Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Roasting Coffee at Home, FTW!

Coffee around here is a necessity, not a luxury.  The day really can't get started without it.  Diapers can, if needed, get changed before the morning cup, but that's with some real concentration and effort.

But the really good roasted coffee beans, the kind that makes delicious coffee worth waking up to, are not cheap at all, and they seem to have been more expensive over the past year.  Where once we were getting roasted coffee beans for $10 a pound, we would now pay $13 to $16 a pound at the local coffee shop.  

I'm not opposed to coffee beans being expensive.  The local coffee roasters and shops are nice people and have great products and I'm happy to support them.  The coffee farms and cooperatives that the beans come from also produce lovely beans and I'm happy to support them too.  But funds being what they are, alternatives had to be explored.  

We've tried a range of coffee beans at various price points, in the quest to save some money.  Some were better than others, but none were as good as what we gotten used to - high quality, single origin coffee beans roasted locally.

So for Christmas, Foodgoat got a coffee roaster.  And it's been fabulous.

The process is simple: you put in some green (unroasted) coffee beans.  You turn the roaster on.  You watch the beans toss about, turning from greenish to brownish to dark brown, which takes about six minutes.  You cool them down.  You wait a day or so.  And that's it!

The coffee we made was just as good as the coffee we had been buying - fresh, flavorful, and complex.  And the green coffee beans only cost around $6 a pound if you buy enough - quite the cost savings.  The green beans can also be stored for up to a year, so we can buy a big supply and roast as needed, which helps with our other coffee problem - running out of coffee beans and having run out to the coffee shop to get more, or horrors, having to go a morning or two drinking some instant stuff.

I bought the roasting machine, but it's basically a glorified air popcorn maker.  Now that I've seen the roasting process in action I can see that the other DIY methods would work just as well.  It's also kind of fun that the varieties of single origin coffees available to us is now wider, since the green coffee bean offerings online have a much larger selection that the roasted bean selection at the local shop.   And so now, I'm learning a lot more about coffee production and flavors in general.

So the coffee roasting adventure has been a great success and is now part of our weekly routine.  Excellent coffee, low cost, and convenient - totally recommended. 

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