If you have ever tasted coffee that was made from roasting coffee beans by hand you know how different it is. The fragrance diffused by roasting delights senses and gives us great anticipation for the pleasure we will have in drinking our fresh roasted and ground coffee.
Even the best cooks admit they roasting gourmet coffee beans is an art. Part of the berries can be burnt, some are still green, and some will have no taste at all. Once in a great while it the roasted coffee beans come out as it should.
The coffee bean is not ready for consumption until it has been properly roasted or “cooked”. Only by roasting coffee beans can all the stimulating, flavoring, and aromatic principles concealed in the minute cells of the bean be extracted at one time.
The aroma, upon which the good taste of the coffee depends, is only developed in the berry by the roasting process, which also is necessary to diminish its toughness, and make it fit for grinding.
Great coffee depends more on the proper roasting than on the quality of the coffee bean itself. One or two scorched or burned berries will ruin the whole batch. Even slightly overheating diminishes the flavor.
Choosing The Right Coffee Beans To Roast
A well seasoned berry that is solid and oily, and from one to two years old, makes the finest roast.
White coffee beans which are so often seen in roasted coffee are from imperfect or immature berries, analogues to the miniature kernel of corn which is often found at one end of the cob. Shriveled coffee, or that having a shrunken appearance, will not, as a rule, roast nicely, although occasionally turn out a bright, handsome roost.
In order to roast coffee properly, and to develop its fine scent you must be careful to apply the right temperature.
Too much heat will destroy the fine scent, which gives us the great pleasure of good coffee. When the coffee is over-roasted, it will acquire a bitter taste and burnt smell. A scent somewhat resembling that exhaled by smokers of tobacco is perceived, and instead of good roasted coffee, there is obtained a bad kind of charcoal.
If, on the other hand, the roasting process is under-done, and the heat to which the beans have been exposed has not been sufficient, then the raw smell of the coffee remains, and of course diminishes the aroma, which requires a certain heat to develop it. An underdone roast has a disagreeable “grassy” flavor
Well roasted coffee ought to have a pale chocolate color or a deep chestnut color. It is usually not necessary to look at roasted beans to see if they are “done”… when the true aroma is developed, and fills your kitchen with its delicious scent, then is the time to stop roasting.
An essential oil is secreted during the roasting process, which oxidizes in contact with the air, and becomes rancid like butter. Therefore it is advised that those who roast their coffee at home, to roast only small quantities at a time.
You have many different options when it comes to roasting green coffee beans, and each has its admirers; but there is in fact only a single rule to be observed, namely, to use the proper degree of heat, and keep it up at the same point until the roasting is finished.
Whether the roasting is performed in close or open pans; whether the coffee is left to cool in the roaster, or is spread out on a cooling surface, or even laid between cloths… doesn’t matter.
How To Roast Green Coffee Beans
This is a delicate operation, and demands great care and attention. If badly done, the coffee will preserve a disagreeable raw taste, if roasted too little. And a portion of the aroma will be lost, and a part of the coffee changed to charcoal, if roasted too much.
Further, the shell may be burnt and carbonized, while the inside remains raw; or the roasting may be so uneven to leave some of the beans still raw, while others are burnt.
Put the beans in the coffee bean roaster and turn slowly until the coffee beans take on a good brown color. This should take about twenty-five minutes. Open the cover to see when it is done. If browned, transfer it to an earthenware jar, cover it tightly, and use when needed.
ced over a large charcoal fire. When the oil which rises from the berries is of a dark brown color, they are placed on iron plates to cool; and if, when nearly cold, they look bright and oily, they are well done.
The coffee roasting process
The roasting process is what produces the characteristics flavor of your coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste. successful roasting is difficult because freshly roasted beans quickly lost the volatile oils that give coffee flavor and aroma. So, Before we learn how to roast our own coffee at home, let’s take a general look to find out how the professional coffee roasting Process works. Because it’s essential to know how is coffee proceeds and roasted before you make your own. As you will discover it is the same process with different tools.
