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The Wonderful World of Coffee  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I have always loved coffee ever since I started drinking it in middleschool. My second job out of high school was as a barristo. That was my first time having single region coffee that was freshly ground. However, as soon as I left that job for the art business, the quality of my cup of brown joy fell steeply to the mass produced crap made by industrial lowland farms, middlemen, long storage in warehouses, and bulk roasting companies. That is, until this past month. Last month, I bought whole bean recently roasted single region coffee for the first time in 10 years. It was good. But it lacked something. So I bought green coffee from single farms, a stovetop roaster, and a pourover kit. Now we are talking. The green coffee is actually cheaper than buying whole bean at the grocery store, but the flavor is insane. For comparison, it is like grocery store coffee is a $2 bottle of wine that is sour and pungent when you open it, and home roasted single farm coffee is like the smooth sweet delight of the $900 bottle of wine I accidentally drank at my cousin's christmas party. The great thing is, it is actually cheaper than the crap you get at the grocery store. The roaster and brewing kit will effectively pay for themselves in a year with the decrease in cost of the beans themselves. For a 10 week supply of coffee, the roaster, a pourover kettle with a thermometer in the lid, and a paperless pourover brew thingy; I paid around $100 including shipping. The coffee, including shipping, was $38.

I plan to keep everyone up to date on my progress with trying to master the art of the perfect brew. I have a meeting with my older brother where we will be tasting 5 coffees on the 18th of this month: From Bolivia, Rawanda, Brazil, Guatemala, and Nicuragua. All single farm, all roasted shortly before.
 
garden master
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Brian, great post.  Where are you buying these coffees and how are you roasting?
 
gardener
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Yeah man great post. I'm also intrigued and curious about home roasting coffee beans. Can you tell us more on the kind of roaster you purchased?
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Greg Martin wrote:Brian, great post.  Where are you buying these coffees and how are you roasting?



I buy from Sweet Maria's. They have great customer service, tutorials, and a huge sellection. Average price is $6.20 per lb. But at the grocery store I paid $8 for 12 oz of store brand coffee. Also, the more of one kind you buy at once, the more bulk discount there is. If you don't know what kind to get, email them with what flavors you like the best and ask for a recommendation. They will get back to you in a day or two. They have relationships with the farmers and test each lot as it comes in, so they know exactly how it tastes.

Yeah man great post. I'm also intrigued and curious about home roasting coffee beans. Can you tell us more on the kind of roaster you purchased?



I bought a whirly pop popcorn popper. It was about $20 on amazon. This was based on the recommendation of the coffee club I joined. If you don't mind cranking the thing for 8-12 minutes, it is perfectly acceptable. I was told by the other club members that its design was based on a coffee roaster from the 1800s. You want to set an electric stove to medium or a gas or kerosene stove to low. A purpose built coffee roaster will set you back $300, but I'm working on inventing a cheaper one for roasting large batches at the farmers market or my backyard. I would like to patent my design to keep it out of the hands of big biz, and provide plans and liscense to build one for a nominal fee.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Update!

Today I roasted about one pound of coffee. I tasted several varieties and found them amazing. I am forever ruined. Grocery store coffee just won't cut the mustard after this delight.
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Bolivian Caranavi Peaberry roasted today in my popcorn thingy
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Popcorn thingy
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Pourover kettle
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Paperless pourover, no paper waste
 
Ryan Hobbs
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I have designed both a propane and a rocket coffee roaster. I'm going to build them and fix any bugs before I take them public.

In other news, I am starting a farmer's market business roasting coffee for income. It is stupidly simple and has low startup costs.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Since my last posting, I bought a manual espresso press to fine tune my blends for the farmers' market. I've named my company Dos Tazas, and am developing two blends as well as having single farm coffees available. Launch is next spring after planting the gardens, because farmers' markets are winding down and paying for a spot now would be a waste. I'm still working on the bulk roaster. There are some problematic parts of the design that need worked out.
 
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Ryan, thank you for sharing your experience with roasting coffee.

This is very timely as my husband and I have been talking about buying beans and grinding them ourselves.

I am sorry if I missed, what are you using to grind the beans?  Also which country do you like best for the beans?
 
