Simple Series Explained with DIY Coffee Roasting

The Simple Series IS a collection of instructions for doing things in a straight-forward uncomplicated, efficient manner. Many times I have found that I avoid and procrastinate on things that I want to do because I have some preconceived idea that it is complicated or takes a professional to do. I now believe that things can be learned and simplified, especially with the abundance of instructional videos found on the internet and Youtube. Thus, the Simple Series is born. Quick and easy, no fuss, just the way I like it.

Simple Series: DIY Coffee

Sometimes a small and simple change can make a large difference in life. For weeks I have been planning to buy green coffee beans in order to roast my own coffee. In the meantime, I have continued to drink the already roasted kind that I buy from the grocery store and read countless webpages about the diy (do-it-yourself) home roasting process. The more I read and learned, the seemingly more bitter, burnt, and gross my coffee became; even though it was the same coffee, brewed in my usual French press manner.

As my anticipation grew, I first bought some green coffee beans online. I bought 5 pounds, knowing that a green unroasted coffee bean will last much longer without going rancid than roasted beans. Did you know that roasted coffee beans should sit for no longer than 3-7 days before being consumed in order to have a fresh full flavor? Most packages sit on a shelf at the grocery store or Starbucks for weeks and months, producing rancid, off flavors. Likewise, the beans are often roasted for longer and to a darker stage in order to maintain a consistent taste. Unfortunately that taste is one that is often burnt and bitter tasting. At home, a lighter roast will result in the actual unique taste of that specific variety of bean being more pronounced. It is a much different experience than Starbucks (sorry Mom and Dad). Not all folks agree, but in my coffee drinking, I’ll gladly take variety in my flavor over consistency. Each new roast is an exciting opportunity to compare and contrast flavors.

Today I finally roasted for the first time. I used a popcorn popping machine. It took 5 minutes. It was fun and it smelled great.

In fact the beans are sitting by my side right now, and I take a whiff every once in a while. It’s kind of a heavenly smell. I won’t go into all the nerdy details, but it is a fun process to watch the beans change color and size, see the chaff fly off, hear the crack/popping noise, and feel the warmth of the beans as I cooled them in a colander.

Picking green coffee beans online offers the chance to read descriptions of each variety, the ideal roasting level, and learn about the farm and people that cultivated the crop. Cool stuff.

Tomorrow morning I will grind and brew the first batch of home roasted Nicaraguan El Tular coffee for Tessa and I. I enjoy doing small things for Tessa, like cooking her a meal, running her a bath, or making coffee in the morning. Although I am a coach/counselor and have the training and ability to share and discuss my feelings with her, I sometimes think there is a simple beauty in doing something/taking care of another person that expresses love more than words do.

Very simple instructions for DIY roasting, if you have the urge…

  1. Google search “green coffee beans”, read descriptions, and make a purchase. (I like deansbeans.com and sweetmarias.com)
  2. Find, borrow, or purchase a popcorn popper. Try thrift stores/Goodwill. It must be one that has a solid, NOT mesh, bottom where the beans are poured (you want small holes on the side of the holding cylinder).
  3. Pour ½ cup of beans into popcorn popper, turn it on for about 5 minutes (chaff will fly off the beans and you will hear cracking/popping noises after a few minutes). There is no exact roasting time, so experiment and find the darkness of roast that pleases your palate.
  4. Turn off machine and pour beans into a mesh colander and stir in order to aid cooling. Step outside for a minute to aid cooling if it is cold outside. After beans become room temperature, store in a mason jar with lid partially unscrewed so gases can escape.
  5. Wait until the next morning (or 1-7 days) to grind and brew your fresh roasted coffee!
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