Oct 10 2010
The project foodblog challenge has driven me to seek out new and interesting ingredients at stores and parts of town that I had never previously visited. This week’s challenge brought me to a wig shop in Nuremberg. When my friend told me that I had to go to wig shop for raw coffee beans, I took a double take at her email. So, in the spirit of trying out something new, I made my way past all the wigs and hair weave and bought some raw Ethiopian coffee beans.
A while back I had the pleasure of watching a colleague preform an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in our community garden, and since roasting coffee is not something we take the time to do everyday, I thought it would be a fun adventure.
I have to say that I really enjoy learning something new (and I bet you do too!). Did you know that raw coffee beans smell like a cross between freshly pulled garden weeds and a far, far off hint of ground coffee?? I also learned that the coffee smell that sends all of us flocking to the nearest café does not come about during roasting, but rather while grinding.
This was definitely a lot of fun and easy to do. The “hardest” part was finding the raw coffee beans. Now, let me show you how it’s done!
You will need:
- a stove top
- an open window or high-power exhaust fan
- a cast iron skillet (for even heat distribution)
- a colander
- a strainer
- a cooking paddle
- raw coffee beans
- food grade vanilla-flavored oil (optional)
If possible, place your stove top near an open window or outside because the beans will smoke a lot towards the end. In the case that you don’t have a mobile cook top, use your kitchen exhaust fan.
I live on the ground floor next to a very busy pedestrian area of town. I had quite a few people stop and ask what I was doing and others who were interested in what I was photographing. When I told people I was roasting coffee, it brought a smile to their face.
Heat the pan, over medium-high heat, to about 224°C (435°F). Use an infrared thermometer for the most accurate results.
Place a ½ cup of raw beans in the skillet and roll back and forth with your cooking paddle – you will need to continuously move the beans throughout the whole process.
The beans will go through many stages of color change. The point in which you stop roasting your beans depends on what type of coffee you would like to drink. You can find a great roasting color chart here. I decided to go for Viennese.
Within the first 7 minutes the raw beans will transform roasting color/flavor from “cinnamon” to “American” to “city” style roasts. You will hear something that sounds like the crackling of a log on an open fire – this is called the first crack. Once you hear this your coffee beans will have reached the American style of roasting (see the center picture above).
The second 3 stages took 15 more minutes and I had to pump up the heat slightly to get it going. Roughly 18 minutes after the first crack you should hear the second crack. This means you have reached the Full City style of roasting (see center picture above). When the beans themselves had a temperature of 232°C (450°F), they have reached the “Viennese” style of roasting (see picture on the far right above).
Once your coffee beans have reached the roasting style you desire, remove it to the strainer that is sitting in the colander. Move it around with a paddle to help it cool down quickly.
Continue to stir the beans in the strainer until all the chaff has fallen out.
Once the beans have completely cooled, transfer them to a bowl and drizzle with 20.7 grams of vanilla flavored oil (3% of the weight of the roasted beans). Mix until the beans are all evenly coated with the oil. Seal in an air-tight container and let sit until you are ready to grind. *This step is optional*. You may add any other food grade flavored oil of your choice or leave the oil our completely and skip straight to the grinding.
The longer you let the beans sit before processing, the better they will taste. I processed one portion of the roasted beans right away with no flavoring and another 3 days later. The ones that I ground 3 days later were much less acidic and had a richer flavor.
If you don’t have a grinder – or your electricity is out – you can grind them by hand with a mortar and pestle. Grinding is when that delicious coffee aroma will surface.
- First you will need to pound the coffee beans by moving the pestle up and down with strong, yet gentle, hits.
- Then, grind the coffee by turning the pestle into the side of the mortar. You will have to continue this motion for quite a while until all the grinds are as finely ground as possible.
Because your grinds will not be the evenly ground powder of electrically ground coffee, you will need to steep the coffee for longer than usual, 20-30 minutes should do it.
If you would like to have a quicker brewing time, you will need need to grind your roasted coffee beans with an electric grinder or food processor – an electric grinder will give you the best results. Since I don’t own one, I used a food processor with a great outcome.
You can brew your coffee any way you like. I brew mine using a French coffee press that holds 750mL (about 4 large cups or coffee).
To prepare a pot:
- pour in 3 heaping tablespoons of your freshly roasted coffee grounds (from about 1/4 a cup of roasted whole beans)
- top off with boiling water (up to the metal line)
- place the lid on and let sit for 5 minutes
- press the coffee plunger all the way down very gently
- pour yourself a cup
- enjoy <—- the most important part!
Some people enjoy their coffee best in the company of friends or on the go. I enjoy mine in the silence of the morning before anyone has gotten out of bed. How do you enjoy your coffee?