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Hellova time Hulling!

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  • Hellova time Hulling!

    Just joined...1st post, thanks for having me!

    This may be posted elsewhere, but I'm a newbie... so will ask anyway.

    I've got 2 Arabica coffee trees which I've lovingly nurtured since seedling for the last 3 years (I live in Port Macquarie, NSW - nice sub-tropical climate). My largest tree has produced somewhere in the vicinity of about 1kg of beans since about June last year. Initially, I was getting a couple of handfuls ripe at a time, and life was good. I'd pop the beans out, soak them for a day or two, dry them, then shell them by hand....dry them some more. But at the start of November the tree went nuts and I had over 500gm of beans all ripe at once. All good I thought. However getting 1/2 a kilo of semi dry beans out of their jackets is painstakingly slow & labour intensive . After paying my 8 yr old $5 an hour and doing it myself for what must have been all up easily 6+ hours, I think I need to somehow get the shells hulled somewhere mechanically.

    What I'm wondering and hoping is that somewhere, someone has a hulling machine that i can send my beans to and get them sent back to me.....all green and shell free. I don't think I can handle doing the whole thing manually, especially since my 2nd tree will produce in quantity next year too. Alternatively has anyone concocted up any sort of device that does this easier? I know there's a lot of people out there growing their own beans, so I couldn't be the first one to come across this problem. I know I can buy green beans, but I like the idea of my own coffee from start to finish.

    I've read about roasting in the shell....but it doesn't look and sound all that successful, and appears to be difficult to grind.

    Incidentally, with a El-cheapo pop corn maker I've sampled a couple of roasts. 1st one was awesome....but I only put a couple of tablespoons of beans in. 2nd one I loaded up and murdered by over roasting. 3rd lot was better, but I had a bit too much variation in roasted bean colour - some really dark, others quite light : Moral of the story= small batches in future (plus do this outside, because at 11.30pm wife gets angry when all the fire alarms in the house go off and kids all get woken up). Will need to experiment with how long to leave roasted beans to sit for next. So far I've given them a bit over 24 hours, but I'm told this may not be long enough for all the CO2 to get out and the flavours develop properly.

    The good people at PEAK COFFEE in Port Macquarie (great coffee - had a Kenyan Pea Berry latte from them this morning) have said they have a sample roaster that they're happy to roast up my next decent batch in. They put me onto this forum in the hope of solving my hulling issues.

    Anyway, look forward to seeing what people can come up with.
    Great site.... I'm going to have a look around now.

  • #2
    This is a problem for quite a few people I believe, myself included. Unfortunately Pulping and hulling are 2 different machines, generally due to pulping being a wet(ter) process and hulling dry, or so its been explained by a the sales guy when I suggested a dual usage machine. Some people use an old kitchen whizz type affair with a plastic blade for hulling, and I have used an adapted old style meat grinder. There is an Ozzie company that sells hand pulpers which are not tooooo expensive ($200-$300), although probably not cost effective for the amount of beans you are talking currently. Its Cape Australia (non sponsor).
    Pulping is a different matter, as it need to be done soon after picking etc. I could not find a hand pulper in Oz, (although it looks like Cape may have one now), and considered importing one from India/China. But once again you are talking $500-$700 or more landed and really not cost effective for my amount of beans. I did suggest once if I imported one then leased it out for a while to help defray the costs, but I got no takers, so assumed there was no demand and have not progressed that as yet.

    Someone mentioned a farmer near/in Mt Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland (NOT Kees from MTCP, but a small farmer) who may be willing to help, but not sure who they are. You do not indicate where you are based.



    • #3
      Thanks for your response! I had a snoop around last night on the site and saw the food processor idea....will give that a try next batch. With only 2 trees, I don't mind the pulping bit so much, and can put the kids to work on that... but the hulling is just plain un fun. I want to keep doing this, as the trees are doing really well (Port Macquarie, mid north coast NSW) I've just stripped one tree and it is totally covered in beautiful flowers already. To date apart from throwing a bit of dynamic lifter around the base, I haven't done much at all to them. If I can nail this hulling problem, I'll look into planting a few more trees. I also noticed on another thread the length of roast in a popper. Had a look at mine and its 1050 watts or something, and I get to the second crack pretty much in about 4 mins.... so now i'm going to do some mods on that too. Roasted some more of my home grown beans last night with the lid off and agitating the popper continuously, still 2nd crack around 4 mins (hot night too), but far more even results. Will let these guys breathe for a bit longer than 24hrs. Is there a rough guide to how long you should wait before grinding a roast done like this?


      • #4
        Heh, thought I should mention, the plastic blade in the food processor worked a treat (thanks!!). Put a couple of hundred grams of dried beans in and it knocked the shells off on every bean without exception. Very quick and efficient.

        Given i'll only harvest 1-1.5kg of beans, has anyone got a suggestion on a good way to roast them? I've got the behmor roaster now, and lots of beans to blend with, but I assume given the small quantity, on its own would be best?

        also in terms of drying, I'm basically waiting until its hard enough that pressing my thumbnail into the bean doesn't make an impression. Without anything electronic, is there anything more accurate? If I weigh them, is there a % weight loss I should be looking for?