In the roasting process, heat from an external source is applied to the raw coffee beans in large vats or drums, spinning and heating them evenly at temperatures reaching up to 550°F (290°C). The heat essentially creates chemical changes in the physical structure and composition of the beans.
Water evaporates from the beans, starches convert to sugars, and the sugars caramelize. The beans increase in size by 25 to 35 percent. They begin to pop, much like popcorn. They lose 18 to 22 percent of their weight, mostly through this evaporation. The caffeine content, however, is not affected by these changes. Gradually, the green beans turn a yellowish color, then darken to a deep rich brown.
During this color change, a number of chemical reactions occur, causing the beans’ sugars and proteins to interact with each other. It is these changes, and the release of coffee oil, that are essential in bringing out the flavor and aroma of the beans. The darker the beans, the more oil they produce. Great care must be taken as the process nears completion, to ensure that the beans are not burnt.
How to Roast Your Own Coffee at Home
All over the world, many coffee aficionados roast their own coffee, to enjoy the satisfaction of the ritual and the freshest cup of coffee possible. For those concerned about the environment, home roasting is ideal. A big sack of raw green coffee beans is certainly more economical than buying commercially roasted brands: home-roasting can curb the processing, packaging, and advertising expenses of purchasing small cans or bags of coffee at retail prices.
Nowadays, there are very good electric home-roasting machines, but for “back-to-basics” roasting, simply use a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven. The physical procedures of these latter methods are also simple: first, the raw green coffee beans need to be kept moving in temperatures of at least 400°F (200°C) and, second, they have to be cooled down at the precise moment of the desired degree of roast.
Method N° 1: The Skillet-On-The-Stove Method
Method N° 2: The Skillet-In-The-Oven Method
Preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C). Spread an even layer of green coffee beans (1/2 inch/1.3 cm) in an old cast-iron skillet and place in the preheated oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally during the roasting time, for a mild to medium roast. The green beans will first turn yellow, then brown. The beans’ natural moisture will begin to steam off.
A “first crack” will be heard as the remaining moisture bursts from the beans and releases the coffee’s rich aroma. For a darker roast, reduce the heat to 400°F (200°C) after 20 minutes, and continue to roast, stirring occasionally, for another 20 minutes (maximum) or less, depending on what degree of darkness you desire.
Once the desired roasting has been achieved, remove the pan from the heat to cool the beans.
Stove Top Coffee Roasting
Coffee can be roasted in small quantities in an open earthenware vessel or a small frying-pan on the top of the stove. Put in 1 lb. of raw coffee-beans and stir frequently.
A little practice and careful observation and you will know when it is just right. When done properly, the berries are of a rich, bright brown color.
- Put the green beans into a large flat earthenware pan, being sure that the pan is perfectly clean.
- Lay in the coffee beans about an inch deep.
- Place the pan in a moderate oven with the door open.
- Stir frequently, and at the end of half an hour increase the heat of the oven.
- Keep stirring every three or four minutes until the beans are sufficiently browned.
- When the coffee is almost a chestnut color remove the pan from the oven, and for every quart add one tablespoonful of butter.
- Stir well; and while the coffee is still hot, put it into cans, and cover closely.
A simple plan is to take a tin baking-dish, butter the bottom, put the coffee in it, and set it in a moderate oven until the beans take a strong golden color, twenty minutes is usually sufficient for this. Toss them frequently with a wooden spoon as they are cooking.
Most new coffee roasters (like old) are in the shape of a cylinder, full of holes: a rod or spit runs through this, so that it can be kept constantly turning.
A Note On Using Stovetop Popcorn Poppers
These neat stovetop pans can double as coffee roasters. Many kitchen boutiques sell them, retailing from $15 to $30. Follow the stovetop coffee-roasting directions. You will need to insert an oven thermometer to establish the proper temperature (as noted above) before the beans are shaken around in the pan.