Coffee So Fresh…

A next door neighbor is Colombian and spends most of his time in Miami.  I get his mail and give it to him when he’s home a few days every four to six weeks with his wife, who teaches at University of Miami. (like me, he’s retired but his wife has a few years to go.)

He  usually takes me out to dinner when he’s in town as “thank you” for watching his mail but I was too busy last time.  He knows I’m a coffee elitist and so in place of dinner he bought me some coffee. He knows I buy coffee beans, which I grind just before I brew it.

He thought I might be interested in roasting my own coffee and so he bought me green Colombian Huila (region) beans. Even though green coffee is cheaper, I’ve stayed away from roasting my own beans because I always assumed it was too much hassle. But after some online research, I discovered that it is fairly quick and straightforward.

I had always assumed you had to roast green coffee in the oven. And while you can do that, if you’re just roasting a small amount, say enough for a mug for one or two  people, there’s a simple “hack” which I tried: a hot air corn popper.

Here’s what I did:

1. Used an old Wear-Ever air popper as suggested from online research since it keeps the beans moving around for even roasting.

2. Put the popper snout over the kitchen sink, since during the first 2-3 minutes, there’s quite a bit of chaff coming out.

3.. Waited until I heard the first “cracking” noises, which is light roast. That was maybe 5 minutes. I thought the noise might be drowned out by the popper noise but it was clearly audible.

4. Not too much aroma during roasting. Some aroma if I put my nose right over the beans after roasting while cooling. Some aroma after I ground the beans, but since it is light roast…

5. Now the important part: taste. Nice strong flavor for a light roast Colombian. I was very surprised, actually. Taste was much stronger than when I simply ground and brewed roasted Colombian beans that I had bought

These are “Excelso” beans, one size below Supremo but probably above what you get in those “bottom shelf” canisters in a grocery. But there’s no necessary correlation between bean size and flavor, that I’m aware of.

After I go through these five pounds, I will look into higher quality coffee. I like Guatemalan Antigua, so that may be next. Green coffee is cheaper than roasted coffee and now that I see it doesn’t take long to roast for a cup or two…

Here’s my first roast; literally a handful of green beans was perfect for a 10-12 ounce cup. I use only purified water too. Tap water has too much other stuff in it that may affect flavor. It’s the “weakest link” concept; you want strong chain links at all points in the brew.

Steve Fellerman's photo.