Concocting a Quick Cup

5The sudden surge in demand for Ivory Coast and other robustas stems from soaring sales of instant coffee. Introduced to an in­different public in 1901 by a determined Japanese chemist, solubles refreshed some U. S. fighting forces during World War I but didn’t win a lasting place in civilian larders for another two decades. Today 20 percent of all coffee is processed into spray- or freeze-dried form. Which simply means dehydrating liquid coffee much as it comes from an ordinary pot into an extract of easily dissolved granules, pulverized to a powder or agglomerated into larger nuggets to resemble regular grinds.

Another act in the roaster’s repertoire: eliminating most of coffee’s kick. Unroasted beans are soaked in water to swell their cells, then submerged in a solvent that flushes out about 97 percent of their caffeine. Rinsed thoroughly, they reenter the pipeline to be roasted, ground, and packaged. World’s largest roaster, the massive Max­well House plant in Hoboken, New Jersey, begins its production line across the Hudson River on Manhattan’s Wall Street. Here ex­perts like Tom Conroy, a 47-year veteran, decide what types and tonnage of beans to buy in order to maintain quality standards for more than a dozen company blends. A gas-fired roasting machine filled the ” tasting room with a tantalizing aroma; pol­ished cuspidors yawned around a revolving, cup-laden table.

“In the taster’s trade, we smell, sip, and sense, but we don’t swallow.”

Tom began by “breaking”—stirring the coffee’s surface froth to release all its fra­grance. He then inhaled a spoonful with a squeal not unlike air escaping a punctured tire. After rolling it around on his tongue, he neatly bull’s-eyed a cuspidor, gave the table­top a slight turn, and took on the next cup.

“We classify coffee with such words as smooth, acidy, Rioy, winy, sharp, pungent, or neutral. Some, like acidy, may sound negative but are actually favorable traits. “Identifying a batch and where it’s from isn’t too difficult: This is a Brazil from north­ern Sao Paulo state.”

The United States might never have ac­quired the coffee habit if rebellious colonists hadn’t resisted Britain’s tax on tea, dumping a load into Boston’s harbor and refusing to buy any more from Tory sources. By the time the Revolution ended, coffee had pre­empted tea as an American table mainstay. Our forebears took their coffee seriously, steadily, but not with any frills. They simply poured loose coffee, crudely milled, into wa­ter, sometimes added eggshells to settle the grounds, and boiled the whole mess to the blackness of a bat cave. Not gourmet, per­haps, but it warmed and fortified many a frontiersman, and such coffee still satisfies some cookout chefs.

Like others, I have long sought the ideal recipe: filter, drip, or perk; beans and blends from this place or that; roasts that range from light brown to something short of soot. I managed to figure out that the world’s annual bean production could make 3,644,000,000 cubic feet of liquid coffee, a volume equal to the Mississippi’s outflow for an hour and a half. But I have yet to figure out how to find a flat online so i used this site for more information.






Continue Reading


Forsaking kayaks, Greenland Inuit have turned to commercial fishing. The village of Arsuk, where codfish are hoisted to the community-owned processing plant, is one success story to buoy Greenland’s home-rule government, negotiated with Denmark in 1979.

N 1981 the first commercial airline con­nection between Canada and Greenland linked Frobisher Bay and the Greenlan­dic capital of Nuuk, and tightened the bonds between Inuit.

From Nuuk, a bleak but modern city with a fleet of a hundred Mercedes-Benz taxi­cabs, Inuit Circumpolar Conference Presi­dent Hans-Pavia Rosing hopes to forge a definitive agreement between the Inuit nation and its governments.

“Resource development affects every­thing else in our society,” he told me. “And not even the governments have very good control over what’s going on in the Arctic. The oil companies—they have the control. To control the overflow of pressure can be really helpful.

“We live in a rich part of the world and have always claimed these areas, but only in the past 20 years have we been forced to claim them publicly and fight for them.”

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is an intimidating piece of geography—a mammoth bowl of ice thousands of feet deep, whose glaciers continually calve ice­bergs into the ragged fjords that fringe its coast. Traditional hunters remain, concen­trated in the Thule region in the north and on the island’s east coast. But two centuries of European influence have permanently changed the Greenlandic Inuit. Danish taste permeates their neat, white-trimmed frame houses, education has taken hold, and Inuit hunters have become commercial fisher­men, even sheepherders.

