I prefer to roast my own coffee at home. Not only is the price of green coffee significantly lower than that of roasted coffee, the quality is typically higher and the product is undeniably fresher. (Who knows when that bag of $tarbux was roasted? 6 months ago? The lifespan of fresh coffee is measured on the time-scale of days to weeks, rather than of months!)
The image above is from the website of the place I get all of my green coffee from; It’s called Sweet Maria’s, and it is in Oakland, CA. I’m not sure if I remember all of what’s going on there from organic chem, but that’s ok. There are always textbooks to refer to (somebody, buy this book for me)!
This group has a great website with tons of articles, instructions, and tips. They also have a beautiful Flickr gallery. As a more local alternative, Bill of Isabella Imports in Galena, IL. is a fantastic roaster, although he’s pleasantly reclusive. If you find a local coffeeshop anywhere in Iowa, Illinois, or Wisconsin that uses his roasted coffee, buy a few bags for yourself.
Another local roaster (that I’m less familiar with) is Cafe del Sol of Iowa City, IA. I’ve heard good things about them, but I just don’t like their contrived name. It’s generic, and it turns me off. Anyway, I’ve had a little of their coffee and it is pretty good—when I do buy coffee at New Pioneer Co-Op (which is not that often), Cafe del Sol is what I get.
The San Franciscan is probably more practical, but I could make money with the Probat. See below some pictures of these gorgeous devices.
The San Franciscan, below…
…and the Probat, below.
The photo of the red Probat is from redband coffee in Davenport, IA. Anyone been there? I will have to go try it soon.
…and, way down here by the bottom, my current rig, “The Beast”:
It’s a Sunbeam “Something-or-the-Other” model. I’m guessing that it’s at least 15 years old, maybe twenty, and it cost me about $1.00 at some second-hand store. It’s actually proven itself pretty robust in the face of my rough-handling of it.
See below the latest roast I’ve made. It’s Coast Rica “Cup of Excellence” from Sweet Maria’s. According to their site, it’s the product of three micro-farms: Santa Lucia, Génesis, and Los Anonos. Sounds special, so no blending this time. Below that is a pic of the preferred brewing vessel and some homemade gingersnaps by Miss Si-Chi Chin. Fantastic.