Monday, November 12, 2012

coffee roasting

Back in Athens I had the pleasure of working as a barista. I loved loved loved that job. I have always been a coffee lover but working in a coffee shop just increased that. I loved learning the ins and outs of roasts, brewing and making espresso drinks. I also loved free coffee.

Once we moved here I quickly missed my free cup of coffee and realized by snobbish coffee addiction was not cheap. One thing I decided to do to keep my coffee passion going is learn to roast myself. Buying green beans was cheaper and learning to roast at home has been a blast. It is much simpler than I thought it would be! Making it taste like the coffee I was used to is a whole different story. Either way it is a fun experiment so here's some instructions in case you would like to roast too!

1. Find your roaster. We use a popcorn popper with vents on the side of the popping cylinder. Our favorite so far has been the West Bend Poppery 2. If you don't own a popper or want to get one, you can also roast the beans on a baking sheet in a 500ยบ oven.

2. What to roast. We buy our green beans at a local coffee shop that roasts but you can also get them at Sweet Maria's Coffee and many other online sources. Experiment with beans from different countries to find the one you like the most. We are trying a Brazil and Guatemalan.

3. Roasting the beans. Roasting coffee beans happens in stages. The first stage, also called the "first crack", sounds like popcorn popping. If you stopped there you would have a light roast. If you like your coffee a little darker then you would keep going until you hear a "second crack." The second crack sounds like crispy rice cereal after you poured milk over it. It's a little harder to hear to you have to listen closely. This whole process typically takes less than 15 minutes! Only work with 1/2 cup at a time or it won't roast evenly. Here are some pictures of our roasting progression.

4. Practice makes perfect. As I alluded to earlier, we were not in love with our first roast but we were in love with the process. It was so much fun (and took such little time) we didn't mind trying again!

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