Roasting Our Own Coffee Aboard the David B

Capt. Jeffrey and I were given a wonderful gift this year from his sister Cynthia and her husband Craig. It was the Fresh Roast SR500, a home coffee roaster. We had no idea what a great gift it was until we roasted our first batch of green coffee beans.

Coffee Roaster
The Fresh Roast SR500

“Wow!” was the first thing Jeffrey and I said to each other after our first pot of coffee. “We’ve got to have this on the boat,” was the next thing.

What was so surprising about fresh roasted coffee beans was the clean, bright and faint chocolate flavors that jumped out at us. What also surprised us was that the coffee didn’t leave the familiar harsh burn on our stomach linings like so much of today’s popular coffee shop brews.

What’s amazing about roasting coffee at home is that it only takes about 6 minutes and a little fore thought for a medium roast. I roast my coffee in the morning when I’ve used up the last beans from the previous roast. Once the coffee is roasted it’s freshest for the next 72 hours.

While it is true that roasting coffee makes a good amount of smoke, I simply set the roaster next to an open window that lets the smoke out. Cynthia and Craig roast their coffee on their balcony. The more I roast coffee the more I’ve come to love the toasty smell that lingers in the house for a couple of hours after roasting.

For the last three months Jeffrey and I have been roasting beans from around the world and since we decided that we absolutely have to share fresh roasted coffee with our passengers this summer, I just made an order for three different coffees that I”ll testing to see which will be the best to serve on the David B this summer.

The first beans that I bought are the Kenya Nyeri Gathaithi Peaberry. It should be fun to experiment with the amount of time I spend roasting this coffee. A lighter roast should bring out the flavor of red currant, while with a darker roast we should be able to detect more of wine flavors and lemon citrus. For more information on this coffee visit…

Green Coffee Beans
Green Coffee Beans

The next coffee that looked good to me was from Sulawesi. I picked this bean, the Toarco Flatbean for its aromatic floral and piney flavors which seem like to good match for the ambiance of of wood boat in the Pacific Northwest. For more information on coffee from Sulawesi…

The last bean that I’m experimenting with right now is from Costa Rica. I picked the Guillio Prancesca – Finca El Espino for a slightly darker roasted coffee that has fruit, chocolate, mint and almond flavors. It makes my mouth water just thinking about warm and gooey dark double-chocolate cookies paired up with a nice fresh roasted cup of coffee to bring out the chocolate flavors of the cookies and visa-versa.

So having just dipped my toes into the world of roasting coffee I’ve been trying my best to come up to speed on the terminology used for roasting coffee. I’ve been learning about first and second crack as well as wet-processing versus dry-processing. The best place I’ve found is Sweet Marias. The website is  little hard to navigate, but the information on the site is wonderful for beginner coffee roasters like myself. I also found a book by Kenneth Davids called Home Coffee Roasting. It’s well written and has great illustrations. You can buy copies of this book from our online bookstore or browse through our copy when you come cruising with us on the David B.

One advantage of buying green coffee beans and roasting them yourself, is that places like Sweet Marias list coffee farms where they buy directly from the farmer. To me this as an added bonus because I’m always happy to pay more to help out a farmer directly.

As I experiment more with coffee roasting, I’ll be sharing with you what I’ve discovered along the way. So get ready to drink a lot of great coffee on the David B this summer and experience the subtle flavors of fresh roasted coffee brewed while the beans are at their peak flavor. It will be hard to go back to coffee brewed any other way.