The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Coffee Roasting

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Coffee Roasting

So I figured there might be people in here into other artisan sorta stuff.  Here's some coffee I roasted this morning.  I was going for a City+ roast and this coffee particularly has a strong aroma and flavor of blueberries when roasted.  Ethiopian Harrar Horse.  This is a particularly fruity lot I had stored away from a few years ago.  The uneven color is a characteristic of this bean.


Michael 2003's picture
Michael 2003

I would LOVE to home roast some coffee!


 


I once got some Kona coffee from the local supermarket and it was FANTASTIC, but only once!


It is believed that that bag must have been the last bag filled after roasting and was immediately shipped dirctly to the store, and I must have purchased it as soon as it hit the shelf!


I do have a set of Stainless Steel bowls and an industrial strength blow dryer that is intended for paint removal so I should be able to roast them!


Where do you get the good unroasted beans?

crunchy's picture
crunchy

are also good for roasting coffee. I see them at thrift stores all the time for a buck or two. I'm not sure how even of a roast you could get with a blow dryer, unless you were constanty agitating the beans while roasting. Some people roast in the oven, too.


 

Steve H's picture
Steve H

You have to be careful with air poppers because some of them will melt on you.  I guess an OLD West Bend Poppery (II?) is a favorite.  An iRoast can also be used and is what I started with.  I then moved to a Stir Crazy/Turbo Oven method which worked but I didn't like the lack of control.  I now roast with a Behmor drum roaster and I really want to get the thing probed so I can get some good temperature measurements but I can't decide how I want to do it.


Heat gun/dog bowl I've heard good things about, but never tried it.  My understanding is its excellent for control.  Be sure to be outside, because the smoke might get distracting.  With small batches (like 1/4# or 1/8#) it shouldn't be so bad.  My first time roasting a pound of coffee in my SC/TO was eye-opening. :)

boilerbaker's picture
boilerbaker

My son has been using the rotisserie motor on his outside Dukane grill for years to roast excellent coffee.  

Steve H's picture
Steve H

I almost included it in the post, but my beans come from Sweet Marias.  As others have indicated, they are great to work with.  Specifically, Tom is very dedicated at picking his selection and its always great quality.  I've done my green beans through a few places and SM is always better, even if I can shave $0.50 off somewhere else.


 

crunchy's picture
crunchy

Steve, that coffee looks good. We roast in my household too, although not in large enough quantities to drink exclusively. Like with bread, once you taste properly roasted (not burnt!) good coffee, there's no going back. Where do you get your beans? I like Sweet Maria's (www.sweetmarias.com). Nice to see another coffee enthusiast on TFL.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Yep, I get my beans from SM also. 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Steve,


I'm afraid I have a similarly geeky approach to coffee as to bread. However, I have not gotten into home roasting. Maybe some day.


Michael,


Some of the good coffee roasters will sell green beans of their signature blends, but a place that specializes in selling green coffee beans is Sweet Maria's in Emeryville, CA. See:


http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.espresso.php


David

crunchy's picture
crunchy

David, we posted about Sweet Maria's at the same time. They really are a great source of good honest beans.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Crunchy.


I've ordered roasted beans from Sweet Maria's but not for a while. I like their attitude, and I've never heard anyone say anything negative about them. That's pretty remarkable.


After a couple of years of seriously sampling roasted beans from around the Country, I get my coffee almost exclusively from Intelligentsia or Stumptown. I like Ecco Caffé too. I was able to attend a cupping seminar at Stumptown about a year ago. Naturally, the coffee I liked the most had to be the one selling for $90 a pound (as I found out when I went to buy it)! It was a Bolivian COE winner.


David

ArtisanGeek's picture
ArtisanGeek

You can also use a "Peanut Roaster". These are rotating steel drums that you attach to a large gas grill outdoors.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The first Coffee Bean (the Southern California coffee house chain) was a tiny store front in the farmer's market in Brentwood off of San Vicente. That's where I first got into fine coffee. It was about 1967, as I recall.


They roasted their coffees in small batches in an antique, gas-fired peanut roaster that they had salvaged from a bankrupt circus. It was way cool. I think they really went downhill when they started expanding. 


David

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

Roasting beans that are a few years old?  Hmmmm.  I roast mine within 6 months of receiving.


Visit coffeegeek.com for roasting tips if interested.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Yes, not ideal.  I'm working through a backlog. :)  Its hard to control myself when there are so many good beans around.  My stash is finally down around 10 pounds.

ericb's picture
ericb

Sigh. Yet another way for me to spend my hard-earned money. I've always wanted to get serious about coffee and roast my own beanz, but that requires a commitment to an entirely new line of kitchen products. I've had my eye on an obscenely expensive conical burr grinder for years.


Fortunately, we have a dozen exceptional coffee houses in Louisville, so I just let them do the hard work of roasting, grinding, and brewing.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Yes.  I have a cabinet full of equipment.  I take pride in being able to prepare coffee any way in my house:  I have two Grinders (Mazzer Minis) (I need to sell one of them), Expresso Machine (Rancilio Expresso) Machine, Stovetop Espresso, Drip Machine (Technivorm), Aeropress, Ibrik, French Press, Manual Drip (Chemex).  Still no vacuum pot.  My roasters are an iRoast, SC/TO, and Behmor.


