Six days ago I made my own coffee for the first time.
When I say “made,” I don’t just mean I brewed coffee in a French Press or used magical instant powder.
I bought 4 1lb bags of un-roasted washed coffee from the Green Coffee Co. (I was not paid to do this, by the way – curiosity just got the better of my inner coffee-loving cat). I wanted to see if roasting your own coffee without an at-home roaster was difficult.
It was not.
The bags I got were from Costa Rica, Columbia, El Salvador, and Tanzania.
To start, I measured out 1/4 cup of my green beans: a single-origin Costa Rica from Heredia grown at an altitude of 1300 with a cupping score of 83 points and tasting notes of baker’s chocolate, hazelnut, brown sugar, and citrus.
You may have no idea what this means, but I thought it was neat. I’m not sure I fully know either. I’m still learning about coffee as I navigate this caffeine-infused realm, but I’m picking up the lingo here and there.
Also, before I go on, I should mention that it’s advised that if you do this yourself that you have a well-ventilated area, including the fan above your stove on and any nearby windows or doors open. I didn’t find it getting too smoky, but depending on your appliances it’s something to be cautious about.
I got out a pan that I didn’t mind ruining (spoiler alert: it’s still alive and well, fully intact) and turned my stove heat on to warm it up at a medium temperature. I got a whisk and a metal colander with a towel wrapped around the handles ready (it’s gonna get hot!). Once the pan was fully warmed up, I quickly dumped the beans onto it and instantly began stirring them around. I never stopped whisking. I had the Rock of Ages musical soundtrack blasting in the background (I don’t know if that’s relevant, but it ended up fueling me with enough determination to keep going). I heard the first CRACK (which is exactly what it sounds like and signifies that you’ve reached the roasting level of a light roast) around 4-5 minutes in and kept going until I heard a vague and more scattered cry of second CrAcKs, thus indicating a dark roast. After 30 more seconds, bringing the total time of the beans being on the heat to 7 minutes, I quickly took the pan off of the heat and poured the beans into the colander.
When these beans heat up, they produce a lot of chaff. Basically, my sink was covered in tiny particles of dead bean skin as I shook the beans around to free them from their burnt husks. You can do this outside, but I opted for the closest thing to me.
I then poured my beans into a cute little fox cup and left them there exposed to the air untouched to de-gass for exactly 24 hours before transferring them into a one-way valve sealed coffee bag.
3 days later, I made a French Press coffee out of my own beans.
And it. Was. Melodious.
It was one of the smoothest coffees I’ve ever had! It’s very rare that I find coffees I enjoy good enough to drink black, but this was definitely one of them. There was no bitterness nor acidity. It was just right.
My partner made me another cup of my own coffee with chocolate almond milk and maple syrup, and that one was pretty awesome, too.
Why go through the hassle of roasting your own coffee? It’s not a hassle, for one. It’s 1) surprisingly easy to do, 2) actually quite cost-effective, since green beans are much cheaper than the pre-roasted thing, 3) people find it way more impressive than it actually is and as such it makes the perfect homemade gift, and 4) you literally ensure you’re getting the freshest coffee. Most importantly, 5) you can roast it however you want to whatever level you’d like and store it with whichever spices you prefer to infuse the beans with your own personalized aromas and flavors.
Interested? Try it out and let me know how it goes!
I also made another roast with the same beans, but with 1/2 cup and heated for 10 minutes. Haven’t tried it yet. But, DIY coffee roasting is promising. My parents and partner enjoy it so far, and I told them to be brutally honest with me 🙂
Which single-origin should I try next: Columbia, El Salvador, or Tanzania?