Toast the Roast- Roast Away Abbreviated

short url to this post: https://wp.me/p4jGvr-Sh

‘Roast Away’— Roasting Coffee at Home or Wherever & Whenever #3

“The Abbreviated Version” 🙂

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #3 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Roasting with a Popcorn Popper- click for a larger view

Green Coffee Beans in the popcorn popper (roaster)- click for a larger view

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Popcorn Popper

The old-fashion hand-crank popcorn popper is one of the easiest and most economical ways of Roasting Coffee. With practice, anyone can obtain great results and enjoy, some of the best and freshest coffee you have ever had!

Supplies:

1. Propane grill with side-burner— about $250 and get (if you do not already have),one of those long-handled butane flame lighters or long wooden matches to start your grill, as in my experience, most grill’s push-button igniters wear out or fail, in about a year.
2. Popcorn popper— about $30 (clean, no oil or leftover chaff or popcorn). Get it here
3. Green Beans— about $6 per pound and up. 10 ounces of Green coffee beans = about 8 ounces or ½ lb. beans when roasted. This is a good amount to start with and it keeps the beans moving when stirred. Roasting 20 ounces of green beans will = about a pound roasted. Get them here Here is a suggestion, if you decide to get your green beans from them, call them first and ask for Keith (although anyone there can help you). Tell them you are just starting out and using a popcorn popper (or skillet). Tell them what your favorite(s) is/are. Or ask for their recommendations. Ask about samples or if they have some practice green beans (end of the barrel beans), you can start your journey with. It won’t take you long before you are roasting to your satisfaction!
4. Scale and measuring cup to weigh green beans about $20 for both
5. Pen and paper (log), to record your efforts.
6. Kitchen timer (with seconds) and stopwatch function— about $8
7. Wooden long handle spoon to stir with or pry loose beans if stuck under turning wire/bar of popper— about $1
8. Infrared Thermometer (able to read at least 500° F.) — about $25
9. Colander (stainless steel wire mesh), to toss and cool beans in— about $10
10. Flat pan to cool beans and to catch chaff— about $2
11. Small electric or battery operated fan to blow off chaff (particularly in summer) — about $12
12. Hot pad/pads/gloves for safety— about $2
13. Funnel (for pouring roasted beans into bags or container— about $1
14. Stand up foil pouch with one-way vacuum seal, to store roasted coffee beans or some other closed container. — about $1 (each)

Start up about $350-375 plus green beans $6 lb. and up. Then again, maybe you have most of the supplies needed, already? If that’s the case, you just need a popcorn popper and some green beans.

Instructions:

1. Record weight of coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including: temperature (outside), date, time. and etc.
2. Preheat your popper over medium heat, for a few minutes
3. Pour green coffee beans into popper over medium heat, and start timer. Begin turning the crank-handle at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans, for color, sound; aroma, and if you like, temperature (of the roasting process). Record your observations, noting the time things occur, as you go. You can use this information as a reference guide, for the next time you roast.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂

On the Dark Side, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only, for espresso and other dark roasted beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to, you will never know the nuances of flavors, correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it! Correctly roasted coffee will never taste the same every time and it shouldn’t! But if one desires ‘same-O’ and consistency, blend, over roast and burn the beans.

When the beans internal temperature rise, you will see the color change from green to light tan and you will notice that they may smell like grass or tea as, the smoke (steam), also begins to rise.

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Gently pour the beans evenly, into a flat pan to cool and blow off the chaff. Or you can pour them into a colander and shake and blow the chaff away, while they cool. Or if it is really hot outside, you could place the colander of beans over a fan to cool the beans and blow away the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible. As “fresh for as long as possible” means, 7-10 days. Roast away, grind down, brew over and drink up!
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! 🙂

But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.

Note: At SECOND CRACK, the pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises to about 435° F. The beans continue roasting quickly to a darker and more robust brown. At this point, the bean temperatures rise rapidly and the beans become almost black and shiny (oil on surface – 450° F.). This is a dark or an espresso roast. Watch closely and stop before the beans are burnt. Remember, beans are for roasting, not baking, nuking, cooking, and burning etc. You stir the beans or move them in the process so as not to burn them. Let the beans transform themselves. When they reach certain temperatures internally, they do certain things (release water and caffeine, turn color, shed their skin (chaff), and their sugars begin to caramelize and come towards the top or the outside of the bean. All we are trying to do is to keep the roaster from burning them by stirring/turning the beans and allowing them to do their thing. 🙂

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Skillet

Roasting in a Skillet- click for a larger view

Roasted beans in a skillet- click for a larger view

Skillet roasting is a lot simpler than roasting with a popcorn popper. Its two biggest advantages are that you can see, hear and smell the whole process, from start to finish. You can watch the beans turn colors. You can smell the grass aroma and then what you would expect, the aroma of fresh coffee. You can hear the “CRACKS” and don’t worry, the beans are not going to pop out of the skillet or the popper like popcorn. You can see the chaff (the skin of the beans). The chaff does nothing, for the taste of your fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee, so remove as much as possible, by shaking the beans in a colander or flat pan for cooling, blowing off the chaff or blowing it away, as you roast in the skillet. Skillet roasting has another chief advantage— all you need is direct heat (from say a campfire), a skillet and a spoon or even just a stick. So, skillet roasting is ideal for camping and backpacking etc. I’m not about to take my roasting popper, my colander and cooling pan when I’m camping! 🙂

