Before WWI, almost everyone roasted their own coffee, usually by stirring it in a cast iron pan as they needed it. Then came the advent of Maxwell House and Hills Brothers (right here in San Francisco!), and the craze of prepacked coffee was born. Over the years coffee culture has taken numerous turns, from the Italian cafes of the Beat era to the rise of chains like Peets and Starbucks to high end artisan roasters.

Roasting coffee at home is cheap, fun and you'll have bragging rights to some of the freshest, best tasting coffee around! Impress your friends and subvert the evils of the big coffee business. Your final product will take 10 minutes to make, be about half the cost of roasted coffee you buy at the store or cafe, and your initial setup can cost you $10 or less.

What you'll need
* A fluid air-bed roaster AKA  popcorn popper ($10 new @ the corner drugstore, $1-5 at yard sales or thrift stores, see below)
* 1 bowl or receptacle
* 1 colander for cooling the beans
* measuring cup
* green coffee beans

Some poppers will work better than others, but the only detail is that absolutely necessary is air vents that are on the side of the popper, not the bottom of the chamber. See the picture for an example of side vents.

We've had successful roasts with the Poppery I & II, Kitchen Gourmet (Walgreens) brands, but there
are many others.  Old popcorn poppers will sell on eBay for $30 ---- that's often because folks are willing to pay a premium to use them as coffee roasters.

There are a lot of excellent coffee roasting tutorials on Instructables! This one is based on an old IRL guide I wrote

Step 1: Aquiring Green Beens

Finding green coffee beans is not as hard as you might think. Coffee shops that roast their own are usually happy to sell to you, most will do so at half the cost of roasted beans. You can also find them at some health food stores (Rainbow in SF) and online. The going rate for good quality specialty green beans is about $4-7/pound, though it will be lower if you buy very large quantities and a lot higher if you're interested in super premium or usual coffees (cup of excellence, Kona, Jamaican Blue Mountain, or even Kopi Luwak).

Two great online suppliers are 7 Bridges Cooperative, which sells organic coffee roasting AND home brewing supplies, so you can get your fix of two awesome things in one place and Sweet Maria's, which has a virtual encyclopedia of coffee and home roasting information, many of the worlds very best coffees, often sourced directly from farmers.

An alternative source to the above vendors are online coffee bean buyers clubs, two are Green Coffee Co-op and Green Coffee Buying Club. I've had positive experiences with both!
Very good post. Even after upgrading to a BBQ drum roaster I still use the popper to roast small batches. It is a great way to get started and always produces good results.

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