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    Hollywood CA
  1. Raw coffee beans! Easy to roast, as varied as wine, and store just like other dried beans. Many Ethiopian Restaurants/Markets have them locally, or raw beans are easy to find on line in 20 pound bags.
  2. Regarding apparatus, I'd like to add that you really don't need to make a big investment. In fact with no investment at all you can be roasting your own coffee. You just need the beans. People were roasting coffee 400 years ago, long before electricity came on the scene. All YOU need is a smallish cast iron pan and a heat source. You don't add oil or anything else, just the beans into a hot pan. If any of you live near a place that roasts coffee, green beans will cost about half of the roasted price, so immediately you're way ahead, and most professional coffee roasters love to talk about their craft. Get some raw beans, ask for peaberry if you can because they are round rather than flat. They'll roll around better. Put a half cup of beans in the pan and keep them moving constantly for about 12 to 15 minutes. If they aren't done turn up the heat next time, if they're burnt turn it down next time. If you are doing it right there will be some smoke, so keep the stovetop vent going on high. Voila! Coffee. Honestly, stovetop roasting a lot of fun the first...three times. Then you'll really wish you had something with a plug. But for cheap fun and really getting a sense of how easy it is, stovetop roasting offers no barrier to jumping in and giving it a try. If you have a fast enough 'net connection and would like to see a time lapse movie of what stovetop roasting looks like there is one on The Coffee Project's site. Another way to see this in action is to find and visit an Ethiopian restaurant. It's a long tradition to roast coffee and serve it to guests. You can see the whole process and even get the traditional coffee with cardemon served just as it has been for hundreds of years. Its worth the experience. It is exactly this experience that led me to home coffee roasting in the first place. James
  3. A huge part of making coffee is the coffee itself. Once you have found a machine that brings the water to aproximately 195 F. the biggest other factor are the beans. Fresh beans, freshly ground (at the right grind) will produce much better coffee in even the cheapest of machines than stale badly ground coffee in the most expensive machine. I think most drip machines can produce fantastic coffee, if the coffee itself is fantastic in the first place. Focus the money on a great grinder, purchase smaller quanities of fresh coffee often, and avoid storing in the fridge. JV
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