I have been roasting coffee in our home since 2011. As I recall, I got hit with the bug partially because of my deep love for good coffee, partly because so many people were roasting in PDX, near where we were living at the time, and I realized it was something I wanted to learn how to do. It didn’t hurt that my good friend, Al Hendrix, turned me on to the basics of home roasting and showed me how to get started. Ever since then we’ve been spoiled in our house with freshly roasted coffee.
I tried one cookie sheet in the oven (for roasting) and one in the freezer (for cooling), but that ended rather quickly because it was way too complicated to keep things from getting burned in the oven. I also found it equally difficult to cool the beans down fast enough using the frozen cookie sheet method. So I invested in my trusty Whirley-Pop, which has probably roasted at least 300-400 batches in its 7 years of service.
When our kids got old enough, they became interested in learning how to roast too.
Now as we talk about the possibility of roasting coffee on a slightly larger scale, the kids are even more excited. They love the thought of going to the farmer’s market on Saturdays and learning the ins and outs of running a small business. C. our youngest, even helped with a batch today as we are testing out a new Whirley-Pop style roaster and a new batch of green beans. C came up with an ingenious way to distinguish between the sounds first and second crack during the roasting process: first it sounds like popcorn popping, and second, it sounds like Pop-Rocks.
As you can imagine, it’s taken a while for me to learn how to roast on a stovetop with a popcorn popper, but this has had its advantages. I’ve learned the mechanics of roasting coffee at its most rudimentary level. I’ve learned the process in and out: the sight, sound, smell, and ultimately the resulting taste. Slowly over time it’s not only become a hobby, it’s become a passion of mine. I love to make coffee, share it with friends, talk about it, and learn about it as much as I can. I’m always looking for a new coffee shop to visit, because I always want yummy coffee and because I am genuinely interested in seeing what other people are serving and how they’re serving it.
Not too long ago, during some time off and a bit of creative thinking, I came to the realization that this is something I am passionate about. We’re starting small. I’ve got a spot reserved at one of the local farmer’s markets for August 11th. We’re going to show up and try and sell a little freshly roasted coffee and begin a “coffee CSA” for all the folks in the neighborhood who might be interested. We’re working to perfect our batches now, getting all our things in order and are going to show up and see what happens.
What’s the worse thing that happens? I end up with a lot of coffee to drink and giveaway. I can live with that.
Stay tuned, lots more to share with you, including freshly roasted coffee!