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Cultivate Simple 67: Good Morning and Good Bye

March 3rd, 2014

Tips for brewing a great cup of coffee!  We roast our own beans, head on over to see the process in this post I wrote a few years ago.
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Coffee Beans

  • Figure out what kind of coffee you like, do you like dark and chocolatey or bright and acidic. Fine tuning your tastes will help you settle on the best coffee for your palate.
  • Buy beans in small batches or roast your own.
  • Use them up. Don’t let them sit around
  • Store them in an airtight container (don’t put them in the freezer). If you buy a large quantity keep some in a small jar for daily use so that the majority of beans will not be exposed to the air. We store ours in a Le Parfait Glass Jar

Camano Coffee Mill 1
Buy a good grinder

  • A burr grinder is essential. Uniform size won’t let the water get through the coffee faster than it should.
  • Only grind what you are going to use
  • You can get a really nice hand cranked burr grinder from Red Rooster Trading Company

Try different types of coffee makers

  • Espresso
  • Chemex
  • French press
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Vacuum Brewers
  • Moka pots
  • Drip coffee makers

chemex coffee
Maintain Your Coffee Brewing Device

  • Clean your machine
  • Filtered water
  • Drink after brewing. Don’t brew ten cups of coffee and drink them throughout the day. Better to brew twice and have good coffee all day.

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Sources for green coffee beans:
Sweet Maria’s (this is where we buy our beans)
Dean’s Beans
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Sweet Maria’s article about Getting Started Roasting Coffee at Home. Here’s their article about using a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee. Finally a link to a great article on the health benefits of coffee.

If you really want to use up several hours, visit Coffee Geek or Home Barista and check out the forums. At 10 people, get 12 opinions.

Are you a coffee drinker?  How do you take yours: cream, sugar, black? 

A New Hobby: Roasting Coffee

November 1st, 2011

I’ve talked about our love of coffee several times before. Mr Chiots and I are coffee aficionados; we drink coffee like other people drink wine, talking about the depth of flavor, the crema on the espresso right after brewing, and on and on. We were super happy to find a local source for the most wonderful micro-roasted coffee, but sadly Al quit roasting to sell and we were left sans good fresh micro-roasted coffee beans. Rather than settle for mediocre, we decided to take our normal path and simply start doing it ourselves.

We spent some time researching beans sources and coffee roasters then we took the plunge. There are many people that roast their coffee in an air popcorn popper. Since we’re espresso drinkers and like a dark roast, that wasn’t an option for us. We needed a drum roaster.

After doing much research we found CafeCoffees which is a guy who builds them on a small scale. What we really like about this roaster is that he makes them repairable with parts from the local home improvement store. Whenever possible we like to buy appliances sans electronic controls and made to be repaired. They’re usually more expensive initially but end up being much cheaper over the long term. As small business owners, we also appreciate supporting a small business. The 3 pound roasting capacity of the roaster we purchased was an added benefit since it will save time and money over roasting in smaller batches.


We ordered a collection of espresso beans from Sweet Maria’s, some single origin and some blends. Then we waiting for our roaster to arrive, eagerly anticipating the wonders of home roasted coffee. Our beans arrived about a week before our roaster. To fill in the gap, we had to buy beans from another small local roaster to get us through. Needless to say, our decision to roast at home was backed up by the flat flavor to of that coffee.



Our roaster arrived last Saturday; we set it up and roasted two pounds of coffee on Sunday afternoon. We were happy with the roaster that we chose and were also pleasantly surprised by our roasting results (especially since it was our first batch). Technically you’re supposed wait 2-3 days after roasting for the espresso to “bloom” fully, but we couldn’t wait. We brewed some on Monday morning.


You may think roasting your own coffee at home is difficult and you need special equipment – but it’s not and you don’t. There are some people that simply use an air popcorn popper and some that even do it in a cast iron skillet (which I may try someday when we want some coffee to brew in our Chemex). Basically you put your green coffee beans in your roaster and roast until desired doneness, we like a darker roast so we wait until they start the second crack (sounds like popcorn popping). Then you cool as rapidly as possible and you’re done. We were actually amazed by how easy it was!

Roasting coffee at home also saves money! We purchase our green coffee beans for between $5-$6/lb and our roaster only uses about 5 cents of power for each batch (we can roast up to 3lbs of coffee). Of course it will take us a while to recoup the cost of the roaster, but since we invested in a roaster that will last for years to come so it will save a lot of money over it’s long lifetime.

Our initial efforts aren’t as good as the coffee we used to get from Al, but they’re better than any other coffee we’ve purchased. We’re also using single origin beans at the moment and we like a blend of beans for more depth of flavor. We have a few blends to try as well and we will most likely come up with our own blend with much experimentation. It looks to be a fun and delicious hobby! I’ll keep you posted on our adventures (Oh and I’m planning on making a how-to video someday for Ethel so I’ll let you know when that happens).

Have you ever roasted your own coffee or do you know someone that does? Have you ever considered roasting your own?

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About

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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