Roasting my own coffee beans

I used to be able to buy that Lavazza ground stuff (or Illy, or whatever), put it into a stovetop, and drink it with warm milk.

How things have changed. I now freshly grind my coffee (with a Baratza Vario coffee grinder) no more than 30 seconds in advance of the espresso extraction. It’s the only way to get that freshness and crispness I’m used to. I use a Rancilio Silvia to make my poison, and I can only buy my beans from Monmouth Coffee, where I know they have roasted them within at least the last few days.

The reason is that the beans deteriorate after about 10 days after roasting, in a way that is noticeable in the cup. I’m not a snob, I just have picky tastebuds. I can’t help that.

(It always amuses me, therefore, when people talk about the relative merit of one type of coffee over the other, in a supermarket. How any of it can be considered good is beyond me, when the stuff has been on a shelf for months. I guess it serves a purpose, but – yuk.)

The problem:

  • Freshly roasted beans – really fresh – are expensive in the first place
  • They are more expensive when you throw them away because they are no longer fresh and you didn’t get through them all quick enough
  • Getting freshly roasted beans (really fresh) is costly – postage from mail-order, a trip into central London
  • The beans are never there and fresh, when I want them.

A for-instance:

  • I buy 750g of beans because I made a special visit to Monmouth Coffee, use 125g, then because life is unpredictable I have to go away for 7 days then the remaining beans get thrown away (ack). Then I get back … to no beans (double ack). I have to wait at least a few days before I can get fresh stuff again (ack). During that time I have to visit cafés three times a day. Wow. A LOT of wasted beans, time, and money.

That’s 9 shades of annoying. And 4x ack.

I go away, I come home, I want fresh beans, right here, right now!

Cafés don’t have this problem. They get through so many beans each day they can afford a shipment every day. If they overorder / undersell one day, they can use rollover beans the next day, and reduce the order the following day. Beans always fresh. Not so chez Mat.

The solution:

Buy a home roaster. Store my own green beans for 6 months. Cheap! Fresh!

I have no desire to roast my own beans other than to get around the terrible feeling of coming home to no coffee.

Actually, that’s a lie. I love the thought of defining my own roasting profiles, choosing the type of roast according to my mood, experimenting.

So I am the proud new owner of a Behmor coffee roasting machine. None of this pokey air roasting rubbish. A proper drum roaster thank you. Complete with chaff and smoke management systems.

I’ll post back when I get some results from this thing!

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2 comments

  1. Well, I’ll be stalking you…I mean, this blog, of course! 😉
    And now you made me want a roasting machine too. Was it very expensive? 😮

  2. actually the coffee bean is bihgrt red when it is ripe and mature ..it is then roasted for the sugars in the bean to caramelize and that is where the coffee gets it’s flavor different roasting techniques and temps and times make a difference in the out come of the flavors I have not read anywhere about anyone eating the red ripe mature beans without being roasted I don’t even know where you could get them .I have never seen them in the U.S.A.

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