So, this is typical a conversation in our house (and why we tend to not have people over for talking because it soon becomes apparent that we are both idiots):
Me: If you had to guess, what do you think this does?
Paul: What do you mean, “What does it do?”
Me: Like, it’s purpose. What does it do?
Paul: It makes dough.
Paul: Yeah, a dough maker.
Me: A dough maker, like a bread machine.
Paul: No, not like a bread machine. Like a dough maker. (pause) You know, a rolling pin.
Me: Right, rolling pins make dough.
Paul: Hang on a sec. Why is that on our kitchen table?
Me: Well, it’s ours.
Paul: We own an old dough maker?
Me: No, but we do own this old thing that has yet to be properly identified.
Paul: We own too much old stuff.
Me: I don’t own you.
Paul: Might as well. You don’t let me do anything fun anyway.
Marriage is great. Moving on….
What Is It?
An old, stove top coffee roaster.
How Does It Work
Most of this is metal. The bottom part sits on top of the stove burner (with the wooden handle outward so as not to catch fire). Then, you put green coffee beans in the top part, close the little door, and spin the handle (wooden to keep from burning said spinner).
If you talk to people who have roasted coffee this way, they will tell you that it’s a horrible way to spend an afternoon. Your arm gets tired from the cranking, your face gets hot from the flames. Plus, roasting coffee smells like really bad burnt toast. So, that gets in your hair along with the smokey oils that will eventually fly up in your face.
And, now you ask, “Seriously, how many people have you spoken to about ye olde coffee roasting?” Just one: My aunt. One of her chores when she was little was to roast coffee using this very roaster. My grandmother was pretty savvy. Knowing the trouble that was brewing over in Europe and that we’d eventually have to get in on that action, she bought tons of green coffee beans before World War II (they keep for years). So, when ration books came out, she didn’t have to spend her rations on coffee. She only had to force my aunt into servitude in order to roast beans.
Do I Really Need It?
Well, now that we have modern gadgets, you can actually buy an electric version. (And, yes, we own one of those as well.) But, why should you roast your own coffee?
- Green coffee beans are cheaper. Even having them shipped from California via the InterWeb, green beans are cheaper than already roasted beans.
- Like I said, they keep for years. So, no more storing coffee in your freezer. Just roast what you need. Can’t beat that freshness.
- You can control the quality. Like that really dark roast or that very mild flavor. It’s yours.
- You’re a prissy, coffee snob like my husband. And, saying he roasts his own beans is a point of pride with him.
- You’re the wife of a prissy coffee snob and enjoy every waking moment of his coffee making skills.
Where Can I Buy My Very Own?
If you want an old one, I vote for a search on eBay. They can cost you a few hundred dollars depending on the condition. If you want a new, fancy, running on Edison model, you can pick one up at various specialty shops or online. The guys at Sweet Maria’s really know (and love) all things coffee. They have some great product reviews if you’re just starting out.