Clearly this cheap bastard tutorial thing is something of a specialty for me. But really! Why invest in all kinds of fancy coffee roasting equipment and machines if you’re not that fussy, or if you’re just getting started and feeling out this particular branch of homesteading? Ain’t no reason, says Bad Mama Genny. Ain’t no reason.
The Boy roasts his own coffee every Friday morning for the week ahead. And every Friday afternoon and evening, I walk around smelling like smoky coffee beans. I kid you not, misfits–this process kicks off a LOT of smoke. So much smoke that some people do this outdoors on portable burners. While The Boy’s done it that way when the weather’s nice, he had to move shop indoors for the winter, and we found the whole thing to be quite doable on the stovetop so long as you open a bunch of windows and doors and let the place air out a bit afterward.
It’s all in the name of good coffee, misfits. Which, as we all know, I don’t drink. Because even though I love the smell and flavor of coffee, the BMG was born into this world with plenty of energy. My natural state is somewhere between “bouncing off the walls,” and “okay, who slipped cocaine into a five pound bag of gummy bears and force-fed it to this bug-eyed creature in fishnets?”. Me drinking coffee is really just SO SO UNNECESSARY I can’t even tell you. Remember that high ambient state of anxiety? You know, the one that forced me to get drunk to go the gynecologist and almost date-rape myself?
Oh, NOW you remember.
Well, add coffee to the mix and I start to rock without the aid of rocking chair, and worry about things like world hunger and babies with respiratory disorders, and talk so fast that I begin to deem consonants unnecessary because COME ON THEY’RE JUST SLOWING ME DOWN and then The Boy gets worried and has to take me to the 24-hour WalMart so I can walk around in circles and point at pallets of tuna cans whilst screaming “FISHY FISHY FISHY!” at the top of my lungs which never seems to perturb any WalMart employees because, well, it’s WalMart.
But The Boy does not have these problems. The Boy loveses his coffee. The Boy NEEDSES his coffee. At some point, we may have a hydroponic and grow light setup solely for home growing of coffee beans. Until that day, we’ll settle for purchasing from a globally conscious and awesomesauce importer and making my hair smell like burnt toast once a week.
And that, my friends…is what true love is all about.
Build Your Own Coffee Roaster for Cheap and Roast Coffee at Home
9 ounces green coffee beans of your choice
1 Whirlypop hand-crank popcorn popper
1 Dutch oven pot–cast-iron is ideal
1 Instant-read thermometer, like the kind you’d use for grilling–it must go up to 400 degrees F
Colander or fine mesh sieve
Nest the popcorn popper inside the Dutch oven and insert the thermometer.
Place this setup on top of a burner and turn it to high. Now open any windows or doors, turn on any fans, and generally do whatever you have to do to boost fresh airflow, as this process will produce quite a bit of smoke.
When the thermometer reaches 400 degrees F, add the green coffee beans and start turning the Whirlypop’s crank at a continuous, steady pace.
Keep an eye on the thermometer–you want the temperature to stay between 300 and 400 at all times, with the sweet spot generally being between 325 and 375 degrees. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temp.
The first time you hear a sound like popcorn popping, it means you’ve hit the “first crack” stage. This isn’t a single, instantaneous event, but rather, a series of pops that get louder and louder. The roaster will start to let off some smoke, and the process will start to produce its own heat, so keep an eye on that thermometer.
Some people stop coffee beans somewhere around the first crack if they’re aiming for a super-light roast. We generally take our beans into the second crack because we like darker, more robust, smoky roasts. Keep an eye on the color, but try not to lift the lid too often–this lets out heat and you end up having to play with the stove knobs far too much.
So the first crack will subside into a peaceful period, and then you’ll head into the second crack. When you think your beans are getting close the level of roastiness you like, check the color every thirty seconds or so. When the beans are just a teeny bit lighter than you want them (because they’ll continue to roast a bit after the stove is turned off), remove the whole setup from the heat and dump the beans into your colander or sieve. (With this batch, The Boy aimed for something between a full city roast and a darker Vienna.)
At this point you’ll probably want to run outside with the smoky beans. Agitate the colander constantly to cool the beans quickly and allow all the papery chaff to leave the beans. Be careful, because the chaff is very flammable, and probably very airborne at this point.
Don’t stop agitating the beans until they stop producing chaff altogether and are mostly cool to the touch. At this point, you can spread the beans out onto a cookie sheet and train a fan onto them to speed thorough cooling.
When the beans are cooled thoroughly, package in an a bag or container and only mostly seal it–you want the beans to be able to release gases and exchange them with fresh air, so allow for vent holes.
While you technically can grind and brew your coffee right away, the coffee generally reaches its peak somewhere between four and 24 hours post-roast, depending on the variety of bean.
© 2012, Genevieve P. Charet. All rights reserved.Pin It