So in journaling my food so far, I’ve noticed that I drink a fair amount of coffee. I drink about 12 ounces a day, sometimes 16.i normally get it at the place across the street from where I work. I guess you can say I really like coffee, and I really do enjoy the routine of reading what I enjoy, or listening to a podcast, or cooking breakfast, while drinking coffee. It fills sort of the same sensual role as red wine, but in the morning. Anyway, during the week, i get it at a place across the street from work. On the weekends i brew my own.
Thats probably representative of a lot of new yorkers.

So in order to increase my level of coffee self sufficiency i can do a few things. I can brew more coffee at home. I can roast my own coffee. I can grow my own coffee beans. Well, thats probably a stretch in new york city.

Ok, so i already know how to brew coffee. I just grind up a bunch of roasted beans, put them in a coffee device, add hot water, then drink. So brewing more coffee myself would be a good step, but to make a step change in coffee self sufficiency would require me to roast my own coffee.

As it works out, its really pretty easy to roast your own beans. You start with dried green coffee beans, add heat for a while, get rid of the chaff, let sit for a couple days, pack away for later brewing. For the most part, its an easy evening project.

20140221-233919.jpgSo first you get your own green beans (greans) I got my first pounds of green coffee from It was a sampler that came with five, one pound bags from various parts of the world. Ive seen a lot more green coffee lately. There is a local store that focuses on mediterranean foods near me in Astoria (Queens, NYC) that has a bin of green beans. Ive seen a few places on amazon that are selling green beans, so its not so hard to find. They dont seem like a bargain or anything, but they are out there.

Next is applying heat. From what Ive read, you want to keep the heat between 300-400 degrees farenheit. I started out with a stainless steel pot (4qt) i turned on the heat and started cooking it. I didnt use a lid at first, so that i could see what was20140221-234147.jpg happening, which was probably a mistake. Without a lid you lose a fair amount of heat, which makes the roasting take much longer, and also doesnt do much to contain the smoke, of which there is a good amount. But the process was pretty easy. Turn on Low to medium heat in a covered pan, then just keep stirring.

I am currently using a stovetop popcorn popper called whirlypop. It has a crank built in the handle that makes it easy to keep the beans moving.

After youve got the coffee to your desired level of roast you need to separate it from the thin skin that by now is barely hanging on to the bean. I usually just take a collander and another wide mouth stainless basin and pour the roasted beams from one to the other, blowing the beans during the pour with a fan or even just self powered to get the chaff to fly off.
This is what the chaff looks like without the beans.


Its best to do it outside because it gets everywhere.

20140221-235905.jpgRight after roasting, the coffee doesn’t usually have that coffee-house smell. It sort of smells acrid, to me anyway. So i will normally let the beans sit in storage container with the lid off.After about two days it smells like you would expect coffee to smell. From here i will vacuum seal it into packages that will cary me through for about a week.

So thats pretty much it. It takes about 40 minutes to do the bulk of the work. It may take a while till you get it just the way you like it, so maybe start with less than a full pound until you feel like you know what youre doing, but its pretty simple and gives you a level of control that you wouldnt normally get at Starbucks.


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