Roasting Coffee Beans in the Blacksmith Shop: Sweet Success

If you would like the whole scoop of our initial attempt at roasting coffee beans and the things we’ve learned thus far, please see our previous GRIT Blog post: “Roasting Coffee Beans in the Blacksmith Shop: Take 1.”

Before we proceed any further, would you like to see what green coffee beans look like? As for smell, don’t expect much at this point.

I was the only brave soul who would taste the results of our first roasting attempt. Let me just say it was a very quick taste, followed by my spitting the burnt offering sip out the back door. Not pleasant! The first batch was a definite …

We were not discouraged, and promptly returned to the Blacksmith Shop, armed with our main supply list from the first roast.

The key modification for Roast #2: Mr. W placed a steel plate over the fish cooker burner for the purpose of diffusing the heat and therefore roasting the beans slower. Just a plate of 3/16″ steel.  Excellent idea! I’m told you can also use a cast iron pan for that purpose. We roasted two batches – again using the Colombian Supremo green coffee beans from Coffee Bean Direct (via Amazon). And again we used our Whirley Pop. There was a little smoking involved, but it wasn’t unpleasant (like before). We’ve learned that we may have to ignore the thermometer a bit as “first crack” seemed to arrive at 250 degrees F or so (if we wanted to believe that thermometer).  Also, by the end of the roast, we had barely reached 400 degrees F.  We can now understand that it’s probably best to learn to judge the beans on smell and appearance, as well as listening for those 1st & 2nd cracks.

The best part this time was that we were able to actually see the beans while they were roasting. With our maiden roast, the beans were smoking too badly and we couldn’t see them when we opened the lid.  All we could do was cough and gag! This time we could actually check every 3-4 minutes (or more often toward the end) and see that the beans were progressing from green, to the various stages of brown. Amazing! The smell wasn’t nearly as bad this time. Let me emphasize this – we could actually breathe in the Roasting Room (aka Blacksmith Shop).

We did two roasts this time. Each one took approximately 15 minutes. We kept the heat on high, but with the diffusion from the steel plate, the roasting process was slow and nice.  And, I assure you, these roasted beans smell yummy! Definitely not burnt offerings. Here are the successfully roasted beans, in all their glory:

After the beans had a chance to de-gas a few hours, I placed a few scoops in our Melitta Mill and Brew pot. The time was set for 5:10 a.m. the following morning, and we were awakened with …

… the wonderful aroma of fresh ground, fresh roasted coffee. The taste? Delicious. I think at this point we’re hooked.

If you’d like a synopsis of why people roast their own coffee beans, check out Wikipedia’s home roasting coffee explanation.

Once you smell and taste your first successful coffee bean roast, I am confident that you will need no explanation. Simply divine!

  • Published on Feb 22, 2010
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