The Best Coffee in the World

25 Jan

… okay, so maybe it is not the best coffee in the world, (but it’s just a tribute…..) it is SOME of the best, if I say so myself, though.

I’ll admit it.  I’m a control freak.  I try to control all the important aspects of my life.  Coffee is one of those VERY important aspects.  And it’s full of antioxidants!

So this post is all about how I roast my own coffee….. or….. how I control my entire coffee process.  Now you’re thinking I’m a complete loon.  You’re somewhat right.  In fact, it was my stepdad who taught me the home roasting process, and when he told me that he was going to start roasting his own coffee, I was like you are crazy!  Just go to the store and experiment until you find something on the shelf you like.  I wish it were that simple, but the sad truth of the matter is that as soon as something new comes on the market, it tastes so good, but as we continue to buy it, it doesn’t taste as good as it once did.  You want to know why?  When it first comes on the market, it’s a fresh roast!  People always talk about how good the coffee was on their Caribbean vacation, etc., etc.  That’s because you’re also getting fresh roasted coffee in those countries when you go!

Roasting your own coffee is also a somewhat cheaper alternative to buying from the shelf, and if you buy it from a retailer who supports fair trade coffee, you can feel good about the money you’ve spent on your ‘cuppa Joe’!

First for the equipment:

My equipment is very simple.  I use a stainless steel stovetop popcorn popper.  I could not find them anywhere near me, even at the specialty kitchen store… so I left you a link below this:

Here’s a link to the one I use.

I use stainless because I prefer it over aluminum for my cookware.  To me, the few extra dollars are worth it.  Also, it’s much easier to clean, although I don’t clean the roaster as often as you’d think.  A slight “patina” of coffee oils actually makes the roasting process easier.  However, stovetop roasting can create a lot of smoke, so wiping the roaster out after every batch or two with a paper towel is helpful.  I have a hole drilled in the top of my roaster and a thermometer stuck through the hole.  This is so I can control the roasting process and check the temperature without opening the lid and without throwing another variable of cooling before desired into the process.

You’ll also need a dry measure or a scale, or something like this which has a scale built in:

Measuring cup with scale

Measuring cup with scale

You can find the measuring cup with scale here.

That way, you’ll be able to weigh out your coffee.  I like to use approximately 8-16 ounces of coffee to roast at a time.  As coffee roasts, however, it will actually lose density.  When I was starting, I stuck to 8 ounces at a time.  I still occasionally cobble up a roast, but if you only had 8oz of beans, you don’t have to feel (too) bad about throwing them out.

Another thing you’ll need is something for your beans to cool off quickly in.  I use a large stainless colander.  These can be purchased pretty much anywhere kitchen stuffs are sold.

Colander

Link to colander.

You’ll also need a thermometer that goes to at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer

Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer

Here’s a link to the thermometer.

Coffee roasting is a process as individual as the roaster themselves, so there is a high degree of variability.  If you’re a control freak like me, you’ll love the results you can get.  I like to use natural gas or propane to cook with, and I find that its high degree of CONTROL (sensing any theme here?) is perfect for roasting coffee.  When your roaster is unseasoned, your thermometer may not read correctly, so sticking with medium-low temperatures is best at first.  You’ll need to heat the roaster up before you place any of your coffee in it.  If your roaster has been seasoned, during the warm-up process, you may see some smoke coming out of it.  That is an unfortunate by-product of the stovetop roasting method.  However, don’t let it dissuade you from trying this method!  It’s one of the cheapest ways to get started roasting, and if you decide it’s not for you, you have the equipment to make the best homemade kettle corn, ever!

The beans in the photo above are YirgaCheffe Dimerso Cooperative.  It’s a wet-process coffee, and wet process coffees are my personal favorite.  I’d encourage you to buy a variety of coffees to start roasting.  Although each type of coffee roasts differently, they all have their own individual characteristics.  You might be surprised to see what you like.  All these years I thought I loved island coffees, then figured out that my favorites were from Sumatra and Africa!  I buy my beans here (no affiliate link, I just like their quality and price):  Sweet Marias.  This link will take you to a sampler pack.  That is how I started and it is a really great deal.

Stay tuned for the roasting process… next post (here)!

*Disclosure*:  Some of the links above are Amazon Affiliate links.  When you purchase your roasting supplies from these links it helps support my family and pay for these blog posts.  Thank you for contributing.

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