Roasting Coffee Beans

freshly roasted coffee beansTo achieve a good roast you have to start with beans that have been skillfully selected and dried.

Some bean processors use a wash to remove the fleshy fruit from the bean and to separate different kinds of beans. Density differences in the bean will cause some to float higher, making for easier removal or separation. Others use a slower, more expensive dry-process.

Dry-processed beans will have a more subtle acid profile, while the acidity of wet-processed beans is more striking. Some acidity in coffee is desirable. The alternative is a flat, lifeless cup.

What happens to beans as they heat up during roasting?

During the process aromatics and acids, along with other flavor compounds, are produced in varying concentrations.

During the first stage the beans absorb heat and the green beans are slowly dried to a yellowish tinge. ‘Green’ doesn’t refer to the color, per se, but simply to the beans being unroasted or raw. Properly done, the beans will have an odor reminiscent of toast or popcorn.

From about 170°C-200°C (338°F-392°F) sugars in the bean will begin to caramelize, aided by the increase in temperature of the moisture enclosed by the skin. That’s just one reason it’s important that beans have the proper moisture content, which comes from correct drying. Caramelized sugars are less sweet, so reaching the proper amount is important for the final brew.

At about 205°C (400°F), beans will expand to about double their original size and become light brown, simultaneously losing about 5% of their original weight. As the temperature rises to about 220°C (428°F), beans will lose about 13% more weight and release some CO2.

When the temperature increases to around 230°C (446°F), the roasting beans become medium-dark brown and take on an oily sheen. Often there will be a loud pop as the beans enter the ‘second crack’ phase.

Here roasters have to be very cautious not to overdo it. Volatile aromatic compounds are boiled off and the oils on the outside of the bean can combine with oxygen in the air. That process can strip the bean of desirable flavors and lead to a burnt taste.

The goal is to arrive at just the right balance of bitterness, acidity and a host of other attributes making up the final flavor profile.

In tasting guides coffee connoisseurs will sometimes see the term ‘body’, as if its meaning were self-evident. ‘Body’ despite what it suggests, does NOT refer to the actual thickness or viscosity of the liquid. That attribute is the result of the kinds of proteins and fibers in the brew.

Used as tasters do, it refers to the feel on the tongue when rubbed on the roof of the mouth. It’s the result of the fat content in the drink and that – apart from growing conditions that home roasters can’t control – is determined largely by the roasting.

Too light a roast will leave too high a concentration of bitter compounds in the final product. Too dark will produce an excessively chocolatey, burnt taste. Experiment until you find the balance that suits your taste.

Specialty Coffees

coffee and cakesIn the 1930s, physicists started discovering a whole zoo full of exotic atomic particles. There were muons and kaons and who-knows-whatelse-ons. When told of these, the famous physicist Enrico Fermi said: ‘If I wanted to remember all that I would have become a botanist.’ Ironically, later he invented the process used in atomic bombs.

I feel the same way about coffee. It may be fascinating and delicious and even romantic, but sheesh – all those names!

There’s the elegant and simple Frappe, but with a silent ‘e’. Widely consumed in Europe and Latin America, it’s a cold espresso made with two teaspoons of sugar and milk with crushed ice cubes. For a nice variation, add a quarter cup each of brandy and crème de cacao. Since it’s served with a straw, I just wish those drinking it were silent, too.

The counterpart to the innocent Frappe is the wicked Cappuccino Borgia, named for the famed poisoner. You’ll just die for one of these quarter-cup peeled orange, one and a half cup chocolate ice cream dreams. Add also six tablespoons of orange juice and a quarter-cup milk to an espresso, blend and start speaking 15th century Italian.

Re-enter the 21st century and jet to the Caribbean for a Calypso Cooler. A cup of chilled, extra strength coffee gets subjected to a couple of ripe bananas and two cups of coffee ice cream. Add four tablespoons of rum and lose your luggage.

While we’re adding alcohol to our coffee, let’s not forget the mysterious Latin: Caffee Zabaglone. A quarter cup of dry Marsala with a quarter cup of sugar starts the feast. Add a pinch of salt and four egg yolks, then wisk and cook until thick. Add a cup of Italian roast at room temperature and you’ve got a drink, breakfast and a hangover cure all in one.