To cool the beans, just put the bottom of the skillet into water from a stream, lake, pond and etc. That’s water under the skillet, not over the beans! 🙂

The only three disadvantages I can think of when skillet roasting, compared to using the popcorn popper, is the popcorn popper is stainless steel and the skillet as pictured, is cast iron. Stainless steel is a great insulator of heat compared to iron. Since the skillet does not have a lid like the popcorn popper, it takes longer to roast with a skillet than with the popcorn popper. Chaff is more difficult to deal with in a skillet over the side-burner of your grill. It could blow or fall into your grill, making cleanup take longer. Chaff is flammable so, take care, when roasting with a skillet! This is a major reason not to roast inside on your stovetop. And most hood-vents are not actually vented through the roof. Most just have a metal mesh filter to catch the grease and the fan just basically recirculate the smoke back into your kitchen. Can you hear the smoke alarms going off?! I have actually watched a video, of an Ethiopian couple, roasting beans inside their kitchen with a skillet. My best advice is, JUST DON’T DO IT!!

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Instructions:

1. Record weight of the coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including temperature (outside), date, time and etc.
2. Preheat your skillet over medium heat or fire or some other direct heat source, for a few minutes.
3. Pour green coffee beans into the skillet over medium heat and start timer. Begin stirring at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans for color, sound, and if you like, temperature (of the beans during roasting). Record your observations, noting the time these things occur, as you go.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂 Then, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only for espresso and other dark roast beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to you will never know the nuances of flavors correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Place the bottom of your skillet into some water to cool the beans down, stirring occasionally with your spoon to help in the cool-down. Gently blow off the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible.
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.
9. For camping or backpacking, you may want to invest in a manual portable grinder, with conical ceramic burrs. Ceramic burrs keep their sharp edge longer than stainless steel, produce leas heat (which some believe changes the taste of their coffee), and produce less static electricity. However you camp or backpack, you will most likely have utensils, for cooking, like a skillet (your home-away-from home roaster), and something to boil water in (a percolator, coffee brewer, or a pan), cups, spoons and etc.
10. For making coffee, you need a filter for the grounds. There is something to be said about the simplicity and multi-use of a cotton bandanna! Have you ever heard of ‘Hobo Coffee’? A bandanna was often seen as a kind of a backpack or all one’s earthly goods wrapped up in it and tied to a stick. Well, you could place about 1 tablespoon of fresh ground coffee (per 8 ounce cup of coffee), into a bandanna, tie up the corners and place into a boiling pot of water over your campfire. For every tablespoon of coffee in your bandanna filter, you will need 8 ounces of water. Let this boil for a few minutes and you have Hobo Coffee. for every cup (8 ounces of water). The bandanna rinses out well, by the way. Yes, why yes I have had and I’ve made, ‘Hobo Coffee’ myself, but never this fresh or that was roasted by me. I can’t wait to try it again! There’s nothing quite like being outdoors around a campfire and watching coffee boil in a bandanna and then having a fresh cup of coffee. It may not be as good as what we are used to in the civil-world, but it will taste good and if we roast it ourselves, it will never be fresher!

Summary

Bandana and a stick or a ‘Hobo Stick’

All anyone needs to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee you may have ever tasted is:

• a direct heat source
• a roaster (popcorn popper or a skillet)
• a spoon or a stick to stir
• some green coffee beans
• means to cool-down the beans (a pan, colander, or water under the skillet, not over the beans)
• something to store the roasted beans until you are ready to grind and brew
• a grinder
• some way to filter and brew your coffee
• a cup
• a spoon if you use cream and/or sugar
• your lips 🙂

It just does not get any simpler than this! Anyone can do this!

You could spend more on other supplies and equipment. You could use other roasting methods than I use and have shown above. I’ve heard of some people roasting coffee in an air popcorn popper. Beware of anything with plastic parts! I’ve heard of small roasters, for around $89-$139, but they will not be able to roast much more than, about 1/4-1/2 pound of coffee at a time.

If you are a DIY (do it yourself), type of person, I’ve seen some interesting home-made roasters. One took the bottom of a stainless steel popcorn popper and drilled holes all around the circumference, for vents. It was setup on an angle and on a stand, which allowed it to rotate freely. A motor was installed to churn the beans and an old hair dryer was used to heat the beans as they churned and turned, over and over inside the roaster. Well, I’m not that mechanically inclined or for that matter, not this creative.

You could spend $500 and up on small home roasters which will give you more automatic control of the roasting process.

