I love coffee. Really good coffee. One night after geeking out about coffee preparation with my friend Khrista, I went searching for a reputable local roaster. I asked my Facebook friends what their favorite Boulder-based roaster was. And while I did get a few answers…the BEST answer I received was from another friend, Pucky.
He suggested that I could ROAST COFFEE BEANS MYSELF! I don’t know why it never dawned on me to learn and experiment with it before. It always just seemed too difficult. He graciously bought me 5 lbs of green beans and had them shipped to my door. I’ve never looked back!
Getting started with roasting your own beans is so EASY. All you need is an air popper and a strainer. Now…it can’t just be any ‘ol air popper. The Poppery II from West Bend is widely known to be one that works great for air popper roasting. The Air Crazy is another that has been tested and works. You can find the Air Crazy here. The Poppery II is a little harder to find, as they don’t make it anymore. I found mine on eBay, but you might be able to snag one at your local thrift store if you keep an eye out.
I would eventually love to bump up to a “real” coffee roaster…one that roasts more than 1/4 cup of green beans at a time. But for now, this works great!
If you have a popper at home, you can try that too, but it MUST look like the photo on the right with the air vents that spin the beans around. Not the mesh bottom. The air vents on the right will spin the coffee while it heats, which is what you want. Here is a link to Sweet Maria’s that details everything you ever wanted to know about the air pop/roasting method…including all the different models you could use.
First, I put 1/2 cup of green coffee beans into the hopper and plug it in…making sure the lid is on tight
Because this lovely chaff will start shooting out immediately and will continue on through the entire roasting. There will also be a nice aroma…and sometimes “smoke” that fills the air. All the books call it “smoke”…but it’s more like a light fog that increases with the length of time you are roasting. If you have a vent or window to open, it’s helpful…but I have even been roasting in the RV with no problems.
Every type/origin of bean will roast differently…and that’s the fun part! My favorite bean so far has been organic/fair trade Columbian, with Organic Bali Blue Moon coming in at a close second. They both handle heat well and can be roasted dark. I’ve tried a couple that seemed to burn quick and not roast evenly. I roast my Columbian for 12-13 minutes.
Next, I pour the beans into a wire/mesh strainer and spin them until they are warm to the touch and not burning your hand.
At this point, I inspect the beans and pull out any that did not roast fully or have anything funky going on. Then I let them “rest” for at least an hour before brewing. Coffee is at it’s most flavorful 4 to 24 hours after roasting. Which is precisely why if you enjoy coffee, you should roast your own. Even the coffee you can get from your local roaster will most likely be at least 24 hours old. In some cases, the beans you are buying are MONTHS old (or more…gasp!).
I store my beans in a re-purposed steel coffee tin…but you could use anything with a tight lid. Here are some great coffee storage tips.
Now…for the grinding! I am currently using a cheap blade grinder, but have plans to be using this beauty very soon! My Dad used this all through my childhood and he recently gave it to me. It’s an antique Arcade Crystal hand crank burr grinder! The screw is broken and I need to get it replaced, but I am SO thrilled to have this amazing piece in my home.
There are so many grinders out there to choose from. If I didn’t have the Arcade, I might be getting this one. Or, even better, this one. The grinding style really does affect the taste of your coffee…so choose wisely!
My favorite method of brewing is the Aeropress. It quickly and efficiently makes espresso shots…with minimal mess! I’ve used it for several years without fail. There are MANY different methods of brewing with the Aeropress. In fact, there are even Aeropress World Championships where coffee aficionados compete with their own tweaked Aeropress style. There is even an iPhone app! It has a lot of different ways to brew.
Personally, I’ve been using a variation on “The Jay” (iPhone app version). I grind it to an espresso grind (fairly fine)…and dump it into the canister, with the plunger at about 4.
Much of the time, I use a Hario kettle because I love that I can pour it reeeeeeeally slow and controlled (which is great for making Chemex coffee, but that’s a topic for an entirely different blog post!). Other times, I use my regular electric kettle.
After the water comes to a boil, I let it sit with the lid off for a few minutes to bring the temp down to 175-185 degrees. I then pour in just a little bit of water to allow the beans to “bloom” a bit. Then I pour it to the top and stir for about 10 seconds. I then replace the lid with a rinsed paper filter and screw it on tight.
I let it sit for approximately 2 minutes and then I invert it over my cup and press slowly for 20 seconds.
Voila! Espresso!! At this point, you can fill the rest of the cup up with hot water and you’ll have an Americano. Or…
You can make a latte! I like to add a little foo foo to my espresso…and my handy dandy Nespresso Aeroccino has become my BFF in that area. It makes heated, frothed milk with the touch of a button. You can choose between frothing and foam…and it works AMAZINGLY well even with almond milk!
