Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Home Roasted Kona Coffee

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Clare who gave me some great tips for home roasting the green kona coffee beans that I brought back from my trip to Hawaii.
At Greenwell Farms, where I purchased the coffee, I was able to sample all their roasts. The full city roast was my favorite - smooth and rich, but not too dark. I thought it was the best roast for their coffee and, indeed, it is known as a classic Kona roast. With this as my goal, I began roasting.
Clare recommended using an air popper, which I borrowed from my neighbor. I put 150 grams of green beans in, strapped an empty tin can on top of the opening to allow the beans to expand as they roasted and plugged it in. Green beans are actually rather grey when they are unroasted. They turn a brilliant green as they heat up. Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy this much because the chaff/skin of the dry beans was flying up out of the roaster. Fortunately, it soon stopped. I watched as the beans turned to darker and darker shades of brown. I listened to the "cracks" of the beans, akin to the sound of popping corn.
As the beans approached my desired color, the popper noticeable began to smoke. I wanted to keep an eye on the beans, but could no longer look over them. After several moments, I flipped off the switch and took the whole thing outside. I cooled the beans in a colander as my kitchen aired out. You can see that I got quite a dark roast. But when I brewed it the next morning, it was wonderful. The dark beans belied the smoothness of the taste.
My second and third roasts were much less eventful, as I did them outside. I hit the Full City roast on the third try.
By the way, Greenwell's chocolate covered peaberry coffee beans are the best I have ever had. I'm not a huge fan of peaberry coffee, but their natural chocolatiness makes the perfect accompaniment to the very high quality chocolate they're covered with. They're amazing. I highly recommend trying some.