Friday, May 21, 2010

The Roastery

Welcome to our own little coffee cottage industry!  We began roasting our own green beans a few months ago -- one of those DIY skills, like bread-baking, that feels especially satisfying.   To be honest, it's a deceptively simple process....Our "roastery" consists of a popcorn maker and a corner of our garage.  We buy fair-trade, single-origin green beans from a local coffee shop for about a quarter of the price of roasted beans, and away we go!  There is a bounty of information about roasting your own on the web -- just type "coffee roasting+popcorn maker" into your search engine.  (Alternately, here or here may be good places to begin.  N.B. there are all sorts of important safety precautions that go along with this method -- please don't burn your house down!)

Learning the ins and outs of home roasting can take a few weeks -- through trial and error, we've found that we like a really dark roast that goes for as long as 6-7 minutes, and that leaving the beans uncovered for at least 24 hours after roasting results in a much improved taste. 

We roast our beans in a Breville popcorn popper we picked up for free, and we choose to roast without the lid on at all (the popper gets really hot, and it almost seems like the plastic lid could melt.)  We feel fine about the chaff (the outer part of the bean, which can create a bit of a mess) being less contained since it's outside in the garage.

My husband and S usually take on this piece of work -- S can help sift the beans and enjoys stirring them afterward during the cooling process.   I'm happy to let them go to it!  The smell of home-roasted beans wafting into the kitchen while I make dinner is just divine....And home-roasted brew, well, it's not exactly the same as coffee that's professionally roasted, but it's still pretty darn good  -- and getting better and better the more we experiment.  Plus, nothing tastes quite like a hot cup of self-sufficiency and economy  (stirred well to taste.)


**  Just one more day of the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway -- please be sure to enter if you haven't yet!**