Roasting beans at home isn't as crazy as you think. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. Some people never think of the possibility. Why roast coffee at home when you can buy perfectly good roast beans from incredible roasters around the world like Stumptown, Square Mile, Heart and Seven Seeds, and when there are a plethora of subscription coffee services like Tonx (now part of Blue Bottle), Kopi and The Coffee Roasters available?
The fact is, not everyone has access to plentiful, high quality, affordable and sustainable coffee. Most good roasters are in the US, the UK and Australia/NZ. And even if you're buying roast beans, there are many good reasons you should begin to roast your own at least sometimes.
Number one reason: it's CHEAP
Roast coffee regularly retails for $15-25 for an approximately half-pound (200-250g) bag, the price depending on the origin, the roaster and the marketing. You can buy the same amount of high quality, 90+ graded green beans for $2. It will come in an un-fancy hessian sack and no retail markup. Enough said.
It's much easier than you think
It's so easy. You can roast in a popcorn popper or even a wok. You can buy a roaster for $300. You'll get infinite return in learnings, and it'll pay for itself in months (maybe a year if you drink less than me).
You'll learn things
There is no better way to connect deeply with the beans you are drinking than to understand their origin from when they are an un-roasted bean. You'll get to know the supplier, how they graded the bean, and who is distributing it.
Your coffee will always be fresh, wherever you live
Want a fancy coffee subscription service but live in Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe etc.? No problem. Roast coffee only keeps fresh for 2-4 weeks. But green beans can last a year if you store them in vacuum-sealed bags.
For those of us who like to dive deep into something, roasting is a LOT of fun. Even the time I set my roaster on fire was kind of fun
So... how do you do it?
There are lots of easy ways to roast coffee... you can just put it in a pan or wok, or use a popcorn popper or a home roasting device. I will go over them in future posts.