DIY Coffee Roasting

DIY Coffee Roasting from Jeff Perushek on Vimeo.

I figured I am way overdue for a coffee roasting article, so here is my attempt! If you don’t like coffee there has got to be something wrong with you, if your are like the rest of the world and love it, you should like this video. I admit, I am a bit overboard, crazy, borderline, ok fine, obsessed about coffee. Most of the so called fresh whole beans you get at the store are usually about 2-3 months old. And until you have a fresh roasted bean you just don’t know what you are missing. Its like fresh steamed vegetables vs frozen microwave food. Now to the details.

I buy my green beans, that is beans before they are roasted from Sweetmarias for about $4-$5 per pound and cheaper in larger quantities. I bought a Kitchen Gourmet popcorn popper from Walgreen’s after looking in many other stores, they can be hard to find. So 10 bucks later I was in business. I eventually wanted a way to cool the beans down after roasting so I can do full city roasts, so I got a strainer and fan. I found a way to rig the fan to blow up using some screws and it already had a guard on it so I can set the strainer on top with no worries. You want to do this outside as it makes quite a mess with the chaff that comes off and can put up a little smoke.

After turning the machine on, I start pouring the beans in, the amount is very small, only about 1.5-2.0oz. The beans will start moving around in circles and I pour until they start to slow down. You don’t want them to ever stop moving, if they do, take some out. This process is about twice as fast as most professional coffee roasters on the market and its difficult to get a light roast or anything less than a full city (dark) roast. I am toying with the idea of adding a switch to cycle the heater on and off, but I think I am going to repair my Behmor 1600, but that’s another story for another time.

So after about 2-3 minutes, depending on ambient temperature, you will start to hear the first crack. This is the bean expanding and shedding its chaff which you will see flying everywhere. At this point you want to pay attention to the color and listen for the second crack which sounds more like a sizzle, much quieter than the first crack. Most people don’t roast much past the second crack and then you want to cool them right away. Since this is such a fast process, I go about 30-40 seconds after the second crack and then cool fast. If you see smoke you probably went a bit to long, but if you cool fast enough they might still be ok, I have done it a few times.

After they cool you want to store them inside in a dark air tight container for 12-24 hours so they can finish off gassing. Then put them in your favorite grinder and make a nice fresh cup of Joe.

This was shot with my D90 in HD video mode using a 18-70m lens.

Disclaimer: When roasting coffee there is always a risk of fire or even your pop corn popper melting as it gets very hot. Always have a fire extinguisher near and keep far away from flammable materials.

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