Month: November 2013

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I enjoy discovering nice coffee shops that put a lot of effort into drink preparation.  Here is an interesting observation on something to watch for.

 

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5 Easy Steps for Roasting Coffee

The Real Life

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Roasting coffee has been a fun and rewarding hobby of mine for the past 13 years.  I still remember my first REAL cup of coffee – not the stuff you sip out of your mom or dad’s cup that is filled with sugar and fake creamer – but the first cup I ordered on my own, at a truck stop, just across the Michigan boarder, thick, black coffee.  It was horrible!  But, I was an adult and it was time to start an adult habit of drinking coffee.

But, Coffee doesn’t have to be horrible, and it all starts with the quality of the beans and where they were grown.  I’ll talk about the beans on another post but for today let’s look at the steps to roasting coffee.

Now, roasting coffee and how the beans are roasted have a lot to do with how the coffee will taste after…

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Coffee Roasting in Las Vegas

Greetings world.  I’ve reached a point in my coffee roasting ability where I can roast more coffee than I can possibly drink.  So perhaps writing about the journey will provide enjoyment to others, or at minimum something interesting and moderately productive for me to do.

A couple of paths crossed that moved me towards appreciating coffee.  The first path was my frustration with inconsistent temperature coming out of a traditional drip coffee machine.  Lukewarm coffee isn’t fun to drink.  I tend to be cheap, so maybe it was just that I purchased the cheapest brewer I could find.  Whatever the cause, switching to french press was cheap and it gave me hot coffee every time.

I moved towards espresso to learn a new, potentially marketable, skill.  I was at a point where I foresaw bumps in the road along my career path.  This was during the hay day of Starbucks’s Las Vegas expansion.  At a spot near my house there were 4 Starbucks in the SAME shopping center.  I appreciate Starbucks and don’t really agree with the Charbucks or $tarbucks crowd.  At the time, Las Vegas lacked a strong independent Coffee business.  Alas I’m not a restaurant person.  I figured if I learned about espresso I might open doors in the future.  If not, I’d have espresso to drink in the mornings.

These paths converged at the same time I was trying to eliminate other paths in my life.  I decided to eliminate alcohol from my diet.  Alcohol provided me a nice ‘culinary’ experience.  My wife and I enjoyed the wide variety of flavors and tastes available.  It also was a product category that was central to my future income.

I find that the best way for me to eliminate something is not to focus on what is missing, but to build alternatives.  ‘Geeking out’ on coffee gave me the complexity and culinary experience that alcohol generated — And I can drink coffee in the morning.

Roasting was a natural progression for me.  It provided more potential open doors, the nature of the process fits with my personality, it provided more culinary experience, and it saved me money!  I began roasting with a first generation iRoast (http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.hearthwareiRoast.shtml).  I quickly became frustrated with the device and began to look for alternative techniques. Looking back on the device, most of the frustration came from my inexperience, not necessarily the iRoast.

Dog Bowl roasting was the answer.  It is cheap, consistent, and you are in direct contact with the beans.  It is a great way to learn how coffee beans “work”.  This is the method a beginner should start with.  I used the dog bowl method for years and years but the method has limitations.

I recently switch to a BBQ drum roaster (http://www.coffeeroastersclub.com/presta/).  I’ve spent the past few months dialing in the process and now I can roast more coffee than I can possibly drink!  (Hmm, maybe I’ll make my kids drink coffee to increase the demand).

I hope you enjoy my ramblings, I’ll continue this story soon.  But my google-kung-fu tells me that I should keep my word count down or I won’t have readership.

Thanks,

Ed