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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roast your own, own your roast - raw coffee now at Siciliano's

Yet again Siciliano's has expanded the Do-It-Yourself department, this time adding green (raw) coffee beans as well as roasting accessories.

By Steve Siciliano

I usually avoid clich├ęs like the plague. But when you’re under the gun, when the editor of the Buzz is breathing down your neck, when you have to get down to brass tacks and you’ve already spent too much time beating the bushes looking for the right turn of phrase, it’s much easier sometimes to bite the bullet and use one of those dyed in the wool, tried and true, old chestnuts to effectively, if not originally, express yourself. And so without apology I am, here and now, stating unequivocally that when all is said and done, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

A case in point: last week a young man came to the counter with plastic bags full of bulk organic almonds, quinoa, basmati rice and amaranth. On his way he spied our new home-coffee-roasting section. After I assured him that he didn't need to purchase one of the new home roasters and that he could, in fact, effectively roast in a skillet, he ended up buying a pound of the Ethiopian Guji Natural Sidamo beans.

This rather innocuous incident may be relatively minor in the grand scheme of my life but it made me happy for a couple of reasons. One, I am pleased as punch whenever we sell bulk foods because it validates our decision to stock these items. Two, the fact that it didn't take much convincing for this person to purchase raw coffee beans reinforces my belief that people who already make their own beer, wine, bread, cheese, soy milk, tofu, yogurt, etc, are not averse to expanding their do-it-yourself horizons.

I don't know what kind of success we'll have selling green coffee beans and home roasters but I do know it's pretty exciting to try new things and stock new DYI items. The staff and I are going to have to learn about home coffee roasting on the fly but thankfully the internet is a wonderful resource. Until we acquire some first-hand knowledge that we can share verbally and in writing, the following links should answer a lot of basic questions about this wonderful hobby.
Bean Varieties, 
Roasters, and Books

  • Ethiopian Guji Natural Sidamo, $6.49/lb - "Sweet fruit, perfumey and floral in aroma and flavor. Light acid and medium body."
  • Panama Boquete Classico, $7.09/lb - "Lots of fruit flavor. Very nice sweetness, light and spice notes. Very lively with brightness and body."
  • Costa Rican La Magnolia, $7.09/lb - "Spicy aroma, light black currant smooth chocolate flavor and nice sweetness. Good soft mouthfeel with medium brightness. Very clean in aftertaste."
  • Colombian Excelso EP Huila Valencia, $859/lb - "Sweet and spicy. Jammy, fig notes. Very smooth. Nice caramel and clean finish. Med+ brightness, full bodied."
  • Whirley Pop Popcorn [and coffee] Maker, $38.69 - "You don't need to buy a fancy electrical coffee roaster to roast your own coffee. You can do it old school with a Whirley Pop style popcorn maker/coffee roaster." Click here to see how.
  • Fresh Roast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster, $186.29 - "Roast beans for about 20 cups of coffee in less than ten minutes. Easy to use for the novice and fully adjustable for experienced roasters."
  • Nesco Coffee Bean Roaster, $232.49 - This "roaster creates an even roast and uniform color while controlling the roast from light to dark. It is fast and economical --- roasts a batch of beans in less than 20 minutes at half the cost of store-bought."
  • Home Coffee Roasting by Kenneth Davids, $17.95 - This book "provides insightful, easy-to-follow guidelines for every step in the process."
  • Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying by Kenneith Davids, $17.95 - "An invaluable resource for anyone who truly enjoys a good cup of coffee."
  • The Book of Coffee & Tea by Joel, David, & Karl Schapira, $17.99 - "A passionate guide to selecting, tasting, preparing, and serving the beverages caffeine connoisseurs can't live without."
Our humble roasting department

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