For the last dozen years or so I have been buying green coffee beans and roasting them myself, basically for my own use. Recently I decided I would extend the hobby into a business, providing the experience of home roasting for a limited group of other coffee lovers. Unless you are lucky enough to have access to a local roaster who sells their coffee directly out of their shop, or a cafe selling their own fresh-roasted whole bean coffee, you’re unlikely to have experienced really high quality, totally fresh coffee of the sort I’ll be providing here.
Like many of us, I’ve drunk coffee for most of my adult life. All kinds, made all kinds of ways. I’d settled into a routine–fresh ground Eight O’Clock from the A&P, brewed in a French press pot, when, on a visit to my parents, my father gave me a couple of pounds of Gevalia beans that were hanging around the house, saying they made my mother mad every time she saw them. She was by this time well on her way to being the oldest customer of Paul deLima, an excellent Syracuse coffee roaster in business since 1916.
I took the Gevalia home, and brewed it up. It was good, way better than my standard Eight O’clock! I decided, if my sole remaining drug habit was going to be coffee, I should enjoy it to the fullest extent possible. But there was a problem—-I was basically too cheap to spring for that fancy coffee!
I knew there was another way out-—you could buy green unroasted beans and roast them yourself, something I had even experimented with once already. The internet saved me, by connecting me with Sweet Maria’s, and the genius of Tom Owen. I ordered an eight coffee sampler, and with a cast iron frying pan and a wooden spoon, I was in business. I’ve been a happy customer ever since.
Roasting my own coffee introduced me to another whole world of coffee. Those eight coffees were a revelation. They tasted better than any coffee I’d ever had. They were all better than the Gevalia. And they all tasted different!
I find there’s a lot to be said about coffee, and as I gradually get around to writing it out, I plan on putting links to different subjects in this sticky post. For starters, here’s a link to a first post on the topic of freshness.