Westport Column: Halloween, Christmas and coffee

Posted:  Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 7:00am

Hello friends and neighbors.

Halloween is the only day of the year you can earn a prize for dressing silly or scary! The Westport Community Association is hoping for a good turn out of fun-loving folks for this Saturday’s Costume/Dance Party at the Old Town Hall from 7 to 9 p.m. The DJ is great, the food is delicious, and the décor is timely. Bring the whole family to this free event. Non-perishable food items are always appreciated for the Helping Hands Food Pantry.

Switch gears on Sunday, Oct. 29, when all singers with or without experience are invited to the Town Office from 3:30-4:30 p.m. to practice carols for the holiday season. The Old Fashioned Christmas celebration is Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. in the Historic Town Church. For more information, email choir director Jim Swist  jimswist@gmail.com or call 781-799-0286. Rehearsals will continue Sundays throughout November. Don’t be shy. Join your neighbors to get in the spirit of the season.

Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., you have an opportunity to dispose of unused, expired, and unwanted drugs at Lincoln County’s Drug Take Back Day. Just drop them off at the Wiscasset Police Department, where they will be disposed of safely. For more information, call 882-7332.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with one of Westport’s newest neighbors, Steve Arsenault, who moved here from Gray with his wife and mother last December. After retiring from 32 years in the transportation industry, Steve decided, “Life’s too short to drink bad coffee.” Steve now owns and operates a small business known as Crossroads Coffee Beans at his home at 1238 Main Road across from the Old Town Hall. He has recently added a small building to his property where he is roasting beans, packaging them whole or ground, and delivering them to customers twice weekly.

Steve has connected with coffee growers from Guatemala and Rwanda, and also uses an importer for beans from Brazil and Columbia. Steve’s coffees are single origin, which means he does not blend beans from different countries. After purchasing the beans in 132-pound burlap bags, Steve roasts a small batch of eight pounds for approximately 20 minutes. With the removal of moisture and chaff, the result is about six and a half pounds of roasted beans. Steve recycles the chaff by giving it to a farmer for mulch. He can complete three roasts in about one and one half hours.

After taking a course in understanding coffee and roasting at the University of Southern Maine in 2005, Steve was hooked! He started by using an air popcorn popper on the front porch to get a fresh coffee taste. He moved up to a small drum roaster that could yield about a half pound of “porch-roasted” coffee for family and friends. People liked what they tasted, and began to ask if they could place orders. So a business was born.

Eventually Steve purchased a larger roaster, but his goal is to stick with small batch roasting and put customers first. He likes to educate people about the roasting process and the origins from which the beans come. For instance, Steve’s Guatemalan source is a fourth generation coffee farmer named Armando Leiva, whose family has been instrumental in their community. The Leivas have helped bring clean water, improve air quality, build bathrooms for a local church, and improve education for kids in the area through their model of coffee farming, a testament to the value of direct relationships with farmers.

Currently Steve roasts beans from four countries categorized as light, medium, and dark, as well as offering a decaffeinated water processed choice available for flavor only. Counter-intuitively, Steve explained that the longer a coffee bean is roasted, the less caffeine it contains. Steve is happy to share a cup of coffee and conversation with interested folks. The aroma in the new building will lure you in! If you see some white smoke coming out of the stack at Crossroads Coffee Beans, you know Steve is home roasting. He would love for you to stop by, and hopes to have an open house soon.

For more information or to place an order, visit www.crossroadscoffeebeans.com,  give Steve a call at 440-3379, or stop in when the smoke is rising. Welcome to Westport Island, Steve, and good luck with Crossroads Coffee Beans!

Contact your newshound pat-dick@midcoast.com or call 231-4049. Happy Halloween!