January 9, 2012

Coffee Roasting: Better Beans

You might remember our first attempt at roasting coffee in an air pop-corn popper.

Finding better quality, green coffee beans turned out to be a bit of a challenge. We heard that Continental Coffee on Commercial Drive and JJ Beans on Powell Street sell some, but we decided to try Milano, whose delicious roasting aromas sweeten our neighbourhood air each week.

Milano doesn't sell green beans, but when we told their head roaster, Brian Turko, what we wanted to do, he was very helpful. He showed us around their roasting room and packed us a one-pound bag of beans from Nariño, Colombia.

Brian also gave us good roasting advice, telling us to stop the roast between four and five minutes, or just after second crack.

Following instructions on this helpful website, we measured out about 125 grams of beans.

We picked out all the ones that looked weird.

We were worried about the colder weather cooling down the air popper. It is only a 1200 Watt engine, which is 20% smaller than the 1500 Watt machine recommended on that other website. The air intake is on the bottom of the machine, so to stop cold air coming in and cooling the roast, we put the popper in a big paper bag. This recirculated the air very well. Almost too well, actually.

Stirring the beans on our first roast.

The bag got so hot that some of the chaff burned, floating up like orange cinders above a campfire.

At 5:18, just after second crack, we stopped the roast.

The roast looked uneven, and some of the beans had burned spots.

We picked out the ones that were too dark and too light.

The beans get stored in a jar for 24-36 hours before making our first cup.

Next post: the new grinder!

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