But the ancestors of Rome have nothing on those of France in modern New Orleans. Add double strength American roast to a half-cup each of heavy cream, eggnog and bourbon and you have a Mardi Gras, with a silent ‘s’. Too bad the crowd isn’t silent – it’s 4 a.m. and I’m trying to sleep.

Ordinary Turkish coffee is famous for its dark, strong flavor cut with cardamom. But they’re not the only ones to have discovered a good use for this ancient spice. Scandinavians make a Cardamom Kaffee.

Start with an eighth-cup of cognac and add two teaspoons of curacao, a teaspoon of sugar and a cardamom pod (cracked and seeded). Heat in the microwave for about ten seconds then light with a match. Pour on a half-cup of extra strength coffee and be prepared to douse a four-alarm fire.

Despite all the names, I have to give credit to the many creative inventors of all those different mixtures. They may not have invented huge bombs, but their products sure do give you a jolt!

International Coffees

Coffee beans, cinnamon sticks and star aniseBrazil

The coffee from Brazil is world-famous for a good reason: it’s stellar. None more so than the Brazil Bourbon Santos.

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee bean producer, but hasn’t always been regarded as the best. That may change if this blend catches on. Named after the birthplace of the cultivar, an island now known as Reunion but once called Bourbon, it hails from the port near where it makes its present home.

Aromatic, with just the right balance of bitter acids and dark body, this brew will delight the secret South American romantic in all of us.


Though not grown in the U.S. there are several blends that have a distinctive American style. Made to be enjoyed with a traditional breakfast, they complete rather than compete with the feast.

These brews are from a blend of medium-roasted, medium ground Columbian and Central American beans. Smooth, light on the acid and delicate-bodied, they’ll complement rather than call attention to themselves.

Steep & Brew offers a clean, fruity option, as does the Madrugada blend from Flying Goat. The Supreme Bean offers a sweet, chocolatey blend that will be perfect with pancakes.


Legendary home of the Arabica tree, which produces the berry that contains the coffee bean, Ethiopia is making strides in producing a fine brew.

The Coffee Klatch from the Yirgacheffe region is a dark, dark coffee with fruit overtones for those who enjoy a bold brew. The Counter Culture of the Sidamo region is a dry-processed bean that will invariably make samplers think of its sun-drenched home.

For those seeking a delicate espresso, the Belle Espresso from Coffee Klatch may be just the right thing. A blend from five different regions, the profile is complex and entrancing.


The Madriz from this Central American small-but-mighty powerhouse of coffee producers, will be a welcomed addition to the table. Hailing from Terroir Coffee, its pungent bouquet and full body will have you asking for a second cup.


A small roaster in Portland, Oregon has shown us how to find the best of Panama. Stumptown Coffee Roasters offers a bean from the Don Pachi Estate that will be perfect in a French press. From the Geisha trees of the Boquete region, this flowered and fruity brew is lightly acidic and goes down smooth.


The JavaBerry Black Estate Reserve is all the excuse you need to visit this Pacific island. From a blend of Kona Peaberry and Kona Extra Fancy, it offers a smooth, full-flavored balance. This one is for those who love their coffee straight.


Indonesian coffee isn’t for everyone. Now more expensive, as a consequence of tsunamis from the last year or two, it often has a tartness that some find off-putting.

But aficionados could do no better than the Organic Sumatra Reserve. With hints of chocolate, this medium-bodied brew is sweeter than average. Fruity overtones with a thick aroma give it that South Pacific character that make one think of tropical isles and cool breezes rather than the steamy jungles of its home.

Whatever your native country, ‘see’ a bit of the world by trying one of the stellar products from coffee growers around the world. There’s more than one way to experience the delight of an international cup.

A Coffee History of Adventure Around The World

Coffee History of AdventureBeer may be the oldest man-made brew, with wine a distant second. Beer recipes are at least as old as 6000 BC, but the oldest winemaking processes date ‘only’ from about the turn of the first millennium.

Their younger cousin, coffee, arose a few hundred years later, though no one knows how old the plant itself is. Some archaeological evidence shows that humans were eating the berries as long ago as a hundred thousand years.

One legend says that a goat herder in Ethiopia observed his charges eating the red berries from a nearby tree and became excited. Trying them himself, he too felt a great lift. By 600 AD that magical berry, and the brew made from drying and grinding its seeds, had found its way to what is now Yemen, on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.

