What you need to start roasting

basicroaster

So you think you need big money to start roasting your own coffee? Wrong!

Roasting is basically just subjecting the beans to high heat. It’s just cooking. After the roast, you need to cool the beans fast, or it’ll continue to roast and ruin the coffee.

There are quite a variety of coffee roasters available, some dirt cheap, some super expensive. But we’re “on a budget here,” right? So let’s start with the cheapest, most primitive approach – pan roasting.

Here’s what you need to start roasting:

Small aluminum rice pot, around 8” diameter, which you can buy in the department stores or in the market for maybe P150 to P200. Others prefer the cast iron pan, but I can’t find one around here. While I call this method “pan roasting,” you really can’t use a frying pan, coz your beans will be flying all over as you stir. You may have to modify the rice pot a bit by putting a handle so it will be stable while you stir the beans. You can go to the tinsmith nearest you and they should be able to do it for you cheap. Just make sure the handle is made of insulating material (wood, plastic, not metal) so you can hold it. What I did was to buy one of those cheap sauce pans with a metal and plastic handle. At the tinsmith, I asked the worker to transfer the handle to the rice pot. But why not just use the sauce pan? Coz it’s so thin you may be scorching your beans. Oh, by the way, make sure you use the pot exclusively for coffee roasting use, or you may have homba-tasting coffee.

equipment

Stove, gas or electric may work, but I would prefer stove coz it’s faster to adjust the flame. I’m sure you already have one.

Egg whisk. I find this easiest to use in stirring the beans. Ladles, metal or wooden, won’t be as easy. After a few uses, my whisk fell off from the handle because it got subjected to extreme heat it wasn’t designed for. So I bought rubber, the kind you use for your slingshot when you were a boy, and tied it around the area connecting the whisk and the handle. It never fell off since then.

Kitchen gloves, to protect your hands from the heat as you will be stirring the beans non-stop. I can manage with one glove, because my handle doesn’t heat up. I just transfer the glove from one hand to another every time I transfer the whisk. 10 to 15 minutes of roasting is tiring, so you need to alternate between your right and left hands.

Timer, to guide you when to stop roasting, but this can be optional. Your cellphone may already have a timer, too.

Thermometer is ideal, but I have lived without it with pan roasting, because it would be difficult to place it in the pan with the vigorous stirring.

Colander strainer, where you’ll dump your roasted beans for cooling. Lots of them in the kitchen section of department stores. Size depends how much coffee you’ll roast, but maybe 10-12 inches diameter. I started with two colanders, so I pour the beans from one to the other, and back, for faster cooling. I eventually got tired of it, so I bought some metal screen with 1/8” holes, and went to the tinsmith to make me a bigger box-shaped strainer.

Electric fan, to make cooling faster. Your stand fan may do the job if you use two colanders, as I did. But now I’m using a small fan that sits on the floor, which you can tilt up. I place my box-shaped strainer above it while moving the strainer in circular motion so the air could hit all the beans. They key is to achieve the shortest time to bring the beans to room temperature. I can achieve that in 2-3 minutes. Others say you should not go beyond 5 minutes.

containers
Roasted beans container. These should be air-tight containers, preferably glass with a tight lid with rubber lining. The cookie jar is perfect for this. I’m using Italian-made cookie jars which are readily available here. Brand is Fido. Size again depends on your roast batch. When I first roasted in very small batches, I was using used cream cheese jars. You’ll know if your container is air-tight enough because when you open the lid hours after you placed the roasted beans inside, you can feel the carbon dioxide escaping from the jar. With it comes the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans.

That’s basically what you need to start roasting. We’ll start roasting in the next post.

Merry Christmas!!!

NEXT: Roasting coffee with a rice pot

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