Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coffee Bean Roasting in the Blacksmith Shop – Take 1

Inspired by Jayme at Tales from the Coop Keeper, Mr W, and I set out to turn green coffee beans into beautiful roasted coffee beans today. Friend Daniel just happened to be visiting here at the right(?) time so he was drafted to help in this process. I think we may just have smoked and stunk him out! Poor guy… he may ne’er return again.

Mr W and I are major coffee fans. We’ve purchased coffee beans for fresh-ground weekend coffee for years (our weekend splurge). The next step seemed logical – to start roasting our own beans (it’s a little less expensive that way also).

Jayme gave me just enough information to get me really interested in this venture. She also recommended the Whirley Pop popcorn method. I purchased a separate Whirley Pop to use exclusively for coffee bean roasting (didn’t want to taint the taste of our buttery popcorn!). Also, dear Jayme recommended doing the entire process outside because of the stink/smoke involved. Wow, was she ever correct?! One would think that roasting coffee beans would be ahhh…. aromatic… delectable-smelling. Nope! So, out to the blacksmith shop we went, and kept the door wide open.

I ordered green coffee beans from Coffee Bean Direct (tip: search for “Coffee Bean Direct green coffee beans” on Amazon to get free shipping with a $25 order), and Sweet Maria’s (link below).  Sweet Maria’s also had the thermometer which reads to 550 degrees and fits nicely into the Whirley Pop popcorn popper. A thermometer is a great thing to have, especially for novices like us. Mr W drilled a tiny hole in the top of the Whirley Pop to insert the thermometer. He set up the fish cooker burner in the blacksmith shop. I also gathered a metal colander to cool the roasted beans in, a metal cake pan to put the cooled beans into, an oven mitt, a measure that holds exactly 8 ounces of beans at a time.  And of course my instructions printed from my various trusty internet sources. We had the air compressor next to the cooker so we could immediately begin to cool the beans after roasting (very important to cool them quickly, so I’m told). You can also use a hair dryer set on cold, or a fan for this purpose.

We poured our 8 ounces of Coffee Bean Direct’s Columbian green beans into the Whirley Pop, turned on the heat, and started cranking.


Keeping close watch on the thermometer on top. We’re waiting for “first crack,” which may happen at about 6 minutes into the process. You will start to hear pops and cracks, and the beans should start to turn brown. *Some sources suggest the ideal temperature for roasting will be around 450-500F degrees.


Our “first crack” happened much sooner than 6 minutes, which told us we had the heat too high. From here on out, major smoke and stink warning :)



“Second crack” should happen between minutes 9 and 12 according to one source. We went to “second crack” much too soon also, and quickly removed the popper, poured the beans into the metal colander to cool. We helped the cooling process along by using the air compressor, forcing cold air onto the beans. Also much of the chaff from the beans was blown off during this step.


We went on to batches 2 and 3, trying to regulate the heat. I think we almost got it, but unfortunately our beans from today’s roasting are very very VERY dark. Could they be classified as espresso? I hope they’re drinkable! We’ll see…


Let me just say, while our first efforts were valiant, I think we’re going to need more practice.  Best tip from today: SLOW DOWN – lower heat. Yes, we’ll try it again. Soon I hope. And after we allow our beans to “degas” for 12-24 hours, we’ll try a pot of fresh-ground home-roasted and I’ll post our review.

If you have an interest in becoming a home coffee bean roaster, there are many sites which are quite helpful. My favorite so far is Sweet Maria's. They really do have a wealth of information and tutorials on roasting your own beans. Join us – we’ll learn together!



Tonia said...

THats cool! Cant wait to hear about it!!!

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

how fun! not a coffee drinker but the good husband is very good friends with folks who have a most wonderful coffee shop in town...hope it tastes great!

Melinda said...

Interesting. Not a coffee drinker but will be interested in your progress.
Have fun!


Kilauea Poetry said...

This is interesting.. I know a lady who is pretty home bound due to an accident. She's been doing this herself for a long time..but I never payed much attention. So 8 oz..I had to scroll back.. oh my..and it's smelly, (lol)..I can imagine..and you even used an air compresser? Sounds like a bit of a process especialy with the thermometer- though well worth it! Well I'll be looking forward to the next update! Very informative and cool with your photos! I'll have to check your link out as well. We're coffee lovers too Tammy. Neat post!
Aloha, Regina-

Unknown said...

This is really exciting! I can't wait to hear how it tastes. I have 2 whirly pop corn poppers - one I bought, the other I found at the "dump". That's a hard one to explain, but trust me, it is more like a flea market. Anyway, I was going to get rid of the extra one in the rummage sale next week, but now I'm keeping it to roast coffee! Now I just need a source for LOW ACID coffee - I have acid reflux :-( Very tough for a coffee lover.

Jayme Goffin, The Coop Keeper said...

Tammy I'm so stinking excited that you did this! Take heart, it took me about 4 lbs worth of bean roasting to finally get the hang of it. I went to to a hot air popcorn popper, which I felt was such an uneven roast, that I like the whirley pop better. I couldn't drink the first few batches of my coffee. You are going to LOVE this once you get the hang of it!

Jackie said...

Well, neat! I grind my coffee beans from my favorite roaster in Mt. Vernon MO (Keen Bean Coffee) but I have never thought about roasting them myself. I can't wait to hear how it tastes!


Diana Ferguson said...

Sounds like a lot of fun to try! The aroma has to be great.

V.L. Locey said...

My mouth is watering! Thanks for sharing the process with us.=)

Unknown said...

I've had this in the back of my mind too, every since Jayme showed us how she did hers. First things, first, I want a whirly pop pan to make popcorn in...then maybe I'll the beans a try. I'm anxious to hear how they taste and how you progress. I have to think of a way to do this outside...hhhmm. : )


Cheryl said...

Oh my goodness what won't you try! I wish I was a mouse in the corner to watch the going ons. Can't wait to hear how it turns out.!!

Missouri Gal said...

Too Cool! I LOVE coffee and so does my hubs!

Girl Tornado said...

Wow Tammy... I admire your gusto here. I think I'm going to have to pass on roasting my own coffee beans. But I have bought beans before and ground them myself. Love the fresh taste. I think I'll go make a pot of hazelnut right now! :)

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