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Roasting your own gourmet coffee beans

About four years ago, I was first introduced to the wonders of roasting one's own coffee beans by a friend. He himself had tasted coffee made with freshly roasted coffee beans about ten years ago at an upscale coffee shop in Richmond, Virginia.
After having been a regular customer at the cafe, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to finish a university degree in business. Before he left, he bemoaned the fact to the shop owner that he would be without the benefit of his great coffee. The owner told him that that was no problem: he could start roasting the beans himself. That is exactly what my friend decided to do—he became a home roaster.

He bought a brand new home coffee roaster for about $80, ordered green coffee beans online, and proceeded to carve out a path that he was to continue to the present day—that is of enjoying the world's greatest coffee in every cup he drank.

When my friend first introduced me to the idea of home roasting, I was not prepared to spend about $80 on a home roasting machine. He then informed me that certain popcorn poppers would do almost as well.

That's when I decided to check Walgreens, a nearby pharmacy, for such a machine. I found Kitchen Gourmet, a rotary style air popper (see view of the inside roasting chamber of popcorn air popper below) there for about $9. I must admit that it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I accomplished my first roast. I placed the popper next to the kitchen sink and about three and a half minutes later, the coffee beans were done, roasted to a beautiful medium brown color, just awaiting to be ground and brewed for the most perfect cup of coffee that you can imagine.
If you go the green bean route, you must either purchase a home roasting machine (which sells new for around $90, or you can buy one used on Ebay for approximately $60. If you're like me, and don't like to spend a lot of money, you can purchase a popcorn popper (get only the rotary type which spins the beans in a circular motion) at certain local department stores, or online for $30. Roasting your own (continued)

From home roaster to online retail merchant
I now take the next step in this bold adventure: to introduce to the world the exhilaration of roasting your own beans; or if you're not prepared to take the plunge, to at least buy freshly roasted coffee beans imported from all over the world. You are going to give your palate the treat of its life! I invite you to peruse our list and choose the beans with which you would like to start out on your own adventure in savoring the world's most popular beverage.

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A short history of coffee
The art of home roasting
• Decaffeination
Coffee tasting terminology
Preparing the perfect cup
• Glossary of Coffee terms
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