Green Coffee Beans For DIY Roasting

Take your coffee cup into your own hands

For those who strive to eat and drink locally, coffee provides quite the challenge.

Whereas lettuce and herbs shoot up in a window box nearly anywhere, coffee requires tropical climates that most of us see only on vacation.

So although you may not be able to grow your own beans, those with an itch for coffee production can always try their hand at roasting.

The process, in which green coffee beans are slowly toasted over heat until they pop and begin to darken in color, has been quietly embraced by DIYers for awhile, mostly by coffee hobbyists.

Some coffee professionals started their careers in their homes. Joel Finkelstein began roasting his own beans several years ago in Washington, D.C.; at the suggestion of friends, he began selling his roasts under the moniker Fresh Off the Roast. He now owns Qualia, a DC coffeehouse, where he continues to roast.

There are plenty of online tutorials for would-be roasters (we like this one). Most suggest using a stovetop popcorn maker, but you can also roast beans in a plain old skillet.

But for java lovers who appreciate structure, the recently opened Institute of Domestic Technology in Los Angeles offers a class on DIY roasting with coffee experts from LaMILL.