Friday, August 1, 2014

Roasting Green Coffee Beans



Miriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who had been imprisoned and sentenced to execution for refusing to recant her Christian faith, has arrived, along with her husband and children, safely in New Hampshire, where they will make their home. What wonderful news. Praise God! Read story HERE.


I visited a friend the other day and watched her roast green coffee beans in a cast iron skillet on top of the electric range. Looked easy enough to me and what fun to roast one's own coffee!

She had the largest burner on Medium and constantly stirred the beans with a wood paddle. Soon we heard the significant 'first crack.'  Stirring constantly, after a while the beans went to 'second crack,' which seemed a little indistinguishable to me from 'first crack,' but I'm sure one gets the hang of this after a while. Evidently 'second crack' is a much sharper crack, so if you are very attentive (not my strong point) you can probably figure this out.

From Wikipedia:

Sound is a good indicator of bean temperature during roasting. There are two temperature thresholds called "cracks" that roasters listen for. At about 200–202 °C (392–396 °F), beans will emit a cracking sound much like popcorn does when it pops, only much quieter. This point is called "first crack," marking the beginning of light roasts. When the beans are at about 224–226 °C (435–439 °F), they emit a "second crack." During first and second "crack" pressure inside the bean has increased to the point where the structure of the bean fractures, rapidly releasing gases, thus an audible sound is emitted.

From YouTube, here's a little video of that roasting and cracking.
Quite entertaining.

Yes, that is smoke. The beans will smoke and you'll need to have a really good range hood on your stove to avoid filling the house with smoke. Because my range fan is far above our electric range, and not adequate for this kind of project, I'm going to purchase a hot plate that I can use outdoors for my personal bean roasting. I have quite a collection of cast iron skillets that have been in the family for years, so I'm all set on that point, and I just bought a wood paddle for the stirring.

This is a photo to show you the chaff that pops off the outside of the beans. You can just blow them off the beans (and have chaff everywhere), or I suppose you could leave it until you get outdoors. This is just a photo so you can see what the chaff looks like.

When the beans have reached the desired color - and it will not be uniform - then you can pour them into metal cake pans and set outdoors to cool and off-gas. The beans will be ready to use in about 24 hours.

Brewed from home-roasted coffee beans

Of course I've now ordered my own green coffee beans and can't wait to try my hand at the skillet roasting process! The beans I bought are from Honduras, Mexico, and Ethiopia, because I liked the descriptions, but mostly also because I love pronouncing the names.

Hondoras, Ocotepeque Manuel Espana
Mexico, Oaxaca La Lagunilla
Ethiopia, Dry Process Gr. 1 Yirga Cheffe Konga

Beans are about $6.50/Lb. at  Sometimes they run specials. When I purchased mine, they had a special on shipping, so that was helpful.  I need to spend more time learning the coffee lingo at  There one can learn all about the various roasts - City, Full City, Vienna, French, Spanish, etc. etc.

For example, from

*City, Full City note: I have been dividing up the roasts around City and Full City into finer distinctions using the + sign. So City (or sometimes I write "true City roast" means the coffee has fully cleared 1st crack, and the roast is stopped (about 425-430 f). City+ means the coffee has cleared first crack, and time is allowed for an even bean surface appearance to develop, about 435f usually. Full City, or "true Full City" is where the coffee is roasted to the verge of 2nd crack without entering it, which is about 440-445f. Full City+ is where the coffee is roasted to the verge of 2nd crack and enters it slightly, but the coffee is dumped/roast is ended at that point, so the batch has no momentum to truly enter 2nd crack, roughtly 445-448f. 
Beyond that and we are talking Vienna roast in my book.'

And you thought it was just a cup of coffee.

My friend gave me some roasted beans to take home. I brewed the coffee in my cool French press. I mean, after all, how could I possibly brew them in a plain old coffee maker? Now I'm hunting for some Icelandic wool so I can knit and felt an artsy insulating sleeve for my French press.

Thank you, Beth. Winter is starting to look promising.


For more information on purchasing green coffee beans and the roasting process, go to Sweet Marias. There's everything you'll need to know - and more - on that site.


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Although I usually forget to do it, there is a chance that this post will be linked to one or more of these great linky parties: Mop it Up Monday and Inspired Monday and  Inspiration Monday and Make it Pretty Monday and  Making the World Cuter Mondays and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Artsy Corner Thursday and Treasure Box Tuesday and KatheWithAnE and Rubbish Tuesday and Tuesday with a Twist and  Knick of Time Tuesday (vintage)  and   Tweak it Tuesday and Adorned From Above  and All Things With Purpose and Home & Garden Thursday and Good Fences on Thursdays and  Time Travel Thursday and Freedom Fridays and Junkin' Joe and Vintage Inspiration Friday and A Favorite Thing Saturday


podso said...

Interesting! It looks like an art form to develop and you are well on your way. We adopted a dog once named Cheffe. His previous owners had lived in Yirga

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

And a drinking cocoa finish. Who wouldn't like that? We are tea drinkers. Tea with Soymilk. Coffee is a Sunday pleasure, or sometimes when I visit Friend Rose in the morning. She served me coffee in a to-go French Press. I was impressed. I love new gadgets. Almost made me want to start drinking coffee regularly again. Makes my heart beat too fast, tho. So a treat it remains.

Your coffee-roasting story reminds me of the book The Republic of Tea. Same complexity.

MadSnapper said...

ok, i have a necklace made from coffee beans, does that count? hold on a sec... ok, just took a sip of my Maxwell House coffee brewed in my Mr Coffee... LOL LOL... have fun and don't smoke up the house...or get soap in the coffee or coffee in the soap...

