Coffee that tastes better -- and costs less
Save 50% -- and improve quality -- with a simple frugal tactic.
Buying green coffee beans and roasting them at home is surprisingly simple, and unroasted beans are about half the price.
The savings, though considerable, aren't the only reason to do this.
Freshly roasted coffee just tastes better, according to these aficionados. Not only do you get to toast the beans to your personal preference, smaller batches means the finished product is always fresh. Pre-roasted beans "lose flavor in a matter of days," notes Mark Frauenfelder on Craftzine.com. (Post continues after video.)
Frauenfelder roasts using a $25 popcorn popper. (Note: I see that appliance regularly in thrift stores.)
The smoke and the chaff
Not everyone's a fan of that method. In a post on MyRecipes.com, Mary Ostyn claims that the coffee "tends to overheat and ruin the popper."
She roasts in a cast-iron skillet on the backyard barbecue, to keep her living area free of any smoke as well as the chaff that puffs up as the beans split. (Frauenfelder pops his coffee outdoors for the same reason.)
A site called Coffee Hut posted a video showing how to roast coffee on a kitchen stove. You can see some chaff in the work area, and the woman in the video mentions "a little bit of smoke."
Where and how you roast is up to you. But how to find green coffee beans?
Save some green on green beans
If you're lucky, you live near a specialty shop such as Fante's in Philadelphia or Mr. Green Beans in Portland, Ore.
If not? Do an Internet search for online sources. Two money-saving possibilities:
- Order them from Amazon.com with gift cards you get from the Swagbucks rewards site.
- Order them through a cash-back shopping site for an additional discount.
Happy sipping, and happy savings.
Readers: Ever roasted coffee at home? Have any tips to share?
More on MSN Money:
Fact is that roasting your own takes personal time and an energy bill. If you're unemployed, maybe you have nothing better to do. But it's a wash on the economics argument for most people.
With the chaff and smoke issues, this turns into a science project. With the energy (outside grille or inside stove) issue, given that I have to buy the energy, it also becomes a waste of time.
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Donna Freedman, a writer based in Anchorage, Alaska, writes the Frugal Nation blog for MSN Money. She won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. Donna also writes about the frugal life for her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
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