I first homeroasted in 1977, and miraculously, at about the same time, hot
air popcorn poppers were just hitting the market. Interestingly enough, I
was the only guy in my dorm to have one, so I was invited to a lot of the
floor parties. A local college coffeehouse, "The Runcible Spoon" in
Bloomington (http://www.runciblespoonrestaurant.com) was one of my
hangouts, partly because it had the best coffee. They had some sort of
large batch, probably homemade, air roaster that they used for their beans.
I was fascinated by this and watched any time they got a batch roasting.
When I came home in the summer of '77, a friend and I started a coffeehouse,
and although I didn't roast beans for the coffeehouse, I did roast small
amounts for myself.
My first batch was some green beans left in a dozen burlap coffee bags my
coffee supplier brought me for wall decoration in my coffeehouse. I think I
scrounged maybe a quarter pound from the bags and roasted it in the oven.
It was a smoky, scary experience, and although I smoked up the house -a lot-
I didn't get the beans all the way roasted. Probably a little past first
crack. My later adventures in roasting involved the hot air popper. I used
it for a few years, and one day in the early '80's stumbled upon the Melitta
Aromaroaster. Wow, a real coffee roaster!
This was my main source of homeroasting from about 1983 to maybe 1996. I
had several of them, since later I found them on sale at a Big Lots store
for $6 each! I bought ten of them and gave a few away as Christmas presents
that year. When the internet became a public reality in about 1995, I got
connected with other homeroasters and found out that others were roasting
with poppers and the Melitta Aromaroast. I 'think' I signed up for the SM
list about '96 or so too. I got a wild hair to get a Hearthware Precision
when they came out. I bought a Hearthware Gourmet to use alongside the
Precision mainly because I was curious as to how well the Gourmet roasted
beans. After that, it was all drum roasting, and I won't bore you with
Les is still deserving to be bowed toward for all his efforts.
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
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