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323 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 154771 7-Nov-2014 10:09
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Having for years roasted peanuts in a microwave, followed by a brief browning in a wok, I extrapolated the same may be valid for roasting coffee beans.
I have had some marverlous brews of coffee in Indonesia, where the beans were roasted in a wok, so wanted to find an easy system that works here without the extravagant, time consuming methods the Indonesians used.

Requirements:
Pyrex covered bowl, 250g Green Coffee beans, Wok with cover (no oil necessary), Powerful extractor fan over cooktop, Preferably cooktop with gas.

Method:
Microwave (assuming 1.2kw microwave on full power) put beans in covered bowl, set time for 5 minutes and START.
You can remove bowl and stir after 4 min and if necessary, increase time till there is the first sign of bean browning; eg any bean slightly brown is the indicator.
Ensure cooktop fan is now switched on. Nearing microwave end time, preheat wok on low (I use largest burner).
Pour beans into wok, stir a few times, cover for 1 minute, stir and so on, until beans have gone through first crack sound and some are dark, others light brown - should take about 5-10 minutes.
Try to keep wok covered except when stirring.
Before beans are fully cooked remove from heat and take outside; remove husks by pouring to and fro wok.


Caution:
Make sure wife is not around while doing this. Even with fan going fire alarms will go and house gets quite smokey: you must have a really good extractor fan, or do the final/gas cook outside.
Do not be tempted to turn hob up high as this will burn some beans and leave others uncooked.
Might pay to remove your fire alarms (if any) from cooking vicinity as they will drive you nuts.

Notes:
Recommended cook temperature in wok is 250c. I used an infrared laser temperature reader and that showed only 150c but the beans cooked more than adequately. Once the cook method is perfected, temperature measuring is irrelevant.

Have just finished my first batch. In a week will taste and compare to my other beans cooked in Popcorn maker (see other thread). I have been finding the latest popcorn maker is too fast making a slightly bitter brew. Unfortunately, when cooking coffee beans the popcorn makers dont last long before clapping out; I am on my 4th unit already.

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2901 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1170594 7-Nov-2014 10:30
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I remember seeing a post somewhere by someone who swears by using a breadmaker to roast coffee beans. Could be a good device to "hack" into a dedicated bean roaster. You would just need to keep the mixing blade running at the same time as the heating element.





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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1170621 7-Nov-2014 11:03
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Interesting variation using the microwave. I've been roasting my beans, on and off, over the last few years in a cast iron frypan on gas, which is fairly similar to your use of the wok. (I do wonder whether a wok would offer as even a heat distribution as cast iron though?) I got the idea from a People's Coffee newsletter - I think they discussed it was the method used by Ethiopians who did this in cast iron pans over a wood fire.

What advantage do you think the microwaving aspect provides over just using the wok? Speeds up the process?

My frypan approach isn't the most scientific and can be variable (both within and between batches), but on the whole it works well. The last roast I did was probably the best - it can be too easy to over-roast the outslide without cooking it through (perhaps this is when the microwaving the beans first would help?).

Personally, I use a lid on the frypan until the first crack begins; I take it off then as I'm concerned at trapping in the strong smells/smoke that happen with the crack (which then, as you comment, is when the smoke alarms go off and the family start to complain about the smell!).

I've never bothered with the popcorn makers as my sister, who did try, had the same experience - ie it cr@pping out fairly quickly. I did try the roasting on a tray in the oven, but found it difficult to maintain the balance between stirring the beans to ensure a (relatively) even roast and maintaining the temperature.

I also read about the use of breadmakers, but I have a feeling these were solely used as stirrers, not to roast the beans - don't people use hairdryers for this part? (ie, use a bracket to hold a hairdryer above the bread machine) 



323 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1170685 7-Nov-2014 12:03
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Yes, microwave speeds process but the pan/wok is needed at end to ensure the beans expel most of their moisture otherwise you could simply microwave, but suspect they would not be as good a quality (yet to be determined).
Also, since the end process is basically a final cook, the results should be more repeatable.

Guv

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1170837 7-Nov-2014 13:32
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Have been home roasting with a breadmaker for a few years now.  

Hair dryer is not hot enough - use a heat gun, $40 ozito from bunnings does the job quite well.

End results are usually pretty good.  

Frypan on the bbq is always good as well - takes longer but it does work.



323 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 14


  Reply # 1170887 7-Nov-2014 14:29
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Guv: Have been home roasting with a breadmaker for a few years now.  

Hair dryer is not hot enough - use a heat gun, $40 ozito from bunnings does the job quite well.

End results are usually pretty good.  

Frypan on the bbq is always good as well - takes longer but it does work.

How many grams beans at a time?

Guv

89 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1170893 7-Nov-2014 14:35
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I do around 450-500 grams per session - takes around 12-14 mins.

I have a modified bread maker with the element and circuitry removed - it only spins the blade and keeps the beans moving.  

Guv



323 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 14


  Reply # 1170901 7-Nov-2014 14:52
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Guv: I do around 450-500 grams per session - takes around 12-14 mins.

I have a modified bread maker with the element and circuitry removed - it only spins the blade and keeps the beans moving.  

Guv


Wonder how it would go with 100% duty cycle element running while blade spinning, instead of using a heat gun.
Thats a decent amount of beans per roast.

Guv

89 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1170907 7-Nov-2014 14:59
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not sure, it works pretty well so I have not really looked at further modifications.

roast size is one of the reasons I ended up using the bread maker vs popcorn machine.

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