Monday, July 25, 2011

Roasting your own coffee - part 3

After I got a Poppery II from the Goodwill store, I tried roasting a batch of Sumatra beans. Initially, I thought it would be very similar to the Popcorn Pumper because the two machines looked similar on the inside. However, it was a little more difficult to determine the right amount of beans to use at first because the lower wattage of the Poppery II meant that the beans would spin slower in there (than in the Pumper). So, I ended up having to finish off the first couple of batches of beans in the toaster oven. Unlike the previous experience of using the toaster oven, this time I used my GE convection toaster oven. The results were much better because the heat was evenly distributed this time. You can see in the picture below that the beans were a uniform color. If you compare this to the results from the previous post on coffee roasting results, it's obvious that the convection oven helped to create a more even roast.

Sumatra light roast, finished off in the GE convection toaster oven
Previous uneven roast finished off in the Black & Decker toaster oven
The Light Roast is actually more flavorful!
I prepared the coffee using my espresso machine and the crema was very thick. That was already a good sign. The surprise was that this light roast actually has more flavor than the darker roasts that I had been drinking since I figured out how to create dark roasts in the Popcorn Pumper. I was able to taste more of the bean and taste the "hint of fruit" that was mentioned on Sweet Maria's site. There was also a little more earthiness in the lighter roast. With darker roasts, the smokiness often overpowers the subtle flavors of the coffee bean. While I like the smokiness sometimes, I figure I might as well taste the coffee bean too if I'm going to pay a little more for the "better" beans. Otherwise, I might as well buy the cheap beans to do dark roasts because most dark coffees taste very similar. If you plan on drinking only dark roasts and want cheap beans, go for the "Poor Man's Blend" on Coffee Bean Direct (5 lbs of green coffee beans for only $23).

To combine the smokiness with the flavor of the bean, try blending the light and dark beans. This might give you the best of both worlds.

In the end, this was a very happy accident. It was a good thing that I wasn't able to create a dark roast with the Poppery II because I can now enjoy Sumatra coffee more and taste all the flavors that are hidden in that bean.

In the next coffee roasting post, I will do a comparison of the Popcorn Pumper and the Poppery II.

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