Stories tell of a native of India smuggling the precious seeds of the tree out of Arabia around 1650 AD, then planting them in the hills of Chikmagalur. Arabian law forbad the exporting of beans that could germinate, effectively controlling coffee trade for centuries. Whether myth or history, the fruit of those seeds now forms a third of India’s large coffee output.

Europeans – the British, Dutch, French, and others – spread the beans to other countries during their travels. The Dutch were responsible for its introduction to Java in the 18th century. From those plantings, history tells us, came the famed tree coveted by France’s king, presented to him as a gift.

Louis XIV of France, finding the tree didn’t tolerate frost well, had a greenhouse erected to supply him with the beans to make the brew he so savored. It is said that from that source came the cultivars used in Central and South America.

Reaching Martinique around 1720, sprouts were planted and grew well in the hot Caribbean clime. From the thousands of trees that resulted, some were transported to Mexico where the product now forms one of their largest exports.

Making its way to French Guiana around the same time, the tree grew well in that steamy atmosphere. Seeing an opportunity, a rascal named Francisco de Melo Palheta solicited the aid of the governor’s wife to smuggle seeds out of the country. As he prepared to part for Brazil, the lady handed him a bouquet of flowers containing the illicit beans.

Brazil is now one of the largest coffee producers on the planet.

From Brazil the seeds complete the circle, making their way in the late 19th century to Kenya and Tanzania, not far from their original home in Ethiopia. Six centuries to return home is a long journey and an excellent excuse to rest and have a cup.

Coffee – From Beans to Shelf

Coffee Bean Varieties

Coffee Bean Varieties

From its origins over two thousand years ago, coffee bean processing has grown to a worldwide market whose output as a commodity has a dollar value second only to petroleum.

Though there are dozens of bean varieties, the plants fall into two main classes: the arabica, first cultivated on the Arabian Peninsula, and the robusta which contains about twice the caffeine.

By contrast to wine, the coffee berry (called a ‘cherry’) is not valued for its fruit, but only for the bean inside. It’s that bean that is aged, roasted, ground and brewed to make the 400 million cups per day consumed around the world.

The beans come in two main varieties, green and red, with the latter – with its higher aromatic oil and lower acid content – used to produce the finer coffees. Hence one of the most important stages in the life cycle of bean to shelf is the picking.

Since most beans are hand picked by laborers, at the rate of a few baskets per day, separating the red and green is a valued skill and has a large effect on the final product.

After picking, the fruit is removed by soaking, scouring and mechanical rubbing. Then the beans are washed to remove any remaining flesh. This ‘fermentation’ stage produces beans which are then dried in the sun over large concrete or rock slabs, until they have about 12% water content.

From there the beans are sorted by color and size, sometimes by hand increasingly often by machine. Some of the beans are discarded, others polished to remove the skin. For select types, the beans are then aged anywhere from three to eight years, while others go to be roasted within a year.

During the 400-degree Fahrenheit roasting the beans expand to about twice their dry size, crack and change color from green to brown as oil in the interior is released. It’s this oil that gives the different coffees their basic flavor.

Naturally a wide variety of in-house techniques have developed for roasting. Beans from Java and Kenya, for example, are often lightly roasted producing a distinctive flavor. After roasting, the beans produce carbon dioxide for several days so the beans are ‘de-gassed’ either by airing or packaging in semi-permeable shipping bags.

The resulting beans, up to a few weeks later, are then ground where again there are variations in styles and results. In some cases, ‘burr’ grinders are used to crush the beans to a consistent-sized granule. In others, choppers are used to chop the beans into small pieces with a less homogeneous-sized result. Turkish coffee is made by pounding the beans to a powdery consistency, using mortar and pestle.

The final result is then brewed, where the variety of styles and techniques is almost as great as the number of brewers. All these fine differences fall into one of four categories, however: boiling, pressure, gravity and steeping.

In ‘boiling’, hot water is run through the grounds then filtered or settled. In pressure methods, such as espresso, the slightly-less-than-boiling-hot water is forced through the grounds at high pressure. Gravity or ‘drip brew’ drips hot water onto coffee grounds and filters. Steeping is similar to the method of tea bags, though the bags are much larger.

