Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home Coffee Roasting Tutorial

I used to be a professional coffee roaster.  I had a beautiful, shiny roaster where I could roast about 15 lbs of coffee in under 30 minutes.  We roasted and sold hundreds of pounds of coffee from all over the world every week. I had artisan roasted coffee at my fingertips to supply myself with levels of caffeine needed to get through the day.  I was even considering patenting an intravenous solution for tired bloggers, mid-level managers and teachers everywhere.

But alas, no bountiful supply of freshly roasted beans await my waking moments.  No shiny workhorse to take the beans from grassy green to richly roasted perfection.

What's a girl to do?  Why roast coffee at home, that's what!

So let's start this caffeine rich adventure!  Dig out your hot air popper from the back of the cabinet and let's get roasting!

These are the things you need for roasting at home:

1.  Green (Unroasted coffee beans) available from any coffee importers.  Our favorite for home roasters is  Sweet Maria's.  Another importer is Theta Ridge. You might even find some at Amazon.  The main thing you want to check are the pounds available.  Most of the big importers (Cafe Imports, Royal Coffee, etc) don't sell "broken" bags, which means you have to buy those big 150 lbs bags of beans, which is not feasible for most home roasters.

2.  A hot air popcorn popper.  I have a Presto Hot Air Popcorn Popper.  

3.  A piece of metal screen.  I cut the metal screen from an old splatter screen that was broken.  The purpose for the screen is to keep the beans in and let the chaff out.

4.  A digital timer.

5.  2 Large cookie sheet sheets and a cookie cooling rack.  These are used for cooling the beans after roasting.

6.  Paper towels.

I roast outside because the roasting process produces a lot of smoke!  I can also just sweep my chaff and mess into the grass.

Step 1.  Set up all your supplies within reach.  The cord to the popper is probably very short, so take that into consideration when setting up your roasting station.

Step 2.  Measure the green beans into the 1/2 cup lid on the popper.  You don't want to overload the popper with too many beans.

Step 3.  Set the timer.  This will take some trial and error to get the beans to the roasting profile you like. The beans I have are Costa Rica Terrazu and we like them roasted light to medium (City Roast) to medium/dark (Full City Roast), which is right before 2nd crack.  This means that soon after the 1st crack, I am going to take them out.  I do not want them to reach the 2nd crack which would result in a darker roast.  For more information on 1st and 2nd crack, see Sweet Maria's Roasting Visual Guide.  I set the timer on 2:30.  (Two minutes, thirty seconds).  Because Popper roasting is not very controlled, I get a variety of "doneness" depending on which cycle of roasting I'm in.  If it's the very first roast, when the popper is starting from cold, the roast is lighter.  If it's my 4th cycle, the popper is still hot and the roast is darker.  You can modify your times so that all your roasts are alike, but I like the variety that each consecutive roast gives at 2:30.  

Step 4.  Pour the beans in the popper.  

Step 5.  Place the screen over the popper, then place the lid and the cup on top.

Step 6.  Plug in (or turn on) the popper and start the timer at the same time.

Step 7.  Wait and enjoy the roasting smell!  You will see the chaff blowing out of the popper.  The chaff is a thin skin on the bean that comes off when roasted.  I kept the popper here so you could see the chaff coming out.  After the picture I moved the popper so the chaff would go directly onto the deck where I could just sweep it off into the grass when I finished roasting.

Step 8.  When the timer goes off, immediately turn off the popper.  Carefully remove the (HOT) lid and screen.  Blow or wipe off with paper towels any chaff that is collected.  Dump the beans onto your cooling tray. You may want to direct a fan onto the cooling tray to help the beans cool down. A fan will also help extra chaff blow away. As with any cooking, even if the machine is turned off, the beans will continue to "cook" inside the popper and on the cooling tray, so get them cooled off as quickly as possible.

Step 9.  Agitate the beans on the tray to cool them as quickly as possible.  I also use a cooling tray under my cookie sheet to help circulate the air.

Step 10.  Remove chaff from beans and store in a container.  The beans will continue to let off gasses for about 3 days, so do not use an airtight container until after 3 days.  If you have a bag with a one way degassing valve, that is the best storage for newly roasted beans.

Step 11.  Repeat process for until you have as roasted as much coffee as you want.  I found with the Presto Popper, I can do 4 rounds and the machine needs a rest.  Remember, too, that green beans weigh more and have more volume than roasted beans, so you your beans will lose some weight in the roasting process.
Step 12.  Grind and brew as you like!  Our favorite way is coarsely ground and brewed in a french press.  Enjoy!
Disclaimer:  This information is basic information for a Home Roaster.  If you want to really get into the science of roasting, please visit Sweet Marias or the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).  There is also more information on Popper roasting at Air Pop Method

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Think On These Things Silhouette Wall Hanging

I just got a new Silhouette SD machine (thank you, Hubs)!  Of course, I started with a couple of small projects, but then I went for the gusto and tried a big one. 

I lucked out with a couple of frames at my neighbor's yard sale for $1 each.  I was supposed to be selling stuff at ours, but I was actually out shopping. So much for cleaning out the garage!  This is what they looked like before.  

A few coats of primer and Krylon Dover White and they were ready for some lettering.

  I printed out the scripture on my Silhouette SD Machine. I was a little daunted at first, but doing is the best way to learn!  I also got a few tips from my friend Gail at My Repurposed Life.  She is the Silhouette Queen!

