Yes, we at foutu roast our own coffee, in an oven probably crappier than yours. It’s less trouble than making popcorn. You never run out of coffee, your beans are always fresh, you save a lot of money and people are sometimes impressed and sometimes make up weird stories about you.
Anyway, as the internet’s foremost advocate of home-roasting as an act of parsimony, I feel it is my obligation to keep my readership apprised of the latest breakthroughs in the state of the art; that is; the roasting in preheated cast iron pans.
The Achilles heel of oven roastingâ€”the one thing I’d let coffee snots hold over me and my clever techniqueâ€”was the difficulty of nailing a light roast. A relatively uneven roast isn’t really a problem with a medium or dark roastâ€”the argument could be made that having a few darker and lighter beans in a medium roast actually improves, deepens the flavorâ€”but when some beans are undercooked, uncookedâ€”well, the result can be distinctly less pleasurable.
Well, all that is overwith, or at least significantly mitigated, by the advent of the use of the preheated cast-iron pan. There is now very precious little excuse, in my opinion, for blowing $200 on a countertop appliance, or even buying your weekly pound, unless you have locally a very good roastery indeed.
I’ve written so many nearly identical blog posts by now, they’re starting to take on a common form, or template. They end with a recapping, an encapsulation, written in a style somewhat suggestive of Stanley Lombardo’s Tao Te Ching (Hackett, 1993):
Heat oven, heavy pan to 500′.
Line the pan with beans one-deep.
When you hear crackling, give a shake.
When they look done, put them in a bowl.
And blow off the chaff.
Takes about fifteen minutes. An eight inch pan roasts about a pint of beans. Haven’t experimented with crowding the pan yet.