Coffee - Getting The Perfect Grind
Roasting your own coffee beans is far easier than making wine at home. You can achieve excellent results. There are many varieties of roasters available, but it can be done in a popcorn maker or frying pan. However, you must assure that your equipment is spotlessly clean. There is nothing worse than coffee infused butter or fish oil. Get good quality beans.
Darker roasts have a lot less caffeine than the lighter ones, but they are not as acidic. Heat your beans between 223°C to 262°C, and be fully prepared to have plenty of smoke. Ventilate your room using a fan or your stove’s exhaust. There should be no real odour, but you may also want to open your windows wide and make sure no one else is home. Add your beans, espresso maybe and turn the heat up.
Don’t forget to disable any smoke detectors. Some roasters have thermometers, but having a portable one is best for using a frying pan. Try a candy thermometer. As the roasting progresses, your beans will start to turn a yellow colour and then go brown. How dark they get is your choice. As your beans get hotter, they release water and oil. This will cause pressure within the bean. You will hear loud cracking sounds. This perfectly normal, but to ensure perfect roasting, to not over roast or burn some of the beans, continuously stir them. This will happen after about 4 to 7 minutes.
Your beans will start caramelising inside as the sugars begin to burn. Check the colour about every 30 seconds, but the degree of brownness is up to your personal taste. If you keep roasting for enough time, you may hear a second very loud crack. The beans will be overdone and very dark. If you continue you will not be roasting, but burning them, removing the sugars. Most of us would not be able to stomach coffee made from this. Empty your roasted beans into a colander, preferably metal to cool down. Jostle them a little to help cool them. You will notice that the beans’ thin skins will detach as you jostle them. These will need to be removed, usually using a cooking screen (meshed).
Experiment a little with small amounts of beans at a time to get varied levels of darkening and time. This will help you to develop the flavour that you prefer. However, stop the roasting process early, as the beans will continue to roast due to the heat that they still contain inside. If you opt for the popcorn maker, get a machine that lets you jostle the beans to keep the air circulating and prevent them from sticking to the sides. Alternatively, use a cast iron frying pan for stovetop roasting. However, this method requires lots of watching and stirring. Once the roasting begins, it will continue rapidly. However, once your beans are cooled you can throw them into your coffee grinder and prepare that perfect homemade cup of delicious coffee.
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