I also add a little bit of Monin syrup. Vanilla is my current flavor of choice, and after doing a lot of pricing research, I’ve found that using the auto-ship feature on Amazon Prime, I can get them for just $7.99 a bottle. Much less than the $14.00 my local shop was charging. I’m all for local, but we go through a lot of syrup people!
This is my favorite part of the process because I know my latte is soon to be done!
Nothin’ prettier than a fresh latte on my mug rug!
This mama needs caffeine!
So good. This process has saved me OODLES of money because I rarely go out for coffee any more! I’ve found my home roasted beans to be so far superior tasting, that everything else is just…well…bad And the frother/syrup fulfills my need for something fancy. Try it for yourself…I know you’ll love it!
A few tips and links:
- This seems like a lot of steps and somewhat complicated. It’s not. Once my hot water is boiled, it takes 2 minutes.
- The cleanup of the Aeropress is my favorite part. Just unscrew the lid and “snap” the puck of grounds out into the trash or compost. So easy! Rinse the device and you’re done. So much easier than a french press.
- Experiment! Roasting can be quirky. I got lucky and it worked pretty well on my first try. I think Columbian beans are a good starting point.
- I have recently started to roast my beans longer than I THINK I should…and they usually turn out perfect. I used to dump them at the first smell of “burny”…but they needed a little extra time.
- When roasting decaf, they tend to turn dark faster and it’s hard to tell when they are done. I recently did a batch and I took them out early and cooled them…and then roasted them a little more to the color I wanted. I have no idea if this is the proper way to do it, but they turned out ok!
- Educate yourself! Here are a few books I like:
Joe: The Coffee Book and The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee. Both have AMAZING photography and are perfect for learning more about all things coffee! Joe focuses on east coast coffee culture, and Blue Bottle is west coast. Another great book is Home Coffee Roasting.
I currently buy my green beans from U Roast Em. They always ship very fast…I usually have them within 3 days. I would also like to start ordering from Sweet Maria’s. Their variety is mind boggling…and I’d love to try some of their interesting blends. It’s so fun to experiment!
And lastly, you must check out Sweet Maria’s resource section. So much fantastic info there. I get giddy every time I click this link. Eeeeep! Coffee goodness!
And so…this has been my coffee roasting and Aeropressing journey. I look forward to my coffee daily! And because I know some of you will ask…I haven’t completely abandoned my love of yerba mate! I was just getting burned out and needed something different. I still drink mate occasionally.
I can’t wait to hear about your own coffee adventures! If you currently roast your own, I’d LOVE to hear your tips. I am such a newbie at this but I love it!
**the Amazon links above are affiliate links. I will get a small amount of $ back on anything you purchase using those links and it helps me to pay my fees for this blog. I have not been compensated by Aeropress, Hario, Chemex, URoastEm, or Sweet Maria’s. Just a fan
One year ago today, this was the scene in our bedroom. It was finally time to welcome a new little person into our family!
We knew this babe was turned posterior, which means that labor could start and stop…and continue that way for days. After a week or so of intermittent contractions…I was certain I was NEVER going to have this baby. Even while I was in active labor, I was texting my dear midwife friend Rebecca, telling her that the baby was actually not ever going to come out. She assured me that the baby would indeed make an appearance. She’s so smart.
Lucy was unconcerned and finished up her nap as we set up the room and got ready.
The girls were so excited and helped Daddy get everything ready.
When we hired our midwife, Christine…we did so because she would allow me to labor completely alone and basically have an “unassisted birth”. We just wanted a midwife there just in case I needed her for anything. And that is exactly how it all played out. When labor started up in a stronger fashion, I shoo shooed everyone out of my room and bounced on my ball. In between contractions, I read scripture, sipped on grape Recharge, and focused on TRUSTING my body to do what it already knew how to do. I think Christine came in ONE time to talk with me…and then left me to do my thing
I spent a lot of time on the ball…but as things progressed, I got into the tub. The contractions continued to get stronger and stronger…and I just let my body feel everything. Accepting it as it came.
After two successful homebirths, the third seemed A LOT easier. Mostly because I knew what was happening and what was coming up. The sensations were expected and embraced. I let my body push when it wanted to. The process felt so natural and free.
I didn’t have internal dialation checks with Bella or Lucy, and this birth was no different. My experienced midwives with all three knew how to “read” my body language and my “song” and knew when birth was close.