Coffee can be equipment-intensive.  All that said though you can get by with a heat gun, dog bowl, (which will let you roast), whirly-blade grinder, and manual drip device (a simple one, or a Chemex if you are feeling fancy).  Aeropress (WHICH ISN'T ESPRESSO, DESPITE THE BOX CLAIMS) is also pretty cheap and convenient and makes a hell of a cuppa.


First upgrade from there is a good burr grinder, like a Rocky or Mazzer, which will last forever and really improve flavor due to even grinding.  The cheap burr grinders in store don't hold a candle.

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

Enough stated!

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Ooh, a new grinder.  SM sells it so it must be at least reasonably good.  This was an empty niche for a while because most of these machines had poor build quality.  (SM used to have a mixed review of the Solis Maestro.) 


Cool!  (Although I would still be tempted to get a Rocky or used Mazzer Mini.)  :)

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I use a Rocky for drip and French press grinds and a Macap stepless, doserless grinder for espresso. The Rocky is a step up from the Baratza Virtuoso. The Macap is much superior to the Rocky. I think the Mazzer and Macap grinders are both of excellent quality.


If you are not making espresso, I think the Virtuoso is probably plenty grinder for your needs.


David

crunchy's picture
crunchy

I'm surprized nobody mentioned them, considering how many people are using manual grain mills. I have a knee mill and a Turkish grinder, both by Zassenhaus, that produce a very consistent grind with very little effort. Grinding coffee in the morning is a contemplative process for me :).

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I thought they had discontinued making these? 


David

EvaB's picture
EvaB

Was sort of wondering that myself, since I have two and don't roast any coffee! I also have several small grinders from Wal Mart and elsewhere for doing coffee, but it doesn't have the nice flavour the slow hand grinders impart. Of course my shoulders and arms don't complain for months after grinding either!


I would love to get into roasting my own, and absolutely hate the horrid stuff they sell at Starbucks over roasted burned flavour and they sell it as Gourmet!

cmkrause's picture
cmkrause

I am interested in getting your opinion on the Rancilio.  I purchased a Rancilio Silvia last year and have had great success with it.  Having owned a coffee shop for nine years I was concerned about the quality of the brew I would be getting from a home machine, but I have been nothing but happy with this one.  I consistently get very tight microfoam and creamy caramel crema with the Silvia. I will be looking for a new grinder, though, in the near future.  The la Pavoni that I currently have is not quite up to speed, but it works well enough for now.

asicign's picture
asicign

I'm extremely happy with my Silvia.  Myh biggest limitation right now is my grinder.  I'm using a manual Hario Skerton, and with the Guatemalan beans from a very good local roaster, I did just fine, and pulled some excellent shots.  However, I've found it challenging to get the grind right with my home roasts.  I finally made some progress yesterday, but the Hario just isn't that amenable to grind adjustments.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

I used to roast my own coffee in the early 1980s. There was an article in Cuisine or Bon Appetite on how to roast it in a hot air popcorn machine. It worked great because it kept the beans in constant motion. The biggest problem I had was obtaining the green beans, but that was a long time ago and I lived in Dallas, so I expect this wouldn't be as big an issue today.


--Pamela

xaipete's picture
xaipete

This is pretty much the way I did it in the early 1980s.


http://www.sweetmarias.com/airpop/airpopmethod.php


Of course, you really can't ever use the machine for popcorn after this, but they are cheap enough today.


--Pamela

Nomadcruiser53's picture
Nomadcruiser53

I've been home roasting my own coffee for a couple years now. I love it. I bought a SS drum roaster and do all my roasting on my BBQ. I use a Mazzer Mini grinder and my espresso machine is a Vibiemme double boiler. Already mentioned here is coffeegeek.com and I used it extensively for my journey into home roasting and brewing great coffee. Pair this up with homemade breads from this site and it's a hard combo to beat. Dave

crunchy's picture
crunchy

This comment is in response to David's inquiry about the Zass. I bought mine in the last two years and they're still made in Germany. Here is their current selection http://www.zassenhaus.com/index.php?id=17 . Sweet Maria's carries some.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I have roasted coffee at home for a number of years now and always get beans from Sweet Marias and I too give them a high rating. 


Recently I discovered Kickapoo Coffee Roasters from southwestern Wisconsin and find their roasted coffees to be the finest I have ever had.  It was poorly roasted coffee that first moved me to roast my own but after my discovery of Kickapoo Coffee I often buy their coffee as it is better than mine and I dare say likely better than the vast majority of home roasted beans.


And now for the bread tie in (there HAS to be one here), I sometimes use coffee as a coloring/flavoring agent in in dark rye breads.


Jeff

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

I just noticed this thread - I'm a coffee roaster, too - and I get my beans from Sweet Maria's. In fact, I've posted a few OT threads about my baking there, too.


I do my roasting stove-top. Need to do a couple of batches today - I always manage to run out completely, even though it's better to let the coffee rest for a few days before drinking it. My son is convinced I roast the best coffee ever.


