The big storm has knocked the power out. You don’t know how long it will be before it’s restored – it could be days, weeks, or months. You’ve been a good scout, and have the basics covered. Your family is fed, watered, and sheltered. But the instant coffee you stored for just such a situation is just not cutting it.
Before the storm, you were a confirmed coffee drinker – okay, so a coffee snob, really. But now, you’ve been relegated to some warm drink that’s just freeze-dried memories of some substance that used to be coffee.
You need the power of real coffee in your life again.
Smartly, you stored some green coffee beans in your long-term storage and have a good multi-fueled cook stove. Now what?
Don’t worry, I present to you what I believe is my final word on coffee after the apocalypse: the full how-to. Go from green coffee bean (as you smartly stored away) to brewed coffee in just a few minutes. Hat tips to my husband and the wilds of some-undisclosed-mountainous-location-outdoors.
First off, you’ll need to roast the beans. It’s really not that hard – and the payoff is sooooo worth it. Here are the steps we followed to get the lovely roast you see in the photo above. We like roasting the beans outside as it can get a little smokey, and well, we just like being outside. It’s also a fun thing to do while waiting for the fish to bite.
Materials for roasting coffee beans:
1. Green coffee beans (here’s the green coffee beans we use in this tutorial).
2. An old-fashioned popcorn popper, such as the Whirley-Pop.
3. A big bowl and a colander (here’s the bowl we use for this – I also use it for making bread, salads, washing 25 lbs of tomatoes for canning, etc.). You’ll also need a 1-cup measuring cup.
4. A good, heavy-duty cook stove. If you don’t have a good, heavy-duty cook stove yet, go get the Volcano stove from Amazon. I love the Volcano stove for so many reasons, here’s the high-points:
- It’s multi-fueled. You can use propane, camp propane (you’ll need the adapter for it), charcoal and even wood. No matter what happens, you can always cook.
- It’s heavy-duty (it will hold up to 250 lbs). This means I can put my canner on it. I’ll be able to preserve the contents of my freezer should we experience a prolonged power outage. This helps me sleep at night.
- There’s an optional lid that you can use to smoke with. I have the lid, but have yet to catch a fish I want to smoke.
- It’s easy to use, and is collapsible so it fits snugly in my gear box. We just hooked up the propane and off we went.
How to roast coffee beans:
1. Add about 2-3 cups of green coffee beans into the Whirley-Pop. Don’t add much more than this (especially when you’re first learning how to do it) because the beans need to have even exposure to the heat. Too many, and the beans will get inconsistently roasted.
2. Set the Whirley-Pop over a camp stove on medium-high heat. We use the volcano stove with camp propane, which allows you to adjust the heat level easily. Don’t be afraid to have a hot stove – if your heat is too low, you’ll just bake the beans instead of roasting them.
3. Crank the Whirley-Pop and begin roasting.
Here’s how the roast will unfurl:
- First, the aroma will be that of wet swamp. Keep turning.
- Then, the beans will start emitting that aroma of roasted beans – it’s kind of a burning smell.
- Next, smoke will start to happen and the aroma will intensify.
- Then, you’ll start hearing the beans “crack”. This is the “first crack” stage. Keep turning.
- A little bit later (in our experience, it was about 5 minutes), you’ll hear the beans crack again. But this time, they’ll sound more “tinkey” – like rice crispies.
- Take the popper off the stove and take a peek in at your beans. If they are dark enough for your taste, remove from heat and proceed. If not, keep roasting.
4. When you’ve achieved the color you want, empty the beans into a colander (make sure the holes are smaller than the beans) and cool. We like cooling them by tossing them from a colander to a large bowl – back and fro. Use a colander because there’s a chaff that gets separated from the bean. A colander will make allow the chaff to fall through and keep the beans in (another reason we like to do this outside). Keep going until they’ve cooled down enough to touch. Cooling them slows the roasting process, and prevents them from becoming over-done.
From start to finish, it took us about 12 minutes. Storing these for a few days will deepen the flavor – but we find them to make a tasty brew off the roast as well.
In upcoming posts, we’ll talk about how to grind coffee and brew without electricity.
If you’d like these instructions in a printable format, sign up for our mailing list – we’ll send them to you immediately. You’ll also get a notification of when the next articles on grinding and brewing are published. Here’s a few pictures until I get the posts up and linked: