If you have been following me you will know that I am an inveterate do-it-your-selfer. I'll try making anything from scratch at least once. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don't.
I'm pretty sure this comes from my life-long habit of penny pinching. Living on a ranch like I have has made me a person who will get by with nothing or, if I really need something, I will figure out how to make it myself.
Rarely do I ever just give in and buy it. I get a big satisfaction out of doing this and have fun in the process.
So when I started seeing cold brew coffee in the grocery stores at an outrageous price, I decided I needed to jump on the bandwagon and see if I could make a good brew myself. It turned out not only could I but that it was super easy!
I will share with you what I found through my trial and error. Mostly trial this time and hardly any error.
First off I had to get some beans and a method to roast them. I had done tours in coffee roasting facilities and always thought, well, how hard can that be?
They have giant roasting machines that spin the beans and heat them up. They look like a giant popcorn poppers. Can you see what's coming?
What about beans? That was one thing I wasn't sure of. So I did some research on that, too.
I was advised to get raw beans from a supplier who knows their beans and "cups" their coffee. I bought my beans online through Amazon because I don't live near a big city where I can buy them in a store.
If only I could grow them myself! I know people in Hawaii who grow their own on the Kona coast. Wouldn't that be nice?
Keep your bean collection in a cool, dry place out of any direct sunlight and they will last until you roast them. Actually green, raw coffee beans will last for years if you store them properly. You don't have to put them in the freezer or refrigerator.
As they age the beans will lose acidity and become more mellow. How cool is that?
I will reserve a stash of beans to age for a couple years and the rest I will enjoy whenever I want. I will try different kinds of beans, too. It's all good.
You can roast your beans on a coffee sheet in the oven, but I found that it was easiest to dedicate a popcorn popper and use it to roast a few tablespoons at a time.
I say "dedicate" because the coffee makes the popcorn popper saturated with coffee aroma. Maybe you might like coffee flavored popcorn, but I haven't acquired that taste!
When you roast with a hot air popper there will be chaff flying all over the place, so just know this so you won't be surprised and you have to get out your broom. Or you can do what I did which was roast them outside on the patio. That worked like a charm.
To roast your beans take your popcorn popper and place a few tablespoons of green beans in the well. Turn on the popper and let the fun begin!
It can take up to a few minutes to achieve the desired darkness so be patient and don't worry. It took mine about five to seven minutes before they got to a medium dark brown that I wanted.
I didn't time it. I just kept and eye on them. You can turn the popper off if you want to check how they're doing and then turn it back on. It doesn't hurt anything.
When they get to the desired darkness have a cool pan ready to dump the beans out after you turn off the popper. This is so they'll stop roasting right away.
By the way, don't leave your beans unattended while they are roasting unless you like really, really dark coffee! I mean like burned!
Let the beans cool before you grind them. I have a hand grinder that's a stainless steel version of the old hand crank kind.
Grind them to a coarse consistency of cornmeal. I think my grind was a little finer than corn meal but it worked fine.
Pour the ground beans into a ball jar and cover them with water. I recommend 4-5 tablespoons of ground beans per two cups of water. You can experiment around with the ratio of water to coffee grounds to get your desired strength of flavor.
Let the coffee steep at least 24 hours. It can steep longer and it won't hurt anything. Then strain it through a cloth or paper towel or coffee filter.
You're all set! Add ice cubes and sugar if desired, sit back and watch the chickens peck the ground!
Photos property of Renee Benoit.