live demonstrations, we recommend that you attend one. It’s not only a great way to experience fabulous coffee, but it’s a great way to support your local business too.

And since I’ve made such a fuss over Tim’s Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee, I thought it would be fun to give away a one pound bag of the Cherry Wood Roast that he created for us!

  • Leave a comment on this article and you will be entered into the drawing for this delicious bag of whole bean coffee!
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  • For entry, comments and subscriptions must be made by 11:59 pm, Saturday, February 24, 2018. Winner will be announced here and on our social media pages on Sunday, February 25, 2018.
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Mother Nature & National Parks

For as long as I can remember, Mr. SBF and I have had a desire to visit Yellowstone National Park. Early last year we toyed with the idea of going but then we were presented with an opportunity to visit Key West, Florida so we decided to postpone the trip to Yellowstone until this year and made plans to road trip to Florida instead.

For various reasons, the dates for our Florida trip were pushed back and then Mother Nature had her way and sent hurricanes to the areas we had planned to visit along the way.

Feeling a little bit disappointed, we changed our plans once again. We had been talking about visiting Pocatello and Idaho Falls, ID as prospective places for future residence, so we headed to Idaho instead.

We spent a day a couple of days exploring the areas and were quite taken with the charm of Idaho Falls. One morning over breakfast I decided to look at a map of Idaho and Wyoming. We knew we were in eastern Idaho near the Wyoming border, but what we didn’t realize was how close we were to Yellowstone. So, after we finished eating, we jumped in the car and headed north to West Yellowstone, MT and a couple of hours later, arrived at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The entrance fee was $20 and it was already mid-afternoon but we figured that we might as well go for it and see what we could see while there was still daylight. Luckily, it was early October so the days were still fairly long. And being early October, the leaves on the trees had begun to change colors and the temperatures were perfect; balmy but not too cold.

Just a few miles in, we encountered bison and elk, grazing right alongside the road. We snapped a few pictures but wanting to take in all we possibly could, we continued on our way. We made it to the Paint Pots, took the walking tour around them, and continued on to see the geysers, Ol’ Faithful to be exact. Apparently, we had missed its eruption by mere minutes but the next eruption was predicted to happen about an hour and a half later. So we, and several other tourists waited. There’s a nice visitor’s center at the site, along with a snack bar and souvenir store. We met some nice people and chatted while we waited. It was like waiting for the fireworks show to begin on the fourth of July! And Ol’ Faithful did not disappoint. By the time the show was over, it was nearly dark. With mixed emotions, we decided that we had better head back into town (W. Yellowstone, MT).

On our way back, I pulled out the receipt for our entry fee only to discover that it was a five-day pass! I don’t know why I didn’t realize that it would be good for several days. Most of the National Parks give multiday passes, I just wasn’t thinking. Duh. We were pretty excited, found a room for the night and went to dinner.

The next morning we headed back into the park, armed with a map and a well-routed plan. We were able to see about seventy-five percent of the park. I really can’t even begin to describe the beauty of the place! The colors, microorganisms, hot springs, mud pots, the Terraces, and Dragon’s Cauldron, all breath-taking! The landscape is so diverse and full of surprises at every turn. And Yellowstone Lake is much larger than I ever imagined it would be. To be honest, until I studied the map, we hadn’t even realized there was a “Yellowstone Lake”. We expected to see lakes, yes, but not The Lake! Haha! And there is apparently, all kinds of water sports and activities that go on up there during the summer (ie. boating, water skiing, etc.). Who knew? Well, lots of people, I suppose!

We spent the whole day exploring and then exited the Park via the south entrance which drops you into the Grand Teton National Park (bonus!) and oh em gee, those are some breath-taking mountains as well! They are dark and jagged and full of mystery!  Our plan is to go back and spend some time camping and exploring in the Grand Teton National Forest. It really is just as beautiful as Yellowstone, only in different ways.

To top it all off, we arrived in Jackson, WY just in time for dinner. I was a little disappointed at the fact that we arrived in Jackson so late in the day. I would have loved to explore, shop, and bask in its quaintness for a while longer, but alas, we had to get back to Idaho Falls that night.

All in all, it was a good trip and we highly recommend a visit to Yellowstone.

No matter where you make your home, a trip to Yellowstone is well-worth the journey!

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Remembering to be Present

This year has been quite different for us. Mr. SBF and I were able to take an extended sabbatical and spent the last six months of the year road tripping, camping and visiting with family. The break from the stress of the past decade and from our normal routine was definitely needed and we feel so very blessed to have been given the opportunity.

