Whether you are a small roastery like us or a coffee enthusiast (where your love of coffee may have got out of hand) you may need to roast green beans in small quantities occasionally.
This problem arose for us as we look to expand suppliers and find more niche specialty coffees. We are often sent green beans, usually straight from a company, that may sell for a collective of coffee farms from various countries, meaning they don't have the facilities to roast small quantities of beans for their customers to try.
As much as we would love a high spec sample roaster, if you have seen the new Ikawa ones, you will know what I mean, they look beautiful. However they come at a huge cost (£750-£1000) for something that won't be used regularly.
Our roaster sent me a link to Sweet Maria's (a great site with a wealth of knowledge about coffee roasting) for an affordable sample roasting option a popcorn maker!
So we splashed out £12.99 (+£4.99 P+P) on a VonChef Air popcorn maker. I chose this one as it matched the wattage recommended by Sweet Maria,1200w.
After 30 minutes reading up on roasting and watching a couple of YouTube videos I felt like a sample roasting expert and thought I would give it a try. After a few practice roasts and trip ups here are some basic instructions, with a few tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Above you can see some of my basic equipment:
(AIR) Popcorn maker, 1200w, aluminium inside.
Extension lead, trust me you want to be doing this outside. Also preferably an industrial extension lead to maximise wattage or the popcorn maker can over heat and switch off too quickly.
Wooden spoon, for the handle as a stirrer.
Metal sieve, to quickly cool the beans.
Green coffee beans, of course.
Sample trays (or a tupperware) to let be beans cool completely.
Scales, to weigh the amount of beans you will need.
A few roasted coffee beans, handy to compare the final colour.
- First things first, its a quick process so make sure you have everything around you ready to go.
- Green beans, quantity - 80g to 100g depending on bean size, the bigger the bean the less you need.
- Weigh out your beans, after the first few times you will get the jist of what works best.
-Turn on your popcorn maker, wait about 10sec they heat up incredibly quickly, and throw in your weighed out beans.
- They should almost immediately start moving around inside the popcorn maker, about every 15sec give them a stir with your wooden spoon handle.
- Keep watching them, they start to get pretty smokey and chaff is flying around they are moving towards the 'first crack' and they will start to pop around, you might lose a few!
- Have your sieve at the ready, note the colour is close to your roasted coffee beans you have as a sample to compare, and quickly tip them out of the popcorn maker into the metal sieve.
- Keep them moving in the sieve, it is imperative to cool them down quickly otherwise they will keep cooking.
- When they are cool to the touch, about 5mins, you can pour them into the sample tray/tupperware and let them cool completely before placing them in an airtight bag preferably with a valve.
- Finally when they are cooling take a good look at your beans and pick out any irregularities as you would in a regular roast. They maybe slightly lighter or darker in colour as the roast is so short or an odd shape. But as it is a small sample roast, it isn't too arduous to pick out the irregular ones and you are left with your successful sample roast!
And that's it! The first couple of times you feel like you are juggling the beans a bit, but after a couple of practices you will be a sample roasting expert.
It goes without saying that we love coffee. It tastes awesome, and it wakes you up - winner!
I've loved coffee flavoured things ever since my mum let me dunk sugar cubes in her espresso when I was a toddler - if there's coffee on the flavour menu, I choose coffee. Everytime, without fail.
So when it comes to cooking, baking, and general making, I usually slip coffee in there somehow. Today, I made a coffee mousse. Because, well, I saw it on Pinterest, and it made my mouth water just thinking about it. The original recipe calls for instant coffee, but that stuff isn't allowed in our house, so I used our Summer (2015) Espresso made in the Aeropress.
Try it. It's ace.
(Makes approx. 12 ramekins)
200g caster sugar
350ml double cream
2 x 30g (double) espresso shots
5 egg yolks
6 sheets gelatin
800g double or whipping cream. Whipped.
Smash up the oreo cookies and push them into the base of your ramekins.
Put the sugar and water into a heavy based saucepan and boil until you get a dark caramel. (If you're lucky enough to own a gas hob, this shouldn't take too long. If, like me, you have electric or ceramic, this takes aaaaaaages.)
As the caramel starts to colour, warm up the double cream in a separate pan, then add to the caramel slowly and carefully. Caramel is HOT.
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks before adding the caramel & cream pan. Stir it all constantly over a low heat until you get a delicious looking custard. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until just warm.
Soak your gelatin sheets per the instructions on the pack; then add them to the caramel custard along with the coffee, and mix well.
Fold in the whipped cream, then pour into your ramekins on top of the cookie crumb and refrigerate.
Make your salted caramel by adding salt to your ready made caramel (my go-to is Carnation) - add the salt slowly, bit by bit, making sure to mix well as you go. Keep tasting until you reach your desired level of saltiness.
Spread the caramel on top of your mousse and garnish as you fancy. Remove from the fridge around 20-30mins before serving.
It's been the summer of cold brew coffee for the last year, but this year, we're trying something different. Come along to one of our carts to try an espresso tonic - a mind blowingly awesome concoction that will have you questioning where this has been all your life.
A cup of ice is covered with tonic water and topped up with a perfectly extracted espresso.
The combination is spectacular and incredibly refreshing - and there's a whole world of coffee flavoured options out there - the whole drink changes with each coffee, from a fruit packed Ethiopian to a dark chocolate El Salvador - it's awesome.
No, not the kind that Mary lost; but the oh-so wonderful coffee pod Lost Sheep on St George's Lane in Canterbury. Go there this week to taste our Finca La Argentina as guest espresso. Tell Mike we said hello. They are doing an incredible job of showcasing delicious coffees, and their stand alone, self contained kiosk is really something quite special.
We're super delighted to be supplying some coffees to the wonderful Water Lane Coffee House in Canterbury.
Go in there to check out our Spring Espresso and Finca La Argentina as a guest espresso. Luke and the team are running a really beautiful shop with some banging coffees and have recently expanded to serve their own home-made eating goodies.