In 2007 my good friend, Andy Olsen, and I were talking on the phone. He said a buddy of his had brought over some coffee he had roasted in a popcorn popper. A popcorn popper?
, I wondered. I asked how that was even possible and Andy sent me a few links.
The next day I traveled to Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, Ohio in search of green beans. I had no idea at the time there were entire websites dedicated to helping homeroasters. I ended up picking up a bag of green Guatemalan beans (they only had two options, as I recall).
When I was visiting my parents over the holidays that year, I picked up a Toastmaster popcorn maker. It took a while to find the right popper, as it needed to have side vents as opposed to a bottom vented heat source. Check Sweet Maria's
for more info on the subject.
For the next year I roasted coffee on my back porch, going through several poppers along the way. I roasted as much as I could in those poppers, giving it away to people at work, friends, family, and selling some, too. On my fourth popper, I realized it was time to take the next step: get a real roaster. See, the popcorn popper is great for small batches, but it is really hard to get a consistent roast on a particular bean from batch to batch. You can get a French roast, but it won't be the same as the last French roast. It'll be close, but it won't be the same.
I bought the Hot Top in 2009, further deepening my love of roasting and the incredible culture that goes along with every step of the coffee world. I now roast in my garage on my workbench, and occasionally in the summer sit on the back porch and roast (the nice thing about this roaster is it's easily moved!).
Now, I do my best to share my interest, love, and knowledge of coffee with those I know. It seems, too, that every day that passes I, myself, learn something new about coffee.