Through its long journey from mountains or jungles, coffee beans go into making up one of the world’s most treasured drinks. And with the new research demonstrating the health benefits of moderate consumption, one has even greater reason to be grateful for the effort. Cheers to coffee!

Coffee Freshness Tips

coffee and frangipani flowerFor the freshest possible coffee the ideal is to obtain unroasted beans, then roast and grind on the same day you plan to brew.

Roasting beans is, however, something of a ‘cooking’ specialty. Unless you’re willing to invest in a fairly expensive piece of equipment, the results are often less than satisfactory. Not to mention that – even when done correctly – it can fill the house with odors that take time to dissipate and can become annoying.

Beans, even after roasting, will stay fresh for a while. Freshly roasted beans naturally release small amounts of carbon dioxide which helps to keep oxygen away from the bean, delaying spoilage. If stored in an airtight container, especially with a drying agent, they’ll retain their good flavor and aroma for up to a week.

Naturally, the closer to roasting they’re ground and consumed the fresher they’ll be. But even after a few days they can still produce a stellar grind and a superior brew. After two weeks the flavor may still be acceptable, even though aroma will no longer be first rate. Whole bean coffee stored at even optimum conditions will be dull after a month.

Key to getting a good cup from purchased roasted beans is to ensure that the skin is unbroken. When that happens, all bets are off. Oils underneath the skin and inside the bean will deteriorate unless frozen, in which case the brew will never be first rate.

When storing beans, be sure to use an airtight container. A glass jar of the type used for instant tea grounds is tempting, but inadequate – there is still too much leakage around the lid. A good glass jar with a rubber seal is best. Many online vendors sell just the ticket. Be sure to store the jar in a cool, dark place since not only air, but also heat and light can contribute to spoiling beans.

Even better, but more expensive, are containers which flush air with an inert gas, then inject the coffee beans which then give off CO2, providing natural protection against spoilage. Beans stored in this way can keep their freshness for several weeks.

The next best thing to home roasting, and an option open even to those with less than stellar cooking skills is grinding at home.

Good grinders are available at moderate prices, are generally easy to use and are not difficult to clean. Many are automated to the point that with very minor experimentation, it’s possible to arrive at consistently good grinds.

Since grinding necessarily breaks the bean skin the same ‘oil spoilage’ problem can arise if the grind isn’t used within a few days. Like roasted beans, only more so, any grounds not consumed within a day should be packed in a desiccating cannister. Those cannisters contain a drying agent, usually beneath a mesh at the bottom, that keep moisture from introducing mold or excess oxygen into the grounds.

If not stored in a desiccating cannister, grounds will lose much flavor within a few hours. Oils will evaporate and, exposed to the air and moisture within the jar, the grounds will deteriorate.

For a superior cup, grind only what you intend to brew and drink everything brewed within an hour. With modern, moderate cost machines there’s no longer any reason to suffer second-rate coffee.

How To Make A Great Espresso!

espresso makingEvery barista (professional maker of coffee drinks) will have his or her method. Here’s mine…

It all starts with water. No coffee grounds, no matter the quality, can overcome an association with poor water. It must be fresh and very hot. Yes, even water can get stale, thanks to mildew, poor cleaning practices, and inadequate filtering. The optimum temperature is 203F (95C), nearly boiling.

Next comes the coffee. Select arabica – whether from Brazil, Bogota, or elsewhere, grown above 3000 feet (915m) and delivered fresh for roasting. Either self-roasted or bought within a few days after, the coffee should have that ‘fresh food’ smell.

Robusta – though easier to grow and more disease resistant – has more caffeine and less flavor. It should be reserved for those quick pick-me-up cups, not used for an espresso to be savored.

Finely ground in burr, not blade, grinders the roast should be dark – French or Viennese. The name refers to the color, not the origin. Blade ‘grinders’ actually chop, not grind. Burr grinders have pyramid shaped teeth on two plates that grind the beans between them.

The distance between the plates determines the fineness of the granules. Sand grain-sized is good, powder is too fine, and small-gravel too large. Of course, the grind should not be exposed to air any longer than necessary. Coffee, like any food, will oxidize and absorb odors from the air. Neither is conducive to a good cup.

