I have been bubbling with excitement over these past few days in anticipation of a box from Amazon. After searching for reasonably priced espresso beans in bulk that also had the flavor we were looking for, it just occurred to me. Why not roast our own? Armed with confidence after an hour or so of Youtube training videos, the order was placed. I rushed off to one of the local thrift stores and found myself a brand new popcorn popper for a mere $6.
I got home from work today and found the fresh bag of green beans (really, they are seeds.) These are the bits of distinguishing information you learn when you start hunting around the internet. I immediately grabbed the popper, a colander lined with damp paper towel and a saved jam jar. I put a little less than half a cup into the machine. As I turned it on, I immediately realized why the coffee roasting aficionado I watched said to find a popper with air vents on the SIDE, not on the bottom. It’s all part of the learning process, right?
So the beans started to jump and fly out of the mouth of the popper. I decided that I would just go ahead and work with it until I could go get the right type of hot air. I am sure it is not advisable to manually rotate the hot popper shrouded in a towel while it is running. But I was desperate, and overexcited. As predicted, the chaff begin to fly out of the machine like a small snow storm. Thankfully, I decided to do this on the outside table. The chaff is the thin, papery skin around the raw beans that sheds at the beginning of the roasting process.
5-10 minutes later I gave up on this woefully inefficient, tiresome and possibly dangerous method and decided to finish off my roasting process on the stove top in a covered skillet. I did not have a thermometer handy that could tell me when the temperature reached 500º so I went with my gut, got the oven mitts and agitated the pot a few inches above the heat as the beans darkened and cracked. I also had a phone call to answer, dinner was cooking and people were asking me questions over the exhaust fan. I didn’t care…the experiment had to be finished so tomorrow morning’s coffee was something straight from heaven.
It remains to be seen if my intuition, research and sense of smell will win the day. Another popper will find a home on the shelf tomorrow with air vents on the SIDE please. The beans are now loosely covered, an appealing dark brown, resting and de-gassing on the counter. Fingers crossed, I will be amazed with the results. To be continued…