The Community Cafe (aka my kitchen & espresso setup) is now roasting beans. Yes i suck at it but even my worst beans are passable in a cappuccino. I go through something like 60 lbs of coffee a year which equates to $900/year and that's just beans, not cafe drinks. This is based upon the Blue Gardenia's latest prices. While their beans are truly epic, somehow $15 didn't sit right and I cracked... twice [ultra geeky insider roasting joke]. I've threatened (in my own head) to really roast full time for my own consumption but I'm now all in. Buying green beans and roasting those is 1/3 the cost so even if I didn't enjoy the process, there would be motivation with that stat.
Just because I'm a slave to fashion, I even bought a burlap bag to store the bigger 20 lb bags. I like the smell. My strategery [sic] is to get a volume of beans from a particular region and then play with the roast until I have something pretty good. I then move on to another region until I've been around the world in beans. I dig it. I'm actually starting in Brazil... I hate Brazilian coffee. OK hate is a strong word. I prefer other places more like recent crops from Oaxaca have been magical. And, like a good Cabernet, Sumatra always delivers. So why Brazil? I overheard, like when one overhears a good stock pick or racehorse to bet on, that the basis for most espresso blends start with Brazil so there you go.
I will resist the urge to do any blending and do all single origin beans with the hope that I will someday not only be able to roast but be able to articulate the differences between various beans using these things called words. One should dream big.
I will post pictures of the roasting setup. In the meantime, I'm using a steel hand cranked stove top popcorn popper and a very accurate digital thermometer. That and a pen & paper to detail notes. It is rumoured that this setup makes it possible to emulate a drum roaster. All beans that I love: Blue Gardenia, Stumptown, Ristretto and others all roast with a drum machine. Drum is the bid'ness. word. Oh, and there's little cheaper than my setup save just throwing beans into a pan or wok. People do that... really.
So at the moment, I wouldn't dare serve my customers a straight up espresso but milk drinks, even a tight macchiato are not bad.