The girls came in and out a few times during labor…but I mostly just wanted to be alone and focus. Matt would come in and just sit near and be silent. I enjoyed having his strong, reassuring presence in the room. Towards the time of crowning, Christine called Matt, the girls, my mom, and my sister-in-law Jessica into the room to see her join us earthside.
And just like that…SHE WAS HERE! Little Miss Emmaline Claire. I lifted her up…and held her close. That otherworldly moment of holding your child for the first time, skin to skin…it’s pure magic. She was so calm and alert…we gazed at each other for quite some time and the rest of the world seemed to fade away.
I was THRILLED to add another little girl to The Happy Janssens What an amazing blessing!
A smile of pure elation. I did it! THREE homebirths. THREE girls. THREE times the love.
A proud Daddy kisses his third little girl. This sweet pea looks much more like HIM than me for once!
My mama was able to be at all three of my births, which is such a special thing to me that I will treasure always.
We used the cord burning method to cut the cord…it was a lovely, gentle ceremony of reflection. Quiet moments to focus fully on the bond that Emma and I shared while she was inside me.
Thursday, April 19 at 9:38 p.m.
7 lbs. 14 oz. (my weight at birth!)
Active labor started around 6pm, so it was the perfect length of laboring time for me. Not too long, not too short. Just right. And that’s how this first year has been…just right. THREE feels so perfect. She is animated and curious…and her sisters just adore her. She is walking now, and climbing on everything. Let’s just say we have to keep an eye on her every minute of the day
Her constant expression of amazement. She is an inspiring little being.
We’re so glad you’re here Emmaline Jelly Bean. Happy Birthday!
Other birth related posts here.
I read books one sentence at a time. Having three little girls means that I hear “Mama watch me!!” every 30 seconds…which makes reading a full page, much less a full book almost impossible. So tonight after supper, Matt took the girls for a bit and I poured myself a glass of wine and opened Jenna Woginrich’s delicious book, “Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own”.
The one sentence that really stuck out to me tonight was this one:
“My God…this is all mine! For at least a year, this is all mine…” I grinned like an idiot.
I can relate to her giddiness. For at least a year…this farm is all ours. And I am DEFINITELY grinning like an idiot every time I think of it!
Her description of the first time she arrived at her little Vermont homestead had me riveted. Reading about the feelings she had the first time she laid eyes on her farm…I could SO relate. I just love her writing style so much and I enjoy reading throughher blog, Cold Antler Farm, as well. I have already finished Made From Scratch, which was delightful.
Sometimes, if I love a book enough, in addition to checking it out from the library, I will buy it for my Kindle too. Why? Because my GUARANTEED reading times are between 11pm-3am. In bed. While nursing. The Kindle app on my iPhone gets a lot of use during those hours. Barnheart is soon to be downloaded. I’m sure of it.
As I was clicking around Jenna’s blog and clicked over to Rosie’s. Which led me to this awesome site…
Conversations With Farm Women, a Celebration of Beauty and Abundance…you better believe my heart started beating faster. Pitter patter…farm stories will do that to me. So will spotting an amazing barn from the highway. Or seeing a goat bouncing around. I’ve got it bad folks.
A case of Barnheart.
We woke up this morning to a soft blanket of snow. And then it just kept snowing. And snowing. And snowing. It’s still coming down. The moisture is much needed here…so we are rejoicing! Matt took the day off, and we’ve been enjoying a slow snowy spring day.
Last week at the library, I got a little over zealous in the documentary aisle. There was no way I could watch all the DVD’s that I checked out before they came due…but as today unfolded, I had high hopes for choosing ONE to watch.
The documentary I chose is called “GROW!“. I’ve been watching it in small snippets throughout the day…and I am a bit SMITTEN. I’m only about 1/2 way through it, but I just knew I had to pass this one along to you.
The description reads:
“GROW!” profiles a new crop of idealistic young farmers who have turned to the fields for a more fulfilling life, driven also by a strong desire to change how our food is grown. There is an emerging movement of young people, both women an men, who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Not happy with their current lives and what they see as a broken food system, they aim to fix some of the current shortcomings by growing and distributing food locally and in a more sustainable manner.
Filmed on 12 different farms during an entire growing season, GROW! provides an engaging and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers through the eyes, hearts, and minds of 20 passionate, idealistic and fiercely independent young people In the film, they speak of both the joys and the challenges involved in tending the land, and what it takes to be successful as a farmer.
What are your favorite documentaries or shows
Baby farm animals are CUTE. But in my opinion, baby GOATS are the CUTEST. When Michelle said we could come up and see her 2 day old kids, I couldn’t get there fast enough! I was so excited. Especially knowing that we are probably going to be having some goat babies of our own in the next year. It made it that much sweeter!