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i drank a cup of homegrown coffee earlier this year
only enjoyed it because of the journey leading up to it
botched the roast it was like raw bean sandwiched between burnt
i would have used the air popper had i known that is the best way on a small scale
hopefully next time there will be more bean and a better roast!

edit:
oh yeah here is a neat video about coffee
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Anne Miller wrote:Ryan, thank you for sharing your experience with roasting coffee.

This is very timely as my husband and I have been talking about buying beans and grinding them ourselves.

I am sorry if I missed, what are you using to grind the beans?  Also which country do you like best for the beans?



I have 3 methods for grinding beans: a hand cranked conical bur coffee grinder, a blade grinder, and a recent development is using my flour mill to grind coffee. I do NOT recommend getting a blade grinder. It does not make an even particle size, and even particle size is absolutely necesary. Also, I don't think too highly of electric coffee makers. The brew is subpar from them. Pourover and espresso might be too complicated for the early morning, but percolators and vacuum pots make good coffee too and are easy to use. I will warn you though, if you start down the path to great coffee, it wil ruin you for the swill available at gas stations and starbucks.
 
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Something worth mentioning is that brewed coffee (usually in judiciously limited amounts) can be added to recipes as a "back flavor" that can definitely enhance people's enjoyment.

I do a fair amount of cooking in our household.  We use a French press to make coffee, and the remainder in the pot's bottom, after several cups of freshly brewed coffee are drunk, is pretty concentrated.  I first tried adding leftover coffee to a Mexican-style soup I cook (tomato-chicken-onion based, with jalepeno powder, kernal corn, and other stuff).  A half cup of very-strong leftover coffee is a secret ingredient, and everyone seems to enjoy my soup.

I also use a lesser amount of the same "long brew" liquid in an (onion-mushroom-savory) cheese quiche.  That outcome a prize winner!  Thing is, nobody seems to guess just what the mysterious flavor results from.

No kidding... try this in your recipes.  I'm sure your imagination and early experiments will guide you.
 
Anne Miller
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Joel Bercardin wrote:Something worth mentioning is that brewed coffee (usually in judiciously limited amounts) can be added to recipes as a "back flavor" that can definitely enhance people's enjoyment. ...

No kidding... try this in your recipes.  I'm sure your imagination and early experiments will guide you.



One of the strangest ingredients that I saw in a recipe ... what I thought was strange at the time, wa adding a cup of coffee when cooking a roast.  I no longer think it is strange.  Beside adding flavor it adds a nice brown color to the juices.  I like my gravy Au Jus ... no flour added.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Edited to add, I forgot to tell what my favorite origin was from a earlier question. I love the coffee from the Pulcal Intelligente farm in Guatemala, and the Nyamasheke Mutovu cooperative in Rwanda.

Anne Miller wrote:

Joel Bercardin wrote:Something worth mentioning is that brewed coffee (usually in judiciously limited amounts) can be added to recipes as a "back flavor" that can definitely enhance people's enjoyment. ...

No kidding... try this in your recipes.  I'm sure your imagination and early experiments will guide you.



One of the strangest ingredients that I saw in a recipe ... what I thought was strange at the time, wa adding a cup of coffee when cooking a roast.  I no longer think it is strange.  Beside adding flavor it adds a nice brown color to the juices.  I like my gravy Au Jus ... no flour added.



I bake a sourdough deli rye bread that uses a cup of strong coffee in adition to molasses and cocoa powder. It is not a sweet bread. It is hearty and pairs well with salami and roast beef for sandwiches.
 
Joel Bercardin
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:I bake a sourdough deli rye bread that uses a cup of strong coffee in adition to molasses and cocoa powder. It is not a sweet bread. It is hearty and pairs well with salami and roast beef for sandwiches.


I'm curious.  I wonder about the proportion of that 'a cup' in relation to the other liquid ingredients, and in relation to how many loaves the recipe yields.  (Don't need to give all the recipe details — unless you want to — but I'm curious abut the generalities.)
 
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It is great to see there are roasters on permies.

It is a great hobby and very rewarding. I also used to roast but now there are better roasters around and I buy from them to support locals.

I care about my coffee and drink about 2 everyday. Only Single origin and roasted not older than 4 weeks.

