The San Francisco Chronicle has an excellent article on “extreme coffee,” their name for people who roast their own beans at home.
I didn’t realize it takes just a few minutes to roast coffee– but it’s a pretty smoky process.
One interesting thing is the degree to which you sense coffee changes as it moves from being something essentially hand-made to being a mass-produced, mass-consumed commodity. Just as fresh-baked Russian rye is completely different than Wonder Bread, so too is hand-roasted coffee a completely different drink than Folgers. (Of course, some foods are more amendable to mass-production than others: Tom Misa argues that porter beer, which could be volume-produced by 18th-century brewers in a way that ciders and ales couldn’t, deserves to be seen as a quintessential Industrial Revolution product.)
Excuse me, I think I need to go get a drink.
[To the tune of Trouble Makers, “Electrorloge,” from the album Hotel Costes Etage3.]