This is the recipe that opened my eyes to how fun and affordable home cooking can be. All you need is 1 ingredient, $0.13, and 20 minutes!
Green coffee beans – most likely not sold at your local grocery store (I use The Coffee Project which gives all first time buyers 1 lb of free beans + ~$7 shipping or Amazon). Just like any recipe using quality ingredients are essential. Search for organic, sustainably grown coffee beans and you will be rewarded with the taste. Taste will vary by region so try beans from a few different countries to see which you like best. So far, I’ve tried beans from Brazil, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras!
- 1 baking sheet lined with aluminum foil
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 vegetable steamer
- 2 large bowls (preferably at least 1 is a colander)
Use the picture below for reference:
- Pre-heat the oven to 440F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a vegetable (now coffee bean) steamer in the center.
- Spread out green coffee beans on the central part of a steamer. Aim for full coverage with no beans overlapping (~1/2 cups of beans). The orientation of the beans makes no difference.
- Place beans in the oven and set the timer for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes open the oven and stir the coffee beans using the wooden spoon.
- Stir the beans at 3min, 5min, 7min, 9min.
- Between 7 and 9 minutes, you should hear some of the beans start to crack. Once the cracking has stopped (usually goes on for 30 to 60 seconds) remove the beans and pour them into the colander or metal bowl.
- Walk outside or to your apartment balcony and pass the beans back and forth between the bowls in order to cool down the beans and remove the outer casing/chaff.
- Once cooled to close to room temperature, place the coffee beans in a container with the lid cracked open (mason jars work great!) so that the CO2 can gas off
- If you can, wait at least one day prior to grinding and enjoying!
Total time = 20 minutes (5 to prep, 10 to cook, 5 to store)
Total servings – 6 triple espressos
Step 3 – Keeping the beans in the center leads to more uniform cooking – in my experience beans that get out near the edges of the steamer cook much faster.
Step 4 – Monitor the temperature in the oven – aka purchase a cheap oven thermometer next time you’re at the grocery store. For some reason my oven has a tendency to start heating above its set temperature when roasting beans. The sweet spot I’ve found is between 440-460F.
Step 5 – Even when all beans are put in the center the outer beans will still cook faster. I recommend stirring by pushing all the beans towards to middle to form a lump at the center of the steamer and then flattening out the beans by pushing down on the lump with the spoon. Keep in mind, the beans will never be uniformly cooked using a standard home oven – the uniqueness of each bean adds character!
Step 7 – You can actually see this as well – turn on your oven light and you can see individual beans hop up with each crack. Furthermore, coffee beans will crack twice if left roasting long enough. I prefer my coffee relatively light so if you prefer darker roasts I recommend cooking until you hear the second crack and then removing immediately – the beans will continue to cook internally after they have been removed from the oven. The longer you cook coffee beans the more they will smoke. The first time I cooked them I went past the second crack, basically created charcoal and was lucky to avoid setting off the smoke alarm! If your goal is a dark roast open up all your windows and doors, turn on the oven vent, station a portable fan near the oven and potentially even disable your smoke detector (don’t forget to turn it back on later!).
Step 8 – Any two bowls will do for this task as shown by the two very different bowls I pulled out of the cabinet but a colander works best because the holes speed the cooling process. The reason to do this outside is because roasting causes the outermost layer called chaff to separate from the beans. The lightweight layer will get all over your house or apartment in a hurry if you do this inside.
- 1 lb of organic green coffee beans on Amazon: Conservatively ~ $8
In my experience, 1 lb ~ 60 oz of espresso
Cost per homemade single espresso = $0.13
You can make this! I’ve found roasting my own coffee beans be a fun project and they make a great gift. Give it a try, let me know what you think, and feel free to send me some!
As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!