Becoming a Bona Fide Coffee Home Roaster: From Green Bean to the Perfect Brewed Cup in 7 Easy Steps

Published: 23rd January 2012
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Home roasting coffee has become the rage for many serious coffee connoisseurs throughout the world.

Roasting coffee at home used to be the norm rather than the exception, before big companies took over the process towards the end of the 19th century. The revival of home roasting coffee followed in the wake of a general interest in gourmet coffee in the seventies and beyond, even to this very day. Nowadays, we have more knowledge, skills and tools to make coffee roasting easier and more enjoyable than years ago.

Coffee is a small red fruit (also, it can be yellow) that goes through many steps before it becomes a coffee drink. The coffee berry is usually wet processed to remove the outer skin or pulp (which is actually fermented away). The inner seed, or bean, is then dried and becomes the green bean that is sold and shipped throughout the world. The green bean can be stored away for up to two years and still remain fresh and delightful to the taste once it is roasted.

Here are the seven steps that you must take to become a full-fledged coffee home roaster in good standing with your peers in this new fledgling culinary art.

  1. You must either purchase a home roasting machine (which sells new for around $90, or you can buy one used on Ebay for approximately $60. If you're like me, and don't like to spend a lot of money, you can purchase a popcorn popper (get only the rotary type which spins the beans in a circular motion) at certain local department stores, or online for $30, or even under $30. This will do the job almost as well as the coffee roaster itself. I myself purchased a West Bend Poppery II hot air corn popper on for $15.
  2. You must purchase online (they are generally not readily available anywhere else) the green coffee beans that you plan to roast. A good suggestion is to buy a lb of 8 to 10 different kinds of green beans from various coffee growing areas in the world. You can choose Java beans from Indonesia, or Yirgacheffe beans from Ethiopia, or Supremo beans from Colombia.
  3. For home roasting coffee, beans need to be heated from 370°F to 540°F—faster air currents permit lower temperatures. The beans must be kept in motion to prevent scorching or uneven roasting. The cool down of the beans must be done quickly to avoid over roasting. Make sure that you have plenty of ventilation as smoke often accompanies the roasting. Also, do not be intimidated by the outer skin or chaff that will be blown off the beans midway through the roasting process. This is why if you're roasting indoors, it's best to do it in the kitchen sink or on the counter top next to the sink, so as not to make a mess in the process.
  4. Let the coffee beans rest for 24 hours as that is when they reach their peak in flavor and aroma. However, beans can be used as early as 4 hours after roasting.
  5. Then you will need a coffee grinder to reduce the beans to a coarse grind for the brewing. Never grind more than what you are going to use that day. Also, never roast more than what you are going to use in the next three to five days. You can literally smell the loss of aroma in the beans the longer you wait to use them.
  6. Preparing the perfect cup of gourmet coffee: If you are using the drip coffee brewing method, use 2.5 to 3 tablespoons of medium ground coffee per 8 ounce cup. As far as brewing the perfect cup, I would recommend you to purchase a French Press coffee maker. The main reason why the French Press is considered superior to drip brewing is that the water is in contact with all of the beans an equal amount of time. It also filters less of the fines (fine coffee grounds similar to powder) which make for a more full flavored drink. Also, try to use filtered water, if at all possible.
  7. The French Press consists of a glass container mounted in a metallic frame with a wire mesh plunger. You insert the bean grounds (always a coarse grind, about 3-1/3 measuring spoons) into the container, and then you pour a little hot water (just shy of the boiling point), just enough to wet the grounds first, and then five seconds later, the rest of the water. Proceed then to stir the mixture. Let it rest for 4 minutes, and voilà, you will begin to enjoy the greatest cup of coffee you've ever had in your life!
    Order the world's best tasting gourmet coffee beans. You may buy these fresh roasted coffee beans online now. We also have green coffee beans for sale.

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