24 September 2011

Home Coffee Roasting

19 pounds of green coffee beans
Several years ago, I was introduced to home coffee roasting by one of my friends. I've been happily ordering green beans from Sweet Maria's and roasting them in a small roaster in my backyard ever since.

Roasting one's own coffee certainly adds a bit of complexity to the whole coffee-drinking process.  But I think it likewise adds to one's satisfaction with the experience in equal if not greater proportion.

Roasting allows me to find just the right point at which a particular bean's flavor appeals to my palate, and because of this, home-roasting allows me to become just -that-much better acquainted with my coffee.  Similarly, roasting has allowed me to better understand how coffee is grown and processed, and even to identify certain cup-qualities and regions of the world that seem to tend to grow coffee cultivars that we especially enjoy.

Bagged for storage
This week we received our latest shipment of coffee beans...nineteen pounds, in 1 to 5 pound lots... which I transferred into muslin bags for storage.  We order lots of varying size depending on our familiarity with the beans; five pound bags for beans from farms or regions we already know we love; 1 or 2 pound bags for new beans we're trying out.

Sweet Maria's ships faster than any place I know, so just a few days after placing our order a box arrives filled with the unique aroma of green coffee from cool places all over the world... in this case: Sumatra, Ethiopia, and Central America.  This shipment will last us several months.  However, in the interim we're likely to order more as we find we really like particular beans in this order enough to invest in larger quantities.  This is also a good idea because Sweet Maria's inventories are often quite limited.  They're fond of reminding customers that coffee is a commodity, not a drink.