TCS 003: Anyone yes anyone can roast their own coffee, no beard required
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Why do it
Home roasting is very easy and about costs maybe $20 in simple equipment to get started. You can have your first batch of coffee roasted in about 5 mins once you get just 2 pieces of gear and some green beans. Also you can roast in small batches so you have a continuous supply of freshly roasted coffee rather than getting to the bottom of stale bags.
You can only small amounts at a time 100-150grams so don’t expect to be supplying your extended family anytime soon. Also with this method the heat and fan speed are fixed so you get the same roast style each time and its a quick roast so you may want to play around with the roast details later mods or other equipment.
Popcorn Machine normally under $10 from op shops, ebay, gumtree or garage sales. I have found the Breville Crazy Popper to be one of the best as it has a strong motor and plenty of power.
One that has the vents in the bottom section is what you need to force the beans to circulate with hot air and roast.
2 metal colanders
My favourite suppliers are:
Withams Coffee – www.withams.com.au
online and local pickup available (from Hornsby in Sydney NSW)
Green Bean Coffee – greenbeancoffee.com.au
Based in Sydney North Shore area – online order only
Ministry Grounds – ministrygrounds.com.au
Based near the Blue Mountains in Sydney
Coffee Snobs – beanbay.coffeesnobs.com.au
Based in Victoria – super fast postage which they are famous for
Sweet Marias – www.sweetmarias.com
Make sure you are outside with nothing overhead for the first roast, A lot of husks go flying out and there is hot air pushing up so I don’t suggest doing this in doors unless you work out a way to catch or divert the husks.
Popper must be off, then pour in your beans about 120g is ideal for the first batch. Experiment later with your specific popper if it can take more or if the beans move better with less.
Make sure you have the 2 colanders on hand for when its finished. No point hunting around later for them when the beans need to cool off.
Turn on the popper and soak up the moment, you are actually roasting coffee now. You will hear noises after 2-5 minutes that sound like match sticks breaking. That is called first crack. If you drink black coffee and like a crisp slightly acidic flavour turn of the popper now and pour the beans into one colander then transfer them between the 2 colanders for a minute or 2 until you can touch the beans and they are just warm.
If you drink milk coffee and prefer a more subdued chocolatey darker roast let the first crack finish and then a 2nd round of cracking noises will occur and turn off the popper then. You may want to also check the colour of the beans if they are looking really dark turn off the popper regardless of the sounds and get cooling.
Storing roasted beans
I was able to get some craft bags from Green Bean Coffee – greenbeancoffee.com.au which hold up to 150g really well. You could use any container that keeps them out of the air and in the dark. Even an old milo tin would work. Because you use the coffee so quickly there is less time to worry about beans going stale.
When to use the beans
I find that the perfect flavour arrived at about 5 days after you have roasted the beans. They are drinkable from the next day but for me they seems to peak at about 5 days in flavour. So the trick then is to plan in advance how much coffee you drink per day, how much you get from a roast then get into a routine of roasting.
For example I use 16g of coffee per cup and I have 2 cups per day. I get 105g per roast (after starting with 120g and there is the loss from moisture and husks).
So 105g / 32g per day = approx 3 days per roast so I need to roast 1 batch every 3 days.
Now if I roast every 3 days and don’t start drinking the first roast until day 4 I will be drinking ALL of my coffee between day 4 and 6 because the next batch is maturing while I am drinking the previous batch.
Next level – home roasters
Modify your own
Behmor 1600 Plus
Links to great posts about home roasting
The Best Home Coffee Roaster Machines of 2020 (for small batch roasting)