We’ve always been keen on roasting our own beans. Part of our impromptu morning visit to The Coffee Roaster involved checking out their mini computerised hot air coffee bean roaster. Sitting right there in the middle of the café was the industrial looking roaster, containers full of all sorts of different varieties of green coffee beans, plus a keyboard, touch screen and computer with state of the art software that controls everything during the roasting process. The smaller machine is available for customers to be able to roast their on selection or blend of beans to the specifications that suit their coffee making equipment and personal tastes (this machine is separate form the main much larger roaster that the professionals at The Coffee Roaster use to roast their bigger batches of beans). In theory, once someone has found a bean and roast setting that they like, the staff can save the exact settings into the computer and bring up the customer’s settings again next time they come in for more beans. They can even email you the roasting log! It’s all very cool.

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Anyway, back to our roasting adventure. We decided that all three of us Beans would like to try a single origin as a filter roast first, so we measured out 1250 grams of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (grade 3, natural special prep.), then with the help of the staff set the computer to a roasting air target temperature of 245ºC and a bean target temperature of 221.5ºC to give the beans a nice light roast. Once all the settings are in (including telling the computer what variety of beans are going in) we poured the 1250 grams of beans into the top of the roaster and closed the lid. Then we hit ‘proceed to roasting’ and ‘start’ on the computer, and the roaster fired to life and soon the whole café was filling with the magnificent smell of roasting coffee beans! Watching through the tiny windows in the roaster we could see the beans blowing around in a circular motion and gradually getting to a nice golden brown colour. Once the computer had decided that the process was complete, the roaster stopped and the computer signalled for us to open the chute at the bottom and let the freshly roasted beans out into a container. The staff then took the piping hot beans into the next room where they were arranged onto the cooling machine. After cooling the beans were bagged and labeled with name, date and also a detailed print out of a graph showing the bean and air temperature that had been used to roast the beans. A very nice touch!

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We could have ended there and been quite satisfied … but the thrill of doing our own roasting meant we couldn’t leave before giving a custom Bean Brewding developed blend a go! So, we picked out the Guatemalan Antigua ‘Los Volcanoes’, the Brazilian ’Toffee Cerrado’, some Kenyan ‘AA’ Lena and finally some Ethiopian ‘Yirgacheffe’ grade 2 … and then undertook the strangely difficult task of creating desired ratios of each that still added up to 1250 grams total. Now you’d think three grown men wouldn’t have any issue working this out, but as it turned out even to this day, none of us are entirely sure the exact ratios that ended up in the final blend! Maybe we should have had more coffee before we attempted such a task!

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We eventually got the scales to show exactly 1250 grams and we repeated the roasting process, except this time we opted for a darker espresso roast so we had something to try in our home espresso machines. Since Ben was the Bean that was doing the scooping and measuring of the beans, the blend became affectionately named as ‘Benny’s Blend’ … which became official when our individual bags of beans came out after cooling with ‘Benny’s Blend’ proudly written across the front! We’ve since had the Benny’s Blend as everything from espresso machine doppios to AeroPress and plunger and we reckon we might be onto a winning combo.

After the coffee roasting extravaganza, we each had one more espresso to finish off what was a surprising and most enjoyable morning. We’ll definitely be making a trip back to The Coffee Roaster sometime soon to try our hand at roasting our own beans once more, and maybe by popular demand we’ll try our hand at recreating the Benny’s Blend.