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Roasting Coffee: Not Burning Down the House

Coffee is a significant part of my routine. It’s my a.m. beverage of choice. In the afternoon I transition to water. And most typically, further transition to wine in the evening. Both coffee and wine are subject areas with considerable depth.

My interest in wine is by now well known. I pursued that with some formal classes and certification about the same time I started working with ZipDX. There’s only so far to go down that path. It gets expensive and requires the sort of commitment that comes from working in that industry. These days I remain a well informed consumer, but not as driven to explore the depths of the world of wine.

Instead, I’ve started to explore coffee. We’re fortunate that much of the coffee entering the US does so via the Port of Houston, making this a great place to be a coffee drinker. The House of Coffee Beans is our regular source. Stella gets me a selection of their coffees every year for Christmas.


This year she also got me a coffee roaster. It had been on my list a while. Former VUC friend Marc Abrams suggested one from Nesco that was approachably priced. Once the post-holiday cache of HCB beans run out, it was time to start roasting my own, which I’ve been doing for about the past month or so.

Nesco Coffee Roaster

I like the smell of coffee, but roasting coffee can really stink up the joint. The smell is such that I simply can’t do it in the house. It’s too much for Stella who is asthmatic. In fact, it’s more than I can stand in my office. So, I’ve been roasting outdoors in the evening, to have some roasted beans ready for the next morning.

The Nesco roaster is pretty basic. It’s a lot like a petite hot air popcorn popper. It uses hot air to roast up to 4 ounces of beans to medium or dark. Green beans go in and turn a lovely brown over the course of a 20 minute roast.

A section of the lid catches the bits that come away from the beans as they roast. There’s an optional “Cool Down” setting that runs the fan to cool the beans quickly for handling.

Roast coffee bought at the supermarket might have been roasted months ago. For most people fresh ground is good enough, even if fresh roasted & ground coffee does taste better. It can be a bit of effort.

Martini Coffee Beans gift box

All this has been a nice little exploration of coffee. Stella also included a selection of green beans that I’ve been working through. There was a pound each of Ethiopian, Guatemalan, Costa Rican and Columbian. I’ve gone through three of the four pounds.

To my surprise, I received an email earlier this week advising that the Nesco Coffee Roaster has been recalled. The company is offering $85 by check or credit of $100 with their online shop. Since the coffee roaster itself is no longer available, and cannot be replaced, I’ve opted for the funds.

Before I can return the roaster I intend to finish roasting what remains of the green beans on-hand. The risk seems minimal. At least roasting in the back yard ensures that I won’t accidentally burn down the house.

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