May 9, 2005
Blogging has been a little light here the past few weeks… Not because I’ve lost interest in coffee (never happen), but mostly because I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the latest thing I’ve gotten into — roasting my own coffee…
I picked up a Hearthware i-Roast Coffee Roaster, and have been slowly learning how to properly roast my own beans.
There’s a lot of good to be said about home roasting — green beans are often available much less expensively than the roasted version of the same bean, they store well for a very long time (whereas once roasted, coffee is at its peak for 2 – 6 days), and you can roast them to suit your preferences.
The downside is that getting good results is a real art.
Coffee roasting is a very hand’s-on process — with the i-Roast, it takes about 15 minutes end-to-end to roast a batch of beans. You’ve got a lot of variables you can change (darkness of roast, speed of roast, etc.) that can have a dramatic effect on the outcome, and how each variety of green bean reacts to each of these variables differs.
I’ve been mostly roasting Organic Columbian Mesa de los Santos beans, and comparing my results to what I taste in the fresh roasted Seattle Mountain Columbian Supremo I buy from Costco.
I’m now to the point where I’m getting something comparable, and that I enjoy, but it’s missing a bit of sweetness I liked in the Seattle Mountain; that could still be my roast, or it might be the difference in the variety of bean I’m using (“Columbian Supremo” isn’t a single-origin thing, it’s combined from many growers and graded by bean size, the larger ones becoming “Supremo”).
But I’m enjoying this none the less.
The i-Roast roasts approximately a cup of green beans at a shot (they expand somewhat in the roasting process). It takes 15 minutes to roast, and you need to let the result rest 12 – 48 hours before actually brewing. This gets me about enough roasted coffee to last two days, if it’s just me drinking it.
I’ll post more on what I learn, and on some of the varietals I’m playing with, as I learn more…