Zelkrin Senior Member Joined: 23 Dec 2012 Posts: 3 Location: Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Dec 23, 2012, 4:00pm Subject: Raw coffee bean selection and roasting techniques
Ok, I am relatively new to coffee roasting etc. I used to buy fresh roasted coffee beans in Calgary and have been using an aeropress/hario mini-mill grinder to make pretty darn good coffee on a regular basis.
I have recently moved and it is VERY hard to get coffee beans that have been roasted within the last 2 weeks in the town where I now live without travelling 1-2 hours to a major center (even the local coffee house doesn't date their coffee beans, I'm sure I have seen the same bag of beans sitting on the counter for the last 3 months).
I am considering buying fresh, un-roasted beans and will try my hand at roasting them in a hot air popcorn popper to see how they turn out (maybe I will graduate to a more advanced roasting device in the future...probably around the time I decide to invest in a high quality grinder)
I wonder if anyone has any advice on how to select green coffee beans and how to begin roasting. I know some of the countries that I enjoy coffee from (bolivia, indonesia, costa-rica,) but I am certain that there is more to consider in terms of climate, local region, supplier, etc when buying green coffee (things that local roasters have previously thought about for me).
Also I have no clue how to roast (I know about listening for first and second crack and what the basic roasting scale is etc, but have never roasted coffee before). Wondering if anyone has any tips for getting started in terms of equipment, green beans, storage, and roasting strategies! Thanks!
kschendel Senior Member Joined: 7 Nov 2008 Posts: 283 Location: Pittsburgh Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Maestro Roaster: Freshroast
Posted Mon Dec 24, 2012, 7:59am Subject: Re: Raw coffee bean selection and roasting techniques
I'll second the sweetmarias.com suggestion, that's where I got started. I'd suggest either a sampler or just pick a random Central American bean to play with -- maybe a Bourbon since they are relatively easy to roast.
thedotben Senior Member Joined: 8 Mar 2012 Posts: 48 Location: Holland Expertise: Pro Barista
Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012, 10:01am Subject: Re: Raw coffee bean selection and roasting techniques
I am not trying to dismiss the idea of home roasting using an air popper. I have a popper myself and have used it.
The thing is is that to get worthy results, you will want to modify the popper. An unmodified popper simply heats up too fast, in my experience, and while you have an acceptable cup of coffee, all the nuances in the beans seem to be lost. Even with a modified popper, I am not convinced you can get artisan quality coffee.
It's a lot of fun to do, and you learn a lot about coffee that way, so it is still worth it for the knowledge.
But I do find that when I order from my desired roasters, I get my beans within 2-3 days after roast date, unless I order from across the country. Even then, I don't think I have gone longer than 4 days past roast. Which works well for me, since it gives the coffee a little bit of time to oxidise. The coffee arrives and it is ready to brew for the most part.
MerleApAmber Senior Member Joined: 13 Nov 2012 Posts: 236 Location: Atlanta Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Breville BES920xl Grinder: HG-One, Baratza Preciso +... Vac Pot: Yuma Drip: Pour over: Melita Ceramic Roaster: Hot Top 2K P
Posted Sat Dec 29, 2012, 5:11pm Subject: Re: Raw coffee bean selection and roasting techniques
+1 Sweet Maria's. They've got great general roasting information and do a bang up job of detailing their impressions of the green coffee beans they've brought out for us to play with. Awesome educational opportunity. I have nothing on the air popper except, from experiences in another lifetime, about 30 years ago... This reincarnation I went with a HotTop - all in. :)
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