One thing that I became aware of early on in our break was the fact that I am often not “present” in my everyday life. As an Empath, I am almost constantly inundated with the feelings and emotions of others and I think that retreating into my own thoughts is one of the ways I am able to combat the exhaustion that comes from the constant influx of emotion that I am faced with on a daily basis. And because I am often in my own head, I have realized that I miss out on a lot.

Sometimes when the family is reminiscing about something or even during a conversation with someone I’ll suddenly “snap out of it” and realize that I missed out on part of it because I wasn’t “all there”. Yes, really. Ugh.

And don’t get me started on electronic devices and what a huge distraction they can be! Giving a device to people who are in the habit of retreating into their own thoughts only perpetuates the problem, er, issue! And forget about giving them earbuds. I mean…yeah…just don’t! Can any Introverts relate or is it just me? Haha!

Anyway, during our time together, since it was just the two of us and we were traveling in our own car, I was able to sit and enjoy the scenery (and my electronic device) without the “noise” from the outside world. So, when we were around other people, I was able to listen and enjoy it because, during our travel time, I was able to rest and “regroup”.

Becoming more self-aware has been something I’ve been working on for several years now. And I’m grateful that I became aware of this “issue” early on in our sabbatical. I believe that it helped me to focus on making sure the time with my Sweetheart was quality time. And it has definitely made me more mindful of the time I spend with loved ones. I don’t want to miss out on any of the good stuff when my children and grandchildren are home because times well spent make the most treasured memories!

To make sure I’m paying attention to life, follow my social media pages! Let me know if you notice a lack of presence there! Heehee.

 

 

Camping, Tidy Coolers & Bears

In September, just after Labor Day, we went on a camping trip to Twin Lakes in Mammoth, CA.  It was our first time camping there and we loved it. The lakes are beautiful, there’s a LOT to do in the surrounding area, and the town is just a couple of miles away. The best part is that it’s only a two and a half hour drive from home! Yes!

Mr. SBF and I went up on Wednesday to secure our spot and set up camp. We got a great spot nestled in the Pines, close to both lakes and even closer to the bathrooms! Our camp host greeted us right away and the first thing Mr. SBF asked her was, “Have there been any bear sightings?” She confidently answered that “No, there hasn’t been any bear sightings reported all Summer.” We were amazed because Mammoth is definitely bear country and we had heard from friends who had camped there before that there was always plenty of bears around. Anyway, we set up camp, took a short hike, made an early dinner and enjoyed our night.

The next day we did some exploring around the lakes, went into town to pick up some firewood and had an all-around good time. ManBoy, his Watermelon, and Girl2 joined us late that night and we all camped out in our tent. We have a three room tent, so everyone was plenty comfortable. The next day ManBoy and Watermelon set up their cozy little tent and we all went about having a grand time.

The one thing about camping, though, that drives me a little nutty is the coolers/ice chests. They get so messy and unorganized! I am still trying to figure out the best way to keep them tidy and the more people you’re camping with, the more challenging it is! Using resealable plastic bags just simply doesn’t work for me. As the ice melts in the cooler, they all fall to the bottom and finding anything is like venturing into a black hole. My favorite way to organize is with glass containers. There are so many styles, sizes, and colors to choose from these days, I just love it! I use glass containers in my refrigerator at home, but for camping, glass just isn’t practical and makes your coolers way too heavy. So, the next best option for me is to use (BPA free) plastic containers. I have a set (or two) that I use just for camping. It makes navigating the coolers far less frustrating. The only downfall is that they take up a lot more room than plastic bags do, so we have to take multiple coolers with us.

Campgrounds that are located in “bear country” usually provide bear boxes in each campsite. The bear boxes are large heavy- gauged metal lockers with fancy handles that lock and are where you should store your coolers/ice chests, dry foods and anything that contains a scent/fragrance (eg. toiletries, etc.) in order to keep the bears from raiding your camp, stealing your food, scaring the you-know-what out of you and from potentially harming anyone.

On this particular camping trip, we had several coolers on our site because everyone brought one and you guessed it, they wouldn’t all fit into our bear box! Our solution to the dilemma was to put the coolers and bags that contained the food and toiletries into the bear box and to put all of the drinks (which were in cans or bottles) into one cooler and to leave it next to the bear box. This worked. Until the last night of our trip.

We had all gone to bed and about an hour later, just as we were about to slumber, we heard some noise outside of the tents. My first thought was that ManBoy had decided that he needed a snack and was getting into the bear box. But then, there was all kinds of racket going on and we knew that it wasn’t ManBoy. Mr. SBF grabbed a flashlight, slowly and quietly unzipped the tent door flap, shined the light toward the bear box and to his, um, surprise (?), he was looking into the eyes of a medium sized black-bear! Shining the flashlight into the bear’s eyes, he yelled, “ARRGH! GET OUT OF HERE! ARRGH!” and the bear promptly sprinted off, through other people’s campsites, and eventually back into the forest.

