“To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions.”--HughJackman
Walk into a coffee house and get swept away by the aroma. Fresh roasted, just ground, and brewed to order. Walk into the home of Rob St. Jean and witness a guy taking the cup-of-joe concept to a whole new level. This is aromatherapy like no other.
St. Jean, a father of three, house-husband, business owner and swim coach guffaws at the cash Americans shell out daily fueling their coffee habit. “Outrageous. “You can make awesome, awesome coffee at home for a small fraction of the cost” and have a rollicking good time in the process. This man loves his craft.
With youthful enthusiasm, St. Jean explains how he transitioned from ‘cream and sugar coffee’ to his home roasted brew about ten years ago when his wife Dr. Rebecca St. Jean gave him a DIY coffee roasting kit for his birthday.
The rest is history.
He roasts green coffee beans, ordered from Sweet Maria’s, an online source for all-things home coffee roasting. Each bean variety is accompanied by specific roasting instructions and intriguing flavor descriptions--”Caramelized sugar sweetness, roasted almond, tangerine. Honeyed mouthful, layered chocolate. Mandarin acidity”--is emblazoned across a bag of green coffee beans from Guatemala. Coffee. Just coffee, yet so complex and full of flavor.
On the Sweet Maria’s site, the roasting equipment fills the spectrum from small and simple to huge and expensive. St. Jean uses a mid-range iRoast machine which he fires up every few days. Once the beans cool, he lets them rest a day or so before grinding, then brewing.
For grinding his perfect roast, he recommends a burr grinder, a machine that dispenses the coffee as it is ground. Though if money or counter space is a factor, he won’t chide you for buzzing the beans in the popular whirly bird grinder.
Once you have expertly roasted and ground your beans, proper brewing is key to a cup of coffee with character.
St. Jean’s brewing system is the gorgeous stainless steel Technivorm Mocca Master, which heats the water to the perfect 200 degree temperature. The steaming brew flows into a thermal carafe which keeps the coffee at the ideal temperature for well over an hour.
“I would stay away from combo grind-brew models,” St. Jean warns. “Most don’t get water hot enough and have so many technical functions that they often break. With the conviction of a sponsored spokesperson, he says, “the Mocca Master will beat every machine out there. It’s the gold standard, a no frills workhorse. Totally analog, nothing that malfunctions like some of the high-tech machines.”
St. Jean will convert even the most timid coffee drinker to his smooth home roast, loaded with the exotic flavors that the coffee bean label promises, no cream necessary. The sugar on top is that you can savor the intoxicating aroma without leaving the comfort of your own kitchen.