I started home-roasting my own coffee a few months ago. I use a “Nesco Smokeless Roaster.” I chose this model partly because it has a catalytic converter to capture most of the smoke generated during the roasting process. It takes me 20-25 minutes to roast up enough beans for several pots of coffee. Here’s a picture below of the roaster (coffee porn?). If you have a microscope, you might notice that it says “Zach and Danis” on the side. That’s the old name for this model. I snagged the image from Seven Bridges and they apparently just have an old photo, but I actually got the Nesco from them and its the same as what is pictured here.
Using the roaster is very simple, but I’m still learning about which kinds of beans I like best and how long each should be roasted. So I’m going to blog about each roast as a way of teaching myself more about the beans and their roasts, and in order to share a little info about the coffee growers that grew the beans.
This morning I roasted some Sumatra Takengon. According to the Seven Bridges website, these beans are shade grown on the highland slopes of the Gayo Mountains near Laut Tawar in the Takengon region of Northern Sumatra where over 200 small coffee producers involved in producing this varietal. The farmers and communities of this remote region face a number of environmental and socio-economic challenges, including soil erosion, deforestation, low and unstable incomes. The organization, production, technical assistance and higher prices for certified organic, fair trade coffee help them fetch higher prices for their harvest. The beans are “semi-washed,” and come described as being “full bodied, slightly fruity, and clean with a sweet finish. . . great as a varietal, blender and perfect for espresso.” If you’re interested in Sumatran coffee, you can also check out the beans Higher Grounds sells from the Gayo Organic Coffee Growers Association.
I roasted about 5.5 ounces in the Nesco for 23 minutes. At first whiff, they smelled very acrid so I’m afraid I might have burnt them. I’m already drinking my morning mug of “1st Grade Ethiopian Arabica” from a company called Mamo Kacha PLC so tasting the Sumatran will have to wait until tomorrow. Sorry to leave you hanging! Oh, and for the record, I would have cited the Ethiopian regional growing name and referenced its certifications but this coffee came as a gift from a friend who recently traveled there. Since she bought the beans in-country in a grocery store, they aren’t labeled in the way they would be if they were being sold in the specialty coffee market here so I don’t know much about them except that they are delicious (and free!).