Can’t Live without Coffee Once the SHTF: Sharpen Your Pencil and take Notes
APRIL 9, 2017 PREPARING FOR SHTF
First, however, you need coffee, and that means you need a stockpile of it when the SHTF. Coffee is not something you can grow in your backyard. There are those that have attempted to grow coffee under certain conditions, but it is a process that takes considerable time with little yield.
Ground coffee under normal conditions stores well for a few weeks once opened, but time is not coffee’s friend nor is oxygen and moisture, along with temperature swings. Coffee experts tell us that the ideal relative humidity for storing coffee is 60 percent at a temperature of 75° F. Essentially these conditions can be met inside the typical home that has heat and air, but when the SHTF ideal conditions fly out the window.
Whole roasted beans store better because the essential oils in the beans have not yet been exposed to the air. However, the beans should be stored in an airtight container and only grind what you plan to use immediately.
Another option is to purchase green coffee beans and roast them yourself in small batches that can be consumed in the next few days to a week.
There are any numbers of websites that offer green coffee beans, and once you have them home store the beans in an airtight container, like a cooler, for example. Repackage if necessary so you do not have to take out more than what you can use in a few days.
Roasting green beans is by no means complicated, and by doing them yourself, you get the exact roast you want. Lighter roasted beans are mellower while roasting longer produces a darker, stronger brew, but you can over roast the beans, which means you have burnt off all the sugars and oils, which would produce a very poor cup of Joe. Somewhere in between is ideal.
You can roast beans on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet, on a sheet pan in the oven, or you can use a hot air popcorn popper.
If roasting on the stovetop use medium heat and expect some smoke, so use your exhaust fan if equipped and/or open a window. For your average skillet put up to 12 ounces by volume in the skillet.
After a few minutes, the beans will yellow and you will begin to see some steam and be able to smell the coffee roasting. After five minutes or so, you will hear the first crack, and this is the moisture expanding inside the bean, very similar to popcorn kernels bursting open. Sugars at this point are caramelizing and the beans are showing a darker color. After the first crack, you can stop if you prefer a mellow and light roast.
If you continue, the beans will expand and the roast becomes darker, which will produce a stronger brew. More moisture is being released expanding the beans ever further. Soon you will hear the second crack, and this is where many people stop the process. You can go on, but at this point, it takes some experience, so as not to ruin the beans. A few minutes of roasting after the second crack produces what is typically referred to as a French Roast.
Roasting on a sheet pan in the oven set at 400°F takes a bit longer, but produces the same results. You would have to listen closely for the first and second crack if you go that far and follow the process as described above to achieve the roast you want.
If using an air popcorn popper you do have to listen closely so you can hear the first and second crack. This is a faster process and many people recommend using an air popcorn popper for the consistent heat produced.
It takes less time using an air popper and after the first crack, you need to keep a close eye on the beans and listen for the second crack.
Regardless of the process, you use to roast the beans, once done they need to be cooled. Have two metal colanders handy so you can dump the beans from one to the other. This back and forth will help separate out the chaff and cool the beans faster. Cooling them quickly prevents any more cooking of the sugars and oils….
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