Sunday, March 7, 2010

How I roasted my Coffee Beans

If you're all that interested, there are some other articles to read on this.  

I had had some trouble finding green coffee beans, and while I've found some other resources, here's the first time experience .

Once I got my beans, I had to get the gear to do the roasting and here was what I did.  Your mileage may vary.

This on the other hand, is the Bits and Bytes of the process.   I actually got my second roast done.   There is a surprising amount of flex in what you can do to get the roasting done.  In other words, what I did may not be quite to your standards.   I just finished the first mug out of this and it was truly a wonderful mug of coffee.  More on that in a later posting, there will be a summary or an epilogue.

What I did was to get out my Poppery II popper, my green beans and I attempted to make this as scientific a process as I could.  I used by weight 2.80 ounces or 80 grams of green coffee beans.  That worked out to be about 1/3 of a cup of beans plus or minus a wee bit more by volume.  I was shooting for the amount to make one pot of coffee.  Since I use a French Press to make the coffee, I needed more than 8 scoops of espresso grind in order to do it quite right.  The French Press I have is a large one, made of Stainless Steel, and while it looks impressive, it allows me to brew the coffee the same way every time.

However I am getting ahead of my self.   This is the story of the process.

After I measured out the beans, I poured them into the popper and plugged it in.  There is no switch on this machine, and I'll have to get a switch to control the heating elements so that I can cool the beans afterwords.  The machine immediately came on and growled to life.  

After heating and spinning my beans for about four and a half minutes, my beans reached the First Crack Stage.   The chaff has been blown off and they make a soft crackling sound like Rice Crispies, although not so loud and not so many crackles at once.   That stage lasts about a minute from the first bean cracking to the last one cracking.   That was from four to about 5 minutes into the process.  

Once the beans stopped cracking, it was a judgement call.   I did not feel that the beans got quite dark enough until I reached six and a half minutes when I turned off the roaster.   At 6:30, I poured the beans into a large stainless steel bowl and allowed them to cool while I took the dog for her walk around town.  

And here are the results.   The beans did turn out perfectly.  Or at least they turned out perfectly for me.  The timing is really up to you.  I would say that if you are going to try this, keep in mind that you will be your best judge.   We all know what "Coffee Colored" is but we all perceive a Great Cup Of Coffee differently.  

The first time I did this, I let the roast go until about 8 minutes.  I hit the Second Crack stage as the smoke alarm fired off, I ran to reset that, came back and my beans were smoking.   I was too stubborn to not try them, so I immediately poured the hot beans into the grinder and melted the grinder enough that it is now in the bin waiting for a final trip to Mount Trashmore.  That batch of coffee ended up tasting like Starbucks.  Drinkable but definitely could be better since Starbucks' nickname is "Burnt Beans". 

This time, no smoke, no alarms, just the results you see here.

More on the preparation later.  I don't want to go on TOO long in one article.

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