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Growing Our Own Coffee Part Two

Two years ago I posted Part One of Homegrown Coffee. If you ignore the fact that I skipped ahead a couple of years, we’re now up to Part Two!  This year’s coffee crop has been drying on a screen door on the verandah for a couple of months now. The beans are hard and dry and ready for the final stages.

Next step is to put them back through the food processor with the plastic blade to remove the papery shell. Once it’s off the bean you can winnow, or blow it off to separate.  Which leaves green coffee beans.

Green coffee beans are best for storing, so we roast them as we need them.  I’ve heard lots of ways of doing it, including baking in the oven or using a popcorn maker. We use the Cuban method of cooking the beans in a heavy, cast iron pot, over a medium flame, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes till the beans are the right depth of colour and have a shiny, oily finish.

The trick to making this a job you are not too reluctant to repeat is choosing a windy day. They give off caffeine-y smoke that gives you a headache if you breathe too much of it, so I  use the verandah barbeque, and stand downwind. There are also lots of little bits of the papery shell left, and the inner, parchment which need to be separated or it gives the coffee a burnt flavour.  If it’s nice and windy, I can stir by dropping spoonfuls of beans back into the pot from a bit of height, and the papery shell blows off as it drops.  It makes a mess. You want the wind blowing the right way. At the very end, I tip the roasted beans into an enamel colander and toss them around to let the last of the chaff fall through.

But we’re not done yet. (You appreciate why coffee is expensive when you make your own).

Then grinding the beans, these days using a little electric coffee grinder, then brewing in our little stovetop expresso maker.

But it is worth it.


{ 4 comments… add one }
  • farmer_liz December 10, 2012, 8:58 am

    Very interesting! We visited a coffee bean farm in North QLD last year, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had never really thought much about where it came from. Lovely to see its one more thing that you can do at home. Do you manage to produce all the beans you need? or do you still buy some as well?

  • Linda December 10, 2012, 9:30 am

    We grow about a third of our own coffee. Getting it up to 100% is on the to-do list, but there’s a lot of stuff ahead of it!

  • Liz December 10, 2012, 10:19 pm

    You absolutely have my respect for going to the effort of growing coffee – fascinating the amount of work that goes into its production.

  • Fiona December 13, 2012, 12:58 pm

    If we were planning on staying here it is something we might try but I do not think it will work in NZ where we are planning on moving to. I think it is nice to appreciate why some things cost more money and it really makes you see the luxury in things which is something we have lost in society.

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