We're being facetious. (No we're not)
(NB - Just to be perfectly clear, the incident we're relating below had to do with us not having coffee at our house. We had plenty of professionally roasted specialty coffee from Intelligentsia at the shop. This home roasting experiment was only necessitated by us forgetting to take some of that excellent coffee home with us so we'd have some brew to wake up with.)
We realized at about midnight that we were facing a Friday morning with no coffee (we're out of samples and forgot to bring the leftovers from last Intelly shipment home), Despite the late hour, Rich decided to dust off whatever microdegree of roasting skills he's acquired to save the day. He dug out a sample bag of green beans (Filadelfia Estate) acquired from the Guatemalan booth at SCAA and fired up his electric wok.
We sincerely apologize to the R. Dalton Coffee Company and the folks at the Filadelfia Estate for the bean abuse that follows. Your wonderful beans did not deserve this punishment. Unfortunately you drew the short straw among the sample bags.
Now, the YOSM recipe calls for a roasting temp of 500 degrees. Unfortunately, our electric wok only gets to 425. But that didn't stop Rich from trying. About 4.5 minutes after putting the beans into the 425-degree wok, we heard first crack. Unfortunately, it was only about 10% of the beans that cracked. Over the next FIVE minutes we heard some more pops, but nothing like the Orville Redenbacher effect we were expecting. We were going to wait until we heard a second crack, but we got impatient. After 13 minutes in the wok all the beans looked dark enough to take off the heat (figuring they'd continue to roast while cooling as the instructions indicated). We cooled them off in a colander.
Then we turned on the OTHER kitchen light.
Ooops. Not nearly as dark as we thought. We had about 2oz of "full city" roast, 3oz of "city" and 4oz of "small hamlet in the exburbs" - beans that were sort of Halle Berry-ish in hue.
Well, that just wasn't going to do. Unlike Orville Redenbacher's popcorn instructions, Sweet Maria's never said we couldn't cook those beans twice. So we got a small (and expendable) pot, fired up a gas burner and waited till we got to 500. Then we put the city and hamlet beans in the pot. Refried coffee. But hopefully not "Spanish Roast".
In about a 90 seconds, smoke was billowing out the sides of the pot lid. We checked color every minute or so for about four more minutes before deciding enough was enough.
The results were shiny, glistening pellets of dark brown to near black beans. A bit more roast than we'd have preferred, but hey, it was our first try in years and it was an emergency batch. Most of the beans were solidly in French Roast territory, perhaps 10% of burned to the degree of Spanish Roast. Luckily for us another 10% or so were a tad lighter - the Vienna Roast category.
Luckily we didn't burn more beans. As this was the only coffee available to us for Friday morning, whatever it tasted like would have to do.
Just for fun, Rich then ground up a couple scoops and stuck 'em in his trusty old moka pot to taste the result. A few minutes later - chain store coffee! Seriously. You've had worse, trust us. And if hack roasters like us can pull it off, you and your whole family can give it a try. It's fun and if you like dark roasts on the edge of (or just past) char, it could save you a bundle.
But do follow Sweet Maria's instructions for dealing with the bean chaff... that stuff does get all over the place.
UPDATE: Six hours later, Friday morning 9am... it mellowed a bit in the cup. It's not completely AWFUL for emergency brew. If they served this brew at most of the (non-coffee) tradeshows I go to, it would be an improvement over what currently served. But you'd never find this level of near-char roast in our shop, or hopefully any other indie shop around here.
And our shirt still reeks of the smoke. Making a note to not wear anything I like next time...
UPDATE #2: A third party who hadn't read this post and knew nothing of our late night travails tasted the brew this morning and suggested it was similar in character to the Oaxacan organic we get every once in awhile, but weaker. That this person could detect some sense of origin (OK, they didn't nail Guatemalan Antigua, but it's in the neighborhood) meant that we hadn't gone completely overboard with charring everything... thus we'll call the experiment a "qualified success" and congratulate the Filadelfia plantation for producing a bean even we couldn't kill.