Our visit to Mug Shots Espresso enabled us to have an ‘up close and personal’ experience with coffee roasting with Budan Beans. Part of our discussion with Nathan included how he started out roasting with a popcorn maker. Amazingly, three days later a friend was cleaning out the kitchen and to my excitement a popcorn maker was to be cast aside. ‘Can I have that?’ blurted out immediately. I headed home with my new toy … I mean coffee roasting device. There are plenty of how to web sites – so I went to the twitterverse and reviewed this blog post.
Simply put, you need a popcorn maker and green coffee beans, chuck them in and away you go. As you progress, it sucks you in and getting the ‘optimal’ roast becomes somewhat of an obsession 😉 The first roast was great fun – the whole family gathered around watching, mesmerized by the swirling beans as they transformed from little green beans into the dark bloated coffee beans we love to grind for our favourite brew. If your keen to have a crack … (pun intended) at roasting with a popcorn maker at home, here are a few things that might help you get the best out of your experience.
Firstly, follow the guide with your popcorn maker and use the same amount of beans for corn i.e. 100g corn = 100g beans. Next remove all plastics because it melts … took me a while to realise the warped plastic was not part of the original design! Chuck in the beans and turn it on! The first exciting thing that happens is husks start swirling out of the machine so move to the outdoors or some place where the husks won’t be a hassle. Roasting has begun!
The first major milestone is the 1st crack – it sounds a bit like the crackling of the kindling in a campfire – the beans start to get lighter and bounce around more as they swirl. Wait a couple of minutes longer, you will reach the 2nd crack which is more like bigger logs cracking on the campfire when they throw off their orange sparks. Instead of orange sparks, little brown flecks of bean start to get flung out. The 2nd crack indicates that your beans have been roasted to a medium-dark level, depending when during the crack you stop the roast. As soon as the roast is stopped, pour the beans into a metal sieve and start to rotate to cool the beans – it’s normal for some to continue to crack so don’t worry.
Depending on the green beans you buy, you can stop roasting anywhere beyond the 1st crack. I had Nicaraguan single origin beans from The Coffee Roaster which are best suited to a medium to dark roast. Find out the best roast for your beans. If you go too far past the 2nd crack you will know because oil starts to be released, the beans get shiny and start to stick to the edge. Only a brave person would drink a brew from beans this dark! I went there and it wasn’t pretty.
When cool store your beans in a glass container. Wait four to seven days and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. You will never have a more satisfying brew. Have fun and play around! Because it’s only small quantities – be brave. Following our visit to Uncle Joe’s Coffee House I have been experimenting with slowing the roasting process and roasting lighter … that is, stop roasting somewhere from the 1st crack to before the 2nd. The roasting experience at Cup Roastery on the Bean Brewding/Yelp inaugural coffee tour has inspired me to try a popcorn roast that stops at the 1st crack and then try the beans as a brewed or filtered coffee.
There is something cool about controlling the transformation of green beans into coffee beans that are ready to drink. It is amazing how satisfied you feel when you are enjoying your first cup of home roasted coffee.
You gotta have a crack!