Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coffee Roasting - the Reveal!

If you have any interest in trying this yourself, there are a couple other articles I wrote that will tell you the mechanics of it all.  Check out the following posts:

How I found my beans, with difficulty.
The actual "procurement" story of the bean.

What you need to roast coffee at home
Oh and don't forget a good kitchen timer!

How to roast coffee at home
The Mechanics of it all.

Now the results.  

I wanted to get some batches of coffee roasted and under my belt so to speak.   The executive summary is that if you really want some good coffee, either do it this way and learn it or find yourself a roaster in your city and drink it there, on the spot.  

You can not find a better way to drink coffee.  Coffee if it is to be enjoyed at the peak of freshness should be drank as soon as humanly possible after you roast and grind your beans.  If you are buying coffee in the stores or online from a specialty shop and don't want to go through this experiment, and it is an experiment, buy a good whole bean coffee and a cheap grinder and grind just enough coffee beans for today's use.  

Coffee ground will degrade almost immediately, no matter what the big corporations say.  I've seen that when I had a wild need to have a second pot one day.  I used up the second batch of beans I made (ever) last week, then roasted another and brewed it and that fresh roast had much more body and flavor than the week old home roast from the week before.  The reason is that humans taste essential oils that evaporate fairly quickly in an exposed to the air ground coffee and those oils give the brew a much more complex flavour. 

If you do home roast, keep in mind that your beans will roast differently from one day to the next.   Just this morning I roasted the coffee as in the article I wrote.  The 6:30 this time was enough to turn my wonderful complex dark roast into something drinkable but a bit burned and smoky.   Think of the reputation of Starbucks and how they're called "Burnt Beans".  There's a taste that Starbucks has that millions love, but I'm not really one of them.  Their beans are over roasted IN MY OPINION.   Starbucks does have some other more mellow roasts and they are learning, but they aren't learning fast enough for me to go in regularly.

At exactly six minutes and thirty seconds in my roaster/popcorn popper, the fire alarm went off.  I immediately poured my tortured beans into the bowl and allowed them to cool while I could see they were smoking. 

This is a Non Smoking House!

Next time I'll have to listen closer.   I went past First Crack Stage which started a minute early at 3:30 and was determined to do it by the time and not by the eye and nose at 6:30.  That was a mistake.  It turned an amazingly excellent "OMG" experience into a merely Better Than Good to Excellent mug of coffee.

So if you and I get anything from this it has to be that good food and good coffee take finesse in preparation.  It isn't hard to do the mechanics, but if you are not careful, you'll end up with something merely Good.To Excellent.

I'm enjoying that cup now, but thinking about Last Week's brew.

One final thought.  This coffee has so much more flavor that brewing the pot takes less beans.  I have an Ikea French Press I use that is a beautiful in its simplicity Stainless Steel double lined pot.  I usually put in 8 scoops of grounds and fill it to the rim.   It results in 32 ounces approximately of coffee.   I was getting wired on that last week, truly slammed.   Today with the Slightly Over Roasted Coffee, I cut it back to 7 scoops as a result.  I got a more mellow mug.  Your home roasted coffee will need to be less roasted for the same amount of flavor so err on the side of lightness instead of darkness even if you're like me and trained yourself to drink espresso. 

Next time I'll go with 5:30 and maybe I'll let you know about it :)

Good luck folks and if you try it, let me know what you found.  I'd like to know!

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