Wednesday, April 09, 2008

freshly roasted coffee...

****Warning**** long post!!

Okay, to start I need to say 2 things.
1st, the sun came out today. Yipee!
2nd, my husband says I have too much time on my hands.
And so does Jerry. Pffffft to you both.

Lets move on ...roasting my own coffee.

It all started with a gal on my message board (Lorrie) that went to Honduras for a mission trip and returned home with a 20lb bag of green coffee beans. She posted about how good the freshly roasted coffee was - the best she'd ever had. coffee beans...roasting them yourself...sounds interesting....and since I seem to have too much time on my hands this is something I JUST HAVE TO TRY.

I started out by going to our local goodwill type store looking for a hot air popcorn popper for the roasting.
Score - they had 2 of them and they were only $2. So I picked one up and figured, what the heck, I can't blow too much money on this adventure.

My next step was to find some green coffee beans and a google search found many companies willing to sell them to me. I found one with low shipping charges and order 2 - 1 lb. bags - one of Kenya AA Peabody and one of Costa Rican Organic. Now I just waited for them to arrive.

My green beans arrived. They look like this:

Kinda like a cross between pinto beans and split peas.

I waited for Hannah to come home for school and outside we went to give this a try. Here is my trusty assistant with our needed supplies:

So we put in 1/2 cup of beans, put a bowl under the output to collect the chaff and plugged it in. Now, according to the internet, there should be a cracking at about 3 minutes, the chaff starts to come off, the beans really start to darken, then they get shiny and a second crack should occur at about 6 minutes.

Our beans started to darken immediately but where was our crack?? 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes..... Hannah sticks here ear right up there listening for it. Hmmmmmm. No cracking.

After about 10 minutes we start to worry. They are dark but there is still alot of shell on the beans and they are not shiny. After 14 minutes they start to smell burnt so we pull them out.

Don't think these look right:

Hannah and I scratch our heads and decide that the popcorn popper is not getting hot enough. But remember, there is another $2 popper at Goodwill and the next morning off I go to get it. The little man at check out asks "didn't you just get one of these last week".
Well yes sir, but it did not get hot enough.
"Weren't you doing some sort of science experiment?"
Roasting coffee,sir. No wonder he remembered me!

When Hannah arrives home it is time to try again. Day 2, this time it's gonna work!
We can tell immediately that the popper is getting much hotter.
The beans get dark fast and the chaff starts to fly.

At about 3 minutes the cracking begins and we do not need to stick our head down there to hear it. Sounds like green or wet wood on a big fire. Pop, pop, pop. The beans start to smoke and crack and pop and YIKES, I am kinda afraid I am gonna burn the house down. At 5 minutes I pull the plug, toss the beans onto a cookie sheet and roll them around to cool.

Hannah had to head in for homework, I did 2 more batches - at the end leaving the beans in for 6 minutes and they did great - very dark and shiny. In this picture, you can see the beans in the back are much darker than the earlier batch.

And after a hard day of roasting...the reward is a big pot of air popped popcorn (made in the first popper which it seems was hot enough to pop popcorn but not roast beans).

Please note:
-Do this outside - the beans really put off a smell.
-I cannot image how long the popper will last with too many batches being made at once.
-Beans will last freshly roasted about 5 days....but I think they can go longer.
-I have $4 in the machines and $11 in 2 bags of coffee. If we like this and I place a larger order, the beans will be cheaper than buying Starbucks whole beans but probably more than the ones at Costco

Note: Chris just ground beans for tomorrow's coffe AND DID NOT USE MY FRESH BEANS. What am I gonna do with him????