One of us in the Amulet household can talk about peaberry and arabica varietals, the history of coffees, and even chicory production with the true enthusiasm of an addict. The other one is a happy pillion rider soaking up the good cheer, but is the home barista and bottle-washer. We have a collection of machines, in all genres, espressos, siphon, and mere gravity-drip. We hate coffee makers that need to use any sort of paper filters. This has to do with our aversion to melamine fortified (to increase wet strength) paper and the taste it will pass on to coffee. Some coffee makers, usually the siphon kind, are great works of glass art. Taipei, Taiwan is the best place to find these in shops. For regular daily household use, as in coffee for two, when the coffee maker is half asleep, one should have an unbreakable coffee maker. The dependable Madrasi Stainless Steel coffee maker. This conclusion is very like how, in the movie "The Wizard of Oz", after much hankering after Oz and the Wizard, Dorothy comes back to Kansas with the moral: ”There is no place like home”. I roast green coffee beans in a small hot air popcorn maker. This is not an original idea, but learned from someone’s youtube video on the internet, and the practice modified in technique. The popcorn maker has an automatic safety feature to stop and cool down when the temperature of the cavity goes above 250C. It goes back on when cooler, and stops again when too hot. I use this intermittent stops to stir the roasting beans with a pair of wood chopsticks, so that no bean is stuck somewhere without being able to move in the hot air, and gets charred. The beans are heavy enough to stay within the cavity, instead of popping off like fluffy popcorn does. Hot air popcorn makers come in various colours, and wattages; I would recommend the highest wattage (1200W or more) one could get. These are simply redesigned, oddly shaped, hair dryers. Popcorn makers come with a transparent plastic top. One can use this top to direct the chaff that would fly out. This chaff comes from the thin skin covering some of the coffee beans. When the roasting proceeds, this skin would detach from the coffee and fly out. Instead of heat-discoloring this plastic piece, I simply cover the top with a small (metal mesh) colander (see the picture), and put the popcorn maker inside a plate or tray. The chaff comes off the hot well, and gets redirected by the colander to fall into the plate/tray. In the picture I show a large wok being used as a chaff-catching tray. You can see the stirring rods (chopsticks) in the picture also. A typical popcorn maker would roast about 60 grams of green beans in one session. This is good enough for making coffee one morning for a family of two grownups. Coffee roasting would require a good kitchen hood fan to push the smell out. You must also close all the doors to rooms where you have clothes closets; otherwise, you’re clothes will take on the smell of a coffee shop. If you have a balcony in your flat/house, you can move roasting outdoors. How dark to roast ? This would depend on your taste. Some like dark roast, and some don’t. Since coffee is an acquired taste, how/where you acquired it would be key to the decision of how much to roast. People used to drinking at Starbucks, would want to roast their coffee to the level of Starbucks own “medium dark” roast. They sell this roasted coffee in vacuum packed bags at their stores. Most India coffee stores ( like coffee-day) that grind their own coffee beans on location, would give you a single roasted bean, if you asked them. The coffee connoisseurs like to eat the roasted bean, by itself, or in chocolated form. You can borrow a roasted bean, if you like coffee-day coffee, and use that level of roast as a guide. I roast my coffee by listening to the “crack” — there are two levels of crack. The cracking sound that comes off a roasting beans when the volatiles escape the beans. First crack is when the beans have all turned brown, and pretty much ready for those light coffee drinkers. The second crack is when the coffee beans are all markedly black, and have a dull aspect on their surface. During this second crack, oil escapes the coffee and the beans start to acquire a sheen on their surface. You can easily hear the crack, as well as see the shiny surface of the beans as they levitate and go around in the well of the popcorn maker that has been repurposed as a coffee roaster. At this point, the coffee is ready to come off the roaster. I switch off the roaster, and empty the contents onto a large ceramic plate. The beans lie in a single layer, and cool off under the kitchen hood fan. Once the coffee beans are completely cooled off to room temperature (about half hour or so), you can grind that in a coffee grinder. Or store it in a tightly capped bottle in your fridge for the next day. Use it up within a couple of days. For filter coffee, you need a very fine grind. Coffee making is best done in a Madrasi Coffee filter, of the traditional kind. Like this one in the picture below, that has four parts: two beakers, one water spreader and a lid, all made of stainless steel. Unlike many western style drip coffee makers, the Madras style filter coffee decoction does not have a PAPER filter, and the problems/health-risks associated with such filters: The Vietnamese coffee filter is similar to a Madras Filter, but differ in one crucial aspect. No decoction collecting bottom beaker. You provide your own. If you can imagine placing the Madras coffee filter’s upper beaker on your own coffee mug or tumber, and proceeding on with the coffee making, you’d be using what is similar to a Vietnamese Phin Coffee filter. In the vietnamese filter, the coffee powder is placed in a beaker that has holes on the bottom (just like the madrasi filter), but the filter also comes with an additional plate with holes, which is used to seat the beaker on top of your own coffee mug or tumbler. The lid and the water spreader are the same as a Madrasi Filter. This unit comes in several sizes. I recommend a medium size ( 11 Oz. ) for a family of 2 to 4. In my morning coffee I do not use the additional “seater” plate, but simply put the beaker on top of a glass tumbler that has the correct diameter to fit my 11 Oz. Phin filter. I like the glass tumbler for two reasons : (1) Unlike the stainless steel decoction receptacle, the thick glass tumbler does not get too hot to touch & (2) I can easily see the progress of the coffee making, because I see the dripping coffee through glass. Coffee decoction has to be thick (not transparent), and from a fresh roasted and ground coffee, it will also produce the familiar morning aroma in the kitchen and house. Evenly spreading the coffee grinds before placing the water spreader on top is a crucial step to make sure that there are no quicker ways for the hot water to get down, and ruin the decoction. Adding a little bit of water at first, waiting for it to seep through all the way, and then adding the rest of the water required, would guarantee that the coffee grains are enlarged in the first soak, before the full weight of the water comes down upon it. The enlarged grinds do not tend to go down with the decoction. Having coffee grinds in the final serving is a big negative point. [I shrank the Gif of my Coffee making to fit it in here] For those who do not wish to roast their own coffee beans, I would recommend buying a vacuum packed bag of unground roasted coffee of their liking. Never buy roasted coffee from a bin that customers can weigh their own, by opening that bin and scooping what they want into a bag. When roasted coffee is out in the open, it deteriorates fast. If it is kept in the fridge in a tightly closed bottle, then it is good for a week. Roasted and ground coffee is only good for a day or two after it has been ground, when stored in a tightly capped bottle in the fridge. The increased surface area (in the coffee grinds relative to the roasted bean) makes the coffee volatiles escape that much faster. On winter weekend mornings, coffee at 6 AM followed by another snooze with the one you love, is a practice that can never get old. Try it. If you live in the tropics, move ... or take a holiday. And take your coffee paraphernalia with you.