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Thursday, November 11, 2010

From Cherry to Brew, Danielle's Coffee Roasting How To!

We live in a world where life is as easy as the money or plastic you carry in your wallet.  We don't think twice when it comes to our daily cup o' joe... But have you ever wondered where it comes from?  How it's made?  Or even if you can do it yourself right at home?  If you have been following my camping excursion, my last post concluded the trip with my bounty of fruits and coffee berries that I found and brought home.  During my hike in Kipahulu, I picked coffee for a good half hour and looked forward to bringing it home to roast.  For those of you who have never seen coffee on the plant, I took this picture to show its beauty.  The red "cherry" contains the bean with its soft outer shell.  The coffee is ready to pick when the berry reaches a deep red coloration like those seen here.  *CLICK on pictures to enlarge*

Step 1
 There are various methods used for roasting coffee, and they tend to vary greatly from country to country, and even household to household.  For home roasting, you can do the skillet method, (which produces a rather uneven roast), or you can purchase a home roaster, (which is great, but expensive), or you can roast it with a popcorn popper, (which is perfect for minimalists like me, and very effective for an even roast). 

Step 1:  I remove the casings by putting the whole cherries in my Vitamix blender mixed with water at a high speed.  The red casing comes off first, which is soft and pulpy and very quick to remove.... Then there is the second hard shell around the bean, which takes a bit longer to "blend" off.  After words, I seperate the beans from the pulp, saving all of the pulp for step 2.

                                                                         Step 2:  I lay my beans out in the sunshine to dry.  Here in Maui, it doesn't take very long because the sun is usually always shining. :)  While the beans are sunbathing, I take my pulp over to our worm "composting" bin.  Our wiggly pets gobble it right up and then poo out lovely fertilizer.  We also feed our worms all of our scraps from fruits, veggies, egg shells, and certain grains... As well as coffee grounds with their unbleached filters and even tea bags!

HOORAY for the Worm Composting Bin!
Step 3:  Once the beans have dried, they are ready to be roasted in the popcorn popper.  I double up two soup cans because those beans can really jump! Once they start roasting, I stir until the beans start popping up on their own.  I like my beans on the darker side, so I do the two "crack" method.  They let out an obvious crack about 5-7 minutes into roasting, and another a couple minutes later.  After that, I unplug the popcorn maker, knock off the soup cans with my stirring utensil (because it is SUPER hot), and then transfer the beans immediately into a deep pan or metal coliander and shake them around to cool them off to prevent them from over-roasting. 

Step 4:  The beans are done!  Now, I just grind them up in my Vitamix, (most people would likely use a real grinder).  Now it's off  into the coffee maker or french press it goes! 

I always roast outside... For one, it is a very high heat process.. And two, there is smoke.

It takes a bit of work and time, but it is SO worth it.  I take my steamy cup of deliciousness with a spot of soymilk and ENJOY the fruits of my labor! =] 

Beans Roasting

The finished product!

Ready to be brewed...

I saved a shell from each to show the differences.

Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment down below! =)


  1. Wow! I absolutely love this! Gardening, Coffee, Photo Blogging. All the things that make me happy. I didn't know you had a worm bin! I have one too! Keep up the good work Queen B!

  2. Hi Danielle,

    This is Deb from Kahakai Kitchen. It's nice to *meet* you. ;-) I replied to your comment on my blog about the fermented pineapple drink but wanted to make sure you had the info. I have made it a few different times now (whenever I have fresh pineapple rind leftover) and when it was warmer got a bit of mold on some of the batches---more than the usual fermenting "scum." I ended up scrapping it off as I saw it and straining it and like you no mold was in the liquid and it seemed to taste just fine and I had no ill effects so you should be OK.
    Hope you enjoy it.

    BTW--love the coffee roasting how-to--very fun.



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