Harvesting and roasting beans from your own coffee trees is challenging if you don’t live in an equatorial country. Roasting raw coffee beans at home is as close as most of us will get to making the freshest possible cup of coffee.
IA Collaborative‘s Kelvin Home Coffee Roaster could do the trick if roasting raw coffee beans is your goal. Currently featured in a Kickstarter campaign, you can pledge funds for the Kelvin roaster with one to six pounds of unroasted coffee beans. Estimated delivery is December in the U.S., February 2019 for international pledges.
Home-roasting raw coffee beans isn’t just about better tasting brew, buying raw beans saves money. The Kelvin Kickstarter page quotes unroasted coffee bean prices at $6 per pound and roasted beans at $15 per pound. Digital Trends took a quick look on Amazon and found plenty of listings for raw coffee beans priced from $5 to $7 a pound, usually in two- to five-pound bags. The same search turned up roasted beans from $8 to $14 per pound. So the Kelvin statement about cost-savings is correct if a bit overstated. Searching for exotic, special beans could certainly turn up more expensive coffee beans — raw and roasted — but let’s leave it that you can save money roasting your own beans.
Another difference between raw and roasted coffee beans is shelf life. According to the National Coffee Association, roasted coffee beans’ greatest threats are air, moisture, heat, and light. As soon as roasted beans are first exposed to air, they begin to lose their freshness. In general, roasted bean buyers are advised to buy no more than two weeks’ worth of beans at a time. Freezing roasted beans can extend their life as long as they don’t take on odors from other items in the freezer, but when freshness is the whole reason for buying whole bean coffee in the first place, freezing seems counterintuitive.
Raw coffee beans on the other hand, if stored in a cool, dry location, have a much longer shelf life. Various sources cited one year to an indefinite period. We Dream of Coffee cited six weeks maximum before roasted beans start to deteriorate but state you can store raw beans “for up to a year without any noticeable changes in quality of the final drink.”
The Kelvin Home Coffee Roaster uses a vortex-drive bottom-up roasting process it claims results in an especially even roast. The recommended batch size of 100-120 grams of green coffee beans (3.5 to 4.2 ounces) allows for four to six cups of coffee. After roasting let the beans cool, then grind the roasted beans, brew the fresh grind, and drink up and enjoy.