Kathryn, Abdoul Razak Sall, and the roasting machine.

Kathryn, M. Sall, and the roasting machine.

We’ve started to meet with local producers and food artisans to form long-term relationships — and to plan a sweet surprise we’re going to unveil in the coming weeks! Our first stop was in Dakar’s Amitié neighborhood: the storied Torréfaction Cor Coumba, a local coffee roaster founded in 1989.

After owner and founder M. Fall greeted us with an amazing cup of espresso and told us about how he came to start the business 27 years ago — his motto and advice to us was “dieu et passion”, “God and passion” — his Maître Torréfacteur, Abdoul Razak Sall, introduced us to the heart of Cor Coumba: the roasting machine.

A French import, the machine is as old as the company and, according to M. Sall, should last for another hundred years. An almost mystical aura of the decades worth of precious coffee beans that passed through it surrounds the timeworn contraption. M. Sall says he still learns something new about the machine every day.

M. Sall explained how four senses are involved in the proper roasting of the beans: he can see, hear, smell, and feel if the roasting process is done. From their location in Amitié, Cor Coumba sells freshly roasted beans from all over the world to Senegalese customers, and the difference to imported, vacuum-packaged beans roasted long ago in a far away factory is immediately apparent.

We left with two packages of deliciously-flavored, freshly roasted Cafe Touba, a Senegalese speciality that plays a central part in our surprise treat. Stay tuned for more ingredients and a chance to taste what we’re cooking up…