Here are some pictures from me.


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Aeropress, grinder, scale
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Turkish coffee I cooked in an orange skin
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Crema in aeropress
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My old espresso setup at home
 
author
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I have been buying green organic coffee beans and roasting them at home for several decades. I have lately been buying the beans at www.deansbeans.com but there are other online outlets as well. The green beans will keep well for many years, so I stock up and only buy them every few years.

For roasting I use an old rotary popcorn maker that I bought years ago at a yard sale; it still works well. I like a fairly light roast, so I can monitor this easily. I roast about half a cup at a time, and will roast one cup of beans for the next phase of my process. Then I make a medium grind using my Vitamix blender with the dry blade (that I also use to make whole wheat flour).

Then I pour the entire batch of ground coffee (about 1 pound) into a large container (at least two quarts). Into this container I add nearly two quarts of filtered cold water, stir the whole affair well, and set it on the counter to steep over night, or for at least 8 hours. It should be stirred again before the next phase.

The next phase is to drain off the cold processed coffee extract into another large container, using a funnel fitted with a standard paper coffee filter. At first the extract drains quickly, but soon it slows to just a drip as the filter gets clogged with coffee fines. The result is the essence of fine brewed coffee that has never been heated beyond the initial roasting.

Cold processed coffee extract can be immediately frozen (which I do with most of mine) or kept in the refrigerator for use whenever you want a fine cup of coffee. A standard, fairly strong cup of coffee takes about one ounce of extract, but I like a fairly light brew, so I usually only use about half an ounce per cup. The beauty of this is that you can easily make the coffee as strong or weak as you like just by metering the amount of extract used.

Another aspect of this approach to making coffee is that it eliminates the typical bitterness that most coffee possesses, so the taste is extremely smooth. You still get the the full kick of caffeine though. The reason for this is that the extract does not contain the oils that harbor the bitterness because it is heating the grounds with hot water that transports the oils, and you initially only use cold water. This coffee is so smooth that it can often be consumed by people who have trouble with coffee upsetting their stomach.

I don't think that there is a more economical way to prepare coffee. I drink one cup a day and one pound of coffee will last me at least two months. And the brew always tastes fresh and aromatic. Furthermore, I can store several years worth of green beans as a hedge against the unknown future. I could even trade coffee for other goods, if it came to that.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Joel Bercardin wrote:

Ryan Hobbs wrote:I bake a sourdough deli rye bread that uses a cup of strong coffee in adition to molasses and cocoa powder. It is not a sweet bread. It is hearty and pairs well with salami and roast beef for sandwiches.


I'm curious.  I wonder about the proportion of that 'a cup' in relation to the other liquid ingredients, and in relation to how many loaves the recipe yields.  (Don't need to give all the recipe details — unless you want to — but I'm curious abut the generalities.)



I plan to make money off of this bread at the farmers market, but I am comfortable listing the ingredients without amounts.
Rye flour
Bread flour
Vital wheat gluten
Brewed strong coffee
Molasses
Dutched cocoa powder
Sourdough starter at equal water to flour ratio by volume
Salt
Butter
Fennel extracted in bourbon


 
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Ryan, do you roast your coffee inside the house? If so, how do you deal with the smoke?
 
Joel Bercardin
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Yesterday my wife invited a friend we hadn’t seen in a while to come over for supper and conversation.  My wife spent a couple hours making a big pot of “Midwest corn chowder” which uses our home-raised corn kernels, a lot of potatoes, a lot of sautéed onions & finely chopped carrots, butter, and other good stuff.  Besides the prep time, the pot just sat on the stove and simmered for hours.  Being one of my wife’s most prized recipes, she makes it with precision faithfulness to her written notes.

I made corn bread to go with the soup.  And, while she wasn’t in the kitchen, I surreptitiously added about a half cup of strong brewed coffee to the soup.  We enjoyed the soup with corn bread — in fact, we all truly relished the soup, and its flavor was repeatedly praised.

Just goes to show.
 
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I was wondering about the smell when roasting.  There is a small company that roasts beans in town once a week and the smell is pretty skunky.  Is that normal or does it depend on the bean or roasting process? Not sure I would want that voluntarily in the house.  Already dealing with the real thing!

