I love Coffee. I love DIY.
So why not put it together??
Today, I want to show you how to make the best cup of coffee in the world by roasting your own beans and French pressing. Then I will give you the secret recipe to the “PR Brew”. If you don’t care about roasting or pressing, it’s ok, I understand, just scroll down to the PR Brew.
If you haven’t noticed I like to do things myself; hence the plethora of DIY Garage Gym Projects here at End of Three Fitness. This DIY mentality reaches to just about everything I do. I create my own workouts and programs, I build things at home, I like to change my own oil and…I like to make my own coffee.
But here’s the thing with DIY Coffee; it’s not entirely frugal or efficient. When I built my own garage gym…it was to save money. When I created my own workout programming…it was to save time. Some say roasting your own coffee is cheaper in the long run, but if you don’t make a habit of it, I am not sure if that will be true.
BUT it will be the best cup of coffee you have ever had in your entire life!
Sometimes it isn’t all about time, money and efficiency. Occasionally, it’s ok to take your time on something and truly enjoy yourself. Coffee is great way to do this! I don’t roast my coffee all the time, but I do like to roast a few bags of green coffee a year, just for the fun and awesomeness of it all.
Coffee can get a bad reputation, at times, but there are actually a lot of reasons why coffee is GREAT for you. So long as you aren’t consuming too much and you can cycle on and off the caffeine there really aren’t too many negatives with a cup of Joe.
So, if you can set aside the Keurig or Mr. Coffee for a day and treat yourself to the most amazing cup of coffee you’ve ever had…Let’s do it!
How to Roast Your Own Coffee Beans
First, know I am no expert in coffee roasting.
I will provide information that can help you if you want to get started, but if you want to get super precise or serious in coffee roasting this isn’t the place. Personally, I am not a complete coffee hippie and do not have any plans to sell all my possessions and move to New York to be a high-end barista.
However, I do like to roast my own coffee and make thePR Brew.
Roasting your own coffee is really cool because you get to taste all the flavors of REAL coffee – how it should taste. See, a lot of coffee chains, namely Starbucks, overcook their beans. It is sort of their thing and you may be accustomed to it, but it takes a ton of the flavor out of your cup of coffee.
So where do we start…? First, you need to get green coffee.
There are a lot of places you can order your own green coffee and you can even get organic green coffee; which is what I recommend and what I use. Two places I recommend are Sweet Marias and Coffee Bean Corral.
After you have your coffee you can roast it on your own, and you actually have a few options for the roast:
- Option 1: A serious Roaster (anywhere from $150-$600 on Amazon)
- Option 2: Oven Roast
- Option 3: Popcorn Popper
I wouldn’t get a serious roaster unless you have the money or you are really into roasting your own coffee. I stick with options 2 and 3 and that is what I will explain today. Both options are pretty easy and a great way to get into roasting without breaking the bank.
The Oven Roast
Three Simple Steps:
- Preheat oven to 500- 540F, I normally just do 500. Put the green coffee in pan so the beans are one layer deep and close together, and covering the entire surface of the pan. Place the pan on the middle oven shelf. Use a perforated pan if possible.
- Roast for…?? There isn’t really a set time for coffee roasting (see below). The estimate is anywhere from 7 minutes to 20 minutes depending on your oven**
- Once roasted, take them out and put them in a colander and let cool.
**Roasting time: In coffee roasting there isn’t set time because there are a lot of factors like desired roast, temperature and amount your are roasting. Instead you LISTEN for when your beans are done. It’s called first crack and second crack (hold the jokes, please). The first crack sounds kind of like popcorn popping and means your beans are pretty much good to go for a light roast. This doesn’t take long and you can take them out a minute or two after first crack. Second crack is much more subtle, but you will hear it. Second crack means you are nearing a dark roast. Leave it any longer after second crack and you are just headed for the really dark and potentially burnt beans with that waxy finish. But hey, you may want that.
After it is cooled you will need to shake the beans around to get rid of some of the chaff.
Pros to oven roasting:
- It’s very quick and very easy
- You can roast a large amount
Cons to oven roasting:
- Depending on your oven, the roast can come out uneven
- Chaff (which sheds as beans are roasted) can smoke up your kitchen if you aren’t careful
- I recommend roasting outside since the chaff will get thrown out, but I have done it over the sink before.
- In my roaster I can cook 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, just dump it in and let it spin. Listen to the cracks just as mentioned in oven roasting.
- Once roasted, take them out and put them in a colander and let cool.
After it is cooled you will need to shake the beans around to get rid of some of that chaff. If you roast outside take into account outside temperature when roasting – it can take longer or it can go quicker.
Pros to popcorn roasting:
- It’s very easy
- Very precise roasting from light to dark
Cons to popcorn roasting:
- You can only do small batches unless you get one of the giant popcorn makers.
The French Press
Alright, now that you’ve got your homemade coffee don’t just run it through your normal coffee maker. You can, but the PR brew needs to be French pressed and we are trying to make the best cup of coffee in the world, so don’t go conventional here.
French pressing coffee allows the grounds to steep as opposed to being dripped over. This provides for a higher caffeine content and an amazing mix of oils and flavors. For a full tutorial on how to do French Press the right way, watch this quick video.
Below I will give the basics, but I recommend watching the video for full instructions.
French Press Basics:
- You need to grind the beans, but not too fine. You want a coarse grind but you also don’t want full chunks of beans floating around.
