Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Well it's not fermentation, but coffee roasting is fun too (plus you could add it to a stout)

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)

7 comments:

Alexandre said...

Actually, I've been using the same poppers for roasting coffee and for popping corn. The popcorn doesn't taste like coffee at all, even after I do a French roast.

As you note, beer and coffee have a lot in common. I even made a coffee gueuze, at some point. The result was weird but the idea is sound, I think.

The Mad Fermentationist said...

Very cool. I was just repeating what everyone I had talked to told me about using the popper for just coffee, I guess I'll have to give it a shot.

A coffee Gueuze, damn thats crazy (possibly even too crazy for me). If I really get bored I may dump a shot of cold coffee into some sour beer. The closest thing I have had to a coffee Gueuze was an infected bottle of Kuhnhenn's Creme Brulee Java Stout, not exactly tasty.

Josh said...

Whoa there, the flashpoint of oil is 600F. Not a lot of room for error. While 500F is perfectly safe for high quality oil (penut, canola), generic vegetable oil (which is a blend) is going to be awfully close to burning. :(

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I’m not sure if I wasn’t clear in my post, but you should not be adding any vegetable oil to the beans during the roasting process. As the beans roast they release a small amount of their own oils, which gives the finished roasted beans their glossy appearance.

The way roasting works there is a thin line between a dark roast and charcoal, but I have never even reached the smoke point of the coffee bean oil, let alone the ignition point. Just because the environment is 500 degrees does not mean the beans will actually get that hot, there is also water in the beans that cools them as it evaporates.

Of course there is some risk in home roasting coffee, but no more so than in any high temperature cooking method. You should be attentive and never leave the room while the coffee is roasting (especially using the pan method).

I hope that alleviates your concern.

Scyrene said...

I roast coffee in my oven. I actually had a fancy machine to do it, which blasted hot air at the beans as they tumbled in a drum, but it died. I find laying the beans on a metal tray works fine - you can adjust the oven temperature and time, and get good results. Ever tried it?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I have not done it in the oven, I'd be worried about not be able to stir them often enough. How evenly do they cook?

Clint Eaker said...

I know this is an old post, but in case someone like me comes across this, 500 F is the point where the coating on non-stick pans can start to break down and release toxic gases. Dupont recommends 500 F as the max cooking temperature for Teflon cookware, so you're pushing the envelope if you use a non-stick frying pan.

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