Only have one brewing apparatus - a Chemex I bought for a good price on eBay. Had a French Press but it finally gave way and broke (after a lot of use). Funny - I find stovetop roasting to be meditative - have a (now broken) Zass, but it hurt my hands too much (arthritis).


I've used very finely ground homeroast coffee in my biscotti - never thought of using it in rye bread. But then again, everytime I've tried rye, it's been a failure. Going to try again in the fall... been a bit too hot here to bake lately (says she as she gets ready to stand over the gas stove for 12 minutes to roast coffee!!)

loydb's picture
loydb

I just noticed the thread as well. I'm also a confirmed Sweert Mariah's addict. I started off with an iRoast 2, ran it for almost two years before I finally destroyed it, and replaced it with a Behmor. I use a Rancilio Rocky for grinding and a Rancilio Miss Sylvia as my espresso delivery apparatus.


My wife jokes that roasting coffee is my only hobby that actually *saves* money (green coffee is from $4-$7 a pound for the most part -- about half of roasted), and the quality can't be beat by anything you get in a store.


 


 

i8dpie's picture
i8dpie

I roast coffee beans all the time with no special equipment at all-just a very small cast iron skillet. The beans are roasted to whatever roast I want from light to deep shiny espresso. I live in an apartment and do not have a stove fan so I keep the kitchen window wide open to avoid smoke. But because I roast in tiny batches for immediate consumption, there isn't that much smoke to begin with. Once you roast your own, it will be very hard to go back to store bought roasted beans.

I wrote an article based on making your own delicious espresso at home from roasting the beans to brewing with no electric devices.It's really very simple and extremely gratifying


http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1403295/make_the_best_espresso_without_any.html?cat=6

jkandell's picture
jkandell

I roast just like you, with a cast iron skillet. I turn on the house fan and open kitchen window, though if you roast light to medium you don't get much smoke.  I blow out the chaf every few minutes onto the floor, then sweep when finished.  For some reason I find french press the best for freshly roasted (when it still tastes of gas), but after a day or two I prefer drip.

jillian_g's picture
jillian_g

I also do it at home, roasting my own coffee. For me it tastes better compared to those I bought, I'm not being biased here though. Will do it again tomorrow, so excited and I think my coffee makers too.

asicign's picture
asicign

One more home roaster here.  I may buy a real roaster one day, but  for now, I use a heatgun and stainless steel bowl on my Sweet Maria beans.  I can get decent roasted beans locally, but after two weeks, no coffee will be excellent.

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

Cool to see other Sweet Maria's folks here! I am so impressed with this company - I wish all businesses were run like theirs.


I've never tried the heatgun & dog bowl (stainless steel bowl) method - I roast stovetop, but with the less-than-perfect stove I am now using (new apt.), I am tempted. Problem is, w/every new method there is a learning curve - which usually means putting up w/coffee that's not as good as usual.


So far, I've adjusted pretty well to the stove I now have. There is also a couple of BBQ's in the back yard here (don't know what condition they are in), so using them to roast coffee is a possibility, too.


 

asicign's picture
asicign

It's important to roast beans evenly, and with the heat gun, you can keep stirring, keeping an eye on the progress, and end up with an even roast at the level you are looking for.  I don't think there's much of a learning curve involved.  One important thing, though, is to cool the beans quickly after the roast to preserve the flavors you've just created.

Moots's picture
Moots

Delighted to see this thread!  I have been roasting my own beans for about 5 years, after my SO gave me an iRoast for xmas. I was inspired to try home roasting after visiting our own Oregon Legacy Coffee, a great local source for green beans, fresh roasted coffee, and loose leaf tea.  We have a Saeco comfort plus espresso machine and a french press that only gets used for breakfast picnics.


PR's cinnamon rolls and fresh roasted Guatamalan coffee on  a rainy Saturday morning--it just doesn't get much better than this.


Cheers,


Tracy


 

lowecc's picture
lowecc

Several years ago I purchased an I roast for my husband.  He used it so much it only lasted a few months of hard use.  I ended up purchasing him a roasting drum to use on our propane BBQ from RK Drums.  We have been using it for at least 4 years now with very good results.  Now if we only had time to roast enough to keep up with our coffee consumption, then life would be good.  We end up supplementing with a local companies coffee in between roasting our own.

3 Olives's picture
3 Olives

I roast my own and buy the beans from Sweet Maria's, too. Even imperfectly roasted beans are better than anything you can buy at the store. Once you have the roaster, grinder, and coffee maker it becomes a fairly affordable hobby. You just have to stay away from the $22.00/lb. Kona beans that are unlike any coffee you ever had before.

Theresse's picture
Theresse

Ohhh this thread is depressing me.  My neighbor roasts coffee in his garage for many of us in the neighborhood.  He lets us pick the country and roast and he roasts it to our liking then delivers it to our doorsteps!  AND HE'S MOVING AWAY IN LESS THEN A MONTH! :( :( :(

I don't want/need another hobby and don't have the space to make my own but dang I'm going to miss that guy!  Back to Pete's Coffee I go, I guess...