Great Coffe @ home – Good Beans + Good Barista = Great Coffee

30 th Nov ’14

So you would appreciate a GOOD coffee and would like to replicate to make Fantastic coffee in your home 🙂

Well the journey starts here with beans 🙂

Green coffee Beans


Expresso Roasted Beans  Note oily surfaces

A Wee bit of History

My love of Expresso style coffee goes a long way back. In the late fifties as working class Brits were starting to take there holidays in Europe and coffee bars began to pop up in every town and were the rage among the young jiving rock-n-roll set, then serving ” Froffy Coffee “. I was 16 in 1957 🙂 .

The coffee habit soon faded in the UK to the tune of Nescafe instant coffee made from mainly Asian Robusta beans this persisted until recent times. The US had been world famous for buying only the cheapest beans on the world market to produce the the worst that coffee could offer. From 1971 Starbucks single handedly created the Expresso boom in US by simply introducing good quality coffee in the traditional  Expresso form.

Although many coffee shops began to appear on main street and in malls few could replicate Starbucks Quality and consistency. So it was the Starbucks Brand dominated the market initially on the West Coast before the Atlantic population fell under the spell. Why ? because you knew what to expect and were seldom disappointed.

As one who traveled extensively in Canada and US on business I  became frustrated with the inconsistence of my daily caffeine dose a “Double Tall Latte” . Hence I began to explore what makes a good cup of coffee.

The first thing I learned was that almost all “off the shelf coffee” is stale and past its best even before you buy it 🙁 .This is because roasting coffee releases the essential oils which will begin to go rancid (acidify )when exposed to air.  Purists consider coffee beans that were roasted more than 5 days ago to be stale – past their “Best Before Date ” for sure. This means that you are unlikely to find fresh beans at other than you local Roastery.

How then can you make Great Coffee at home ?
The answer is simple and easy – Roast your own beans!

OK Here is what you need :

1- A coffee dealer who will sell you the RAW material = GREEN Beans
( more on Green Beans further down)

2 – A means of Roasting

3 – A Grinder

4 – An Expresso maker (  )


Green coffee beans have an indefinite shelf life given proper cool dry storage.

Thus you may buy larger quantities at reduced cost

Go talk with a local coffee roaster to find one who will sell you green Arabica beans, currently I pay $6 /pound in 10 lb lots.  Mine ; Creekmore’s Coffee in Coombes has been very helpful. David will be pleased to answer you questions :

Your supplier may be willing to allow you to buy smaller  amounts to try before committing to a larger order.

Your supplier may also share some of his expertise and suggest combinations of beans to try.
Mine suggested this blend:
Mexican Organic – 2 Measures
Ethiopian – 1 Meas
Columbian – 1 Meas
Sumatran- 1 Meas

Measures : My poppers are work well with 1/3 of a cup per batch

Roasting Equipment:

There are several roasting methods but all require that you heat the beans to 425 degrees F and hold them there a short while. The desert Arabs roast theirs over an open fire in a frying pan 🙁

Dead easy but the most expensive is to buy an electric home coffee roaster upwards of $300.

I tried one but found it disappointing in that it could not attain a high enough temp to give me my dark roast. So gave it away !

I was also given an aluminum stove top pop-corn roasting pan which allows for bigger batches but again disappointing because inconsistent results.
My weekly routine utilizes an electric Pop-corn popper such as the Popcorn Pumper 1200 watt + is needed. I buy mine at 2nd hand or Charity shops  $1 to $6 a piece.

This my preferred type of machine

This method restricts the amount of green beans  per batch to 1/3 of a cup of beans & may vary with your popper.
*Do not overload the roaster.
*Do not mix beans before roasting as each has slightly differing roasting requirements – i.e. Time and Temp.
My average dark expresso roast takes approx 7 mins/batch

Choosing a Pop-Corn Popper :

1 – The more watts the better 1200W is good
2 Good fan power is important as is it having a raised dome bottom as this helps keep the beans moving freely.
3- Discard the plastic top potion and find a tin can to fit in the top opening this is to constrain any high flying beans 🙂

Roasting the Beans

Roasting creates smoke , lots of smoke and beautiful aromas 🙂
So I roast outdoors year round
I find that in my climate BC with ambient outdoor temps ranging from 90F to  Zero that to get consistent results I place the popper in bucket and place a piece of plywood to partially cover the top.

OK you now have all you kit and beans.
So lets get started 🙂
Turn on the Popper and add you dose of beans.
Make sure they soon begin to swirl nicely so as to achieve an even roast.
If not moving well you need to reduce the dose 🙁

The beans will first give up moisture and turn yellow to light tan and begin bounce around a bit.

The next phase is  ” First Crack ” a distinct loud cracking sound as you see the beans darkening.

The next is called “2nd Crack ” a much more gentle sound and smoke begins to appear.

Finally – With much smoke gushing out your beans are done = about 5 -7 mins.

Tip them out into a bowl and allow to cool.

NEXT Batch etc.

Practice makes perfect 🙂

Mix roasted beans well and when cooled store in an airtight container until needed.


So now you have quality freshly roasted coffee beans , but you can’t make coffee until you have ground them properly.
Traditional hand crank grinders work OK. They are the cheapest but it is a bit slow and tedious and not a very consistent output.
Electric Grinders are much more convenient 🙂
Least expensive is the blade grinder or spice grinder. With these consistency is an issue since the beans vary in hardness and the blades do not chop all pieces to the same size. 🙁
The Burr Grinder is by far the better option as you can set the grind to your exact preference or the requirements of you expresso maker. Save up to get one you will not regret the move.

For the best results ONLY Grind enough coffee for that day 🙂

Here is a web site with lots more helpful info 🙂

Making Expresso Coffee :


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