I am an almost hopeless coffee lover. I will admit it. There is nothing quite like a rich cup of warm coffee in my hands and don’t even get me started on cold brew. Yum! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my herbal teas! But, there is just something about coffee that I thoroughly enjoy.
I am not however so much of a coffee lover that I am unaware of the health debate surrounding it which made me wonder if we should give it up altogether. Some studies say it is horrible for you. Some studies say that it is actually really good for you as long as you avoid all the unhealthy additives. It is known to be high in antioxidants which are of course really good for your body. It is also on the list of top foods to only buy organic due to the heavy use of chemicals in growing coffee. Decaf can be especially bad because of the chemicals used to decaffeinate it.
Now, I honestly think this is something you have to decide what you feel is best for your body. If you decide coffee is just wreaking havoc on your body, then you may want to consider other options. We have tried multiple things such as herbal coffees, Dandy Blend and just good old fashioned hot cocoa or tea. But for us, we do like coffee in moderation and we wanted to figure out what worked for us. I evaluated our own responses and noticed that it didn’t really bother us when we drank one cup of good coffee with healthy additions and even noticed some benefits. When we drank regular stuff though I just felt yucky with headaches, upset stomach and my man especially noticed that it made him more tired.
So that being said I decided that if we were going to drink coffee, here is what we needed to do:
-I know that like many things it probably isn’t good for me in excess. We needed to cut back on how much. I usually only drink 1 cup a day, but my man sometimes drinks 3-4 cups and that definitely isn’t good.
-We decided we needed to make sure any additives were good. Some of the additions we use include: organic sugar, maple syrup, homemade coffee syrups, a drop of vitality essential oil, raw cream and sometimes butter and coconut oil.
-We needed to avoid the nasty chemicals so we really needed to go organic. I noticed a huge difference when we would use organic over just regular coffees. However, this presented a problem since organic coffee is not the easiest on our budget. That is when my sweet friend Lora opened a whole new world to me. She and her family roast their own beans but I wasn’t really ready to buy a whole fancy roaster so had brushed that option off the first time I heard it. Then she mentioned roasting coffee without a roaster and we had to try it out!
Home roasting coffee can be really simple and affordable and oh so very good! In buying green organic coffee beans it is typically about $4-$6 dollars a pound compared to $10 or more buying roasted organic coffee! There are three different ways to roast coffee without a roaster: oven, stovetop and popcorn popper. I personally have never tried the oven so will share with you our experiences with the other two options and which one I prefer.
To roast coffee beans on the stovetop you want a nice heavy duty stainless steel pan and a colander handy to pour the roasted beans into. Make sure you have windows open as this does get a little smoky!
-Place the pan over medium heat.
-Pour in coffee beans. I usually do about 1 cup at a time.
-You want to stir all the time! The beans take awhile to start turning brown, but then can go very quickly from brown to burnt!
-After about 5 minutes you will hear the beans start to pop. The chaff will start coming off. Keep stirring!
-It takes about 10 minutes total before the beans are finished. They will look dark brown and slightly shiny. You can take them off sooner if you prefer a really light roast, but this is kind of a typical roast.
-Pour the beans straight into a colander and shake the colander over a sink to let the chaff fall through the holes.
-Allow the beans to cool completely before placing in a jar. Leave the jar slightly open over night to allow beans to vent off C02 and then seal with an airtight lid.
You want a hot air popcorn popper that does not have air vents inside the popper area. Most of the newer popcorn poppers on the market have a blower in the bottom so that you don’t have to use oil. I learned the hard way that these blow the coffee beans out of the popper and don’t work at all. You want to get one that has a solid bottom with side vents, like the one pictured below. The best ones I have found have been vintage ones at goodwill or on ebay. The West Bend Poppery or Poppery II have been the ones I have used and really liked.
You also want a colander and a bowl to catch the chaff. Again, be sure to have windows open for the smoke!
-Pour green coffee beans into the popper filling to the line given for popping corn. Place top on and place a bowl under the spout to catch the chaff as it blows out. Plug in your popper.
-Keep an eye on it as it pops. After about 3-4 minutes you will hear it start to make a popping or cracking noise. Keep allowing it to roast until it smells kind of like popped corn and it looks dark enough and slightly shiny. Unplug popper.
-Pour into a colander and allow to cool completely.
-Allow popper to cool completely before doing another batch! Otherwise you could melt the top.
-Place in a jar and leave slightly open overnight to allow beans to vent C02. Then cover with an airtight lid.
Pros and Cons:
Stovetop: The stovetop allowed me to roast more at one time. It was also faster since I didn’t have to allow it to cool between batches. However I had to stir it constantly and it smoked a lot more than the popper since it roasted more at a time. It was a lot harder to get the beans evenly roasted too since it was dependent on my stirring. You can see this in the different pictures above.
*My favorite method* Popper: The popper does smaller batches at a time so you have to roast more batches. I like how it blows the chaff out though and does not require constant stirring. You do have to let the popper cool between batches which makes it take longer as well, but honestly this works for me. I can just start it up and listen for it and keep an eye on it while I work in the kitchen. Then I let it cool and throw in another batch. It roasts the coffee so evenly and nicely which is a definite advantage over the stovetop. Another con is that the poppers do eventually seem to die out. They aren’t really made to stand up to the long lengths of heat over the longer lengths of time. Our first one lasted quite awhile though and they are usually around 20.00 which isn’t too bad. You can also sometimes find them for just a few dollars at garage sales or goodwill!
Tips and Suppliers:
-You definitely want to roast coffee near a window or with windows open! These small amounts don’t smoke terribly but they do let some off and I have set the smoke detectors off a few times.
-Make sure to keep an ear and nose open while roasting the first few times. It is really easy to start recognizing the smell and popping noises that tell you the progress and when it is ready!
-It is typically recommended to let it set overnight before grinding and using but you can use it right away if you forget to roast some before you run out like I do. 🙂
-There are multiple places to find poppers, but I couldn’t find a new one at first that had the solid bottom. After I bought my last one I read that the Nostalgia Electric Popper is a good new one, but haven’t tried it myself. You can look for the old ones on ebay. I do really like the West Bend Poppery II and have used 2 of those. And again, you can sometimes find them at garage sales!
-There are multiple places that sell coffee beans but Sonofresco has been where I have ordered my beans and I don’t have a complaint! Their beans have been great quality and they offer organic beans which I love. They also offer Swiss water decaf which is a safe method for decaffeinating coffee. Again, the organic beans are typically between 4 and 6 dollars a pound.
Enjoy your coffee!!