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Old 07-03-2011, 01:31 PM   #1
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Coffee Roasting



A few weeks ago I posted this article about the Chemex coffee maker. To further enable my coffee dependency, and obtain the highest quality caffeine imaginable, I’ve been roasting my own!

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f122/chemex-coffee-72833.html

Home roasting using quality beans makes a tremendous difference in the cup...Night and Day. Put this on the list of things to try.



Source
· Central and South America
· Africa
· Near East
· Indonesia
· Asia
· Islands in the “coffee belt”

Coffees from each of these countries are unique agricultural products and vary from region to region. Different species of coffee tree ultimately produce distinctly different types of beans. Many of these trees have histories 100’s of years old and some exist only on one specific farm. A pound of coffee at the store is about the entire annual production of a single tree. Good thing there are coffee estates!





Production

Not all coffee beans are the same. With all the different producers quality varies a great deal. Some producers are under contract to fill quotas and are all about quantity. Other producers are single-family operations that are all about quality. Source your greens from a professional so you can steer clear of mass produced canner grade beans and purchase top grade. With some notable exceptions there are many top quality green coffees that can be had for around $5 a pound. Here is an article with specific information about how coffee is produced.

Shelf Life – Quality rule of thumb
· Green coffee beans have a shelf life of about 2 years without loss of quality
· Roasted coffee beans have a shelf life of about 2 weeks without loss of quality
· Ground coffee beans have a shelf life of about 2 hours without loss of quality


Modern storage methods like vacuum packaging and one-way valves can help extend shelf life but not long term.

Roasting
There are a industry standard terms that go along with roasting coffee and this vocabulary helps communicate the level of roast. This is a direct description of how done the beans are. Here is an article with a pictorial link describing roasting level.

Color, sound, and smell tell the tale of a roast. Digital thermometers and programmable roasting curves allow for a more detailed approach and control during the roasting process. Scientific measuring devices can determine the exact degree of roast. However, only basic equipment is required for a successful home roast.

The process of roasting coffee produces smoke and chaff (read messy). Ideally, it should be done outside. It can be done indoors under a vent hood…consider yourself warned.

Listen for the beans to crack or pop. “First crack” signals the beginning of a light roast. “Second crack” signals the beginning of a dark roast. The popping sounds are similar to popcorn but more subdued.

After roasting it is important to cool the beans. Without cooling the beans will “coast” and get darker making it difficult to hit a specific roast level. “Winnowing” the beans in a steel mesh colander or spreading them in a single layer on an aluminum cookie sheet after the roast are great ways to quickly cool them down. Be sure to let them rest for a few hours before grinding.

Home roasting methods:
Pan roast – Total control. Control the heat and use a spoon to keep the beans moving so they don’t scorch and roast evenly. Free

Stove top popcorn popper. Similar to pan roasting. Stirring mechanism to help keep the beans moving. About $25

Hot Air popcorn popper. Certain models of HA poppers can be adapted to roast beans. Can set chaff on fire. Off label use of electric appliance voids warranty. $25 $30.

Coffee specific small appliances – small 2 – 3 ounce capacity. Typically uses hot air and some form of agitation. Programmable. $150 - $200

Drum roasters – 1/2 to 1 pound capacity. Radiant and convection heating sources offer broader range of roasts. Forced-air cooling cycles and other features. $300 - $1000

Home built “Hot Rod” roasters. – Manufacture your own roaster. $$$?

Commercial sample roasters – starting around $10000 used
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:41 PM   #2
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Forty,

If you use an air popper do the beans become light enough to spit out when properly roasted or do you have to time them or monitor them in some way?
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:41 PM   #3
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Wow, never thought of roasting my own. It's definitely doable...just have to find green coffee beans. There are 3 private roasters here in town. I love their coffees.
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Old 07-03-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
Forty,

If you use an air popper do the beans become light enough to spit out when properly roasted or do you have to time them or monitor them in some way?
I've never used an air popper but there a lots of videos on Youtube that use them. From watching those videos I would say that some of the beans do spit out of them and chaff flies everywhere.

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Old 07-03-2011, 08:14 PM   #5
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When I lived in Quebec City, I used to love going up the hill to walk on rue St. Jean just to smell the air...there was a place that roasted its own beans...you could smell the coffee from the end of the street. When I used to drink coffee, that was my favorite place to buy fresh-roasted beans. In Orlando, FL, I used to buy a custom-blend of fresh roasted beans...some dark, some light, I can't remember the blend now, but I would mail-order it when I went back to MN for the summer. Almost makes me want to start drinking coffee again...
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:55 PM   #6
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I played around with coffee roasting a couple of years back, but never achieved the results I had hoped for. What roaster do you use? I tried pan roasting, and finally decided on a Behmor, but at the time they were virtually impossible to get. After being on a waiting list for a while, I finally gave it up. I liked the larger batches possible with the drum type machines. I think I will start looking around again. Any details you could supply would be appreciated.
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bigjim68 View Post
I played around with coffee roasting a couple of years back, but never achieved the results I had hoped for. What roaster do you use? I tried pan roasting, and finally decided on a Behmor, but at the time they were virtually impossible to get. After being on a waiting list for a while, I finally gave it up. I liked the larger batches possible with the drum type machines. I think I will start looking around again. Any details you could supply would be appreciated.
The Behmors are available again. The 1 pound capacity of the Behmor was attractive but I didn't like the chaff collector and the new "afterburner" seems a bit dodgy. I liked the pre-programmed roasting curves.

I went with the Gene Cafe this time around. It only has 1/2 pound capacity but the off-axis drum and convection heating assures beans are evenly roasted. I also like the simplicity of the controls and the ability to add or reduce time and temperature, or start the cooling cycle at any point during the roast.

.40
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by forty_caliber View Post
The Behmors are available again. The 1 pound capacity of the Behmor was attractive but I didn't like the chaff collector and the new "afterburner" seems a bit dodgy. I liked the pre-programmed roasting curves.

I went with the Gene Cafe this time around. It only has 1/2 pound capacity but the off-axis drum and convection heating assures beans are evenly roasted. I also like the simplicity of the controls and the ability to add or reduce time and temperature, or start the cooling cycle at any point during the roast.

.40

Is this something you would be using outside?
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Old 07-03-2011, 10:39 PM   #9
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Is this something you would be using outside?
Yes. Especially when Mrs 40 C is home!



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Old 07-03-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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Yes. Especially when Mrs 40 C is home!



.40

Not a fan of strong coffee smells?
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