Going from buying fancy coffee to roasting your own coffee is insanely easy. I wrote about it in the last post, and with very little (money and time), you can be your own roaster.
You could roast on your grill, in the oven, on the stove in a cast iron pan… The whole process can be very raw and earthy – fire, bean, water… As for my own roasting craze, I’m not even sure if it was my idea or if Steve planted it in my head. I’m not even sure if I started with the popcorn air popper or the stovetop whirly popper. But I did have them both at the same time. I killed the air popper in a few roasts… After about a year, the gears on the whirly popper give out, and I have to make good on their lifetime warranty. I’m on my 3rd lid. Now, with a friend’s generous investment, I have a Behmor 1600+. It’s basically an expensive toaster oven for coffee.
I began with the popcorn popper and green beans from Sweet Maria’s. Sweet Maria’s sells new roaster kits and all the instructions, tips, and tricks you could want.
Every coffee and roast can be different. The average coffee drinker lives in the dark roasts. But seriously, a light to medium, freshly roasted coffee is where it’s at.
Things I’ve learned:
- Coffee expands but loses weight while roasting. So, 8oz green = about 6.5oz roasted.
- Coffee doesn’t taste good right after you roast it. It doesn’t even smell like coffee. It takes at least 3 days before it’s at its most awesome.
- When roasting, coffee “cracks”. Like when you’re popping popcorn, you get really distinct snaps. Once those first snaps end (“first crack”), you have drinkable coffee, and hopefully a light roast.
- It also cracks again, called “second crack.” This is where your bean is like crackling like it’s on fire. That’s where the dark roasts begin and end. If you get through 2nd crack, you’re beans are basically ash.
- Second crack is also where all those oily beans come from. If your beans are oily, they went into 2nd crack.
- Espresso is mostly just a way of brewing, not a bean. Any bean (and roast) can be espresso, but certain beans (and blends of beans) and roasts make better espresso.
- Country, altitude, processing, bean type, infusion, roast, water, brew method, filter, and on and on are all variables in a delicious cup.
To roast a batch of coffee, 8oz, takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes. I know my stove, and I know my Whirly, and I know my thermometer. I aim for finishing first crack and no second crack.
Over 20 batches in, and I’m still working out all the options on the Behmor – the variables and precision is amazing. So, for every bean I get, I can try something different.
Now, I’m selling coffee with the intention of breaking even enough to buy and try more. It is quite the hobby. If you want any, just leave a comment!