In an age where Starbuck’s can be found on any given block and Keurig can crank out a cup of “home brewed” coffee in less than 30 seconds, roasting your own coffee beans may seem like a lot of work for a simple cup of coffee. Until you’ve tried it.
The journey of the coffee bean (actually a seed) from plant to cup is substantial. Grown around the world, the cherries of the coffee plant are usually harvested by hand. The fruit is processed, either using a “dry” or “wet” method to remove the pulp and then bring the seed to around 11% moisture content. The “green” (unroasted) coffee beans may then be hulled and sometimes polished before they are sorted and graded for export.
In the green state, coffee beans can be stored for a fairly long time before losing flavor, but once roasted (never mind ground), the clock has started in terms of freshness.
Fair trade, organic, hand-picked and shipped around the world: Depending on where it comes from, the flavors of coffee can be as nuanced and complex as the finest of wines.
I’ve been roasting my own coffee beans for nearly a decade now. The process not only ensures the freshest possible result, it has also opened me up to the pleasure of exploring many different types of beans sold “green.” If you’re new to buying green coffee beans, check out Sweet Maria’s. The online retailer offers a wide variety of beans and provides detailed descriptions, recommendations and tips to get you started.
There are several different methods for roasting beans, including skillet roasting, using a popcorn popper, or using specialty equipment. These days, I usually use a countertop appliance to roast my beans, but I’m sharing here a simple method for oven roasting. Oven roasting is imprecise but manageable, and it’s an easy way to get started roasting your own coffee beans without investing in any equipment.