by Larry Stang
The Struggle (for Good Coffee) is Real
And so began my journey to brew the perfect cup.
I’ve never had luck making coffee at home. From expensive drip machines to a French press, I always ended up dissatisfied.
When Karen took over Carriage Realty, she was already officing out of the home. I was going to college, and we had a young daughter at home. To give Karen some peace and quiet, Sebella and I would venture out on excursions – play dates, running errands, going to the park, etc. Soon, we discovered the coffee shop!
It didn’t matter what kind of coffee shop – fancy or casual, chain or local business – as long as it had pastries and that warm hug from an old friend we know as coffee, we were hooked!
Between college and running a new business, the coffee shop was a treat. Consequently, I began looking for a good, inexpensive cup at home. To our good fortune, a friend gave us a Keurig, and finally, a “good” cup. But it was still expensive, and the pods were questionable for environmental and health reasons.
Then, I discovered the “Super Automatic Espresso/Coffee Maker,” which was also Super Expensive. In search of a more reasonable option, the engineer in me found something broken on eBay to fix-up. We were in business! My cup met both criteria of being coffee shop good and inexpensive. With the cost savings from pods, the ROI was less than two years and WAY cheaper than the coffee shop.
After four years of living with this mechanical marvel and still working in Engineering, I met sales rep who said, “If you like coffee that much you should roast your own beans.” This sounded like a fantastic idea. While a quick internet search left me concerned about burning the beans, a special posted on the website he directed me to caught my eye: four pounds of green beans with each new coffee roaster! This brought me in for a closer look, and behold, the hot air popcorn popper?! Apparently, home roasters often start with this simple nostalgic appliance. So, for $19.99 plus shipping and tax, I got a coffee “roaster” and four pounds of green beans to try my hand at roasting.
While waiting for my shipment to arrive, I watched an unending stream of YouTube videos on coffee roasting. By the time I opened the box, I knew exactly what to do. On a sunny, spring afternoon, standing on our deck with the smell of roasting coffee in the air, my first batch was made. After resting (degassing) overnight, I had my first cup of freshly roasted beans, and it was wonderful. That morning, coffee became a whole new experience for me.
My first coffee “roaster”