Do Roasting.

If you’ve found your way here you’re either my mother (sorry for being rude about the police) or you’re a burgeoning or established coffee dork.   So you had your awakening in a Soho coffee bar, bought the espresso machine and had the grinder moment followed shortly by the dissatisfaction with supermarket beans.  By now you’re either pulling your hair out, happily mastering your rosettas or chucking it all out having rediscovered the cafetiere you put in the cupboard in 1993.

Perhaps it’s time to make the next move.  Take the blue pill and enter the unpopular world of the home roaster.

HeatGunDogBowl, Whirley Pop and breadmaker mod are terms which have started to slip from common newbie vernacular and I think this is a shame.  Photo0149Having a basic first hand knowledge of roasting coffee is a valuable tool when trying to expand your understanding of coffee in all its forms.  You know that roast level is a pretty big factor, but what happens if you arrive at that level in 12 minutes rather than 17?  Why did first crack run straight into second?  Why did second crack never arrive at all?  Sometimes it pays to give yourself questions to answer, drive your research and send you down side tracks to destinations you never expected to arrive at.  It also gives you the opportunity to train your palate and refine all of your sensory skills.

A major secondary factor for me taking the plunge was a financial one.  Learning to make espresso in a home environment is an expensive business.  Once you’ve shelled out for all the kit, the £60 per month I was spending on coffee started getting pretty uncomfortable.  I wasn’t able to make as much coffee as I would have liked and that just would not do.  Green coffee is available for about half the price of roasted, and while the professional roasting is worth every penny, drinking coffee from one of your own roasts despite all its flaws has a big grin factor.

Does this mean another big investment in gear then?  Well no.  You can buy expensive specialist home roasting machines, or even a commercial small capacity sample roaster, but for me this is not really in the spirit of what we’re doing.  My equipment consists of a 25 year old paint stripper heat gun, a pair of sieves and a long handled spoon.  There are plenty of innovative ways to get the job done, check out www.sweetmarias.com the home roasting gurus, then buy your green from www.hasbean.co.uk .  You’ll have an adventure, just not one you wanna tell your friends about.  They won’t get it.

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~ by bombcup on May 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Do Roasting.”

  1. http://cdn.makezine.com/make/martha/MAKE_V08_CoffeeRoaster.pdf
    I came across this- The direct flame can’t be that good for the beans, but, combined with Steve’s heat gun would be the bomb home-made roaster.

  2. Hey Jimmy,

    I love the look of that roaster, I’ve seen that link somewhere before and I had a half-arsed attempt using a drill and a baked bean tin with some mesh in the bottom. Didn’t go well. I reckon if you had the time and skills to put that thing together it would do a good job, especially with a heatgun as you suggest.

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