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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans

Mary Hunt on

It all started about 10 years when I had a conversation with a co-worker of my friend Rosalie named Dax Wilson, who'd recently taken up this hobby of home roasting. The motivation? Quality and taste. But he also wanted to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention and become equally enthusiastic.

Today I'm going to walk you through the entire process I went through to get started.

Where to roast: Because the coffee beans must get hot enough to burn off the chaff that surrounds each bean, this is going to produce a lot of smoke. While I know some people do, I do not recommend roasting indoors, because it's going to send your smoke alarms into a tizzy and smoke up the house.

What you'll need:

--Air popcorn popper: You want an older model like the West Bend Poppery or Poppery II. I found mine on eBay, which is a good source. You can also check yard sales, thrift stores or even your garage. The machine needs to run at 1200 to 1500 watts. While you can still buy air poppers, newer models don't get hot enough to roast the beans evenly.

--Two metal mesh colanders.


--A bowl or a box to place in front of the popper.

--An oven mitt.

--An airtight container.

--1/2 cup green (raw) coffee beans.


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