The Solid Iron Espresso Roasting Experiment


By Nate Lumpkin, Crown Barista

Since we’ve all been caught at residence for months, it appeared like there was no higher time than now to apply roasting my very own espresso. I do most of my residence cooking on a forged iron skillet {that a} buddy gifted me a few years in the past, and I’d heard that it’s doable to roast espresso on one as properly. All of the tutorials I watched made it appear like a easy however imprecise roasting methodology, with the potential for lots of smoke, so I figured I’d give it a go. 


This was simple to do and I obtained a actually good cup of espresso! It’s more easy than you may suppose, and fewer messy and smoky than I used to be afraid it might be. I used to be taken off guard by how sizzling the skillet obtained, so strive utilizing rather less warmth than you anticipate, however watch out to not spend an excessive amount of time in submit growth. That is completely a straightforward and accessible approach to roast coffee, and the outcomes are good as properly—I like to recommend giving it a strive! 

Concerning the Espresso

I made a decision to make use of the Peru El Arenal Yojan Pérez, a totally washed espresso which we served on the Crown earlier this 12 months on pour-over. This espresso reveals notes of cherry, strawberry, toasted wheat, and caramel, and relying on the day and roast, would generally present extra notes of sugar browning than juiciness, and vice versa. I needed to experiment with a espresso that might present its attributes in a different way relying on roast, however nonetheless be gentle and drinkable. 

To style these coffees, I ready small pour-overs on a Saint Anthony C70, utilizing 11.5 grams of espresso and 185 grams of water.  

Some Total Notes

I roasted over a gasoline flame on the GE Profile range put in in my condo. It’s a brand new stovetop with an simply adjustable burner. I’ve discovered it to be responsive and regular for cooking, however was just a little fearful about my skillet getting sizzling sufficient to roast espresso. Up to now I’ve made sweet on this range, and had bother getting the syrup as much as an ample temperature. Nevertheless, my worries have been rapidly put to relaxation, as my skillet had no problem gaining and retaining warmth. 

I take advantage of a 10-inch Lodge model iron skillet.  

I preheated my skillet at warmth Eight for about 5 minutes. I didn’t have an infrared thermometer on hand to precisely measure the warmth, so once I figured the pan was sizzling sufficient I added a drop of water, and when the drop skidded throughout the floor and rapidly boiled away, I figured the skillet was sizzling sufficient. 

I used to be involved concerning the smoke filling my condo, bothering my roommates, and tripping the fireplace alarm, so I ready by opening all of the home windows and placing a chair below the fireplace alarm so I might disable it simply. Nevertheless, I discovered that the exhaust hood was in a position to take away a lot of the smoke, and I ended the roasts earlier than they might get actually smoky. If you happen to roast into second crack, you might need to cope with just a little extra smoke. 

To cook dinner the beans evenly, I stirred them constantly with a wood spoon, though I attempted letting them relaxation a little on my final roast. 

I cooled the beans by pouring them right into a metallic colander and stirring with a spoon. My essential problem was separating the beans from the chaff – they merely wouldn’t fall via the holes within the colander, and I ended up having to choose the chaff out of the beans with my fingers. If you happen to do that, you may wish to strive utilizing a colander with wider holes.

Roast Specs

For my first roast, I stored the warmth at Eight after charging the roast. Colour change occurred rapidly at 2:30, and I used to be shocked when the espresso flew via shade change and cracked at 4:00. Although I attempted to stir constantly with a wood spoon, I discovered that it was troublesome to cook dinner the beans evenly. As I didn’t have a temperature gauge, I relied on sight to find out the top, and dropped at 7:05, when a lot of the beans have been chocolate brown, with a couple of golden ones amongst them, and some turning oily and darkish. 

This espresso was surprisingly nice, with an aroma of strawberry and corn, and notes of strawberry, caramel, and vanilla, although the end was considerably harsh and bitter. I made a decision to attempt to lengthen first crack nearer to 6 minutes, to present the espresso extra time to growth. 

For my second roast, I charged the roast at warmth 6. Colour change occurred at 3:15, and because the espresso didn’t appear to be transferring quick sufficient, I elevated the warmth to 7 at 4:45, and once more to eight at 6:30. First crack occurred rapidly after that at 7:15, and I dropped the espresso at 9:05. 

I used to be involved that this espresso may show stale or flat, based mostly on the very very long time spent in shade change, however discovered that it was very nice. It had an aroma of cherry and white sugar, with notes of carob nut, orange, and caramel. It was easy however had a touch of tree bark. This roast turned out to be my favourite. 

For my subsequent roast, I aimed to hit first crack proper at 6:00, mimicking among the pattern roasts I’ve made on the Proaster on the Crown. I additionally aimed to permit the beans to cook dinner extra evenly. As an alternative of stirring constantly your entire time, I attempted to emulate a method in cooking on forged iron, the place you enable the ingredient to relaxation flat for a second to permit it to cook dinner, earlier than separating and stirring. I charged this roast at warmth 6, after which instantly after shade change at 3:10 turned the warmth as much as 8. At first crack at 6:15 I turned the warmth again down to six.5 to stop it from flying away, and dropped the roast at 9:05, the identical time because the earlier roast. 

Sadly, this roast tasted earthy and off. It had a scrumptious aroma of watermelon and cherry, however tasted like clay and cherry pit, with a candy caramel end. I think that the lengthy post-development time contributed to this taste profile. 

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