Friday, November 13, 2015

My First Bag of Coffee

I apologize for my inconsistent posting over the last few weeks. My day job had a manager leave and we moved buildings. It has kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to post. BUT…it has not kept me so busy that I cannot keep pushing the coffee dream.

For those of you who follow me on twitter (@MuertosCoffee), you saw that I put together my first bagged and labeled coffee.

It started on my birthday this October. My wife surprised me with an additional air popper, a stack of ½ pound bags, and a package of labels. I know it sounds

silly to try and start roasting with popcorn popper, but I have to start somewhere, right? Also, air roasting is the path I want to take. So it actually makes sense to start with air roasting in smaller forms.

The bag of green coffee was right around 3 lbs. It was a beautiful day in the upper 70s (ambient temperature affects poppers tremendously because they are so small). I set my first popper up on a metal pot holder so the air can flow in through the bottom easier. I have noticed that keeps the popper cool and extends the roast a bit. I set up a box fan for cooling. This doesn’t cool as fast as I would like it to and is a limitation on my ability to profile the roasts. The most important tool I own is my ove-glove. If you don’t own one of these, go buy one now. It is awesome.

Each batch is about ½ cup of green beans and then I gauge how well the beans move. If they don’t move at all, I’ll use a little less. If they are blowing out of the popper, I will add a bit more. Not very precise, but I don’t have a scale yet. I’m hoping to find one on Black Friday.

It took me about 2 hours to roast 2.5 lbs of coffee. I’m not ready for commercial levels of roasting but I can handle enough to start selling (and saving for a real roaster).

The label took me a while to nail down. I was originally going to go with a big picture and just my twitter handle and blog spot address, and then add a small label with the coffee info. I couldn’t make it work in a way that I liked and thought it was too much work to label each coffee bag twice. So I compiled everything onto the 1 label. I sent it to my wife and she pointed out that I should clarify some of the industry terms (i.e. City+ = medium dark). I have some good ideas for the future, but one step at a time.

I ended up borrowing a scale so I could weigh out the ½ pound for each bag. Then I slapped a label on them and brought them to my work peeps who I know like good coffee.
The feedback I got was that the label looked nice and professional (for a starter). Overall, I got really good feedback. One girl said she and her boyfriend drank the whole half pound in a weekend (that made me feel good). I did have someone say there was a strange aroma, but the taste was good. I didn’t get that from any of the other 5 so I am going to classify as individual taste/smell (can’t please everyone).

I know I am limited by my tools, but I think it is a good start. My next step is to roast a bunch and give to my family at Thanksgiving. I figure if I can convert my friends and family, I can convert others.