Roasting your own coffee at home
Well, I finally did it. I started down the slippery slope of being a total coffee geek. I am now roasting my own coffee beans. It is perhaps the cheapest part of my passion for coffee that could also be the most expensive. After talking it over with some of my friends now co-conspirators, I took the easy way out. I purchased a cheap popcorn popper from Goodwill for $3.50, a steel colander for the same price, and two pounds of green coffee beans that were basically half the price of a roasted bag of beans.
So what do you do, start looking for a popcorn popper? When you go to look for the right kind of popper, look for one with vents on the bottom of the chamber instead of one with the steel mesh or wire. The one with the vents do a far better job, and because there is less chance of it smoking and/or catching on fire. Make sure the popcorn popper has at least 1200 watts, for the amount of heat you will need.
Now you are ready to roast some beans. Easy, right? Right!
Pour in less than a half cup of beans into the chamber, plug in the popper and let it go. Within 30 seconds you will see some chafe flying off the beans, but don’t be alarmed by it. Keep an eye on the color of the beans. After 3 minutes the beans will darken, and after 5 minutes you will see some color.
Here it gets a bit tricky. Most web sites say in 5 to 7 minutes you will hear the “first crack”. I did not hear it at all, and I roasted a full pound in three days [maybe due to the fact I liked listening to loud music when I was a teenager]. I took my beans to a full 15 minute roast to achieve the darkness and taste that I wanted. If you do hear that first crack from the beans, then you are done. You can go past that a little bit if you want, or go for the gusto and roast a French roast, by taking it past the second crack if the beans are really dark. It is really up to you. Keep a record of the length of time, the temperature and the humidity. These all play a big part in your roasting. I always keep a small amount of my roasted beans so I can compare the color to what I am roasting. The timing of it is close to what you started with, but if it is a really hot or cold day your time table will be different.
The beans will come out hot and you need to cool them down. Get a metal colander. If you use a plastic one, you will get some funky plastic taste to your beans (yes the beans will be that hot) and you don’t want that. Cool down to room temp, and put into a mason jar that has a lid. Screw the lid halfway down,and not too tight because the beans will keep on releasing some gas for a few days afterwards.
In 12 hrs. you can have that cup of coffee!
**One last note, DO THIS OUTSIDE! Your family, friends or housemates will thank you. This stuff really stinks up the house.
Enough said, have fun and enjoy!