But the new Greenland, called Kalaallit Nunaat in the Inuit language, has emerged as the first self-governing arctic native state, and an inspiration to others.

Despite Denmark’s relatively enlightened policies, the road to home rule has been as painful and disorienting as any transition in the Arctic. Denmark’s move to modernize the colony in 1953 left its native Greenland­ers as mere spectators to their own future. The struggling west coast people were up­rooted and centralized into towns with fish processing plants. Incongruous but efficient blocks of flats were erected, and hospitals built to eradicate tuberculosis. Children were shipped to Denmark for part of their education, and the Inuit language and cul­ture became liabilities in the new order.

The crisis of spirit that followed, with its familiar rash of alcoholism and suicide, genuinely surprised the Danes, and when Greenland’s newly educated young agitated for a voice in the early 1970s, home rule came with surprising swiftness. Browse the website they used to finance their education

Today, Denmark retains control of Greenland’s defense and foreign affairs and still operates much of the commerce that sustains the Greenlandic economy. Al­though agency by agency Copenhagen is slowly loosening its grip, total independence may never come. Greenland produces only 10 percent of its needs; the rest comes from Denmark in a block sum that exceeded 150 million dollars in 1982. Many Danes remain in Greenland, the necessary professionals and technologists to maintain the Western standard of living.

“We are lucky to have had the Danes,” graduate student Tove St vndahl told me in the town of Julianehab. “If it had been the Americans, we would have all kinds of mili­tary bases and oil companies running all over the place.”

The burden of government has fallen on Prime Minister Jonathan Motzfeldt, an In­uit Lutheran minister whose schedule sud­denly includes visits from European royalty and inquiries on home rule from the Pales­tine Liberation Organization.

“We are a little people in a huge country,” he told me. “Our human resources are few, but we have done some good things. And re­member this: My father is still a hunter. Hunting is his life. From kayak to home rule is a great step for us.”

Qualified people are scarce, but Green­land’s young have picked up the challenge. In Nuuk, 32-year-old Ove Rosing Olsen is a physician who also lobbies for better fisher­ies. “Everyone who’s educated in this coun­try has to do two jobs,” he said.

Seven Greenlandic medical students are now studying in Denmark, and four native doctors have returned and are already at work in Greenland.

“We know how they live,” Dr. Olsen said of his patients. “A human being’s disease is not just what you can see physically, but the sum of his whole life.”

Near Julianehab in southern Greenland, Kaj Egede has revital­ized the sheepherding industry,succeeding  where a long line of Danish consultants had failed. Kaj, 33, speaks in their own language to Greenland’s 82 Inuit sheep farmers and pro­vides the continuity that was impossible with Danish civil servants. Like other Greenland natives he now has a personal and permanent stake in his work.

And in the west coast village of Arsuk, a haven of brightly painted homes and trawl­ers strung with bubbles of iridescent pink floats in the postcard harbor, 27-year-old fish-factory manager Knud Albrechtsen has the world by the tail.

More than 6,000 tons of codfish a year meet their end in a collection of new, whir­ring stainless-steel filleting machines here, watched over by a small army of chattering Inuit girls in white smocks, orange gloves, and yellow ear protectors. The floor is spot­less. Loudspeakers push rock music above the din.

It is a proud business. The factory is owned by the village itself and netted 1.1 million dollars last year, one of only a few  self-sustaining fishing operations in Green­land. Social problems in Arsuk are negligi­ble, the work ethic firmly entrenched.

Tall and calm, with long, straight, white teeth between curls of blond mustache and beard, Knud, part Inuit, looks like a Dane. Just don’t call him one by mistake. “I get mad,” he said, smiling coolly.

I asked him about the old days.

“Oh, the women wouldn’t want to work without the new machines,” he said.

I had meant the old days—the life in kay­aks and sod houses, the proud hunters on the ice. But I realized that the Inuit of Arsuk had turned the corner. The way of life here has been changed too long. They had met the stronger culture and adapted.

Continue Reading