Roasting Coffee: Don’t Try this at Home

October 31, 2014

My recent experiment with growing coffee has been so successful, I now have a huge crop of organically grown beans. But the boast is in the roast.

Last month on the blog I showed off my Seven Stages of Coffee infographic. I had nurtured the plant, harvested the ripe red cherries, squeezed the green beans from the fruit, soaked the beans for two days, removed the mucilage and dried them. But the roasting process has had mixed results, and while the coffee is drinkable, it’s not quite there yet. Stovetop pan roasting produced unevenly scorched beans: oven roasting nearly required a visit from the fire brigade. (Friends have tried a popcorn maker with good results. I’m quite worried that they had such a device in the first place, but that’s for me to fret over.)

Until I perfect the roast, what am I meant to do with a large quantity of magnificently burnt ground coffee? Not much as it turns out. I found a ’27 Household Uses for Coffee’ site that suggested using the grounds for scouring pots, deodorising the fridge and disguising furniture scratches.

I was also inspired to make coffee art.

Coffee Art


But apart from coffee-flavoured cakes or desserts involving custard, cream or Mascarpone, there’s a dearth of savoury recipes. I found a few spicy coffee rubs for meat and if I wanted to brew coffee-flavoured beer, I could try to compete with S***bucks’ brand new menu item. Or I could add two spoons of butter to a cup of coffee to make it ‘Bulletproof’– which according to Paleo diet devotees, will “make me experience a kind of mental clarity and focus that is hard to express in words”. Quite.

Then I hit pay dirt. I found a recipe for one of my all-time favourite dishes: French Onion Soup. This one included coffee. And stout.

It’s a rich, dark, complex soup and the aftertaste has a caramel/coffee flavour. You can do as I did and serve it in a cappuccino cup. Seems logical really. But I needed three cupfuls.

French Onion Soup with coffee

To give the soup an Italian flavour (essential for this Italian-centric blog), I substituted the Gruyère with Fontina, a fairly strong, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that melts beautifully.

The recipe for the French Onion Soup with Coffee comes via the Good Food Awards from Food52, one of my favourite sites.

If I don’t find any more recipes for savoury coffee dishes, I might have to try something sweet. I fancy a Burnt Coffee Semifreddo (with apologies to Oz restaurateur/food manufacturer Maggie Beer and her Burnt Fig Ice-cream).



  1. Wow, nice one!

    • Thanks Lizzy. This project has taken on a life of its own!

  2. What a fun experiment.

    • It was fun Jovina. And with Christmas coming up, you never know what gifts I might conjur up.

  3. Do you do take-away ? Fileep xx

    • The soup maybe. The cat I don’t think so – he’s very territorial.

  4. I liked the coffee post – presume the Bullet-proof coffee has to be black? Must try Frankie’s Shakerato too. Thanks!!

    • Thanks Julia. Yes, the Bulletproof coffee starts off black, but then according to the Paleo bible, you put the coffee, grass-fed butter AND coconut oil in a blender and blitz. I’ll stick with my macchiato thanks.

  5. *ahem*, I think we have a popcorn popper from Miss Ann. H. The art is beautiful. You’re quite the talent!

    • Well then, I’ll be expecting caramel corn at your next party. Yes, three years of art school certainly paid off. Am taking commissions for the coffee art, but I do it on stone kitchen bench tops so not very practical. My cat’s still on mine and seeing how long I can get away with not wiping down the bench.

  6. Home made coffee. I am intrigued 🙂 I need to go and read your posts on plant cultivation.

    I can understand the problem of scorching the beans when roasting them as I am one of the few people who can burn a hard boiled egg

    • I only have one coffee tree, given to me many years ago. It’s just grown on its own, is pest and maintenance-free and even if you don’t pick and use the coffee cherries, it’s a very attractive plant. There are many online sites that explain the harvesting and roasting method. Thanks for dropping by.

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