It would probably make the difference between me trying this or sticking with buying it and supporting others, so I would like to know.  Thanks.
 
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Tina Hillel wrote:I was wondering about the smell when roasting.  There is a small company that roasts beans in town once a week and the smell is pretty skunky.  Is that normal or does it depend on the bean or roasting process? Not sure I would want that voluntarily in the house.  Already dealing with the real thing!

It would probably make the difference between me trying this or sticking with buying it and supporting others, so I would like to know.  Thanks.



I quit roasting in the winter when the house is shut up because of the smell and bit of smoke.  If you have an exhaust fan though maybe it's not so bad?
A light roast isn't so strong but trying for a darker roast can be quite odoriferous

I liked the simplicity of stirring the green coffee beans while heating in an iron dutch oven and listening for the first 'crack' and then the second one and watching the beans turn glossy.

The smell was definitely a surprise...I thought roasting coffee would smell like coffee....once shut in a jar and later opened the fresh roasted coffee smell is there though and once brewed the flavor is wonderful.
 
Tina Hillel
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No exhaust fan, so it definately sounds like a project for another season. Funny how the smell changes later to something great.

Thanks for the info Judith! 👍
 
Kelly Hart
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I always do the roasting outside so the fumes don't overtake the house.
 
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Nothing like the smell of fresh coffee beans roasting in the morning! mmm
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Su Ba wrote:Ryan, do you roast your coffee inside the house? If so, how do you deal with the smoke?



I do. I just turn on the vintage 1960s era kitchen fan and the smoke alarms don't go off. It does smell like popcorn for a few hours after tho. I also winnow in an old threshing basket on my porch. Keeps the kitchen clean.
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Anne Miller wrote:

Joel Bercardin wrote:Something worth mentioning is that brewed coffee (usually in judiciously limited amounts) can be added to recipes as a "back flavor" that can definitely enhance people's enjoyment. ...

No kidding... try this in your recipes.  I'm sure your imagination and early experiments will guide you.



One of the strangest ingredients that I saw in a recipe ... what I thought was strange at the time, wa adding a cup of coffee when cooking a roast.  I no longer think it is strange.  Beside adding flavor it adds a nice brown color to the juices.  I like my gravy Au Jus ... no flour added.




Its essential to our once a year creation of Red Velvet birthday cake...I believe the recipe calls for 1 cup of freshly brewed coffee. Sooooo good!
 
Joel Bercardin
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I mentioned before that I like to use leftover strong-brewed coffee in cooking, including soups.  Here is my recipe for a very good tasting Mexican-style soup that uses a bit of coffee.

You'll need a soup or stew pot.
Ingredients:
1 quart tomatoes in juice (either diced or blended -- we remove the skins when we can our own)
3 quarts  water (can consist of up to 1 quart soup stock on-hand)
3 medium-sized onions, sliced fairly thin, sautéed (in veg oil or chicken grease, or?) with
 2 or 3 largish stalks of celery, diced
Chicken meat, variable amount, diced coarsely
2 cups hominy or corn kernels
1/3  cup uncooked rice
2 rounded tsp chili pdr (you can use jalapeno peppers, chopped or ground - we like commercial chilli pdr)
1 tablespoon cumin pdr
2 tsp lime juice
1/3 cup coffee (brewed)
2 large (or 3 medium) cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon cumin powder (can use more, if you like)
Dash of salt (to taste)

Put quart of tomatoes with the water (or water/soup-stock) in a soup/stew pot, and add chicken, at medium-high heat if chicken is frozen; medium heat if it is fresh or thawed.  Add diced onions and corn kernels.  Add the rice, stir in.  Add chili powder, cumin, lime juice, garlic.  Avoid heavy boiling, lower heat when frozen chicken is obviously thawed, and stew for a minimum of one hour beyond time when chicken has thawed if using frozen meat.


I usually cover and simmer soup for at least another 90 minutes.  Top-up water level if it evaporates out very much. Taste and add more seasonings, if desired.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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This is but one part of my roasting system, just the drum and skirt. It can accept the rocket j tubes or a camp stove or a bbq... I'm not sure if a hood is needed.
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