How to roast your own coffee

Lady in market at Sumbawa
Years ago while travelling the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia I found a lady selling green coffee beans in a market. As you can see from the picture she was also selling wonderful spices, but it was the raw coffee beans I was interested in.
Green beans
I instantly decided that this is something I have to try. Roasting my own coffee. I bought one kilo. The lady did not speak any english and kept repeating “goreng, goreng!” At that point I didn’t understand what she was trying to communicate, but later on I learned that “goreng” means roast or braise. Like in “Nasi Goreng” wich means fried rice, or “Flied Lies” as they pronounce it in southeast asia. She was obviously not confident that this blond backpacker with the red beard knew what he was doing.

Beans in oven
This time I did. After carrying this coffee in my backpack around Kommodo, Lombok and Bali we travelled home and I could start experimenting.

Because you are intelligent enough to read this blog you will not have to experiment when you get hold of some green beans. Recently my good colleague Astrid returned from Cuba with some very good green beans. She was kind enough to give some of it to me! When roasting them today I took some nice pictures and made these simple guidelines:

1. Turn off your fire alarm / smoke detector
2. Preheat your electric oven to 250 degrees celcius (482 F)
3. Spread the beans in an even layer on a plate only one bean deep
4. Roast the coffee for 15 – 25 minutes

250 degrees 15 minutes

The beans will start turning golden and swell, after about 10 minutes they will start making a popping sound as the inner part of the bean transform during roasting. When you open the oven after about 15 minutes to check on the beans it will smoke heavily. Turning off the smoke detector is no joke!

During the last minutes you have to check on the beans regularly. Use a flashlight if necessary. Depending on your taste, you can roast the beans all the way to the darkest italian roast. At this stage the beans turn slightly glossy because some of the essential oils in the bean leaks out to the surface.

Italian roasted beans
When finished take the beans out and cool them as fast as possible. If I do this during winter I put them outside. Transfering them to a cool plate is also good.

Chaff Chaff
When they have cooled down you can remove as much of the chaff as possible. The chaff is parts of the inner skin on the bean. You don’t have to remove all of it, but by tossing the beans around in a colander you will get rid of most of it.

Store the beans in an air tight container. Grind only minutes before you are going to brew your coffee. Now you can enjoy the freshest coffee you have ever tasted. If you decide to make espresso you will experiense an insane amount of crema.

And yes, something like Pantone Colour 470M or 730M on the crema is an indication of a good espresso.


If you want to take it a step further these are some resources: Sweetmarias, Ongebrand, Coffeegeek

And you can support if you decide to buy the same book that I am using as my detailed guide through this link: Home Coffee Roasting

How to roast your own coffee

Good American sparkling wine

Champagne Cork Roederer Estate

“When in Rome, do like the romans”. I’m still in America and should do like the Americans. When choosing some good sparkling wine for this new years eve I could happliy choose a good bottle of the real thing, Champagne. Because the US is one of the worlds biggest markets for genuine Champagne. And yes, Champagne is a sparkling wine that is made, and only made in Champagne, France. No other sparkling wine should ever be called Champagne.

But, they make wine here in the US as well. Even sparkling ones. After tasting some of them I could have gone to the conclusion that they are all crap, but they’re not. Some of them are far too sweet and full bodied for my taste but it’s all about knowledge. Knowledge about finding the good ones.

Knowledge that I don’t have. Fortunately I have a brother-in-law that is one of the world’s best tasters and a living encyclopedia of wine. One phonecall later: “Look for Iron Horse or Roederer Estate.”

Champagne Roederer Estate

So I did, and today we tasted the Anderson Valley Brut from Roederer Estate. At $15 it is remarkably complex and very good. Not like really good true Champagne, but a very good sparkling wine indeed!

Tomorrow we’ll taste the Roederer Estate Brut Rosé and for the evening dinner: Iron Horse Clasic Vintage Brut 2000. And what’s our new years eve dinner down here in sunny Florida?
Fresh shrimp from the gulf tossed in lots of freshly ground Malabar Pepper and grilled…


If you for some strange kind of reason should have any leftovers you make this lovely
Granita with Pink Grapefruit

1/2 cup (1 dl) water
1/2 cup (1 dl) sugar
Cook and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Chill to room teperature.

Juice from one pink grapefruit
1/4 cup (1/2 dl) sparkling wine

Freeze for about one hour (until you have a thin layer of ice on the top and around the sides). Take out of the freezer and stir around. Mix the ice shards with the liquid. Put back in the freezer.
Repeat this process until the granita is icy and granular.

Should be served within a couple of hours.

Iron Horse Champagne

As a curiosity I also want to mention that I found it very flattering that at age 35 I had to show an ID before I could buy these bottles of great American sparkling wine over at “Total Wine”. By the way, the biggest wine store I have ever visited.

And if you can’t afford sparkling wine at all head over here. LOL…

Good American sparkling wine

Some food with all the technology

Right now I have quite a bit of Norwegian visitors coming over from the election of the best norwegian blogs over at Dagbladet. My blog has been nominated in the technology category. And yes, I am a geek. Still, I am seriously interested in what we eat and drink.

So, to compensate for all the technology I invite my norwegian readers over to my Norwegian Food Blog as well. For my international readers I give you a possibility to take a coffee break or maybe make some fantastic mustard.

For the people that still don’t care about all this food you can have a look at another interesting post on technology issues:
Hackers predicted the future of Apple back in 1999

Some food with all the technology

The Champagne Blog up and running

Bernt and Bjarne has started a very important blog. The Champagne Blog. It will be interesting to see what they will bring. You can already learn how to sabre a bottle of sparkling beverage, and it will be interesting to follow their experiment on how to turn cheap white wine into a sparkling beauty. 🙂

If you want to try to sabre a bottle of champagne, it might be smart to start out with something that’s not too expensive. However, we don’t want to drink bad champagne, so it has to be a good one. I can recommend Tarlant Brut Zero. An excellent budget champagne. If you happen to live in Norway the product number at the Norwegian Vinmonopolet is 4673801. And the price is a ridiculous NOK 215,-

Still, if you want to do your training on something even cheaper, try the Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Millésimé from Les Caves des Hautes Côtes. The closest you can get to champagne without actually drinking the real thing. Product number 731401, NOK 136,-

The Champagne Blog up and running