Friday, October 25, 2013


Sometime this summer, I got the idea that the next step in improving my coffee-making skills would be to roast the beans myself. I don't remember what came first, the idea or the website describing how to do this. Inspiration aside, I became aware of a method of home roasting coffee beans using an air popcorn popper, as described here.

Finally, two days ago, I tried it out. I picked up about a pound of green coffee beans at Higher Grounds (the splendid fair trade coffee roasting company in my town) -- enough for a few tries but not so much that I would regret the purchase if it didn't work out.

I loaded a scoop of green beans into the popcorn popper, flipped the switch, put a bowl under the chute for the chaff, and waited. I decided to go for the dark roast, and after 7 minutes I decided it was done. I poured the beans into a colander, tossed them around and inhaled the aroma.

Lovely! I think I got more of a medium roast than a dark.

The internet instructions recommended waiting 4 to 24 hours before brewing for the freshly-roasted beans to reach their best state; of course, I couldn't wait. I ground some beans immediately and brewed them in my French press. The resulting coffee was distinctive and had a flavor I can't describe. It was definitely coffee, but with a vibrant quality.

I stored the rest of the freshly-roasted beans in a tin for the next morning, expecting coffee nirvana. The morning coffee was excellent, but not noticeably different than the usual brew roasted by Higher Grounds.

Anyway, home roasting is easy, saves a couple of dollars a pound on coffee, and produces great results. I plan to continue, and I will always brew a pot immediately after roasting because regardless of what the experts say, that really-fresh-roasted taste is too good to forsake.

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