Dec 22, 2006

Roasting Coffee

I just read an article in Make Magazine (issue #8) on how to make your own coffee roaster. The project involves a small propane tank and an electric screwdriver and some other parts. I read the instructions thoroughly and then went out and got an iRoast Electric Coffee Roaster which is made by a company called Hearthware.

Within 10 minutes of having it home it had been rinsed, towel dried, set-up and loaded with green coffee beans. You then have to press a button to select one of the two preset roasting schedules but you can also make up your own roasting schedule (how many minutes at what temperature, then how many minutes at a different temperature and so on). I select preset #2 for dark roast and away it goes blowing heated air through the bottom center of the glass roasting container.

The heated air blows the beans up and away from the heating element to where they land at the outer edge of the glass container. The next coffee beans in line slide toward the center and over the heating element like so many amusement park goers getting their turn on the roller coaster. As the beans fly around inside the glass container the chaff from the roasting process is captured in a compartment above it. After about 1 minute the green coffee beans take on a tan color and by two minutes they are darker still as you remove the battery from your smoke detector. In five more minutes you'll notice they are quite dark as you open the back door to let some of the smoke out of your kitchen. After about 12 minutes the beans are dark brown just like you normally get them from the store.

The roasting container accommodates up to two scoops of beans using the scooper provided with the unit. This turns out to be 2 full loads for the hopper of my coffee grinder. Anyway, the freshly roasted, and still warm, beans smell great after they've been ground. I'm somewhat surprised that this turns out to be more than a gimmick as I sit here enjoying one of the very few cups of coffee that I've ever enjoyed -- with nothing added.