Caffeine and bicycles

Mr C has been extolling the virtues of cycling around Brisbane Water, on the Central Coast, for some little while now. He likes to be off out, being terribly active on his bike, whilst I have spent the resulting me time relaxing, perhaps reading a magazine, sipping a latte in the garden, and generally not getting any actual exercise.

Mr C would come home glowing and grinning from ear to ear after a ride, gushing with enthusiasm for the scenery round these parts, and generally making me feel quite….lumpen. I decided I needed to stop being a lardy bastard, and bought a bike.

This weekend was my first outing, and my first time on a bicycle for a good many years. One of the last times I got on a bike, I was cycling up a hill, going slower, and slower….until finally I reached a complete standstill and literally fell off sideways. If you can imagine this in a sort of slow motion, comedy slide into full traffic, so much the better, for so it was.

Consequently, cycling has not been 100% forefront in my mind as an ideal pastime. I am, frankly, scared of falling off. Plus, my hair would look terrible in those helmets.

Within half an hour of getting out there, I realised my fears had been groundless; there are cycle paths galore, and, it turns out, my hair is apparently tough enough for any helmety challenge. Plus it really is gorgeous around here.


Oyster shack, Brisbane Water


Wild Oysters by the cycle pathpelican

Pelicanpelican2 bird fruit

Bird ‘fruits’ line the treesyacht

Boats out, enjoying the sun

Reaching Koolewong, between Woy Woy and Gosford, we stopped off at for a cuppa at Blend and Roast, opposite the station.


They roast their own beans, and there, just inside the door, was a weird contraption, the like of which I haven’t before seen:


I’d always thought coffee roasters were huge barrel like things taking up most of a room, much like the wonderful roasting room at Cafe Sant’Eustachio in Rome:


But this one roasts a mere kilo at a time, with pre-programmed settings to ensure that particular mixes of beans roast at the correct rate. The beans go in small and green:beanscoffee1

and bounce around in this glass walled chamber, forming an hypnotic coffee fountain as they rapidly transmute from green, to beige, milky coffee, to dark roasted brown:

bean fountainbeige coffeemilkycoffeecoffee

Notice how there appears to be more coffee in the last photo; it’s the same batch, but – much like popcorn – the beans actually expand during roasting. This batch reached 240ºC and was done in a mere 13 minutes, so that there was a new batch on the go as we left. The husks collect in a glass hopper, to be used as mulch by the owners’ dad in his garden. All I know is it’s the first time I’ve drunk a coffee whilst watching the next one roast. Nice.


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