For the last few months I have been refining my coffee roasting technique. I realize that it isn't fermentation, but it has the same virtues of being easy to do at home and really tasty. There are two methods I have used, one uses a $15 dollar popcorn popper (a) and the other just a frying pan with a lid (b). You need a popcorn popper that you don't use for popcorn as the oil from the beans will making for a poor tasting corn snack, you also want the sort of popper with slots cut in the sides not holes in the floor.
Step 1: Get some high quality green coffee beans. I personally like Ethiopian best, but use whatever you like to drink. You might be able to get some from a local coffee store that roasts their own or from a local homebrew store (like I do) even the internet is a good place to shop. Green coffee beans (unlike roasted beans) have a basically unlimited shelf life.
Step 2a: Turn on the popcorn popper and wait a minute or two to let the air heat up.
Step 2b: Place an oven thermometer into your frying pan, put the lid on and adjust the heat until it rests around 500 degrees (remember the setting for future roasting).
Step 3a: Put 1/2 cup of green coffee beans into the popcorn popper and place the top back on with a bowl for the chaff (bits of coffee skin) to blow into.
Step 3b: Put 1/2 cup of green coffee beans into the pan and put the lid on.
Step 4a: Wait until the beans start to making a popping noise (this is the moisture in the bean turning to steam and expanding to crack the bean). Place a bowl where you would normally catch the popcorn to catch the papery chaff (skin) of the coffee bean that is ejected.
Step 4b: Shake the pan like you are making Jiffy-Pop until the beans start to making a popping noise.
Step 5a: Keep waiting until the popping stops and then wait a few minutes until you just start to hear the beans popping for a second time.
Step 5b: Keep shaking until the popping stops and then wait a few more minutes until you just start to hear the beans popping for a second time.
Step 6a: Turn off the popper and slowly stir the beans as they continue to pop, the longer you wait the darker the roast will be. Stop it right away for a light roast keep going until the popper stops for a dark roast.
Step 6b: Turn off the heat and keep shaking the beans as they continue to pop, the longer you wait the darker the roast will be. Stop it right away for a light roast keep going until the popper stops for a dark roast. You can take a look occasionally if you want, but be careful not to lose too much heat.
Step 7: Pour the beans out into a metal strainer and shake until the beans are pretty cool. After they cool completely put them in an airtight container and store them for up to a week. The flavor peeks the the day after roasting.
Both methods produce tasty coffee in about the same amount of time (5-7 minutes). The popcorn popper allows you to see the beans as they roast and you get to avoid shaking a pan every time you want to drink coffee. The pan roasting method allows you to avoid buying another gadget and makes you feel like a cowboy.
(More pictures coming soon)