Wednesday, March 14, 2012

From Scratching: Roasting Coffee

Roasting coffee at home is in vogue at the moment. This simultaneously annoys and encourages me. It encourages me because if something so DIY as coffee roasting can become a trend then there may really be hope for a widespread change in the food production system. It annoys me because the rich, white urbanites that are buying raw coffee beans are not doing so in replacement of their charbucks but as a form of social currency.

My foray into coffee roasting is intended to replace the purchase of all coffee beans consumed in the home and I will continue to support local cafes. It is my belief that coffee should be a luxury. It should be a treat, enjoyed because of the flavor and comfort that it brings and not a daily necessity.

It is this view of the luxury of coffee that allows me to drink a single espresso that takes 12 hours to produce!

I have roasted coffee three times now. The first time I tried the beans-in-a-fry-pan method. This method would work but I was too freaked out by the chaff and the popping beans to allow the roasting to continue and therefore had a bunch of under-roasted beans that had to be tossed.

I then bought a 13 dollar popcorn machine and voila roasted beans!

Roast ya'selves some beans:
a popcorn machine
open window/fan
1/2 cup of raw green beans
tea towel

Situate the popcorn machine by an open window or fan as fire alarms have been set off with this method! Place a bowl under the shoot of the machine because once the beans start 'popping' chaff will fly out of the machine. Sometimes beans are expelled as well. Put the beans in the machine and turn it on. Start the stopwatch.

The following are some visual cues I use...

4 minutes - beige/brown
13 minutes - carmel brown
25 minutes - chocolate brown
35 minutes - dark chocolate brown

Turn off the machine and place the beans in the strainer. The top of the popcorn machine is hot, so use the tea towel! Shake the beans until they are cool and you can touch them. Technically the beans are now ready to use but I find that the final product has more body if you wait six to twelve hours. 

Disclaimer: I have not managed a really dark roast (which is the roast I usually like) but I have managed to make a decent espresso with this method.

Due to energy consumption, I would love to use the stove top method but I thought the whole thing was gonna light on fire! I want to try roasting over a campfire - if it lights on fire in the great outdoors - oh well!

Overall this was a fun/rewarding thing to do and the popcorn method is easy! I would recommend you give it a shot!

Have you roasted coffee? Do you have advice for me? What do you think about my views about the luxury of coffee?


1 comment:

  1. You can roast in my backyard this summer if you want to!