Coffee: A hot topic

WHOA. I think you need to film a quick video or this and upload it to YouTube. Sounds fantastic.

I feel spoiled to live in the place and time I do. Where I live in Michigan, the market is saturated with small micro-breweries making good beer. Even in my small town. I’ve never actually had the cheap stuff since it’s always been easy to get the good local stuff.

I use a whirly-pop over the stove, myself. I just started buying beans from a distributor about an hour away from where I live. Managed to get 10lbs of Columbian for $3.25 per pound and no shipping since I picked it up at their warehouse. :smile:

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You are indeed blessed as to your situation in time and space. Craft brewers aren’t competing for the Michelob Lite and Coors Lite crowd. We too have some fantastic local brewers (DFW area) and a couple of Texas brewers (Shiner) who made reliably tasty and seasonal brews (Fat Tire in the summer, Christmas Ale in the winter).

And your local supplier of green coffee beans is also fortunate. If that fails, or if you want to try some varieties from places other than Columbia, go here, which is where I get all my greens, usually at around $4 to $4.50 a pound which includes shipping. I’ve sampled coffees from Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia (Yirgacheffe is my favorite African variety), Kenya, Uganda, Brazil (Legender peaberry is way yummy), Peru, El Salvador (some of my fave varieites!), Nicaragua, and Mexico. Some of the fun is noticing how varieties from different countries do in deed taste differently.

Others have already done this. Many hundreds of them. Check out these vids and then ask me questions.

When scanning the videos linked above, you’ll run across some fancy DIY features that some guys implement. If that’s your thang, go for it. I have never used more than a heat gun (a 1200 watter is plenty), two stainless steel dog bowls from Wal-Mart, sandwiching some fiberglass insulation I pulled out of the attic, and an 18-inch wire whisk. Oh, yes, add an old ratty glove on the hand that you use to stir with the whisk. That whisk can get hot.

I roast two pounds of greens at a time. The flying chaff and the smoke (I take it to a Vienna roast - about 2 minutes into second crack; lots of smoke!) make the garage the proper venue for roasting.

Like I said, I’ve been doing this for many years now. Once I tried it and brewed up a pot, I never darkened the coffee aisle in a grocers again.

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Sounds fun. Fun fact, my son Moses was born in the area of Ethiopia where Yirgacheffe is grown.

Also, Ethiopians take coffee very seriously. Drinking coffee starts with green coffee beans, spreading grass and flowers on the floor, and lighting a fire to roast the beans. It’s called a coffee ceremony, and it’s a regular part of community life. Takes quite a bit of time, something Africans don’t worry so much about as we Americans. :slight_smile:


Hmmmm. More time than what I do! Less “industrial” too. But, it will be nice to imagine what you report the next time I’m roasting some Yirgacheffe in my garage.

I notice in the first video in that list I linked to above, that it took the fellow about 10 minutes to roast 4 ounces of green beans. I roast eight times that amount (2 pounds) in about 30 minutes. It lasts Barbara and me around two weeks - just about the peak flavor time for freshly roasted coffee. Fifteen minutes a week is a small investment of time for that kind of pleasure every morning of the week!


The video is quite authentic, (time is skipped, obviously). The music is not authentic at all though. You’d never hear that in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, Ethiopian music is terrible. Unlike their coffee. lol


As I watched the video, and thinking of the “Americans” comment above, I imagined someone coming along, grabbing a cup without tasting it and pouring it full of sugar and cream. All that work, and then not even taste the coffee. :grinning:

Thanks for sharing.

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Actually, the funny thing is that lots of Ethiopians put tons of sugar in that tiny cup. :rofl:

It’s quite good both ways. Also, they do the whole macchiato thing fairly regularly, too, although I never saw them do it during a coffee ceremony.

I’m going to guess that the coffee flavor comes through just fine - enhanced, of course, by the cream and sugar, but still there nevertheless.

It’s that wretched American brown water that so easily gets overwhelmed by cream and sugar, so that what you end up with tastes like stale watered-down cream and sugar with a nasty tan tinge to it.

If the coffee is recently roasted and is a strong brew, there’s plenty of “room” for cream and sweetner (honey is fantastic!) to add their components alongside the flavor of the coffee.

You all might enjoy this bit of esoterica:

Overall, this fellow is indulging in way too much information (though it may actually be true information) for the coffee fan who wants a tasty cup. No one needs to be a wine connoisseur in order to tell the difference between a $2.57 bottle of wine from Walmart and a $20 bottle from your local wine shop. And, no one needs that fellow’s level is gustatory discernment to tell the difference beteen a cup of Folgers or Maxwell House and a cup from a freshly roasted Yirgacheffee displaying pronounced flavors of blueberries.

I will say this about all the coffees he reviews - their prices are for purchasing the beans from a retail coffee roasting business. The Green Coffee Buying Club provides a wide range of qualities, varieties, regions, and even specialty plantation coffees, at prices half or less than what one would pay for these coffees already roasted by someone else. It is a truely wonderful resource for the home-roasting hobbyist.

Plus, when you’re roasting your own, you not only save Big Bucks on the costs, you know your roasts are the absolute freshest that it is possible to get. That snippet about the coffee foaming up when water first hits the freshly ground beans is spot on - coffee beans that have gone past their prime won’t do that. They will be old enough - long enough past their roasting date - that they will be completely degassed. Hence no foaming when they come into contact with hot water.

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This truly shocked me when I started grinding (which I no longer do). I think they call it the ‘bloom.’ It really foams up. Quite impressive. No coffee that is bought ground up will do that.

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Just got my next stash in the mail - fifteen pounds of El Salvador Orange Bourbon, one of my favorite regions. Should last me about 8 weeks, perhaps a week less if we have extra visits by the kids/grandkids.

Total price was $5/lb, including insurance and shipping, from a supplier at the Green Coffee Buying Club. That’s about the tops that I pay for green coffee. But, as I said, this is one of my favorite regions.

This comes out to about $1.35 cents per day for coffee for both me and my lovely bride. Each morning, she drinks two travel mugs worth. I drink a quart of brewed coffee, kept warm over a candle warmer in a big ceramic teapot, consumed over about an hour while I pray through the daily office.


I’m not much a coffee drinker myself. I personally find I am never lacking in the need for caffeine and in fact tell my students where I teach that if I drank coffee they would have a pinball for a teacher. :smiley:

Borderline jealous. Very tempting.

Teaching is why I took up coffee drinking in the first place

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I might have completed my PhD had I taken up coffee.

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