Coffee on Campaign Confederate and Union Soldiers Roast their Own Coffee, and You Can Do it Just Like them and other Little Beans about their Coffee Drinkin’ Habits and War Between States
by Paula McCoach as dictated by Coach The Coffee Customer Spoilers
Roastin’ their own coffee was a common activity among soldiers in War Between States. They would carry only a few items and sometimes they would have been issued green coffee that they would roast. Their tin cup was what they had to complete entire process. Some of them did have a frying pan, but for most part, they would roast beans in their tin cups.
To do this at home, use a heavy iron frying pan. Roasting in your tin cup will mess up solder joints. Pour beans in pan. You can’t just throw in and leave them. Move them around. Stir them until they start to turn brown. The green beans have moisture in them and roasting them will draw moisture out. The beans will even pop a little, not like popcorn. The roasting beans don’t jump out of pan, but they will crackle and snap some.
The beans now get a little chaff on them, but and keep stirring them. They will start to get different shades of brown. Stay away from real brown, which is like a French Roast. If you roast beans this long, they will get an oily look to them. Different kinds of coffees have different kinds of reactions. I like mine color of a milk chocolate bar not color of bitter –sweet chocolate. It’s up to your individual preference. When you have beans roasted to your taste, let them cool before grinding them.
Once roast is to your liking, and beans are cooled, you need to break them up with something. Civil War soldiers didn’t have much in way of special equipment. They traveled light. That’s how they could get around so quickly and efficiently. Jackson’s Foot Calvary could march 20-30 miles a day. Some of them marched barefooted. They were just incredible people. So to imitate what they probably did, I would break up my freshly roasted coffee beans with lug portion of my bayonet like a mortar and pestle, but it would not be as fine. I would take my bayonet and round lug part, and I would put coffee in tin cup and put cup between my feet and chomp beans to a fine a grind as I could get. A stick can also be used but it will not be as fine a grind. Put that freshly roasted and ground coffee in your tin cup.