Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Making Coffee When You Can’t See

I’m guessing that the Northwest is probably the most caffeinated part of the country. Coffee shops are practically on every corner, and even though I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I find the aroma amazing. The great thing about coffee is that the roasting can be done without the aid of sight, and as part of a new program, the Washington State School for the Blind is combining math with coffee for an educational and aromatic experience.

The students started with an old popcorn maker, a colander, and some wooden spoons. Their teacher found a place in California to order the beans, and then it was up to students to find out how to best roast them. The math came in when the students were asked to devise a way to properly roast the beans and then figure out how much to sell their beans for in order to make a profit. The students accomplished this, and they’re now selling their beans at the school’s coffee shop and to the school’s staff.  The project has been successful enough that they’ll be getting a real coffee roaster this year.  This seems like it holds great promise for the students who are participating, as it may lead to a career for them in the future.  With internet commerce more popular than ever, they could easily branch off and create their own company out of their home or shop.

This article prompted me to do some research, and there are two blind coffee roasters and cafe owners that I discovered online. For all you coffee lovers, their information is below.

The first is called Blind Dog Coffee. The owner lost his vision to childhood cancer and part of each purchase goes to funding childhood cancer research. You can order from his site or visit the cafe in Gardnerville, Nevada. The website is: http://www.blinddogcoffee.com/

The second is called The Unseen Bean and their cafe is in Boulder, Colorado. The owner has been blind since birth, and found his passion for coffee roasting after visiting a coffee shop in San Francisco. Find out more here: http://www.theunseenbean.com/your-roaster/

Do any of you roast your own coffee?  Let us know in the Reader’s Forum.

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