In talking to some friends and tasting their brew, I’ve learned about a new affordable luxury… roasting coffee beans. As I listened and tasted, it is inspiring enough for me to want to embark upon this journey. With this new found interest I’d like to connect you to some informative sites that offer expert advice on the topic in addition to all that’s needed to become a master roaster.
Coffee experts say that coffee is meant to be ground and brewed within three days of roasting. That’s a far cry from the roasting dates I see on packages of whole beans in stores and coffee boutiques. This kind of freshness seems hard to obtain unless you roast your own beans, a much simpler process than you might imagine.
The integrity of green coffee beans can be preserved for two years when stored in cool, dark, dry conditions. That’s a HUGE difference in shelf life compared to top quality, store bought beans! Other bonuses to home roasting are the cost of raw beans and roasting to meet your household's consumption. Unroasted coffee beans cost much less; in fact, they are about half the cost of pre-roasted beans. The home roaster also has the advantage of experimenting with beans that have been picked from around the world. This includes a wide variety of certified fair trade beans. The possibilities of creating personalized roasts are endless. What a unique gift to give to a friend or party host, one that is sure to stir up an interesting topic of conversation!
Coffee roasting units range in price but are a wise investment if you take your coffee seriously. And hey, let’s face it, many of us relish and even depend upon that fist cup to get us going in the morning. Why not make that boost the best cup of coffee it can be? After all, working in today’s hustle and bustle, don’t you deserve the best?
I’ve found that people who roast their own beans speak a language similar to that of a wine connoisseur. They talk about the complexity of a brew’s flavor along with its relationship to the bean’s origin, and the soil and climate they’ve been grown in. Many start to favor certain beans which are described in detail by the seller. One Award Winner, Bella Visa, was given the El Salvador 2007 Cup of Excellence, a very distinguished award among cuppers. The bean is described as having: a bright sweetness with detectable notes of almond, hazelnut, orange and a hint of brown sugar. It is also noted that it has a slight winey note as it cools. See the correlation to that of wine tasting?
A basic roaster is reasonably priced and can be purchased and shipped for under $100.00. A roasting unit consists of a heat element, fan, timer and a chaff filter. The roasting process is short and simple. As the beans roast the water content begins to escape, in turn, causing an audible first crack, similar to that of the pop of popcorn. Then, as the internal temperature of the bean rises, the woody, cellulous matrix of the beans caramelizes which then produces a second crack. When beans are roasted too long however, there is a third crack, which is a bad sign. In short when the beans begin to char, around the time of the third crack, they should be used for nothing more than compost.
Other methods of roasting include H.G.D.B. roasting, the acronym for; heat gun, dog bowl roasting; a very basic but affordable way to process your beans. There are pros and cons to this method so here is a link for your perusal. http://homeroaster.com/heatgun.html
Another somewhat primitive but highly effective and somewhat aerobic method is the skillet or wok roasting which is covered in detail, here at; http://www.sweetmarias.com/skilletmethod.html
Whatever method you choose; I’ll say… for people who usually take cream and/or sugar in their coffee, you might be surprised to find yourself savoring the complex coffee flavors without the addition of anything. To get you started I’ll simply direct you to the expert’s source on coffee roasting which includes a ton of equipment and bean buying options. This is the most popular web based source for home roasters, Sweet Maria’s. http://www.sweetmarias.com/
I’d like to give special thanks to Phil and Kristine Vuncanon for sharing their freshly roasted coffee and expert advice. In addition I want to thank Spencer of Ann Arbor, a fellow 365 member and flickrist with photos at: http://flickr.com/search/?w=73275216%40N00&q=coffeeroasting&m=tags for his additional imput. Spencer has a coffee roasting site which gives details on his roasting experience: http://homeroastnbrew.info/coffee/roaster/
tristanstephenson, another flickrist, offers up an interesting visual trip though the life of coffee beans at http://www.flickr.com/photos/21124304@N03/
Lots to see, so enjoy the view and happy roasting! I’d love to hear about your coffee adventures and favorite brews! Please send me your feedback at www.isimmer.com Oh! And by the way cheers to you who use travel mugs instead of disposable coffee cups! Thanks for stopping by!!