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.