I cut the words in manageable pieces, then used transfer material to lift the letters.  You then position the transfer material onto the surface and burnish the letters, then lift off the transfer paper.  Sorry, I don't have pictures because both of my hands were occupied!

After transferring all the lettering, I burnished them again to make sure they were sticking really good.  I haven't decided if I'm going to put a protective coat of poly over the top or not.  For now I'm just going to leave it as is.

Here they are again, garage sale print to Fabulous Vinyl Wall Hanging!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Silhouette Switch-A-Roo!

Hubby bought me a Silhouette SD machine a few weeks ago!  I was so surprised (thanks, hon)!  I have been trying to figure out how to use it.  I think I have mastered some small projects, like this one.  Once I had all these little flourishes cut, what the heck was I going to do with them?

They fit perfectly on my light switches.  So now I have decorated switches!

A few scary things added to daughter's phone.

Moral of the story:  Don't stand still or you will get painted or have vinyl applied to you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Baby Jett Has Arrived!

Yesterday 7/26/11, our sweet grandbaby, Jett Michael, was born!  He was 6 lbs 11 oz and 19.25" long.  Both Mommy and Jett are doing well!

Here is pre-op Mommy and Daddy:

Brother Aidan was really tired, so he climbed up with Mommy in bed while we were waiting for Jett to make his appearance.

Baby Jett getting his vitals taken.

Mommy's first kiss.

We are so blessed to have this sweet little fella.  God is good!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Homearama Drama - Living Rooms

Today I went to Homearama and walked through 22, YES 22, homes in a heat index of about 110.  Let me tell you, it was HOT!  I took lots of pics.  I'm going to start off with living rooms.  In the next couple of weeks, I will be posting other designer features.  Here you go!

Silver and grey were very, very popular colors.  There were also a lot of "new" (but not to us bloggers) ideas like metallic furniture, mirrored furniture and everything french.

Ooo la la Paris-inspired decor.

This ceiling was made from drywall.  It was pretty cool!

Hope you enjoyed the living rooms!  Check back for our next installment: Bedrooms!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holy Blackberries, Batman! It's the Cobbler!

Today I picked 7 1/2 pounds of blackberries at one of our local You Pick Farms. If you would like to find a farm near you to pick your own local produce, go to Pick Your Own Farms.  This website is chock-full of information about local farms, how to pick the best produce and how to can, freeze and preserve your own foods.  Always be sure to call the farm before you go, because some farms may be out of produce and may not have had good crops.

 I went to The Berry Farm in Spencer County. They have blackberries, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, grapes, pears, apples, corn...ooohhhhhh it was wonderful.  I picked up some cabbage and picked some of the first tomatoes off the vine.  Oh, they were so wonderful, sliced with some salt.  Mmmm.  But I was on a mission to pick blackberries.  I could not believe that nobody else was out there fighting for these lucious, sweet, juicy gems!  I was ALL alone!  (I was so lucky!)  I was just hoping I wouldn't pass out in the heat and nobody would find me until I was cooked through.  Alas, I stayed hydrated and survived.  Maybe I lost a few pounds!

I froze about half of the berries.  I saved enough to do one batch of jam.  Then I used a few to make a wonderful blackberry cobbler.  I used Southern Living's Easy Blackberry Cobbler Recipe.  You can use any fruit for this recipe. It took me literally 5 minutes to put the cobbler together.  How easy is that?!

First, I put 4 cups of ripe blackberries into an 8x8 pan.  I sprinkled some sugar and 1 TBSP of lemon juice over the top of the blueberries.  In my mixer, I combined 1 c flour, 1 c sugar and 1 egg and beat it until crumbly.

I sprinkled it over the top of the blackberries, then poured 6 TBSP of melted butter over the top.  I added some Saigon Cinnamon and nutmeg to the top.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.  It actually took about 10 minutes longer and turned out kind of crunchy.  Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and YUM...perfect ending to a perfect summer day.  You really should make some. Now.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sweet Peaches, It's Jam!

My sister and I picked 58 lbs of peaches on Saturday at Pratt's Farm in Lebanon, TN.  It was so much fun!  The trees were loaded, I tell you, LOADED with peaches!

My task this week is putting up my half of the peaches.  I made Peach Jam, Peach Jelly and froze some peaches.  We have been eating lots of them!  Ohhhh yummy they are so juicy and delicious!

I found this Peach Jam Recipe that is made without pectin.  First, scored the peaches and then peeled the peaches by submersing them in boiling water for a minute, then into a cold ice bath.

Then I cut up the peaches, packaging some for freezing and using others for jam.

I added the sugar and lemon juice and let it sit for about an hour to make more juice.

I save the peels (not the pits) for Peeling and Pit Peach Jelly.  Back to the Jam...

I cooked the peach jam as directed, except I used my immersion blender to make a smoother consistency.  I ladled the jam into hot jars, then put on the lids, put them in the water bath for 10 minutes and then let them cool.  YUM!

For the Peeling and Pit Jelly, I cooked the peels for 30 minutes at a rolling boil, then let them sit overnight.  I strained the peelings and added the juice to pectin and sugar for some peach jelly.
Then I ladled and cooled them as I did the jam jars.  Wonderful peaches!  Yummy!