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Roast Your Own Coffee at Home

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Why should you roast your own coffee at home? So many reasons…

I’ve been roasting my own coffee at home for years now, and I love everything about it. There’s a meditational aspect to the ritual of measuring, heating, smelling, watching and waiting that adds a completely different dimension to enjoying a cup of coffee. There’s also something delightful about being able to serve guests a cup of your own home-roasted, custom-blended coffee.

Home coffee roasting is becoming a trendy new hobby among coffee lovers, as well as among those who seek a self-sufficient lifestyle. Back when I first started roasting coffee at home, there were few resources available for a beginning hobbyist. I learned a lot through trial and error, and still think it’s a great way to learn how to manage all the finicky bits when you roast your own coffee at home. On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for learning from the mistakes and experience of others. That’s why we’ve collected some of our favorite home coffee roasting resources to share. In addition to guides and advice on how to roast your own coffee at home, I’ve added in my favorite sources for green coffee beans. If they’re on the list, I’ve bought from them and can recommend them.

Talk About Coffee

Lots of coffee info, and a few interesting articles about roasting your own coffee at home

Coffee Bean Direct

Coffee Bean Direct offers extremely affordable pricing, especially if you're looking for unroasted coffee in lots of 5# and 25#. You won't find top of the harvest micro lots here, but you'll get good coffee and great prices.

The Captain's Coffee

The Captain's Coffee has been a favorite source for green specialty coffee for several years. Every coffee they sell is personally reviewed and you'll find roasting notes and tasting notes to help guide you when you roast your own coffee at home.

HomeRoasters.org

Some great information on homebuilt coffee roasters -- a great step up when a popcorn popper just isn't enough to roast your own coffee at home

Sweet Maria's

Sweet Maria's is one of the best sources of green specialty coffee beans. The site is also one of the most all around helpful sites with information on coffee and home roasting. If you roast your own coffee at home, Sweet Maria's should be on your speed dial.

Roastmasters

Roastmasters.com offers a healthy selection of green specialty coffees, including some hard-to-find single origins, like Burundi Bwahi and Yemen Harazi. You'll find very knowledgeable and exhaustive notes about each of the coffees sold by Roastmasters, putting them on a par with Captain's and Sweet Maria's in my list of favorites.

Dean's Beans

Dean Cycon has a well-deserved reputation for high quality coffee and ethical dealings within the specialty coffee industry. Dean was among the first specialty coffee roasters to make his own green beans available to home coffee roasters. Though Dean's Beans primary business is selling roasted coffees (and making the world a better place), it's a great place to get high-quality, in-season green coffee beans to roast your own coffee at home.

Burman Coffee Traders

Burman's specializes in sourcing high quality, current crop green coffee beans for the home coffee roasting market. You'll frequently find Cup of Excellence winners and highly lauded microlots among the green coffee offerings at Burman's. They also feature an excellent page of comparisons among the most popular home coffee roasting machines.

URoastEm

URoastEm has a great selection of green coffee beans at decent prices. You're not likely to find exclusive, specialty microlots here, though I've seen a few featured over the years. They do, however, offer some nice discounts -- 15% off any order of $75 or more, for example - and an ever-changing lineup of some of the most popular coffee beans to roast at home.

Sources of Green Beans to Roast Your Own Coffee

Hate slideshows? Here’s our list on the page so you don’t have to click through them one by one.

Talk About Coffee doesn’t sell beans, but it does have a number of simple, informative articles about roasting coffee at home. Learn how to roast your own coffee using a popcorn popper, cookie sheet or frying pan.

Sweet Maria’s is one of the most informative, authoritative sites about home coffee roasting on the Web. In addition to full descriptions of each green coffee offered, you’ll find information about the sources and suggestions on roasting. Sweet Maria’s sources its own beans and makes multiple trips annually to coffee growing origins to find the best green beans to offer. If I was handing out stars, I’d give this one 10.

Coffee Bean Direct is one of the most affordable sources of green coffee beans to roast at home. You’re not as likely to find superb microlots or CoR winners here, but you will find a solid selection of decent coffees at very affordable prices. Among the major points in their favor: they sell on Amazon and are part of the Amazon Prime program, so you can avoid shipping fees on most orders. They sell in lots of 5 and 25 lbs., so you’ll nearly always hit the required $25 limit if you don’t have a Prime membership. I’ve found the Prime membership pays for itself just in coffee shipping costs, though, so it was worth the $80 investment.

Homeroasters.org hosts a bunch of great home coffee roasting information, including tutorials to help get you started roasting your own coffee and some great pics of DIY home coffee roasting setups. It’s fun to cruise for information.

Dean’s Beans is in the business of elevating the coffee industry, and Dean Cycon has been at it for years. While Dean’s primarily sells roasted coffees — sourced at origin by Dean and his team of buyers — they’ve also been selling green coffee beans to hobby coffee roasters for years. You can buy most of the beans that Dean’s roasters use in their specialty blends and try your own hand at creating your own roasts. I’m a huge fan of Dean for lots of reasons, including his commitment to economic justice and parity in the specialty coffee industry. His green bean prices are fair, his selection is decent, and you can be sure that all producers were paid fair prices for their coffees.

I discovered The Captain’s Coffee a couple of years ago when I was looking for a source of smaller lots of single origin beans. The small North Carolina company does one thing — sells green coffee beans and the equipment you need to turn them from green coffee beans to mind-numbingly good coffee — and they do it well. Denny and Priscilla, the founders, recently retired and handed the business down to Ben and Heather, a couple who had worked with them for some time. I can’t tell you how much I love this company for their personality and their ethics and, of course, their great green coffee bean offerings. The prices are decent and the selection of coffees is stellar. Ben (and Denny before him) provides capsule roasting and tasting notes for each coffee, as well as a ton of home-roast related information in tutorials and info sheets. And though Denny is retired, he still keeps a hand in the business with a delightful blog, Coffee Curmudgeon.

Roastmasters.com rounds out my list of top three favorite places to buy green coffee beans. Co-founders Bob Williams and Barry Levine bring more than 40 years combined coffee sourcing and roasting expertise to the company, and it shows. Their list of green coffee offerings is carefully curated and always includes some real treasures, like a purely decadent Ethiopian Hachira or a microlot from Burundi. The coffee listings include detailed commentary, history, roast and tasting notes that make the site a fun place to get a great education about roasting coffee at home.

Burman Coffee Traders is a relatively new supplier of green coffee beans based in Wisconsin. In addition to a great selection of unroasted beans — always top quality — Burman sells a few of our favorite home coffee roasting appliances. The coffee bean selection includes some sweet microlots, auction lots and even a few Cup of Excellence winners. I find that I’m more likely to be able to reorder coffees that I like from Burman than from many other higher-volume suppliers who might run low faster.

URoastEm is the place to go when you’re looking for larger lots or something really out-of-the-ordinary. Don’t let the bargain-basement company name fool you. URoastEm is serious about their coffee. The company’s founders have years in the business, and they use their connections to source truly unique coffees, which they sell alongside the more mundane, expected single origin coffees. If you’re looking for a stupendous Kona or a Balinese coffee that’s outside the box, you’ll probably find it at URoastEm.

Deb Powers has been reading about coffee, drinking coffee, brewing coffee, writing about coffee and roasting her own coffee for nearly 30 years.She confesses to being a coffee wonk and finds endless fascination in even the most meta of coffee information.
Deb Powers on Google+
Deb Powers (Chamie) at ROASTe.com

Deb Powers – who has written posts on CoffeeBreak.Today.


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