Ya’ll know I’m all about making everything at home (or trying), so when my good friend Stephanie asked if I wanted to try roasting coffee beans, I said yes! She had procured some green coffee beans from Casa Brazil, and armed with some instructions from the web, a cast iron skillet, thermometer, a fan, and a desire for the best cup of coffee ever, we got started.
Following our online instructions, once the cast iron skillet was at 200 degrees, we put in about half a pound of green coffee beans.
The instructions called for continuous stirring, so that’s what we did. We set a timer to compare our progress, with the instructions.
There were things to watch for along the way, gray smoke, the first crack, and second crack, as well as color changes, and a release of oil.
When the first batch got pretty dark and started making crackling sounds, we decided to declare it done, and rushed the beans outside where Stephanie had set up a fan for fast cooling.
Once cooled, we ground up some of the beans, and made and made a cup of coffee.
Alas, the first cup tasted very grassy and bitter.
Round two. We repeated the procedure for Round one, but turned up the temp a bit on the stove. This time, we kept roasting until we heard a second round of cracking, and the beans started to expand. This process took about 20 minutes. Although we never saw the beans take on an oily appearance, we declared them done. Outside they went, to cool over the fan (quick cooling to prevent continued roasting.) This time around, a considerable amount of chaff blew off of the beans.
We ground up some of the second batch, and the color was much improved. And, they smelled more like coffee.
We brewed a second cup, and it was much better, although not quite the coffee revelation we were hoping for.
This morning, two days after roasting, my cup of coffee was excellent, having lost the hint of bitterness it had immediately after roasting.
There are other methods for roasting coffee – a hot air popcorn popper is supposed to be really good for this purpose. You can also roast the beans in the oven. I’m going to continue this experiment with different methods and beans until I come up with the perfect combination, and the still elusive, perfect cup of coffee.