The kids hanging out.
Proud nursing mama.
Michelle encourages and congratulates Mama Truffles on a job well done! For more “coverage” of the birth…check out my friend Amy’s blog over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. Her new official title is “The Goat Doula”.
Here is a little compilation video of all the clips I took while we were there! Be warned…if you don’t already have goat envy, you will after this video.
Of course, we had to stop over and see the other goaties and Oreo the Llama as well.
Goats LOVE attention! And we love giving it
Before we left, Michelle showed us the chicks that had just hatched that morning…there is always something new happening on the farm!
**The other family photographed here is my awesome unschooling friend Lisha and her girls. They are moving from Colorado to northern Idaho tomorrow! If any of you are in Idaho or know like-minded mamas in that area…let me know!!
This is my friend Michelle. I like to call her the “Crazy Goat Lady”…but she is much more than that.
She is a mentor, an encourager, a fellow unschooler. I am so thankful that she and her husband Tim have graciously allowed us to come hang out at their farm and learn. She is so patient with my newbie questions and happily shares her knowledge. All of my goat paparazzi photos have been of her goats…with a few that will soon be OUR goats!
As we were leaving the farm recently, she brought out a large box of magazines. I’m somewhat of a magazine “enthusiast” so my heart started racing pretty fast at the mere sight of it. Back issues of Mother Earth News, BackHome, Backwoods Home, Home Power, Acres U.S.A., Hobby Farms, Live Free Learn Free (out of print)…pretty much a homesteader’s dream box. So much information to be consumed! *said breathlessly as I throw them all in the air…commence slow motion movie with pages floating down all around me as I spin, backlit by the sunset*.
And perched on the top of them…two dozen eggs from her hens for me to purchase. The happiness never ends!
Apparently it’s impossible for me to post a blog without a goat photo. I couldn’t help it. She is just too cute.
And now back to your regularly scheduled blogging:
I’m a researcher. I LOVE the feeling of new information in my brain! It’s been quite awhile since so MUCH new info was being introduced on a daily basis. It’s gooooooood.
There is nothing that compares to hands-on, face-to-face mentoring…but magazines, books, and websites are great sources of inspiration and info:
Here are a few I like right now:
New Life on a Homestead (having so much fun peeking around this site…lots of archives)
Homesteading Today (everything under the sun!)
The Goat Spot (for all you crazy goat ladies…)
The Chicken Forum (chick chick chick!!)
Now that I’ve had a chance to peruse all of these books, I thought I would would compile my favorites in an aStore for you. When you click on these and purchase, I will receive a small part (as an affiliate payment)…and that helps me pay for keeping this blog active. I will keep adding to this list…if you notice that I am missing something amazing…let me know!
If you are a farmer, a homesteader, or a wannabe…I would LOVE to hear about your real life mentors! People you have walked alongside, whether it be family or friends or teachers…tell me what sparked your passion! Share your story in the comments below! Also, if you are a homesteader interested in guest blogging about your journey, let’s talk
Please also share your favorite resources for learning about farming (urban or rural) and homesteading. Let the knowledge sharing begin!
*p.s. for those of you wondering if Sara will ever blog about “normal” stuff again…the answer is yes. someday. stay tuned.
Last week we visited Tim and Michelle’s farm so we could meet Cloud and Clover. At this point, I’m feeling a bit like I’m 33 weeks pregnant…waiting that last 7 weeks until they finally come live with us at OUR farm!
Cloud and Clover are Nigerian Dwarfs…but after meeting the funny and affectionate Nubians, we put in our order for two Nubian babies that will be born in a few weeks!! Just like that, our goat herd just doubled to FOUR! I think I might be in big trouble…
I love how they follow each other around…it makes me laugh!
Beautiful barn light.
New blog coming soon…photo session with 2 – day old goat babies!! Wait until you see them! Eeeeeep! Goat papparazzi in full effect. And you thought I was obsessed with chickens?
I’ve always thought I was a “city girl”. I love the energy and accessibility. The people. But now? The “country” has captured my heart. The houses in the city seem so close together. And the traffic so much louder.
On Saturday we went out to the farm to drop off our disassembled play structure and ended up staying awhile…chatting and learning more about the property. The photo above is the view from our road looking north. I’m in love.
After reading so many books and blogs about chickens, I found great joy in just sitting and watching our future chickens hanging out. I keep forgetting to ask what breeds they have…so feel free to educate me in the comment section!
