Friday, November 30, 2012

Roasting coffee at home

My sweetheart recently discovered that you can roast coffee at home easily with.. a popcorn maker! We were both pretty excited about the idea, because from everything we've read, fresh roasted coffee blows all other coffee you've ever drank out of the water. We already only buy whole bean coffee and grind it when we want to use it, so this seems like the natural next step for us.

We've both been reading as much as we can about the process online, went to Kmart and bought a recommended popcorn popper for under $25 (the West Bend Air Crazy, it seems to also be available at Target), and finally ordered some raw, green coffee beans online. We ordered our coffee from, the beans came very quickly, when Barry had a question they responded to him very promptly, and they even sent us a free sample of a different kind of bean! Here is the coffee that I picked to try: Mexico Altura Chiapas El Triunfo, Organic, Fair Trade.

I'm not going to go into the whole process of how to roast the beans, though it's pretty simple. You can find several places online that will tell you how to do it, most of the information seems to match up with what everyone else is saying, with a few minor variations in technique. Basically you have to figure out what sort of coffee roast you like. I found Wikipedia's "Degree of roast pictorial" to be very helpful, and I tried to aim for a light Vienna roast. We then pretty much followed the instructions at CoffeeGeek. I'm not sure if the timing matched up with what they said it would. We wondered how easy it would be to tell when we reached first crack & second crack, and if we would have a hard time heard it happen, but it was very easy to hear. We roasted my beans first, since I wanted a darker roast, so we could try to get an idea of how long it would take in our popcorn popper. After they were done, we let the machine cool down for a good bit before we roasted Barry's batch, using Bali Blue Moon organic rainforest alliance certified beans. He went with a city roast.

Both roasts turned out beautifully, it went smoothly and was as easy as we had hoped it would be! You're supposed to let the beans sit for 2-5 days before you grind and drink them, to let the flavor develop. I will come back and update after we've had our first cup!

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