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 Post subject: Processing coffee beans
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:09 pm 
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So a while back I decided to give the home coffee bean process a go. We have a few coffee trees on our block which are in great health but Im unsure what type they are. Ill assume they are Robusta as they seem to be growing in random places in the yard and not really purposely planted as you would expect with an arabica plant, but I may be wrong.

Ok, so all the info I found on the net was pretty simple for a home style method, extract the beans from the cherries, ferment, dry and roast in a pan on the stove top. Obviously there are machines and gadgets that could make all the process easier or better but i really roughed it for this first attempt.

The trees are really cool to look at. Lush green leaves and bunches of red berries. The fruit begins green which developed into a rich red then if left longer eventually goes black and drops off. As I understand we want the full rich red colour.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:19 pm 
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First job was to pick a bunch of ready cherries which my 6yr old son was more than happy to help. They seem to ripen quite randomly so it was just a matter of foraging through the good ones.


Next was to squeeze the been from the outer ripe red coating or husk. The young bloke loved this part as they were slimy and shot across the yard if not aimed into the container. I found grabbing the fruit between my thumb and forefinger knuckle and literally squeeze and it shot out like a bullet. This process was timely but after a couple of beers it was done.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:30 pm 
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So from my understanding there are a few ways you can go from here, either a wet process or dry process. I got stuck on a small scale home style method so that kept leading me to a simple way of basically washing the slimy yellow raw beans under the tap and then putting them in a container like an ice cream container, fill it with water then leave sit in a cool dry place to ferment for 4 or so days. Mainly this is to release the slimy outer membrane from the bean.

I think I ended up leaving them for 6 days, it didn't smell or anything so you could probably even leave them in a kitchen cupboard but I was instructed to keep them in the shed. After giving them a good rinse it was now time to dry them out.

Simply dry the beans with a cloth or paper towel and spread out on a pan, plate or table or whatever you have. I chose a pizza pan as I could move it in and out of the sun as I pleased so to avoid rain or if we left the house for a couple of days. the drying period of time was something I struggled to find. Some say a week, some say till the husk gets crackly, some say a month. As it worked out I went away for work and the beans dryer for approx 30 or so days.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:41 pm 
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Next is to de-husk the beans, removing the hard outer yellow coloured shell to reveal the green bean. Man, this took forever and was a little painful. The shells are not as hard as a pistachio but after 50 or so it starts taking its toll on your fingers. I tried a bunch of different ways like grabbing a heap in my palm and mashing them between my other hand but I still found myself picking bits off them. It tok a long time maybe half hour for just this small amount of beans. Id say this is where you make that call if its worth it or not. Its a fun and interesting thing to try but yea, its not something I would do regularly.

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So then we're off to the roasting part. Once again there are multiple ways of doing this but for the home grown method I went for the simple pan over the stovetop. I enjoyed it and the smells are amazing, very nutty and chocolaty with a hint of coffee. For a first try I watched a lot of you tube clips to suss out how long to fry them for. Obviously the longer you go the darker and more bitter it will become, I just went for a medium roast.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:48 pm 
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Everything I read said that when roasting we should see the bean shrink slightly then start growing again and then a significant crack sound will be heard and coffee aromas will plume out from the pan. I didn't see this at all. My thoughts are that maybe I have dried the beans too much and there was no moisture content left inside the bean.

I don't have a coffee grinder or machine so this weekend coming Im off to my brothers place at the gold coast and Ill use there machine to finish off the process.

Much excited!

Any tips will, be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Charlie, nice work, would love ro have some mature plants to pick off and play with but not sure I would go to the effort of planting them myself, I find it hard to get time to roast let alone process. I roast my own using a KKTO roaster I made. I would say your beans have not reached first crack so that is why you never heard it, they should swell more and start to open across the butt crease like area a little. Best let them gas off in a sealed container for about 5-7 days before grinding and drinking.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:59 pm 
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Charlie wrote:
First job was to pick a bunch of ready cherries which my 6yr old son was more than happy to help. They seem to ripen quite randomly so it was just a matter of foraging through the good ones.


Next was to squeeze the been from the outer ripe red coating or husk. The young bloke loved this part as they were slimy and shot across the yard if not aimed into the container. I found grabbing the fruit between my thumb and forefinger knuckle and literally squeeze and it shot out like a bullet. This process was timely but after a couple of beers it was done.


Did you eat them they taste nice and are really good for you

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tastes something like watermelon, rosewater, and hibiscus all at once. (And taster beware, as I learned the hard way: there's not much meat behind that red skin, and chomping too hard could lead to some serious dental work.)

This red fruit, historically a disregarded byproduct, was recently discovered by the University of Hawaii to have super energy and antioxidant properties…in fact, it has 15 times the amount of acai berry and 25 times the amount of pomegranate fruit!



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:00 pm 
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Thanks Burnsy great tips. I think I'll invest in a popcorn machine soon as I've hear they're good for getting the roast right. But yea, end of the day it was a long process to get it done.

Snags, I did read they were edible but didn't try them. I gave all the red outer husk to the chooks.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:03 am 
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what fun ;) the bushes can also become weeds in rainforest areas, so keep an eye on them :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:19 am 
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No probs Jaymie. Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:32 pm 
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That a lot of work for a cup of coffee. I can see now why we need to exploit 3rd world farmers to get such cheep coffee.

We'll done mate, I hope it tastes good as it will be truly guilt free coffee :thumb:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 5:58 am 
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apart from the child labour ;-)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 12:58 am 
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Nice work Charlie. Interesting to see the whole process in action. Hope u get a decent cup of coffee out of it


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