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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Roasting Coffee at Home - by English Vintner

When I first published this article, written by a young friend of mine, I was a new blogger and thought that just sharing an article was a good thing.  Since I've learned more about blogging, I've realized that exposure is good, so I thought I would give Zach a little shout out here. 

Zach is a homeschooled, high school student.  He's also really interested in sustainable agriculture and has created a great garden to raise food for his family of 11!  (He's the 3rd oldest)  Zach is always looking for ways to make his garden better.  He has many hobbies and interestes that keep him hopping.   So I thought I'd make a quick list of some of Zach's interests so you can understand a little more about this busy young man.
An organic sustainable gardener.
Inventions for the garden (like magnetic water pumps and greenhouses to name a few)
A musican
A singer
An aspiring chef who is already a great cook and baker
A winemaker (English Vintner)
A bit of a business man
A bread delivery man (works with his dad)
A beekeeper
A builder (working on his own cider press and built a small green house plus more)
A researcher who is always looking for ideas (Sea crop, Whizbang, etc.)
And I'm sure there are many things I've missed.

But you can read all about Zach's adventures because, when he has time, he blogs about what he's doing and learning at the English Press.   You don't see or hear of many teens being into this stuff the way Zach is so check out Zach's blog and follow along with all his adventures.  Be sure to comment so he knows you've visited!

Here's Zach's article on roasting coffee at home;

Roasting coffee at home is something that most people don’t think of as doing. Most coffee comes vacuum sealed, roasted, ground, and ready to brew. Some people take a step back and buy the whole roasted beans instead of the ground beans and notice quite a difference in flavor. The flavor of fresh roasted coffee is unlike any other coffee you’ve tasted. What most people don’t realize is how easy it is to roast your own coffee at home. I started out roasting coffee with a Hot Air Popcorn Popper. I made a some adjustments to it to make it work. After a year of using that method I took off the top of the popper and used a wooden dowel to stir the coffee beans as they roasted in the chamber. This Spring I got a coffee roaster from my Uncle. It has a few dents and cracks in it, but works well. Roasting coffee can be done using quite a few different methods. I’ve mentioned the method that I used. A coffee roaster like what I was given requires virtually no work. Like a bread machine, you put the ingredients in and it turns out the bread. You put in the green beans, turn it on, and in 6 minutes it is done. I roast coffee once or twice a week. Usually about 8 hours before I am going to drink the first cup. Which means the night before. How dark you like the beans is up to you. You just stop when it is as dark as you like and cool the beans down as fast as possible to keep them from roasting further. A colander comes in handy here. After you roast your coffee wait a few hours before storing it in an airtight container, and usually best out of direct sunlight. Don’t grind the coffee until you are ready to brew. Roasting coffee is an enjoyable hobby that is sure to amaze your guests. For more information on roasting coffee and buying it, visit the two links below.

Zachariah E.


  1. Thanks so much, Zach.
    I have a hot air popper, can you share the modifications that you made to yours so it could be used to roast coffee?

    I've tasted his freshly roasted coffee and it is so much better than grinding my own pre-roasted beans. So...the wheels are can I upcycle some of my hoard of reusable things to make a coffee roaster? I have an old rotisserie from a gas grill...yes, I'm beginning to see an idea taking shape!!!

  2. I basically made what looked like a card board spatula (those things you flip pancakes with). It had the slits in it so that steam could pass through, but not coffee beans. The handle on it was just so I could more easily hold onto it. I then stuck the head, wedged in up inside the popcorn shoot, where the popcorn comes out.

    The easy way is to add a small amount of beans, enough so that they are banging around by them selves. If you do little enough beans so that they are not sitting on the bottom when it is on then you can just leave the 'butter' lid on the popcorn popper and I think after 7-8 minutes they should get to the point of a dark roast.

    The other method is you keep the 'cardboard spatula' where you kept it with the other method, but this time you take the butter lid off, and stir the coffee with a long dowel and a glove on your hand.

    If you need further explanation, I might be able to provide pictures of my set up via email.

  3. I think I know what you mean. I'm going to look for our hot air popper and see what I can figure out.
    My bff loves her coffee and was intrigued by what she read so she went out and bought some whole beans and some black popcorn to pop. After grinding her coffee and popping the corn she felt like she had come as close to the process as she could! She's a hoot!


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