Monday, April 8, 2013

Roasting Coffee

I have begun roasting my own coffee, not only for myself, but also for my guests. My friend Ed Gulyas turned me on to this; he's been doing it for a long time and I have had many wonderful and subtle coffees from his countertop Pavoni. It wasn't until I really began to inhabit Nettles Farm by myself that I slowed down enough to take the time to do it. I bought 20 lbs of green coffee from Sweet Maria's, an Oakland company that really knows and cares about the coffee they purchase and sell. It costs a little less than half the price of  roasted beans. Green coffee gets better as it ages, unlike roasted beans, and drinking a brew from freshly roasted coffee is truly a peak experience.
Ed gave me an old popcorn popper he had bought thinking he would go through one every few months, when in fact his first one is still going strong years into it. It is messy, as the beans go through their first "crack" and shed their outer covering as they roast. Also it creates a lot of smoke and smell, fairly strong smell. First I roasted under the hood of the FarmHouse Suite, and that worked really well, but there was clean-up involved. Now I have the popper and the cooling pans on a sheet pan outside on the deck. Ed is very picky about his roasting, and brings the beans just to their second crack, then immediately cools them down using a second popper with no heating element. I like a dark roast, not only for flavor, but also because there seems to be less caffeine in the brew. So I let the beans go through their second crack, until they are very dark and shiny from the oils released, then dump them into a bowl, where I cool them slowly by pouring them from bowl to bowl. Right now I am roasting Mocha Kadir, which is fruity and smooth.
I make my coffee with a Delonghi Magnifica, and automatic espresso maker that makes surprisingly good espresso. Starbuck's had a sale on them some years ago and I thought I would try it. It took awhile to get a good cup, but you can tweak it to make what you like.
For ease of use, I have fresh beans, a good grinder, and a French Press in each of the rooms. I am setting up the commercial single group Astoria that I have in the carport, so that guests can use it if they want. I can also teach guests how to make a good cup if they don't know how, which is fun if you have never used a commercial machine before.

1 comment:

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