By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
I got Nicole an air fryer for Christmas. It was something she asked for and that I didn’t quite think we needed since I do a fair amount of the cooking in our home and I just couldn’t think of a single use that our convection oven and range top couldn’t meet. Granted, she’s correct. It has sped up our presentation of items like chicken nuggets, fish sticks and french fries for the kids. It also made some decent home fries in the rotisserie basket – though still not as good as my broiler crisped version.
But I’ve now found the perfect use for it. A use that honestly would have made it worth the purchase price alone. The air fryer, with the use of the fine mesh rotisserie basket, is the perfect tool for roasting your own coffee at home, and at a fraction of the cost of specialty home roasters. For me, that makes the other uses bonuses. (Though I am, admittedly, looking forward to doing a whole rotisserie chicken sometime soon.)
In the past I’ve done home roasting on the stovetop and in the oven – on both convection and conventional settings – and found the roasts to be inconsistent no matter what method I tried. Some beans would be barely roasted blonde, while others would be nearly burnt. Sometimes within two sides of a single coffee bean! No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to turn and stir consistently without some beans spending more time on one side in a hot spot.
The air fryer solved this problem with it’s consistent air blown heat and the constant tumbling of the basket. It also helped with some of the chaf removal. It was a mess inside the air fryer, but easy enough to suck up with a hand held vacuum cleaner.
I’ve just roasted my first batch of beans, from a farm in Guatemala, and I have some African beans I’m especially excited for. African beans like Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, or Tanzanian peaberry, have fantastic floral and fruity flavor profiles that are among my favorites, but only when they are freshly roasted. That subtlety is quickly lost as the coffee ages and if you find them in most grocery stores, most of those flavors are already lost.
Yes, it’s coffee snobbery, I know. But I’m absolutely giddy at the opportunities.
None of this means I’ll be giving up my subscription for twice monthly bags of Goose Bridle Coffee, though. Nicole doesn’t share my taste for “weird coffees” as she calls them, and has an active dislike of the fruity flavors that some African coffees can have. Will’s coffee, however, she deems acceptable and I more than agree.
The home roasting is just something fun for me to play with. I’m glad I listened to her. It usually pays off when I do.
Jeremy D Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org