Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The true value of coffee

Fiona and I do like a good cup of coffee. And as I have indicated on this blog many moons ago we have a small coffee plantation (30 bushes) that are now producing a few kilos of coffee beans each year. We managed to get a crop off about 12 months ago and had gone through all the processes to get them to the dried husk stage. Illness intervened in the process so they were never processed and roasted.

The flowers for the next crop is on so we decided to husk and roast the earlier crop. Thought I'd share the labour intensive process with you.

Start with the dried beans with husk (wheat coloured shell) still on. To get to this point we had already picked, pulped, soaked, washed and dried the fruit.

©2013 Barry Smith - Green coffee beans with husks on
Then the husking starts. We bought a small hand operated husker - the red and green machine with beans for husking in the hopper - comfortably does about 250gm of green beans at a time.

©2013 Barry Smith - Husker hopper ready to go
©2013 Barry Smith - One handed photo of the husking
The husks need to be separated from the green beans. Picking out husks is too tedious so I worked out that with the fan on full one could decant semi husked beans from an upper bowl to a lower one and the husks, being light, blew away.

©2013 Barry Smith - Beans husked but not separated
©2013 Barry Smith - One handed photo of the husks being blown away
©2013 Barry Smith - The winnowing station - aka fan and bowl
This actually worked - though I ran the beans through the husker two more times and did the old winnowing trick each time until I ended up with clean green beans that were without husks.

©2013 Barry Smith - Clean green beans ready for roasting
Then the roasting needs to be done. We have an amazing electronic fan forced roaster that our friend Jeff gave us. It roasts 250gm of green beans at a time in the Pyrex tumbler that stirs the beans and removes the chaff that is blown out into the attached filter and chimney. But don't do it inside as it fills the house with smoke as some of thew chaff chars and smokes.

©2013 Barry Smith - Roasting started - green beans turning caramel
And after 17minutes of roasting we have beautiful roasted coffee in the NYC style - ready for grinding.

©2013 Barry Smith - Beautiful roasted 601 mvr coffee
And the answer is - yes we did grind the first batch and we are drinking it each day as our daily brew; and it is beautiful. Organic and direct from the farm.

And I could not resist taking a few photos of the husks - they were like a mini installation.

©2013 Barry Smith - An installation of coffee bean husks
©2013 Barry Smith - An installation of coffee bean husks
©2013 Barry Smith - Drain with an installation of coffee bean husks

The husks ended up as mulch on the veggie patch.


  1. Love to try some but I hate to think how much they are worth per gram after all that work.
    We will be on the
    gold coast for a 100th birthday at the end of Feb, but dont think we will be your way unfortunately

  2. Mmmm ... I can almost smell the aroma from here. It must be such a thrill drinking that first cup of coffee after the long process from seed in the ground to the roasted bean.

  3. Can't imagine how delicious that coffee tastes! Thank you for sharing the process. Fascinating.

  4. B - I do remember your first harvest many moons ago, how awesome is this, to see your harvesting process, great stuff! K

  5. barry, i don't share the coffee thing. but i have a lovely sample of paper made from coffee husks. i can't remember if the papermaker added in another fiber, but those husks really do make an interesting paper. but mulch is a perfectly fine ending, or continuing, too!

  6. P, R, AA, K & V - thanks for sharing my little coffee process. And we are continuing to roast the beans as we go - such a lovely aroma from freshly ground beans and then brewing the fresh grounds. P - had to lol about the price of 601 mvr coffee. You know you are always welcome if you can make it to the mountain. R - seed to cup - lovely image and we are glad it worked. AA & K - quite a process but worth it. V - the husks were beautiful - I think one would need to mix them with something that has a loner fibre - but beautiful butter colour. Go well and enjoy your brew. B

  7. Yes, it's very nice, I love this excellent photo sequence for preparing and roasting coffee.

  8. that is true dedication to your coffee! fabulous to see the steps.

  9. I can Imagine the aroma... Such a treat to see the process, B.


Comments are welcomed - it is good to connect with fellow travellers.