Introduction: How to Roast Coffee Beans (& Guinea Pig) Over Fire
I'm from Chicago but have been living in the beautiful south American country of Ecuador ten months out of the year for the last seven years. Ecuador produces many products that we use everyday; bananas, chocolate (cacao), and the most important substance on earth: Coffee. You would probably be surprised to know that most ecuadorians don't drink "real" coffee. That's right they drink instant Nescafe. Nice to see big business at work in a third world country. Being from the United States of Starbucks we love our coffee. So we had a friend show us all about coffee, from picking to roasting the beans. Here I'll just show how to roast green coffee beans in a clay pot over a fire. Some of the old-timers here still do it that way and will prepare it to drink as they eat grilled guinea pig or cuy as they're called here. Yum!
Step 1: Materials
- Green coffee beans
- Large open clay pot (can also use large metal bowl but not as cool as clay!)
- Long handled wooden spoon (the longer the better)
- Pan to cool hot beans
- Fire starting apparatus (ie. matches, flint, lightning bolt)
- Hot pads or oven mitt
- Guinea pig ( optional )
- Sharpened stick ( for the guinea pig )
Step 2: Fire!
Ok, well I'm not really going to explain how to prepare the guinea pig for all you pet lovers (I preferred hamsters when I was growing up). So on to the coffee! If you got a nice little fire pit you might want to use that. I just have a few rocks and logs piled up in our jungle of a backyard. Place some rocks or larger logs strategically so your clay pot will sit rather level before you get the fire going. Make a little pile of firewood in the middle and pray for lightning or light a match. Once your fire is going pretty good place bowl back on top. Make sure your handle is over a rock so that it is not engulfed in flames once your beans are done.
Step 3: Keep It Moving!
Once the pot is hot you can dump your beans in. The beans need to be stirred continuously so they do not burn. You don't need to stir like crazy but you do need to keep them moving. If you stir in a circle don't forget to stir the middle also.
Step 4: Smoke in Your Eyes
Steam will start to come off the beans (and smoke may blind you many times). You'll hear the first crack about here. At this time the skin of the beans will start to fall off.
Step 5: !Que Rico!
Almost there. At this point the beans are going to start crackling a lot more. This is what many refer to as the second crack. You might be showing your own crack at this point too but there's no time to hike up your pants or the beans will burn. Lightly blow on the beans so the chaff or skin of the beans blows away.
Step 6: Cool Beans!
Once the beans have finished snap crackle poppin' and they are almost as dark as you want, put on your oven mitt to remove pot from fire. Pour the beans into a pan so you can spread them out to let them cool. If you leave them in a heap they will keep cooking for a while and might burn. You can run water under the pan to cool them faster. If you want to get rid of the skins and left over burnt debris, blow gently into your pan or use a fan as you swish the beans around.
All done! Put beans into airtight container once cooled. Now your are the coolest kid on your block with home roasted coffee beans. You can serve it with grilled guinea pig if so desired. Enjoy!
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