And, last but not least, a good espresso requires a clean machine of good quality. ‘Good quality means: generates heat by boiler or thermoblock and is capable of producing pump pressure of 9 bar or better. A ‘thermoblock’ heats water as it passes through the machine on the way to the pump. Avoid the cheaper units that rely on steam to create pressure.

Now you have the basic elements. Next comes the process.

Pre-warm the equipment by running good water through a clean machine. You can turn the machine on, let the water heat, and run a cup through with no coffee to warm the surfaces and flush the system.

Add your ground roast and pack down slightly, as you would pipe tobacco. Just as with pipes, you should be feel some springiness, but the coffee shouldn’t scatter.

Insert the hopper in the machine firmly and place a warmed espresso cup at the outlet. Start the machine and in about five seconds you should have a thin, steady stream. (About 20 seconds for a double shot.)

For a cappuccino, warm half a cup of organic milk in the microwave about 90 seconds, froth, and add to the espresso. Garnish to taste with cinnamon, nutmeg or chocolate. For those who like it sweet a little organic sugar goes a long way.

Simple, straight forward, and easy. Start with good ingredients, keep your equipment clean, and don’t burn the roast. The result? A great cup!

Decaf Coffee, Good or Bad?

Decaf CoffeeRecently a variety of the coffee tree was discovered that naturally contains almost no caffeine. Until and unless that species finds its way into commercial production, we’re left with the current methods for removing unwanted caffeine from coffee. But how do those methods affect the taste of our java?

Blind taste tests suggest that most people can’t really tell the difference between decaf and regular, provided both kinds are processed properly and the cup brewed well. But, for those who can…

Among the methods for removing caffeine from coffee is treatment with hot water, followed by rinsing in methylene chloride.

Maybe you didn’t know your coffee had already seen water before you got to it? In fact, several times. The berries are rinsed after picking to soften the outer fruit for removal, then rinsed again to help eliminate the remaining flesh.

And possibly you were unaware your grounds had taken a dip in the swimming pool before being served. (Ok, swimming pool water is really dilute hydrochloric acid, not methylene chloride. Never let a chemist stand between you and a good line.)

So, the taste difference is less likely to come from the presence or absence of caffeine as from any remaining processing chemicals and whether they removed flavor-producing components.

Chemical removal of the caffeine from green, unroasted beans starts by warming them in hot water or steam. That opens the bean’s pores. Then the beans are rinsed in methylene chloride, which binds to the caffeine and is then flushed away.

Alternatively, the beans can be soaked for several hours in hot water, where the caffeine leaches out into the bath. The beans are removed and methylene chloride introduced to the bath. There it bonds with the caffeine, not the flavored components that have washed out of the bean. The beans are then soaked again where they reabsorb the flavor compounds.

An entirely different process, called the Swiss method, also soaks the beans in hot water for several hours, but no methylene chloride is used. Instead the caffeine is removed by filtering the water through activated charcoal. More or less pure carbon, the molecular structure of activated charcoal has been altered to provide a large surface area for other molecules to stick to.

The first method is less expensive and so is preferred by most manufacturers. And – no surprise – there are ongoing debates about whether it degrades the taste. As usual, quality control makes the largest difference. But, there are even techniques available to the individual for reducing caffeine intake.

Darker, less acidic, roasts already contain less caffeine as a consequence of the roasting process. And blends of decaf and regular are an option for those who simply must cut down.

As to the taste…. Well, as in any issue of taste, individual preferences generally swamp any objective chemical differences. Since caffeine has an inherently bitter taste, many can detect its presence or absence. Whether that makes decaf good or bad is, as they say, a matter of taste.

Coffee Roasters

coffee beans being poured into coffee roasterCoffee roasters – the mechanical device, not the human profession – come in all shapes and sizes. Prices range from a few dozen dollars to nearly a thousand. Of course, as with any manufactured product, price doesn’t necessarily correlate exactly with quality. Beyond looking to a reliable brand, here are a few tips about what to look for, based on your goals.

How much involvement do you want?

Some people just have a bit of the chemist in them. They like to mix and stir, whir and measure. Roasters vary along this dimension. Some simple stove top models are basically just a sauce pan with a tight lid and a special handle.

The handle contains a crank that allows the roaster to stir up the beans during the process. Stirring is essential to keep the beans from burning on the bottom as well as to keep the hot air inside circulating evenly.