After waiting several minutes to make sure that there weren’t any other surprise guests on our site, we went out to see what the bear had been up to. Upon inspection, we found that it had started to drag our drink cooler away. It was toppled over on its side with some of its contents strewn about. And then Mr. SBF saw it. An empty bacon wrapper.

It appears that earlier in the day when I had lined up all of the coolers to reorganize them, I had temporarily put the bacon in the drink cooler and had accidentally forgotten about it. Ugh! Now, Park Rangers and Camp Hosts will tell you that bears have a very keen sense of smell and that they recognize coolers and know what we put in them (hence the bear boxes). But we had kept the drink cooler out there for several days without incident. My theory is that the bear smelled the bacon (because, yes, the package had been opened and was stored in a “bleeping” plastic bag) and he was on a mission to get it. And get it he did! Upon further inspection, I realized that he had also run off with a half a quart of milk! The actual container was gone! Picture that; a bear running off with a fist full of bacon and a jug of milk!

I felt like a heel. But the next morning we found out that the bear had raided several other campsites before visiting ours. It made me feel a little better, but not much.

The moral of the story is this: if you are camping, are an A-type personality and have an incessant need for order, when you reorganize your coolers, MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF THE FOOD IS LOCKED AWAY IN THE BEAR BOX! Seriously.

Our bear encounter makes a great story (and look at the fun t-shirt Watermelon got for Mr. SBF) but the danger was real and the adrenaline crash was terrible. I will certainly be more conscientious about this matter when we go camping in the future. And I still haven’t quite solved my cooler storage/organization dilemma. Perhaps a larger, bear-resistant cooler will be this year’s camping gear addition. Hmm.

All-in-all, though, we had a great time. If you’re ever in the Sierra Mountains, we highly recommend the Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth, CA. It is beautiful. And if you’re ever in Mammoth and want one of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever have, visit Black Velvet Coffee. It really is like velvet in your mouth!

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Never too Young to Fiesta!

Our twin grandsons turned three this past weekend. How did this happen so quickly? It seems like just yesterday that we were traveling to Southern California for their Mommy and Dada’s baby shower! The fact that they’re now (very) active three-year-olds almost seems crazy!

For their party, our daughter-in-love purchased mini donkey pinatas and colorful maracas which paired perfectly with the darling terracotta pot sombreros that my crafting goddess sister-in-love made. Dang, Auntie SagebrushFarm is clever!

The Fiesta theme was perfect! The boys love a party (especially a party with chips!) and it was a great way to introduce them to our Hispanic heritage.

There was a bounce house, and for the children, it was the star of the party.

But for us, the Taco Truck and Nacho Bar hit the spot!

A good time was had by all and I am so thankful that we have been blessed to have been able to make the trip to California to celebrate the twins birthday every year thus far.

Time flies when you’re getting older and we have learned to treasure every moment with our littles. It wasn’t so very long ago that our own children were toddlers running around the house, ready to Fiesta!

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Camp Guests

Mr. SBF and I did some camping this past summer for the first time in years. Our first trip was to Silver Lake in June Lake, California. When we arrived at the campground our camp host informed us that a coyote had recently given birth to a litter of pups on our site and she wasn’t sure if they were still around or not. She also informed us that deer had been seen around the campground and gave us the usual bear warnings and instructions on how to properly make our camp “bear-proof”.

After cautiously poking around for a little while, we deduced that the coyotes were no longer on our site and began to set up camp. When we were nearly finished, a young buck (male deer) nonchalantly walked across our site over to a Juniper tree and began rustling around. To our surprise, a doe (female deer) got up from under the Juniper and moved to the other side (the side closest to us). We were a bit startled at first because we hadn’t even realized that the doe had been there while we were setting up camp! After a moment of studying us, the buck decided that we were alright and made himself comfortable under the Juniper as well. They stayed there until dusk, then quietly went on their way.

The following morning, they returned with a friend. The two young bucks and doe must have known we were good people because they decided to peruse our campsite even more. I was getting ready to make breakfast and I suppose they were curious about what I was going to serve because they made their way right up to the bear box where our ice chest was. After a peek at what I was setting about to do and then they sauntered away. Later, they returned to the shade of the Juniper tree and spent several hours with us. Then once again, left at dusk.

Meeting those deer was the perfect “welcome back to camping” greeting for us and we’re so glad we decided to get back to it. We had a wonderful time.

Here’s a little video for you to enjoy! And don’t forget to check back regularly for more of our camping adventures!