Tuesday, 7 October 2008


We're roasting our own coffee - ooh la la!

We like coffee, and although we aren't afficionados by any stretch of the imagination, we do have a real coffee machine, and a grinder, and we drink a lot of coffee now we're at home all day. We also like to eat, and drink responsibly, so when we couldn't find organic and fair trade coffee beans in our local natuurwinkel (health food shop), we were a bit perturbed.

Then I got thinking. I had just read a blog post on Bifurcated Carrots about green coffee, which explains that roasted coffee, like the majority (all?!) of coffee on sale in the shops, only stays fresh for about 2 weeks after it's roasted, even if it's vacuum packed, so it's stale by the time we drink it. Bummer. Then I was reading an old copy of Readymade magazine on how to roast your own coffee beans using a popcorn machine, which we already have. It's like it was meant to be, so we decided to give home roasting a go and see if we could unlock the magic of fresh coffee.

First dilemma, what beans shall we buy? We went online to Ongebrand ('unroasted' in Dutch) and picked the cheapest coffee that was fair trade and organic - the washed Bolivia Arabica - for 9 EUR a kilo (plus 5 EUR p&p) and this little package was delivered the next day.

We love the sack. Nice touch Ongebrand. They phoned too, to check we knew we were buying unroasted beans. Good company.

Anyway, as instructed by this article in an Readymade, we stuck 100g of coffee beans in our 10 quid popcorn maker, and turned the machine on. Then waited, and it worked! 5 minutes later, we had little roasted beans. Check out the before and after. They turned from green, peanut like beans, to these brown, roasted beauties:

We had to wait a few hours before we could grind and drink them, so we waited, then we ground them, and the smell was incredible! It also tasted delicious! We're still in the testing period, and I think we'll roast them for a bit longer next time, but I think we could tell the difference. The coffee tasted really smooth, fresher, and didn't have so much of a bitter after taste.

So, we're happy and very excited about our new adventure. We get through about 500g of coffee every few weeks, so we'll have to work out how to roast in batches so we don't run out.

Happy! It's good having time.