Posts Tagged ‘brûlerie’

Pan Roasting My Own Coffee

Sunday, March 7th, 2010
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Pan roasting coffee beans

Taking a handful of unroasted Indian Malabar coffee beans (purchased at Brûlerie de Jourdain—see the post on Tuesday, March 2), I placed them in a cast-iron skillet over a high flame. I rapidly tossed the beans with two wooden spatulas until they became as dark as the sample of roasted coffee beans that had been given to me. The roasting process took about ten minutes. I heard the beans crackle as they roasted, a good sign! Eventually, the beans began to glisten and smoke rose from the skillet, indicating that coffee oils were burning. Finally, I removed the roasted beans to a cool dish.

Coffee beans - before roast and after

The beans were unevenly roasted, but I don’t think that this can be helped if roasted in a skillet. After they had cooled, I transferred them to a coffee grinder. As I ground them, they gave off a wonderful, sweet coffee aroma. I brewed the grind in a French coffee press, the water heated to 80° C. When I poured a little water the grind it gave off a tarry aroma. This, I think, indicates that some of the beans were over-roasted, possibly burnt. In any case, I added additional water, and then tasted the brew. It had a strong, dark-roast flavor that I found quite agreeable.

Fresh-Roasted Coffee in Paris

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
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Gaston-Hugues Berthier, proprietor of Brûlerie de Jourdain

In 2007, I wrote an article about fresh-roasted coffee in Paris, which I published in my Paris Insights newsletter, as well as in my book, Paris Insights – An Anthology. Since then, I have visited several different brûleries in Paris. These are shops that roast their own coffee beans, either on the premises or at an off-site facility.

On one occasion I decided to try roasting the beans myself, drawing my inspiration from Steve Van Nattan’s Coffee Page on the Web. I went to the Brûlerie de Jourdain at 140, rue de Belleville in the 20th arrondissement and spoke with the owner, Gaston-Hugues Berthier, who sold me 250 grams of green Indian Malabar coffee beans. He advised me to roast only a handful at a time, and to keep moving the skillet. He gave me a handful of roasted beans, so that I could compare the color of my roast with his.

Mr. Berthier’s father founded this brûlerie sixty years ago. His huge coffee-roasting machine stands at the front of the shop. While we were discussing coffee, his sound system was playing some real cool jazz.