Green coffee beans—what should I do with them?
We’ve all seen what coffee looks like, right? Round, brown, sometimes lighter, other times darker (depends on the roast) bean with a little crack in the middle. Quite hard to believe it comes from a cherry. Well, it does, and it’s naturally not brown, but green!
Well, to be more specific a coffee bean is a single seed of the coffee plant called coffea. The plant has many little red or purple cherries, and inside each cherry there’s a little green seed—our coffee bean. Believe it or not, most coffee cherries are still picked by hand. It takes around 2000 cherries to produce just a single pound of coffee beans! Picking is just the beginning, though. Raw seeds are taken out of the cherries and then get roasted—develop their brown or sometimes almost black colour and flavour. Generally, we purchase already roasted beans. It’s easier and much more time efficient, however there are coffee lovers who want to roast their own beans or even consume them raw, while the seed is still green and looks and, to be honest, tastes nothing like coffee. I’ll quickly go over why would anyone want to try roasting or drinking green coffee, maybe you’ll also give it a try?
Everything hand-made from scratch is always better, isn’t it? It’s important to understand that so much depends on how your coffee is processed and prepared! All roasters know the general rule: roast quickly in high heat to same some of the brightness and acidity, and roast slowly and in lower heat to lose the acidity and reach those deeper, chocolaty flavours. Roasting your own beans allows you the luxury of literally creating a flavour. Experiment a few times and you’ll notice that same type of bean can come out tasting completely different if you adjust roasting and preparation. Many large coffee chains will over-roast the beans so that every cup of coffee tastes the same. It takes away the uniqueness and character out of coffee, leaving the consumer robbed of the chance to fully experience the flavour. Roasting at home is not only a fun and easy way to experiment with different flavours, but a way to learn more about what you’re consuming.
It’s not as hard as it sounds!
It may sound a bit intimidating, but roasting your own beans is actually quiet simple. Don’t worry if you don’t have a special coffee roaster. You don’t need to invest in any equipment, unless you feel already advanced and want to raise your game. For beginners, a simple skillet, a stove-top popcorn popper, or a cookie sheet in the oven will do the trick. Make sure you don’t roast too many beans at once, as you want them to roast evenly. Keep in mind that they will expand in size, so leave some space in the pot. Another useful tip is listening. As the coffee takes on heat, the beans “crack”. It’s an audible roast reaction to heat and it occurs twice during the roasting process. To reach the so-called City Roast (light), you should end the whole process before the second crack, when the beans are slightly brown yet not too dark. Be aware that it’s a quick chemical process—only 15 to 30 seconds between the first and second crack. If you heat the second “crack”, you’ll notice how the beans are quickly turning almost black. Be careful as you can easily over-roast your coffee.
Here are five main steps to home roasted beans:
- Pre-heat your skillet, pot or whatever you’ll be using. Medium heat will be fine.
- Add your Green Coffee beans of choice.
- Stir, stir, stir! You don’t want to just leave them hanging. With a wooden spoon move those beans around in order to heat them evenly.
- Count on what you see, smell, and hear in order to get the desired result. Once you’ve got them smelling and looking just like you wanted—remove the beans from the heat.
- Shake of chaff (a “coffee skin” that covers green unroasted beans), let them cool down and rest for at least couple of hours. Then simply store in an air-tight container and enjoy your freshly roasted coffee!
Fresh, hand-made, unique and delicious coffee beans will surprise any guests that come by for a cup of coffee 😊