Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coffee Roasting Log #1

Today's varietals to roast
For the first round of coffee roasting, I opted to try roasting the beans on a frying pan. The system I ended up rigging up consisted of a cast iron pan on the grate of the BBQ grill in my backyard.

Coffee roasting supplies
I picked out three different flavors I bought to try roasting first; Uganda Bugisu, Costa Rica African Washed, and Bali Blue Moon. For my setup, I decided to try using a strainer to keep the beans from being exposed to the heat of the cast iron pan directly to avoid scorching them. This was quickly abandoned as the strainer was clumsy and could not warm up hot enough to roast the beans.

Attempt #1: Failure
Moving the beans to the pan, they began to brown slowly. I had to keep agitating them with a wooden spoon to prevent the beans from burning. All in all, it took somewhere between 10 - 15 minutes to roast 1/4 lb of beans on the pan. It became tedious to keep stirring when the pan kept losing heat to the environment; I can't agitate the beans with the lid closed. This made it difficult to make any headway from the first crack.
Direct heat!
As can be seen, the roast was extremely light. The beans were able to be ground up and brewed, but the flavor was lacking.
Attempt #2: Partial success
I repeated this process with the next two varietals, increasing the roast size to 1/2 lb and switching to using a wire whisk in the process. The agitation is quite a workout!
Increaing capacity!

They turn from green to brown, to dark brown

Whisking away the beans!

Attempt 3: Costa Rica African Washed roasted somewhat successfully

Bali Blue Moon roasted in similar fashion to the other beans
Flavor results:

Of these, I will admit that the Bali Blue Moon made some decent tasting espresso, even at the incredibly light roast it had. I blended in the Uganda with some off the shelf medium roast coffee to make a drinkable cup of coffee. The Costa Rica varietal tasted quite fruity.

For next time:

I'm going to try steering away from the cast iron pan method and use a less labor intensive way of roasting the beans. To do so, I will purchase an air pop popcorn popper to roast the beans. This way, I should be able to get a darker roast, cut down roast time, and save on energy usage and labor requirements. I'll possibly look into reroasting some of the beans from this day to improve the flavor quality.

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