Coffee roasting tribulations

I’m not sure what the problem is, but my second coffee roaster has bitten the dust.

Yes, I read the instructions. I roast the right amount. I treat it like gold. I don’t roast too frequently. Yet, the iRoast 2 that I fired up just two months ago is somehow impotent. With thirty pounds of green beans in the cellar, I can’t just say, “screw it.” Besides, I like roasting.

Time to go old school.

green beans

partially roasted beansOutside I went. I loaded the Dutch oven once owned by my wife’s Great Grandma Beach with a cup and a half of beans, and fired up the propane. Stirring constantly, it wasn’t long before before they moved from murky green to a yellow-brown with dark spots.

In a little over twenty minutes, they were evenly roasted dark and oily, just the way I like it. The process was easy and painless. Since I already had the propane and burner for my brewing enterprise, there was no added expense for a one dimensional kitchen gadget. However, it was a hands-on operation, unlike the convenience provided by a roaster.

fully roasted beans

Now I’m left to contemplate my conversion. Do I want to do this every couple of days? The smoke generated dictates that this take place outside. So…in the rain? With a foot of snow on the ground? Thirty below zero temperatures? I guess I will if I have to. I need to pack up my roaster and send it in for repairs. Provided the company is easy to work with and takes care of the problem, I’ll happily return to my roaster’s convenience. There simply must have been a defect with my machine. It’s difficult to believe that their life expectancy is a mere sixty days.

But if it fails again, I will roast manually, regardless of the weather. It took twenty minutes of my time to ensure I’ve got fresh, killer beans in my house. Like homebrewing, it’s an extension of my enjoyment of cooking.

This whole issue gave me an opportunity to further reflect on my attitude toward kitchen gadgets. The roaster is the first time I’ve ever really purchased something of this kind. I scoff at bread machines, garlic presses, sandwich griller thingamajigs and their brethren. I’ve always said, “Just give me my chef’s knife.” Of course, one needs more than simply a knife, but come on, a bread machine? That takes the fun out of the sensory-laden and rewarding bread making experience.

I think that less is more applies quite readily to the kitchen. And a little touch of work is more ain’t a bad philosophy, whether mincing garlic, baking cheesecake or preparing a cup of coffee.


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