Farmers’ Market: Ben’s story

9 years ago

Farmers’ Market: Ben’s story

Conversations with people are a rich, full experience with nuance and by-ways far more intriguing than are offered by key words typed into Google. A short visit with Ben Nason, the Stori bord vendor at the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market, proves to be one of those conversations. You don’t know where it is going, exactly, but the journey is all pleasure. He is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and a reformer in his zeal as a self-professed coffee nerd.

Like many entrepreneurs, Ben’s travail started with his own interest in his product, in this case, a great cup of coffee. The name of his company, Stori bord, is a take on a storyboard, the process by which “idea people” in theater, movies, and television communicate their vision to producers and craft-persons who generate reality.
Over the course of the last 10 years or so, Ben has educated himself through reading, investigation, and experimentation about the coffee roasting process. He speaks knowledgably about coffees of different varieties, climates, and countries in terms of the flavors imparted. Over a cup of coffee, this is what we learn.
Coffee beans are not of much use to most of us until they experience pyrolysis. This roasting process infuses “coffee magic” into the beans. They expand, brown, and change from rather pale, bland-tasting, starchy seeds similar to those we simmer in molasses and salt-pork for a Saturday night supper into … well … coffee! Ben’s beans go into his roaster for several hours while the heat is held steady at 480 degrees Fahrenheit. On a biochemical level, the starches are broken down into sugars and the chlorogenic acids found in coffee beans are released. Initial concentrations in the raw beans are the result of the life experience of that bean — genetics, soils, climate, growing conditions, ripeness. Drying and processing of the green coffee also influences the final result.
It is the concentrations and types of “COA’s” that make different coffees different. It is the roaster, however, who maneuvers a chemical slam dunk that separates a good coffee from a great one.
Ben’s creative artistry continues to develop. It is described and shared via the internet at www.storibord.com as well as in person by Ben at the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings in the Aroostook Centre Mall parking lot. Coffee drinkers enjoy brewed samples and fascinating insight into just where and how that flavor developed. They leave with beans, but the beans have a story.
    The Presque Isle Farmers’ Market contact person is Gail Maynard, who operates Orchard Hill Farm in Woodland with her husband, Stan. Their phone number is 498-8541 and their email is  orchhill@gmail.com.