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Very interesting post however as I only drink 1 cup of coffee a day I don't think I would go through all that process but good luck with it.

Susie said...

That is a first for me. I have never heard of anyone roasting their own beans. I just Visited Kelley's Highway blog and she showed a nice peach cobbler in an iron skillet. Don't ever throw those old pans away !! Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Vee said...

What?! You want to be outside roasting coffee beans in winter? Is there a benefit in flavor? In cost? This was all very interesting. We will, of course, wish to see the sweater for the coffee press!

Primitive Stars said...

Morning, very interesting, love me a good cup of coffee, Blessings Francine.

Jean | said...

Judy, I love it! Of course, I'm a tea drinker and don't drink enough coffee to need this info for myself; but I have friends who are going to have a lot of fun with this!

Terri D said...

There is definitely a difference between French Press and any other method of brewing. I've never tasted better coffee than that brewed in a French Press. I have not purchased one yet, though. I'm so lazy, Judy. I am intrigued by roasting your own beans, but I won't do it. I'm too lazy. K-Cups work just fine for me, but I would sure love to taste a cup of home-roasted coffee. You will at least know that no chemicals have been added to it!!

Cheryl said...

My son and his wife roasted their own beans where they lived before their move to Maine (I think they got out of the habit when their equipment was packed up while they sought more permanent housing), and they would send us samples of different flavored beans. There seems to be a richer flavor with home-roasted beans.

Debbie said...

This is fascinating, I love all the interest these days in doing things yourself, making things better!!

I am not a coffee drinker, but I do like the taste of other coffee flavored foods like ice cream or fudge. I am a tea drinker and for me, nothing beats a hot or cold cup of tea!!

Mama Hen said...

Mmmmmmmm! I just sat down with my first cup of hot coffee ready to read my favorite blogs and this fantastic post is the start of my reads. I love coffee and this looks like fun to do. And that is wonderful news about Miriam! New Hampshire is a peaceful place to live surrounded by God's abundant blessings.

Enjoy your day!

Mama Hen

TexWisGirl said...

i'd never do it myself, but it was an interesting process to read about.

Stephanie said...

Praise the good Lord for the wonderful news of this family! What a joy!

Your coffee looks so delicious! I have never roasted my beans, but after seeing this I may have to try it :)

Happy weekend!

Lady Linda said...

I had not idea your could do this! Very fun post. How are you feeling? Think of you often. Hope you have recovered well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Judy! I'm not a coffee drinker but this sounds very interesting and I'd like to try it just to hear those snaps! ;) Thanks for popping in to see me and have a great weekend.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

RURAL said...

I had no idea that you could do this at home...wonder how it would work on the BBQ?

Sounds wonderfully fragrant.

And the theme detection was just Windows live writer doing it's thing..although it assured me that it wouldn't do that.


Nancy Jo said...

Nothing like a really good cup of coffee. Thanks for the post and the info.
Nancy Jo

Carla from The River said...

Okay, so now it is Pizza, Popsicle and coffee that I am coming over to have at your house. :-) Yummy!!

Fun post today.
I am excited to see how this works for you.

Valerie said...

What wonderful news about Miriam. God is good. =) That coffee looks really yummy. Sounds good right now, with this cool breeze blowing today.
Blessings, Valerie

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Yes the news about Miriam Ibrahim was wonderful! Thank God

That is very interesting about the coffee beans. Good luck with yours.

Linda said...

I had no idea about the coffee beans, how interesting. Good news about Miriam only our government would work that hard to get our Marine out of a Mexican jail. Blessings

Red Rose Alley said...

I love love coffee, and I'm sipping on it right now as I read your post. How interesting this is to see the process of roasting the coffee beans. This is wonderful news of this woman. This looks like a really good cup of coffee, indeed.

Have a relaxing weekend.


Donna said...

How cool! I think I'll stick with what I know, however. I don't need to create more work for myself, LOL!

Judy S. said...

Great news about Miriam! A restaurant in our nearby mall used to roast their own coffee, and you could always tell when they were roasting because you could smell it from the close by freeway! Good idea to roast outside, but won't you have to stock up for the winter?

Lynn Blaylock said...

Wonderful post! I don't know if I would attempt roasting my own coffee beans but it's wonderful to know the process. Miriam's story is also wonderful! Be Blessed! said...

I am pretty sure I would make a mess of this! I bet is is amazing though!

Bossy Betty said...

I am one of those strange birds who does not like coffee but I am all about roasting stuff.

tlcukjourney said...

My brother actually has a coffee business... So lots of Coffee talk around him!
I changed my blog address so I'm no longer on any of your follow lists, please note my new address, it's ... I miss my blogging friends!
I really hope that your weekend was complete awesome!
Tammy x

Suzan said...

Hummmmmm - interesting!!
So she got green coffee beans and roasted them??? then also added stuff to them???

Amy Burzese said...

Well, I didn't know about that. Something else interesting to look into! thanks!

Smalltowngiggles said...

Very interesting. Not something I will try, but very interesting.

Inger said...

What a lovely blog you have. Thank you so much for stopping by mine and leaving a comment. I will now go and check out your soaps.

Karen @ Beatrice Euphemie said...

Oh, the scent of the roasting beans must be so delicious! What a fun idea! I had heard about Mirium on the news and I am so glad to hear that she has safely arrived with her family. Enjoy your fresh brewed coffee. Here in the Seattle area we have plenty of fresh brewed options as that is how we get through the dark, rainy winters - all jacked up on Starbuck's! There is a coffee stand on every corner it seems! Even way out here in the 'boonies'. Hugs xo Karen

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