I am a bit of a coffee snob, so I figured I would share...
For those of you on the fence with home roasting, it is the best investment you will ever make!
Most things like this always end up costing 3x more than if you were to just store buy. I brew beer for example, expensive as hell IMO. Not home roasting though... I can buy bags of some of the best coffees around the world for $6lb when bought green. And I really mean top of the line shit!. If you want a really good hookup join a green bean coop. They send beans to a professional cupper to be rated, and only if the coffee is up to coop standards they then order hundreds to thousands of pounds directly from the farm. They then turn around and distribute it with almost no overhead to the members in 3-5lb batches.
So the basics of home roasting on a budget. Buy an air popcorn popper. Some wont work because they don't get hot enough. The West Bend Poppery is the popper of choice. The Poppery 2 is second, and there are a ton of clones as well. I personally use a Poppery 2, but have bought a cheap no name popper when I was deployed and needed a 220v popper and had no issues.
Next get a long extension cord. This is a trick to make life easier, and to get a more consistent roast. Air poppers roast really fast. It is often hard, especially when first starting to get your timing down right because of this. The extension cord adds some resistance to the electric load, and therefore make the popper operate slower.
Pour about 3.5 ounces of beans into the popper and turn it on. The beans should be swirling around in a circle very slowly right now. If they aren't moving at all then you have to many beans. Once they start roasting they will move much faster.
The key to roasting is to listen to the beans. They will go through what is called the first crack and the second crack. This is the sugars in the beans breaking down and caramelizing. It is absolutely imperative that you learn to be able to tell the difference between these two sounds. The first sounds like popcorn popping. The second sounds more like the sound you here when you shock someone with static electricity.
If using a popcorn popper, these two cracks can come very close together in time. Slowing down the roast will cause more of a gap between them, hence more accuracy.
For a light roast, or a "City" roast you remove the beans from the roaster after the first crack ends.
A medium/dark roast is "Full City" to "Full City+". Hear you wait until you hear the first snap of the second crack and then remove. FC+ you wait util you have heard a few snaps of the second crack. This is where I roast almost all of my coffees. Smoke will begin coming off the beans here as well.
A really dark roast is "Vienna, French, Spanish". These are well into the second crack. Frankly, the beans are burning at this point, and most good notes are lost.
The beans will continue to roast after you remove them unless you cool them quickly. I have made coolers out of a coffee can and a computer fan. Really a large colander is all that's needed though. Pour the beans out of the roaster into the colander. Shake it back and forth to keep air moving around the beans, and they will be cool enough to hand touch in a couple minutes.
Seal them in a mason jar or a ziplock bag for at least 12 hours. The beans need time to degas. When you open this for the first time, make sure you keep your nose close by. The smell will be pure heaven!
Grind appropriately for your brewing apperatus, and serve! Coffee stays fresh for years in green format. 2 weeks is about the max once roasted though. Folgers has probably been siting for 2 years! Once ground, drink within an hour. Any longer than any of these times, and your drinking stale coffee!
BTW, as mentioned the Aeropress is amazing. A French press is a far second place, and a just forget about drip makers. Yuck!
The time's come.
Going to take a shot at roasting this bag myself ...