Coffee. Need I say more. Ok, I will... I have been trying different coffees everywhere I have traveled. Most of them have one thing in common, the burnt taste. And after roasting my own, I can tell just why they taste burnt, because essentially, they are. In my quest for great coffee, I have now learned to roast my own. I ordered my 'green' coffee beans ( green means un-roasted) from Sweet Maria's. They have many varieties to choose from. I chose beans from Peru and Guatemala. The Peru beans are defined as "Wonderful creamy quality, chocolate syrup that lingers nicely, subtle, malic acidity provides a nice backdrop for the sweetness of this lot." So, I really needed to read nothing other than the first three words, SOLD. As for the Guatemala beans they are defined as "Good caramelized sugar sweetness, hazelnut roast tones, dark honey finish, cinnamon stick hints, raisin and milk chocolate at darker levels." In this demonstration I have roasted the beans from Peru but the same process is equal for all un-roasted coffee beans. The items you will need are: coffee grinder, metal strainer, green coffee beans, and an old fashion popcorn maker. This one has the lid removed.
Plug the popcorn maker in. Wait 30 seconds for it to warm up. Take a handful of the beans (1/2 cup) and put them all in the popcorn maker. Place a wire strainer over the top of the machine (you will have beans all over if you don't).
You will hear after 1 minute or so crackling. This is called the "first crackle." This is a VERY light roast if you were to remove the beans now. This is what the first crackle looks like:
After about 3 minutes, the "second crackle" happens. You can now start to see a change in color while roasting.
Now they are starting to get pretty chocolate brown color to them. I like my coffee medium to full roast. So I roasted for approx. 4 minutes to roast that I like. The longer the roast, the darker the bean and the flavor. If you wanted an Italian roast (very dark) you would roast 5-6 minutes. Keep and eye on them the entire time to make sure you don't get them past what you like. It's trial and error too. Try a little bit at first to see what you like. In the process of roasting, the hulls will come off, you want to separate those from the beans before you move on and grind them. The hull is similar to that of a popcorn seed:
They should be very shiny as the oils are being released when roasting. Do not wipe them! The oils are what makes the coffee so delicious. These are now done to my liking. Beans should rest 2 days after roasting so their flavor develops with the released oils.
It's been a couple days now, let's grind em. When grinding, be sure they are ground well, if not the full flavor is not release from the pieces. After opening the cap of the coffee grinder, inhale DEEPLY. There is nothing like this. Bound to relieve any morning fog :)
I use a French press but you can use any standard coffee maker you like.
*Note: Fresh roasted coffee is always best within a week of roasting. There is no other coffee that can beat the coffee you roast yourself. Enjoy!