29 of 101: chaff and beans

jenn was the one who opened our eyes to this possibility: of roasting one’s coffee at home. the brilliance of this idea seemed self-evident: it’s thrifty, it’s a unique hobby, and it’s product is delicious. so, after reading up about it a bit at Sweet Maria’s, we decided to give it a go, which is why i put it on my 101 in 1001 list.

a little while later, while browsing at St. Vinnie’s, i came across THE recommended air popcorn popper for home-roasting coffee. so, for $6.50, i bought it home and set it on the shelf next to the ice cream maker.

but it was months before i finally ordered the green beans. they came on friday afternoon, and all day saturday and most of today we thought with wistful romanticism about what it would be like to roast our first batch of beans. but, i felt nervous. would i burn it or otherwise mar it? would it stink up the entire apartment? would the colander i had on hand for cooling work, even though it’s not aluminum?

but because we were completely out of coffee, and i couldn’t bear the thought of starting my monday morning san caffeine, i decided i had no choice but to take the plunge.

tim hovered nearby, the delight of a fascinated child dominating his facial features. we watched as the fluffy beige chaff separated from the beans and floated into the bowl under the popper’s spout. we marveled at the spinning beans, propelled by hot air alone. and we were amazed to see the color turn from pale green to deep brown in under 6 minutes.

now, these beans are cooling in the colander in the open kitchen window. and in the morning we will have what is perhaps the freshest cup of coffee we’ve had to date.

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9 thoughts on “29 of 101: chaff and beans

  1. My virtual-Ethiopian buddy in Minneapolis roasts his own coffee and has for a long time. Before he used an air-popper, he used a skillet. No big difference in taste, but a big difference in smoke! When roasting in the skillet, it produced a good amount of smokiness. It smelled wonderful, but smokey. The air popper was a great thing, cleaned up easier, nicer roast, etc.

    All his Ethiopian friends roast their own coffee too, at least when guests are there. I don’t know if it’s strictly a hospitality thing, but it’s cool. After the beans are roasted, they’re put on a plate and passed around the room so people can get a nice, big whiff of the beautiful smell before they’re ground up and simmered to make Ethiopian coffee (very similar to a Turkish coffee). It’s a whole deal and it’s wonderful to participate in.

    Cheers for going for it!

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