Home Coffee Roasting, Revised, Updated Edition: Romance and Revival

Category: Beverages & Wine
Author: Kenneth Davids
This Month Hacker News 1


by ereyes01   2019-06-28
I really enjoyed Home Coffee Roasting by Kenneth Davids: https://www.amazon.com/Home-Coffee-Roasting-Revised-Updated/...

It's not about grinders but it spends a few chapters on how coffee is produced and how different factors/regions can affect its flavor. It's an excellent primer on coffee in general, and of course on roasting at home (though the chapter on machines at the end is a little outdated).

by ereyes01   2017-08-19
I hope the prices for these coffees come down, though I get why business-wise it makes sense for them to target the ultra-high-end market at their stage. The idea of good coffee from somewhere as close as California is a bit exciting to me.


Sorry if the rest is slightly off-topic. After reading all the comments here about the coffee prices mentioned in the article, and seeing what every considers "normal" prices, I feel compelled to make the following PSA:

Save your money and roast your own coffee at home, if you are able to (* more on that below).

I've been doing this for about 3 years now. There's a small learning curve, but as Kenneth Davids puts it in his book [1] (paraphrasing): "The difficulty of roasting coffee is somewhere between frying an egg and making a good hollandaise".

I buy my favorite coffees from around the world as dried green beans for around $5-7 per pound. Furthermore, coffee greens can last quite a while in your pantry if kept in well ventilated burlap sacks (a couple years, or more). This allows me to stockpile like 50 pounds of coffee to roast throughout the year. Also, there's really nothing that quite compares to coffee a day or two after it's been roasted. I can easily brew way better coffee than most coffee shops here in Austin, TX (though there's a couple exceptional ones here with more time/skill/resources than I).

To roast coffee, my low-budget setup is:

  - A heavy pan / popcorn popper (mine: https://www.amazon.com/Zippy-Pop-Stovetop-Capacity-Stainless/dp/B00PFRRA0Q)
  - A portable heat source (I use an induction range)
  - Colander / wooden spoon / shop fan
  - A well-ventilated outdoor space (a balcony does just fine), there's smoke / messy chaff
(* if you don't have access to outdoor space, it can be a deal breaker)

Every week, I spend about 20 minutes total roasting a new batch of coffee (end up with ~12oz roasted). Total equipment investment for me was like $150. I can also enjoy some really great espresso with my budget setup (manual lever machine + Pharos hand grinder), but doing that well is a steeper learning curve.

[1] Kenneth Davids. Home Coffee Roasting. https://www.amazon.com/Home-Coffee-Roasting-Revised-Updated/...

http://www.home-barista.com/home-roasting/ is also a great resource.