I took a little video of our girls for you! It’s safe to say I’m a little smitten. Can you see our duck?
We caught a little glimpse of how different country life is for a child…there is so much to do and see. Lucy was such a big helper and wanted to know everything that was going on. But her favorite spot is still on the trampoline
As we pulled out of the driveway, a wave of gratitude and awe swept over me. I am SO READY for this adventure to begin! I want wide open skies and rich dirt under my fingernails. I want roosters crowing and goats playing. Exactly 2 months from today we move in…so for now, I will start by packing boxes. Happy Monday everyone!
I have an ABSURD amount of books from the library in my home right now. So many trips to the library. So much learning. Loving Ashley English.
Because…seriously. Who wouldn’t want to look at this face every day? I may or may not be stalking the #llama hashtag on Instagram. (photo credit.flickr.swaimbu)
After reading Made From Scratch, we took notes from author Jenna Woginrich and headed to the antique store yesterday to search for a few kitchen items that we needed. Her take is that you should first search for older, well-made pieces before dashing off to Target to buy it’s plastic, soon-to-break counterpart. I do this at thrift stores, but it was a lot more fun at the antique store
We found a cheese grater to replace our broken one. And a meat tenderizer, a ladle, a spatula, and…drumroll….a Le Creuset lavender pitcher! Eeeeep! Everything was really reasonably priced. We will be making many return trips to Front Range Mercantile! Matt had to DRAG me out of there
Oh, and I can’t forget my $16 hand crank burr coffee grinder. I would love one of these someday. But this is going to be great for now!
I’m a little bit in love with this new online magazine…From Scratch. Pretty pictures. Great articles. Instant gratification! It’s free and online only…so go check it out!
Speaking of magazines…I ordered up some back issues of Backwoods Home on eBay. OH the joy! Total homesteading/survivalist geekery.
I asked for your advice on Facebook and you delivered! 68 responses to my garden help pleas! As of this very moment, I still only have tomato starts and I’m picking up some alpine strawberry re-plants today. The majority of you seem to like Baker Creek Seeds…so I think I might order up the rest of my seeds from there. I cannot WAIT for the warmer weather to stay so I can get out to the farm and put my hands in some dirt! Next on my gardening list is to watch Back To Eden, which several of you recommended.
My mind continues to be in constant motion. Thoughts of feeding goats, kissing llamas, decorating a new house, and waking up to mountain views all compete for attention with three girls and nursing and cooking and cleaning and packing up our current house. Oh, and throw in working for my parents, stating a new doTERRA business, and excitedly welcoming 10 different guests into our home in April. Woooooo! Life is FULL right now. BUT SO GOOD.
A few days ago in my Jesus Calling book, I was reminded of this big truth (love the words in bold):
Be still in My Presence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention. Nothing is as important as spending time with Me. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind. If you skimp on this time with Me, you may plunge headlong into the wrong activities, missing the richness of what I have planned for you.
Do not seek Me primarily for what I can give you. Remember that I, the Giver, am infinitely greater than any gift I might impart to you. Though I delight in blessing My children, I am deeply grieved when My blessings become idols in their hearts. Anything can be an idol of it distracts you from Me as your First Love. When I am the ultimate Desire of your heart, you are safe from the danger of idolatry. As you wait in My Presence, enjoy the greatest fight of all: Christ in you, the hope of Glory!!
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ~Revelation 2:4
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. ~Colossians 1:27
It’s so very easy to allow the farm and my busy-ness to become “idols” in my heart. So easy. If I pick up my chicken books and my Backwoods Home Magazine the first thing in the morning before I pick up my Bible…I know that something is out of balance. This week I will be working on RETURNING TO MY FIRST LOVE. Asking for His guidance throughout this process. Walking alongside my Creator, my Father, my Friend.
Have an amazing Easter weekend my friends!
If there is one thing I know for sure…it’s that I have amazing friends. They have shaped me. Changed me. Blessed me. They are each inspiring in their own way. I am so so so excited that a bunch of them are coming to see me in Colorado in April!
Monica arrives the 19th and Sarah will be around these parts for a couple weeks visiting family. Natalie, Jen, Jen, Jennifer, Khrista, and Rachel arrive the 26th from all over the country for one craaaaaaazy weekend. Many of them have never met each other…they only know each other from Instagram, so it will be awesome indeed. Get ready Colorado!
Their blogs and Instagram feeds are on my list of “daily check-ins”. I know you’ll love them too…so I just have to share! I could write LONG, separate blog posts on each of these women. Yes, they are all that cool. Click the photos below to be taken to their little worlds…