Although I do consume a lot of coffee (we’re talking 1-2 cups daily), I somehow don’t consider myself a “coffee drinker.” Perhaps this is because in my home of Portland, Oregon, our coffee drinkers are almost as snobby as our beer drinkers. Basically, drinking Starbucks is consider a big time faux pas, yet that’s where I stop on Friday mornings because it’s convenient. (Plus they have that app where you don’t even need your wallet!).
That’s not to say that I can’t taste a DISTINCT difference between a delicious Stumptown latte, and a sub par Starbucks latte. I can, and I definitely prefer the former. But in the mornings, I’m in a hurry. Number one, I don’t have time to go to some little hipster latte place that takes 32 minutes to make one drink; number two, I don’t need their freaking attitude! When I walk into a Starbucks, they have carefully crafted my happiness, with their seasonal drinks and can-do attitude – I like that. It also helps that my students hand me many gift cards around the holidays.
But one student chose to break the mold last December and, instead, gave me a bag of Guatemalan coffee beans she had helped roast herself with her dad. Although I’ve known a lot of people who roast their own coffee, I suddenly thought, “Well if this 11 year old girl can do it, why can’t I?” Thus my #5 goal was born.
In January, I shared my goals with my students, and mentioned that this particular student inspired my goal of roasting coffee on my own. She’s pretty quiet and didn’t say anything; until last week when she handed me a ziplock baggie full of green coffee beans and some instructions on how to roast them myself. BEST. PRESENT. EVER.
Roasting my own coffee beans was totally amateur hour. I don’t have any special roaster, or even a popcorn popper (as she recommended). I considered picking up a popcorn popper at Target but then I wasn’t convinced that I would want to roast coffee beans more than once, and have another oversized appliance taking up space in our compact kitchen. After reading several websites on coffee roasting, it appeared that heat and proper airflow were key in the process.
I set my oven to 500 degrees, laid them out in a single layer in a pan, and basically kept turning them for 15 minutes.
While I’m certain that the beans didn’t roast as uniformly as a pro would have done, I’m chalking it up to my first exploration – and frankly I don’t think it was that big of a deal. Then I dumped the roasted beans into a metal sieve and shook them around a lot to let them cool and get rid of the “chaff” (the outer part of the bean that gets shed).
My beans sat on the counter for 24 hours to “de-gas” and tonight I ground them up. They totally smell like Stumptown beans. Like totally. Tomorrow morning I’ll be drinking my own roasted coffee, and assuming it tastes as good as it smells, I think I’ll do it again.