I Roasted My Own Coffee and I Like It!
Good Morning and welcome to my coffee house. I have started the past couple of days off with the best tasting coffee that I have drunk in a long time. It has freshly roasted coffee beans that were ground fresh the morning I drink it. I wrote a post about this very subject quite a while ago. The post was called The Great Coffee Experiment. You can read it here; http://creativelylivingwithsue.com/the-great-coffee-experiment/.
I have been roasting my own coffee off and on since I wrote that post. The only time I use store bought roasted whole beans is when I run out of the green beans. I have to order the beans online or go to another part of town that is just out of my way. It makes roasting my own green coffee beans a little difficult, but not impossible.
Years ago I watched an episode of Good Eats by Alton Brown. The episode was about making the perfect cup of coffee. There was one thing that made a huge impression on me. Freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee should foam quite a bit when hot water is added to it in a French press. At the time I had some ground coffee on hand and was impressed that it foamed at all. I gradually began buying whole beans that were already roasted. The beans foamed a bit more than the ground coffee did, but not by much.
I started researching green beans and how to make a really good cup of coffee. I found that when storing green coffee beans in a burlap bag (the proper way) the beans can stay fresh for up to two years in the right conditions. The shocking thing to me was finding that once a bean has been roasted it starts becoming stale at two weeks. Even more shocking is that ground coffee becomes stale within 30 minutes of being ground. No wonder that coffee that is in my coffee maker sucks.
I prefer to roast my own now. I have always drunk my coffee with a flavored creamer before learning how to roast my own coffee. I no longer do. I drink it with half and half. The fresh coffee does not need anything to hide its flavor or sweeten it. It is just pure awesome coffee goodness. I would say the great coffee experiment has worked out fantastic.
I roast my coffee in a popcorn popper. My popper has a stirring mechanism. It helps the coffee to not burn without me hovering over it. Plan on never using this popcorn popper to do its actual job of popping popcorn after you have used it a couple of times for roasting coffee beans. The green bean makes a lot of smoke and chafe as it roasts. It takes quite a bit of time, longer that I thought it would take. The kind of bean, where the beans originate, and what type of roast you prefer determines the time it takes to roast the beans. The darker the roast the longer the time it takes to roast the beans.
I recently purchased 5 pounds of Brazilian no name coffee from Sweet Maria’s. It was very low cost and decided to give it a try. I hadn’t roasted coffee beans in a while so I was green. lol The first thing I did wrong was to try and roast to many beans at one time. I measured out the right amount of green beans for one week and put them in the popcorn popper and proceeded to roast them all at once. I roasted the beans for too short of a time. I made my first cup and about spit it out. Yuck! It was so bitter. Luckily the beans were under roasted rather than over roasted. There really isn’t an issue either way. I just roasted the beans again until they were perfect and if I had over roasted them then I would just use less beans.
I had some roasted beans left over from the bag of beans I bought at the local grocery store. I used those beans as the basis of color the green beans should look like that I am now roasting my own. This helped when I roasted the beans again. I also divided the beans into two groups for roasting. The taste was not so great and just a tab bitter. I had forgotten that once you roast the beans, cool them down and remove the chafe you need to let the beans sit for a few hours. Now that I know the life span of the green coffee beans I intend to get enough green beans to last a year.
Coffee is very expensive so why waste it on bad coffee? If you can, give it a try. A really good local specialty roaster will sell green beans. Locally we have a great one named Indian River Coffee Company. Buy a pound and roast. You can also roast coffee in a pan on the stove. My friend Nancy used to do this, but you will have to stand over the stove stirring. This link will give you all kinds of ways to roast your beans: http://www.ineedcoffee.com/.
Do your research on the type of beans and where they come from. I happen to prefer Sumatran, Brazilian, and Costa Rican coffee. The type of roast I like is darker than a light roast, but not quite a French roast.
I am not sure if this is frugal. I spend about $6 to $7 a pound for my green beans and that usually included shipping. A pound of green beans will be about 12 ounces when roasted. The amount of beans is the same as in the original pound, but they become lighter as they roast and the chafe goes away. For me the cost is about the same as the lower priced beans I have bought in the past. The flavor is better than a major coffee chains coffee in my opinion that I have spent a bundle on in the past.