Even in this simple set up, be sure to look for ones that have a thermometer in the lid. Temperature control is important for proper roasting.

At the other extreme are roasters that do it all for you. Pop in a pre-determined volume of green beans from a bag, close the lid and walk away for a few minutes.

These deluxe models have inbuilt thermometers, thermostatically controlled heating mechanisms, clever air-flow control geometry and rotating canisters and a timer to automatically shut off the device at the proper time.

At the upper end of the price range, these rocket ship roasters do everything but eliminate the smoke that invariably accompanies the process.

How effectively do they heat and circulate air?

The most common type are air roasters that work more or less like a popcorn popper. Hot air is circulated throughout the mixture, while the beans are agitated. This gives a uniform roast and some models can even filter out the chaff produced as the skins burst from the expansion of the bean.

Most allow you to watch the process through a glass exterior, to judge the degree of desired roast. Frequently they have pre-set amounts on the dial ranging from light to dark.

The ability to circulate air evenly and heat uniformly is critical and designs vary in the degree to which they meet these goals. For example, a roaster with a heating source only at the bottom and constricted air flow is going to provide an uneven roast.

Drum roasters help overcome this problem, by providing a rotating drum that uses gravity to move the beans around, rather than relying solely on a stirrer at the bottom.

Beware, though. Many don’t have windows for observing the roasting process – a must for those who like to experiment and fine-tune the roast. And, not surprisingly, with the greater quantity of bean comes a larger volume of smoke. Be prepared to ventilate well.

Once confined to more professional use, home devices are now readily available and have the added benefit of being able to roast larger quantities. Useful for those large dinner parties where you want the freshest possible coffee. And who doesn’t want that?

Coffee Recipes By The Cup

Warm up to WinterOne of the many advantages of drinking a beverage both ancient and international is the delightful variety of recipes for enjoying coffee in different ways.

Caribbean, Mexican mocha, Cuban cubano and Grog are only a few out of an endless list of possibilities.

The first is one of the more unusual, but be daring. Start by baking a coconut for thirty minutes at 300F (134C). Remove and allow to cool, then break open the shell and remove the inner flesh and grate. Mix the meat, coconut milk and a half cup of cow’s milk in a pan and heat until it thickens. Then strain the mixture to remove the coconut granules. Mix the mixture with a cup of coffee and sip. Hmm…

Like any mocha, the Mexican is a delicious blend of coffee and chocolate – two natural partners. Take a teaspoon of your favorite chocolate syrup and add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour in one cup of coffee and add white or organic sugar to taste. You can mix with whipping cream, or top with whipped cream, too. Mmm…

Cubano is drunk like tequila, straight and like a shot. For the Americano, you might want to dilute with rum or hot milk. Add rum to taste, but any more than a tablespoonful of milk will really spoil the effect. Be adventurous!

Grog is a traditional English holiday treat. Carefully peel a large orange and separate into slices. Do the same with a lemon. Put a peel about the size of one orange slice into the bottom of the cup. Mix in one-third tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a pinch each of ground cloves and nutmeg. Then throw in a pinch of cinnamon. Pour in a half-cup of coffee and stir. Add heavy cream to taste. Happy holidays.

There are other international delights, such as Viennese, Turkish and Vietnamese.

For the Viennese, melt one-eighth cup dark chocolate into a sauce pan and stir in one tablespoon of light cream. Slowly add a half-cup of coffee and whip until frothy, then let settle. Sprinkle cinnamon and cocoa across the surface and taste with pinky raised. Now you’re an aristocrat.

The Turkish is simple. You’ll benefit from obtaining one of the special “džezva” pots used to boil the coffee. Yes, boil! Turkish coffee is strong. Start with finely ground Turkish coffee. Pour a cup of water into the pot, then add a half teaspoon of sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add a teaspoon of the coffee, then stir and replace onto the heat. Remove after a layer of foam appears, then allow to settle and cool.

The iced coffee drink of Vietnam is not to be missed. Acquire a Vietnamese coffee press. The hard part is now over. Put the ground coffee in the press, then pour a tablespoon of condensed milk into the bottom of a cup. Pour boiling water over the press and let drip. Stir and add ice. Wow!

Of course, you could save yourself the trouble and simply take a little world tour, letting the locals do all the work. Not a bad idea actually.