Archive for May, 2011

Home Coffee Roasting…

… is amazingly easy. If you’ve ever made popcorn in a pan on the stove, you can roast your own coffee beans.

Why I home roast:

  1. It’s cheaper. Unroasted beans are about $6. Starbucks in the grocery store is at least $8… maybe $7 if it’s on sale. Plus, unroasted beans are typically sold by the pound. The premium coffee bags in the store are usually 12 oz … so you get more beans for less the cost.
  2. It’s fresher tasting… since coffee begins to degrade within 7 days of roasting… even the freshest coffee beans in the store are already past their prime.
  3. And… the reason I do most of these kinds of things for myself is I have control over what is happening. I can roast them lightly, or dark roast them. And I know there’s no dirt and twigs in my beans… and it’s rumored that “coffee” can still be called “coffee” with up to 30% twigs and stones and dirt mixed in… gross.

How To:

I use a Whirley Pop stove-top popcorn popper… I picked it up at Bed Bath and Beyond for like $20… plus you can use the 20% off coupon.

The hardest part is sourcing the green coffee beans. Luckily, there is a coffee shop on the way home from work that roasts their own beans and they sell unroasted beans for about $6/lb. Check your area for local coffee shops since they might sell unroasted beans, as well… and lots of people buy online, too. I’ve heard good things about, and a lot of online homebrew shops sell green coffee beans, as well.

I roast about half a pound at a time… and do two batches to roast the whole pound. I use the sideburner on our gas grill and roast my beans outside. It’s going to be a pain come winter, but the beans smoke like crazy as they roast… the wife booted me out of the house after the first time I tried this. First, they smoke and smell like grass. Then they smoke even more and the husks start to smoke and smell like burnt popcorn. Then, the smoke gets even worse as the oils come out of the bean… finally, right before they finish, they start to smell like coffee beans… but the other 99% of the roasting time, they’re not overly enjoyable.

I roast just like the guy in this video… except, like I said, I use the side burner on our gas grill instead of a turkey fryer burner. I even cool the beans in the same manner… just by passing them from one mesh strainer to another, in front of a fan. That way all the chaff gets blown away, and the beans cool. You need to cool quickly, or the carryover heat will start to over-roast the beans. The fan method kills two birds with one stone. And, let the beans degas for a few hours in a brown paper bag before grinding and brewing…. I usually roast on Sunday morning, let them sit out all day, then grind before bed. That way the beans are ready for the rest of the week.

Enjoy… and thanks to the homebrewing friends that turned me on to home roasting. I’m never looking back.



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