I’ve decided to write some more about beans since I don’t yet have money for a roaster, or said beans (green ones that is). Turns out its relatively expensive to get green beans here, at least at the savings that I am intending to reap. 2 pounds for example from a Nova Scotia company costs $17 :S. Thats what 2 pounds of roasted coffee at the store costs here. No, the point is to save money on thist thing. I may still do that as a trial, to see if I can roast / like it since I wouldn’t really be spening any MORE money (except shipping costs of course)… So really I would be spending a bit more but for fresh beans 😛
To the bucket list. When I get my first load of green beans, I’d like to try a few different methods just to get the hang of it.
Here is the list, in order of technology:
Cast Iron pan roasting
Popcorn maker air roasting
Cylinder based roasting machine (this would be the unit that I would like go forward with)
I’ll be using another piece of technology to record it all. Its an IOS app (universal), it records heat curves, roast times, first and second crack times, manages your bean inventory and the companies from which you bought the beans, all so that you can fine tune and make more consistent your roasts. That software is called ‘RoastMaster’. Site here: http://rainfroginc.com/Databases.html . Not that I’ve really had a chance to roast with it but it looks indispensable for keeping track of things.
Back to my bucket list, the pan roast method is really the original sort of way to roast beans beans were roasted. Over a fire in some sort of container. Its also the most tedious as it requires you to constantly stir otherwise move the beans so they get evenly roasted. Its the best way to be up close and personal with your beans though as you learn about the different stages of roast. Its the best oportunity to get used to the first crack, and then the second if you get that far. This can be messy too though, probably best done outdoors as the chaff flies off the beans as they roast and get all over.
The air popper is easier though it still makes a mess. Basically you roast them just like popcorn but of course they don’t pop, only crack, and again, chaff flies off everywhere making less of a mess but one nonetheless. Also with the whirring of the popper, its harder to hear the cracking, especially the second crack which is as I read it, a lot more subtle than first.
The preferred method, and the one used by most larger roasting outfits is the cylinder roaster which come in all shapes and sizes. The home roasting size unit that I’m looking into is like a toaster oven, in shape, and size. Its a cylinder roast which roasts up to 1 pound of green beans at a time, the largest roast size of most of the home roasters out there.
The word is that the air poppers preserve the high notes of the coffee in terms of flavour, but lack the body of roasts from cylinder type roasts, and cylinder type roasters (non air roasters) tend to mute the high notes of a coffee. I guess I’ll find all this out and see if all this information is true once I start roasting for myself.
I hope as well to be able to roast for others too, not so much to make a profit but maybe to pay for our own coffee consumption. Stay tuned for an estore on my front page when I get that going. I’ll likely start out small offering 1 or two kinds of roasted beans and if people like it, I’ll expand to more. The balance I’m going for is cost effectiveness vs quality. Obviously the fresh roasted beans, and therefore the coffee needs to be noticably and hopefully light years better then grocery store beans or grind. On top of that though, they can’t cost a pile more cause some people just don’t have the money to spend. My thinking is that if I can purchase in decent quantity, I can provided fresh roasted beans for prices similar to supermarket varieties and the edge there being then (when price is not a factor), the fresh roasted flavour. And that will be a challenge, though I’m not trying to make a living off of it, obviously I’m not going to do it just to break even otherwise whats the point right? 😀 Plus, there is currently only one other roaster on the Island so I’m hoping for decent interest, especially if I can in any way compete with him (Charlie, over at www.islandcoffee.ca). Charlies main business seems to be retail sales, one area in which I don’t intend to challenge so hopefully we will be able to all live together and cover the Island with fresh roasted coffee goodness!