Tasty Thursday: Roasting Your own Coffee

If you've been following my daily blogs at all, you probably know by now that I love coffee. There's no way around it. The best part of waking up is a nice big old cup of fresh brewed coffee. There's so many varieties that nearly everyone can find a blend they enjoy. One of the best ways to enjoy coffee is to roast your own. Most people don't utililize the coffee roasting at home, and they are missing out. While most home coffee roasters cost anywhere from $100-$300, did you know that you can roast your beans with a popcorn popper? It's true! Here's how. The process is actually cheaper than you think.

The first thing you'll need to roast your own beans is an air popcorn popper...Yes, that's right, believe it or not, one of the best ways to roast beans is using an air popcorn popper. The best part about it, is that most people have one already. If not, there are many different vareties of popcorn poppers that will do the trick, and most are anywhere between $20-$30. I actually bought my popcorn popper with a 20% coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond, and saved myself lots of money. I spent $15 and got a coffee roaster!

The second thing you'll need is unroasted coffee beans. I know that in the Bangor area, there are no places that sell unroasted coffee beans so you'll have to buy the beans online. Although I'm not sure about Portland, I don't believe they do either. The great news is that you can find them pretty easily online (where I buy mine), and you can get pounds of coffee for essentially the same price of what you would pay for roasted coffee in the grocery store, or coffee shop. In many cases, it's cheaper, and there are tons of varieties to choose from. If you have any question as to whether or not the beans you are buying are unroasted or not, remember this. Unroasted coffee beans have a green color to them. Roasted coffee beans are brown and generally have a glossy outside.

So now you have the two essentials to start roasting your own coffee. The process itself takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on how dark you want your coffee. I like darker coffee so I normally let my beans roast a bit longer. The coffee beans have a chaffe on the outside of them, which will come off during the roasting process. Before you put your beans in, get a bowl with a damp cloth lining it, and place it underneath the popcorn chute. Take a half cup of the unroasted coffee beans and put them into the popcorn popper and turn it on. The air popcorn popper moves the beans in a circular motion and ensures that the beans will have an even roast. From here on out, all you really have to do is wait. After about three minutes you'll hear the beans start to crack. This is called the "first crack". At the five minute mark, the beans are technically roasted enough for a mild blend, but like I said, I enjoy a darker roast so I suggest waiting a few more minutes. I generally let my beans roast for about eight minutes. If you wait long enough, you'll hear the "second crack" of the coffee beans, and that will let you know that the beans have entered a dark roast.

When the beans have reached the desired color, turn off the popcorn popper and transfer the beans into a glass jar. Put the lid on but don't screw it on too tightly. The beans will release heat and gas and will need some room for the lid to pop up. Let them sit overnight and in the morning grind them and brew an amazing pot of coffee. I'm serious, you probably won't find a fresher and more tasty cup of coffee than you will if you roast your own. I've been doing it for a few months now and I have yet to have a bad batch of beans. You can gave gourmet coffee right in your home at a fraction of the cost of high end coffee. If you want to see a video of the process that I use, click here. They also have a list of usable popcorn poppers for this process (I use the Nostalgia brand). You can also find a huge selection of unroasted coffee beans here. I used this website before, and they were shipped to me within a week. And finally, for an idea of what the different stages of roasted beans look like, look here. There you have it! Fresh coffee is easy to do, and I encourage you to try it.

Have you ever roasted your own coffee?

Seth P.