- Boil as much water needed for the amount of coffee you want to make.
- Preheat French press by filling it with warm water from faucet.
- Allow boiled water to rest for a few minutes to cool to optimum temperature (195 to 205 degrees F).
- Pour warm water out of press and add ground coffee.
- Pour just enough hot water over grounds to wet them. Fresh coffee will expand as gas escapes.
- Pour in remaining water and stir.
- Place the plunger over the press to keep the heat in, but don’t press it down yet.
- Let the coffee brew for three to four minutes.
- Push plunger down slowly.
- Pour and drink the coffee.
Ok, we have the best cup of coffee in the world, now how do we turn it into the “PR Brew”??
The PR Brew
First, I recommend having that amazing cup of coffee black before you do the PR Brew. We are going to mix a few things in here that will change up the taste of the most amazing cup of coffee in the world, but it will also increase your performance.
The ‘PR Brew’ is a little something I like to have when I really need to crush a workout, or if I am just really dragging. I am not a fan of pre-workout supplements. There are a lot of chemicals and unnecessary ingredients in most of them and WAAAYYY too much caffeine.
The ‘PR Brew’ has a little extra caffeine, but in no way is it bad for you like some of the pre-workout supplements out there. Just don’t make the ‘PR Brew’ your daily cup of coffee, because you simply don’t need it. If you are sensitive to caffeine or have a health conditions which can be made worse by caffeine consumption, stop here. Remember, when it comes to caffeine try to avoid complete addiction and overconsumption; and if possible cycle off of it every couple weeks as this will keep your tolerance level low and will reset you adenosine receptors.
The principle behind the ‘PR Brew’ is Fat + Caffeine + Protein. It is similar to the idea behind Bulletproof Coffee, but it is done a bit differently.
The PR Brew:
- 8-12 ounces of the best cup of coffee in the world (see above)
- 3-5 ounces of coconut milk
- 1 scoop of whey protein
Why coffee? Aside from the health benefits already mentioned, if you French press coffee the caffeine content will be a little bit higher. Furthermore, if you roast your coffee a little bit lighter it will have more caffeine by volume than a darker roast. The recommended amount of coffee in French press is 1 tablespoon per 4 oz of liquid; which puts 12 oz of coffee at 3 tbs of full beans. For the PR brew you may want to up that amount to 3+ tbs for 12 oz; so depending on your caffeine tolerance you can do 4, 5 or even 6 tbs of coffee per 12 oz, but I would not go past 6 tbs. Also in French Pressing, if you let it steep longer that will also increase the caffeine content of your coffee. Don’t worry we aren’t talking about heart-stopping levels of caffeine like pre-workout supplements or some energy drinks. No, this just increases the caffeine content a little bit.
Why Coconut Milk? I like to use coconut milk as opposed to coconut oil (like in bulletproof coffee) because it has the same benefits without being oil. See, oil can be a little rough on the stomach especially if you are not accustomed to it AND if you do not regularly consume healthy fats in this quantity. So consuming a bunch of oil right before a workout can be tough if it is going to bother your stomach. For me, coconut milk just sits better. Not to mention Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT); fatty acids which can go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, are likely to be turned into ketone bodies and provide a quick source of energy.
Why Whey Protein? Only use whey if you are cool with dairy consumption and try to get it as natural as possible (I’m looking our for those Paleo peeps at EO3). It turns out consumption of protein PRE-WORKOUT is the most effective at evoking protein synthesis prior to rather than following resistance exercise. There are many other benefits, as well. Studies have shown that pre-workout protein intake will increase resting energy expenditure by an average of 6-6.5% for up to 48 hours. Pre-workout protein will also blunt cortisol through the day, an effect that wasn’t seen in control groups that were fasted or had ingested carbs only. Lastly, people think that your body will burn carbs then fat when working out, but if you are doing anything for short duration or high intensity your body will want to provide fuel more quickly than the carbs-then-fat process. To speed things up your body will take amino acids and break them down rapidly and convert them to sugar in a process known as gluconeogenesis. In fact, if you don’t have amino acids in the blood it will start to take them from your lean mass! Most whey protein has a good amino acid profile.
A little more food for thought: There was a study done on a pre-workout supplement that had caffeine, protein, and creatine in it and the results were quite impressive for only 3 weeks of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
- Significant improvement in VO2 max (10.3% vs 2.9% in placebo)
- Lean body mass increased (+1.2 kg vs -0.5kg in placebo)*
- Training volume was 11.6% higher in the Game Time(R) (GT) group than placebo*
- Body fat percentage decreased (3.2% vs 2.2% in placebo)
- Anaerobic running capacity increased (10.6% vs 22.9% in placebo)
- Critical velocity increased in GT group (+2.9%, placebo didn’t change).*
Quite impressive, if you ask me. Of course, my PR Brew doesn’t contain creatine, and I could write an entire post about that supplement alone but it would not be hard to add if you wanted to.
So go make the best cup of coffee in the world and if you want to kick it up a notch try out the PR Brew!
Here’s to becoming a better human!
P.S. I have a few sources for your reference that I didn’t like to in the article: Why Coconut Oil is Good For You, 10 Evidence Based Health benefits of Coconut Oil, Coffee Health Benefits, Coffee Roasting, Is French Press Coffee Bad for You?, French Press, Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training, Protein pre-workout, The effects of a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids during three weeks of high-intensity exercise on aerobic and anaerobic performance.