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Old 01-12-2008, 03:47 PM   #1
Kevin Dean
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Default I want some info on coffee roasting

The homebrew spirit is that of "do it yourself", pride in craftsmanship and a desire to be self-reliant. I figure the same thing runs in the veins of coffee roasters too (and computer people - the number of GNU/Linux users on this forum is unusually high all things considered).

Firstly, I'm interested in coffee roasting but I've got a small apartment. Are there small roasters I can use in this environment? I've seen some that are huge and produce lots of smoke - neither things are good. Anyone have recommendations?

Do you roasters see "much benefit" in roasting your own? Why is that? IS it like homebrew, where it's cheaper to make 5 gallons of "Beer X" than buy the same amount? Is the "freshest" coffee really "that good"?

And finally - once your coffee is roasted what do you brew it in? Is one method better than another or is a cheapola Wally World coffee maker good enough.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #2
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I know nothing about roasting, but I know these guys sell the stuff, and yes there are small countertop roasters for $100 or less. I think ideally your roasted beans are supposed to be used within a few days, so small scale roasting is perfect.

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COFFE...IPMENT_C91.cfm

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Old 01-12-2008, 04:15 PM   #3
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You can use a skillet or a air popcorn popper to roast beens.

http://www.bodensatz.com/staticpages...hp?page=coffee

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Old 01-12-2008, 06:03 PM   #4
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Crazy. I didn't know being a coffee roaster is such a big deal. I read that Peet's makes it's roasters sign a 10 year contract, where there's a whole apprentice to master program.

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Old 01-12-2008, 07:28 PM   #5
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I'm a home roaster. Yes, there is a huge benefit, in both price and quality.

Green coffee beans retail for about half the price of commercial coffee. Freshness is the absolute key in making good coffee. Mediocre beans 24 hours out of the roaster will make MUCH better coffee than $11.00 a pound Starbuck's beans from the grocery store.

There are as many ways to roast as there are ways to brew. Personally, I like the HGDB (That's heat gun - dog bowl) method, where you roast using nothing more high-tech than that. Frankly, if you're a brewer, you already have more than the skill you need to roast your own coffee.

As for brewing coffee, I'm partial to a french press.

Sweet Maria's http://www.sweetmarias.com is a great source for beans, knowledge, equipment, and all things coffee.

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Old 01-12-2008, 07:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jds
Green coffee beans retail for about half the price of commercial coffee. Freshness is the absolute key in making good coffee. Mediocre beans 24 hours out of the roaster will make MUCH better coffee than $11.00 a pound Starbuck's beans from the grocery store.
I consider Starbucks the BMC of coffee (worse, I can still stomach a BMC) - worse even than Folgers. I wonder, seriously if Starbucks was a hole-in-the-wall shack (not the trendy, west-coast yuppie place it is, or was) would anybody ever buy a second cup of the stuff.

I've been drinking stuff that comes from the roaster that supplies my favorite coffee shop (which is about 600 miles from me) - http://www.coffeeexpressco.com/about/index.shtml

I figure roasting my own would be even better than that still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jds
Personally, I like the HGDB (That's heat gun - dog bowl) method, where you roast using nothing more high-tech than that.
I wouldn't have found that had you not thrown it out. It appears as if this method won't work well for me but it's a GREAT indicator that it can be very simple indeed. I checked out the air-popper method and this looks best, since I don't own a heatgun (or dogbowl... Cats eat from plastic) buying a new popper is actually cheaper than a heatgun. But again, thanks for the assurance that it can be a very simple process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jds
As for brewing coffee, I'm partial to a french press.
The irony? As I was posting the first post on this thread, my wife was buying a french press.
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Old 01-12-2008, 07:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve
Crazy. I didn't know being a coffee roaster is such a big deal. I read that Peet's makes it's roasters sign a 10 year contract, where there's a whole apprentice to master program.
I guess its similar to Maltsters...
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Old 01-12-2008, 08:02 PM   #8
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Make magazine did a great article on building your own home roasters early last year.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...de_and_se.html

One of them uses a small propane burner, and electric screwdriver and a metal basket made from a strainer...there's a pic on that link, plus other places to look.

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Old 01-12-2008, 08:33 PM   #9
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This is the HBT of the coffee world.

You want a french press or a coffee maker that get the water hot enough, I think 200º is what you are after. We have a Kitchen Aid Pro coffee maker and you will want some sort of a burr grinder we use a Kitchen Aid. We have been using that setup for over a year, just buying fresh roasted beans. A few months ago we started roasting our own with the Behmor 1600 (It rocks)

Dont let the Kitchen Aid prices scare you , I got the Grinder for $93 delivered but it was red, it cost me a case of Bud Light to have the body shop match it to the coffee maker. THe coffee maker we got for less than $200 with two caraffes and a hot plate.
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Dean
I consider Starbucks the BMC of coffee (worse, I can still stomach a BMC) - worse even than Folgers. I wonder, seriously if Starbucks was a hole-in-the-wall shack (not the trendy, west-coast yuppie place it is, or was) would anybody ever buy a second cup of the stuff.
Yeah, but a lot of people still think *$ is the pinnacle of coffee. I like it better than Folgers, but only just.

Quote:
I've been drinking stuff that comes from the roaster that supplies my favorite coffee shop (which is about 600 miles from me) - http://www.coffeeexpressco.com/about/index.shtml

I figure roasting my own would be even better than that still.
Yup. Second-best thing to home roasted. Actually, just as good, if yo go directly to the roaster and drink within about a week of roasting. When I don't have time to roast, I buy beans from a local roaster that dates each bag. Anything over a week old, I don't generally buy.

Quote:
I wouldn't have found that had you not thrown it out. It appears as if this method won't work well for me but it's a GREAT indicator that it can be very simple indeed. I checked out the air-popper method and this looks best, since I don't own a heatgun (or dogbowl... Cats eat from plastic) buying a new popper is actually cheaper than a heatgun. But again, thanks for the assurance that it can be a very simple process.
I started with an air popper. It works well, but can only roast a little bit at a time. The HGDB method can roast more beans in a batch, but heats up a little slower.

Quote:
The irony? As I was posting the first post on this thread, my wife was buying a french press.
Awesome. After SWMBO got me a press for Christmas a few years ago, I gave my drip machine to Goodwill. Huge, huge difference in quality. You won't be disappointed.

It's funny how similar the hobbies are. Some people will drop thousands on espresso machines, high-tech automated roasters, and vacuum brewing systems, and others will approach the hobby with a propane torch, a pot of water, and ten bucks in their pockets....

I'm somewhere in between the two.
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