It wasn't quite Necessity is the Mother of Invention here this morning, because Coffee isn't exactly a need, is it? And I didn't invent pan roasting beans. And back up the truck here, I'm not even the coffee drinker. Oh, I drink it when it's hot and ready and I'm too impatient to boil water for tea, and maybe I'll admit to the occasional chain soy latte indulgence (sorry, local little guys. your lattes blow) but since I'm not a moderate individual, I can flail right into racing heartbeat and shaky hand and grinding jaw territory and so it's just better if I abstain as much as possible. So it was in deference to the mister's caffeine dependence and my recognition of our sparse pantry that made me pull that ziploc baggy of green beans out of a drawer.
My friend The Tardy Homemaker roasts her own coffee and it is smooth and delicious (I never pass up a cup at someone else's house. reference: the aforementioned Not Moderate confession. if it's offered, i'll drink it, pretty much, yup.) and I must have made grunts about wanting to do the same (because, hello? pennies on the dollar, practically, for organic fair trade) and she gifted me a pound of green beans once when she purchased in bulk. She uses an old air popper for coffee roasting and this was my intent, as well. Surely you know about my thrift store habit. For as often as I'm there, I could be creepily stalking the old volunteer ladies at the St Vincent de Paul, but no, it's ric rac aprons and old school readers and sturdy spatulas I seek. And in all the many, many visits I've made to secondhand establishments since I've had a pound of green coffee beans in my possession, how many old air poppers do you think I have found? Not one. I have an air popper in my kitchen, use it frequently, actually. But it's the newer fangled sort made of thin plastic which will allegedly melt in the time it takes to roast a pound. So I reserve it for popcorn only and keep looking for an older one.
Which is all well and good until we wake up one cold frosty morning (frost two days in a row. hey, november, you mean business.) and I'm up and starting breakfast and feeling mightily disgruntled at the mister who is still in bed. For the record, if you are married to me and I send your grumpy ass to bed at 8:30, what that really means is that I am looking forward to you being the first one up in the morning, so that the house is awake and cheerful and the blinds are open and all of that when I get out of bed. And when that doesn't happen, when I am the last one to bed, by several hours, and then, by default, have to be the first parent up and about, I will probably growl at you and stomp down the hallway, sleepy and mad-like. But, for all the grumbling and cursing, I knew the longer he stayed in bed the madder I'd get and the best way to get him up is to get the coffee started. So.
I've heard that it can be done like this and I have roasted my share of nuts in a cast iron pan, so how about coffee? Three cheers for trying, anyway, and I have a canister full of Irish Breakfast so it's not like I'd be missing anything.
Here are what the beans looked like when I put then in the pan:
(one of these days I'll buckle down for real and figure out how to take a decent picture in a dim kitchen at 7 something in the morning)
I started them at 350 but they hadn't made much progress at all in ten, fifteen minutes, so I notched it up to 400ish. I think I left them in about 20 minutes after that. By that time the husband was up and dressed and bewildered about the smokey coffee scented haze in the house. It wasn't hot coffee that enticed him upright, but I think I smoked him out of bed. It would be easier to leave a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on a hot burner next time. I'll remember. I did reach in and give the beans a stir a few times. I think, really, I took them out too soon. But, at that point, it had already taken longer than I thought it should have and I was done and the kettle was on and the press was clean and I just called it good enough.
They looked like this when I took them out:
We might not agree on bedtimes or wake up times or the most acceptable dispositions to share with the people in your household, but we both like our coffee beans dark and oily. These were on the light side and still rather dry-ish. The oils were just starting to come out when I blew the whistle on the whole experiment. However, maybe because the beans were so freshly roasted, who knows, the resulting coffee was excellent.
I drank more than my share (he hates it when I drink coffee in the a.m. because there's none remaining to pour into his thermos when he leaves and he knows it's not like I'm so discriminating, anyway, I'll still load up on tea all day) and he complimented the brew more than once, which is a lot more than usual.
Is this going to be a thing around here now? I don't think I'm ready to promote it to Regular from In A Pinch, but at least I know now it's easy enough.