For the gadget lovers, you could spend around $1600 for a USB, barrel roaster and software, for your computer, to roast about 10 ounces of coffee at a time. I can roast more than that in my popcorn popper roaster. And there is only about a year’s warranty on a pooter’ (computer), driven roaster with USB connection. I’m wondering what kind of life I will get out of our all-stainless-steel popcorn popper? 🙂

I’ve heard of larger barrel roasters, for several hundreds of dollars that are custom-designed to fit inside barbecue grills. They are used wih some grills that have automatic rotisserie attachments. These will roast a lot more beans at a time, but I can’t imagine the cleanup!!!

Then again, if you are really serious and want to become a master roaster, expect to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars (yep you read that right), even on used, professional roasters. I’m not a professional or a master roaster. I have no intention of becoming one. Yes, coffee can be roasted better than anything I’ve shown you or that I do, but, and it’s a big but to me, I am not a wealthy person. But if I could buy all this masterful and automatic stuff, where would be the fun in that??? 🙂

Yes, I enjoy my “roasty-toasty popcorn popper” (as our friend Janet calls it), roasting and my skillet roasting. In about an hour’s time (prep, roast, cool and cleanup), I can roast enough coffee for my wife and I (and any friends/family/guests that show up), to last us a week! And Oh, darn, if I run out, I get to go and roast some more! 🙂

If the outside is dropping stuff (rain, snow and etc.), and it’s windy, I’ve no problem opening up one side of our overhead garage door and roasting just inside, under cover. By the way, our garage is not insulated, heated or air-conditioned. But winter, spring, summer or fall, I’ve no issues, roating there at ALL! 🙂

The worst thing that has ever happened is that my garage and my clothes smell like coffee for a day or two. But clothes can be washed and the garage clears out. Well, quite frankly, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee, lingering in my garage or on my clothes, is not a problem to me!! 🙂

You could roast indoors, but I don’t and won’t and I certainly do not recommend it!

I’ve just a few final points to make before I close this post out. First, if you have a favorite type of coffee, change it up once in awhile and try some new ones. You may find that you like others better, than your favorites now. Our mother once said, “Son, you have champagne tastes, but only a beer wallet.” One of the most expensive coffees you can buy green or roasted is, Jamaican Blue Mountain. It is also my favorite, but I will only buy around 1/2 pound and a 1/2 pound of Hawaiian Kona, around the winter holidays. And I am confident in my roasting to my satisfaction and I am looking forward to it. I keep waiting, for specials and maybe I can order ahead of time, before their prices go up. Remember, green beans can be stored in a cool dark place for years! Anyway, if you try new coffees and when you return to roasting, grinding and brewing you “favorite(s)”, your taste buds will explode and will thank you— again, and again!

I am a former chef, retired. And I think it’s important for you to know this why? Using only the popcorn popper or a skillet, I am not interested in using any other methods to roast coffee. Having said that and as a chef, I would have no problem serving my fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee to anyone, anywhere and at any time. I roast to my satisfaction and I would not serve it, if I did not believe you would be satisfied too! You should roast to your satisfaction as well!

“To have it very good, it should be roasted immediately before it is made, doing no more than the quantity you want at that time.”

Eliza Leslie, 1837, Directions for Cookery

Closing

This is much more information I am giving you, than when I first learned how to roast. I would have loved to have had a live demonstration or to have taken a class! I’m born and raised, from the ‘Show Me State’ (Missouri), and I am a visual learner. But all I had was a picture of a medium roast like you have seen here, the idea of roasting on a barbecue grill with a side-burner and two (2), online links, one for the popcorn popper I use and one for the green coffee beans, where I purchase mine. I taught myself how to roast with a skillet. If I can do these things (and I did and I do), ANYONE can! You can too! But there is more, much more that I can do and offer you— “Live” and online!

I am meeting soon with  someone that may be filming a “Live” Facebook presentation of my first class. And we will be discussing the possibility of filming a professional class, to potentially reach 10’s of thousands of people. They would not be drinking the coffee or taking any home, but there really is something special about, ‘Show and Tell’!! Very soon, I will be offering small classes of no more than 14 participants. For more information about them click here

Maybe I will neither be the best presenter nor maybe these will not be the best presentations you have ever experienced, but I promise you, the coffee will not be found much fresher and my enthusiasm for sharing is hopefully contagious and worth the price of admission. 🙂

I am not a wealthy man. I’m not going to sell coffee or products and services by others and I’m not planning on making a living at or getting rich from teaching these classes. But you would not fault me for trying to make a few extra dollars or claiming some tax deductions as business expenses, would you? I wouldn’t be upset if you were doing this! As a matter of fact, everyone should have some type of, home-based business! And isn’t everyone’s dream to be paid (at least a little), for what they love to do a lot!!! Thank you for your time. I hope that I’ve helped you! I raise now a cup and I—

I Toast Your Roast!!! 

Where to Go from Here

OK, you’ve roasted your own coffee, now what do you do with them? 🙂

 

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— What else can you do with coffee

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: