Outdoor Space or Overhead Outdoor Venting
Green Unroasted Coffee Beans
One Homemade Wooden Circle Weight
One Small Fan
With a little handyman work or creativity, you can roast your own coffee beans at home to get that perfectly dreamy cup of morning brew. Coffee prices are going to go up and in some cases may become scarce due to supply chain problems between growers, roasters, and packers. Unroasted green beans can be purchased from multiple sources skipping the costs of extra transportation needed to and from rotisseries and packaging plants before making it to a final purchase destination. Go green by buying beans and roasting them at home for the freshest coffee in the world, right in your own kitchen.
The average price of a coffee at a coffee shop is $2.75.
If you bought a coffee only on each weekday of the year that equals $717.75.
I buy a 25lb sack of organic green beans for $200.00 to $225.00 depending on the variety and it is enough for two cups a day, every day, for an entire year. So for a little work each week that is a huge cost saver for a fresher product that tastes better and is better for your health.
You need a few things that are simple and affordable to get started. A cheap Air Popcorn Popper is the most affordable and reliable for a consistent roast, it's also a time saver. Some people use the stove and an uncomplicated cast iron skillet but that takes time, constant attendance, and diligent practice to get it right. I burned more beans than I care to admit trying ways to get that right.
You will need green unroasted coffee beans of your choice. Go with something you are familiar with purchasing on the store shelves so you can understand the difference in taste in your final product. Do note that extreme coffee shortages are starting to surface all over the world. Stocking up is a good idea if you enjoy having coffee daily. Green coffee beans can keep for one to two years depending on the packaging and storage methods. From my own experience, I purchase from this company because the bag they sell it in is gas permeable and the beans stay fresh for a year or longer when kept in these bags. I don't even open the cardboard box when they arrive to keep them stored in the dark until I am ready to use them. I have been doing this for six years without a problem and the quality of the beans has never been disappointing.
You will need an iced coffee filter to catch the coffee beans that tumble around in the heat and the chaff that is released in the roasting process and you will need to build a wooden ring to hold this iced coffee sieve onto the popcorn maker. I used a piece of cedar from our sawmill, traced around the bottom of the coffee sieve, drilled a hole in the center of the circle, and used a jigsaw to cut just outside my trace line to leave me a little wiggle room to slide the filter in and out of the wooden ring. I sanded off the edges nicely for a comfortable feel. Use thick wood to make this ring. The sieve will get hot in the roasting process and the wooden ring is used as a handle to remove the heated filter. I joke about this being the one ring that rules them all. It does provide power and magic to brave the adventures of the day.
Find a place with airflow. The roasting process causes smoke. There is no way around it. It also causes a heavy aroma that will fill up your house if you do this indoors. This roasting process also creates chaff that can be messy. I roasted coffee outside for five years, even in below-freezing winter temperatures, until we installed a kitchen hood over the stove that vents outside. Fill the popcorn maker with green unroasted coffee beans up to the suggested fill line in the air chamber. Don't bury it. You need to see the line. The beans need to move freely inside the chamber just like popcorn does and since the beans are a little bigger and heavier, this keeps from overworking the machine or burning beans that don't tumble accurately in the chamber.
Place the wooden ring onto the coffee filter sieve and place it upside down on the air proper to catch the chaff and to keep the hot roasting beans from escaping. Time for around three minutes or listen to hear the crack you like. This makes a perfect small batch and you will likely make a few of these small batches.
Each batch takes approximately three minutes but after a little practice, you can do it by ear. Coffee pops like popcorn when roasted correctly, but coffee is more magical than that. It pops twice! The first crack is a light roast often referred to as a city roast. The second pop or crack is called a full-city roast for a darker coffee. If you roast a little longer you get into French Roast. If you watch the video you can listen to hear the differences in the cracks. Don't judge my coffee filter. It is six years old and has some coffee oil build-up on it that the dishwasher doesn't remove, like a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Listen for the cracks. The first pops are for a light roast. When the popping speeds up that is a dark roast. This is how I do it.
I make a dark roast coffee because the darker roast coffees are easier on the stomach, you can find the science behind that here. Cold-brew iced coffee that skips the hot water brewing process is even easier on the digestive system and cold brew is what is always on hand in our house. It is coffee that doesn't cause heartburn or aggravate GERD.
Once your coffee has cracked to your liking unplug the popcorn maker and carefully remove the coffee filter by the wooden ring. CAUTION! THE COFFEE FILTER IS HOT! Dump the contents into a colander, immediately swish for airflow, and allow it to cool. I make multiple batches at a time and dump the steamy, smokey-roasty coffee between two colliders to keep it from overcooking or burning.
The last step is to remove the chaff. If it is windy simply go outside and sprinkle one colander into the other and let the wind carry the chaff away. I use a small fan to help speed up the process shown in the next video. Chaff is bitter and needs to be removed as the oils on the coffee bean will bloom. If the chaff remains with the beans too long some oil is lost on the chaff along with a minute amount of flavor.
Let your beans cool in the colanders. If you are making cold brew coffee the beans are ready to grind and use as soon as the beans are cool. If you are making hot brew coffee the beans should sit for 12-17 hours to off-gas in an enclosed container. This also creates flavor. Store your beans unground until you are ready to use them in air-tight containers such as mason jars with tight lids. Keeping the beans whole until they are used seals in flavor and keeps oils from oxidizing. Unlike commercial coffee that is vacuum-packed and dead, you will discover that your fresh brewed coffee jars pop open with excitement and burst with fresh aroma because the coffee is so fresh that the off-gassing is still happening. You will get to experience coffee that tastes as good as it smells! For more about coffee roasting, read that blog here!
Use your fresh roasted beans as you would use any store-bought coffee.
If you are making ice brew. Here is my recipe. Don't use plastic containers.
The acids in the coffee affect the plastic and change the coffee flavor.
One ounce of beans needs two cups of water.
Using a digital scale measure out the whole beans in ounces and multiply by two. This is the number of cups of water you need to make your brew.
Grind the beans and add your ground coffee into your iced coffee filter and pour the needed water amount inside the filter and cover.
Leave on the counter overnight or refrigerate if that appeals to you.
To simplify things I use 8 ounces of ground coffee and fill a gallon pickle jar with water because that equals 16 cups. I mix in the coffee grounds that are floating, put a lid on it, and leave it on the counter overnight. Then I do a little backward filtering the next morning by pouring the mixed contents of the gallon jar into the empty coffee filter inside a half-gallon mason jar to make more at once. This way I don't have to buy two filters or multiple jars. Get creative to find ways to filter a lot at once!
When the jar is full I place the coffee filter in a bowl or another jar and fill smaller mason jars with the fresh cold brew that has just been filtered to store in the fridge. Repeat the filtering process until all coffee is filtered. If you have room in your fridge using a jar with a spigot makes for fast and easy morning coffee routines. A gallon of coffee lasts us right around a week depending on the number of afternoon pulls on the spigot.
Coffee grounds are great for lawns. Rinse your filter in your large empty container and swish the whole grounds-mess around and dump it in the yard. The filter and jars are dishwasher safe. I also use this "coffee water" to water my house plants. It makes them quite perky!
Your popcorn maker is still usable for popcorn and will not affect the flavor even with some buildup inside the chamber. Use the embedded links to find suggestions from non-affiliated companies. I do not profit from purchases. It takes a little practice to get the routine down and organized. The entire roasting and grinding process takes me about twenty minutes and the next morning another seven to ten minutes to filter and clean up the coffee grounds for a week worth of coffee that saves hundreds of dollars a year for the best coffee ever!
Obtain a working handheld coffee grinder for emergencies. If the power goes out you can't use your electric one. Sometimes grinders just stop working unexpectedly. A hand grinder saves you from having to use a rolling pin to pulverize your beans in a ziplock bag with a towel over it. It takes forever and doesn't make a great cup of coffee.
Electric coffee roasters are available for home roasters that start around $200.00 up to the elite $1,200 touch button HotPoint. Some roasters even have vents that aim out a window. I find my method affordable and efficient while waiting to obtain a HotPoint.
If you would like to read more about a journey into homesteading, I spent five years carving out a storybook documenting my human evolution while learning to grow and process all of my food organically. The novel is available here on Amazon on Kindle and in Paperback.
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