I drink coffee nearly every day like so many people around the world but I never stopped to consider the process of roasting. I always bought coffee already roasted for me. I never knew coffee was a green legume-like seed until a friend from church gave some to me. A lady she knew from Kenya had given her a couple of pounds of it not knowing my friend didn’t even drink coffee. I can’t wait to tell her what a wonderful gift she gave me.
Coffee in its unroasted state has a longer shelf life that when it has been roasted. Ground coffee has the shortest shelf life of all but it is convenient. Since I had this coffee over a year stored in a tin, I thought I ought to do something with it. There are several ways to roast coffee. Most common is just placing the beans on a cookie sheet and roasting them in the oven. Others have tried it in a toaster oven for a smaller batch. I’ve heard you could even use an air popper for popping popcorn. I’ve also heard that method is best done outdoors because it makes a huge mess. As coffee roasts thin little skins fly off the beans and get all over the place. Without an air popper and and no need for a huge batch (or a huge mess) I just roasted a small amount by putting dry beans in a heavy pan and cooking them over the stove. It took only ten minutes with the flame on high and stirring frequently. This helped them roast evenly. Removing them from the flame every so often was necessary because they would start to produce a bit of smoke. I’d rather the coffee wake me up than the smoke alarm.
When the beans began to take on a beautiful mahogany color I put them on a large plate, took them outside and blew away the chaffy skins that peeled away during roasting. They needed to cool a bit before anything else. Once they were to a temperature where I could touch them without roasting my fingertips I threw a good handful into my little grinder and pulsed the beans until they were finely ground. I could already tell this would make a great cup of coffee by the aroma.
Now to really guild the lily, one of the best ways to make a cup of coffee from freshly roasted and ground beans was by using my grandmother’s old Drip-O-Lator coffee maker. The measurements for water and coffee are embossed into the metal so there is no guesswork. This simple little coffee maker which uses no electricity takes four minutes to make some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. For a java junkie like me, that’s saying something! In this case it was the absolute truth. I have never had a better cup of coffee than the one I fussed over for the last 30 minutes. The best word to describe it would be divine.