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Celebrity Coffee Commercials

Recently, I was feeling a little nostalgic and trying to remember the jingle from the Chock full o’ Nuts coffee commercial from the 1970’s. My mom used to add coffee to my milk when I was a kid because I loved the taste so much. My love affair with coffee still continues today. I love the taste, and in moderation, I love how it makes me feel.

Thanks to YouTube, I was able to find the Chock full o’ Nuts “Heavenly Coffee” jingle as well as a bunch of unusual, sexist, and entertaining coffee commercials featuring various celebrities, across several decades, and shot in different countries.

Chock full o’Nuts 23rd St. Store Front Loop Proof

This is a commercial for Instant Maxwell House with Andy Griffith and Ron Howard from the 1960’s. This reminded me of a time when there were only seven channels to watch. “The Andy Griffith Show” was one of my regular programs, but mostly because there was nothing else on.


Here’s a sexist Folger’s commercial from the 1970’s starring Stephen Collins very early in his acting career. Quite the different persona from his “Seventh Heaven” t.v. show from the 90’s.

Folger’s coffee commercial

This 1970’s commercial for MJB coffee, a regional brand, features a young Teri Garr. She gave entertainment value to an otherwise incredibly boring commercial.

Teri Garr doing a Coffee Commercial – 1970s!!!

Here’s a youthful Scott Bakula for Decaffeinated (ugh!) Folger’s coffee. I’m hoping that he was able to “Quantum Leap” to a real cup of coffee after shooting this commercial.

Scott Bakula Folgers Coffee Commercial

A refined Edward G. Robinson added his cache to this Instant Maxwell House commercial.


These celebrity coffee commercials were shot in other countries, where well-known American actors could hopefully avoid public scrutiny and potential nicks to their careers.

Paul Newman for Maxwell House (Japan)

Maxwell House Commercial Paul Newman 1980

Tommy Lee Jones for Boss Coffee (Japan)

Ping Pong Master Tommy Lee Jones Boss Coffee Commercial

George Clooney and John Malkovich for Nespresso (Switzerland/France)

Nespresso Taxi Driver John Malkovich George Clooney

The road to stardom for many successful actors seems to have been paved with hard work, humbling resume-building jobs, and lots of coffee grinds!

YouTube surfing down memory lane satisfied my nostalgia, cured my mental block for the “Heavenly Coffee” jingle, and provided me with a small cup o’ caffeinated entertainment.

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The Naked Portafilter and Diagnosing Espresso Extraction Problems

You may have been wondering if there are any cool new coffee toys to improve your Barista skills. Oh sure, there are the ubiquitous click tamper thingies, and of course, the ever so sexy bathroom scale to measure your tamp pressure. One word – BORING! But if you want something that says “I know Starbucks is evil, now Pimp my Espresso Machine!!!”, then read on.

There is a relatively new phenomenon among coffee enthusiasts that is not only a great Barista training tool but is also beautiful. It is commonly referred to as a Bottomless Portafilter. Usually, a bottomless portafilter is “chopped”, or cut off, so that the entire bottom is visible and nakedly exposed for the peeping toms in all of us. This also allows the Barista in training to see the bottom of the portafilter basket, since this is where the coffee will start its journey into the little espresso cup. It will allow said Barista to see some other cool (and often beautiful) stuff whilst pulling a shot; more on that later.

Bottomless Portafilter and Standard Portafilter
Bottomless Portafilter & Standard Portafilter

The Naked Portafilter as it is also known is a novel concept at first glance. But how can it help the aspiring barista? Well, the holy grail of all baristas is, of course, an espresso shot that not only looks good but tastes good too. The perfect extraction is a black-magic melange of the perfect grind, dose, and tamp. Let’s not even talk about the roasted beans, water temperature, machine pressure, or water pH. We will save your brain cells for another article – GEEK ALERT!

Ideally, every particle of the ground espresso should be of the same size, and when compressed or tamped into the portafilter basket, it should likewise have no differences in how tightly or loosely it is compressed from side to side or top to bottom. Although perfection in this regard is impossible, a Crotchless Portafilter can help identify things such as channeling, blonding, tiger striping, among other things.


Channeling is when the water finds its way through cracks or small inconsistencies in the coffee “puck”. This means that the coffee gets an uneven extraction, producing an inferior shot of espresso. Common causes are an uneven tamp, or too much coffee (referred to as overdosing).

Espresso Side Channeling
Espresso with Side Channeling


Blonding in the shot can happen when the coffee is being under extracted, causing an off-taste. Although this is expected near the last part of the shot (and a cue to think about ending the shot), blonding should not occur during the majority of the shot.

Blonding Espresso
Blonding espresso shot, among other problems

Tiger Stripes

Tiger Stripes that are uniform are usually a good sign, as long as most of the stripes are medium to dark in color and the pour time is not too quick or slow; most agree a 2 ounce double should run about 22-30 seconds. Always let taste be your ultimate authority.

Tiger Striping
Decent Tiger Striping. Can you pick out any problems?

The Bottomless Portafilter can let the Barista see exactly what is happening under the hood. Channeling can be identified by “spurters” and “geysers”. This is where the espresso sprays out in small (or large) jet-like streams at varying angles.

Multiple Streams

Also having multiple smaller streams coming straight down instead of one unified stream can also be a sign of channeling. And assuming your machine is perfectly level, even a unified stream that is off to one side can indicate side-channeling. A perfect extraction will not exhibit any of this behavior. And of course, the perfect looking shot can tell the Barista that his technique is probably fine. Of course, we all know no matter how good the shot looks, it still has to taste good.

Spurter Espresso with Blonding
Spurter Espresso with Blonding

Espresso Multiple Streams
Espresso with Multiple Streams

Perfect Shot

But when the perfect shot is captured in a photo, it is a beautiful thing – Espresso Porn as many call it. The coffee drips somewhat slowly, evenly, just like honey into the demitasse cup. The rich, even color bands are followed down as they converge into that perfectly centered columned stream of goodness. The result in the cup should be a thick and persistent head of “crema”, which is all of the good stuff in the coffee, and none of the bad.

God Shot - Espresso
Outstanding looking espresso shot!

Since espresso machine makers love to invent their own sizes, shapes, and molecular structures, check with your favorite espresso parts supplier for a Bottomless Portafilter matched perfectly to your machine. Then you can really laugh at those people who Starbucks would label baristas. They should really be called assembly-line automatons. Do they even know what a portafilter is anymore? I don’t think so.


E61 Bottomless Portafilter (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada

Espresso Tamping Visual Tutorial – Having a good tamp is a major factor in pulling excellent espresso shots.

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Eva Solo Coffee Brewing Tutorial

When I tell people that my favorite rich coffee brewing method – other than espresso – is the Eva Solo, they usually don’t know what I am talking about. The Eva Solo is also known as a Cafe Solo. What is the Eva Solo? It brews like an upside down french press with a fine convex filter that descends into the brewing chamber. The glass brewing container resembles a Chemex, only without the handle. It is covered with a thin neoprene cover that zips up like a sleeping bag.

Eva Solo Coffee Brewer
Eva Solo Coffee Brewer

Until I discovered the Eva Solo, my primary full-immersion brewing method was the French Press. As much as I loved the rich flavor of the french press, there were times I wished it were just a little cleaner tasting. Not paper filter clean, but something in between. The Eva Solo was exactly what I was looking for. It has all the rich flavor of a french press, but cleaner tasting.

Plus it justs looks and feels cool.

Eva Solo Filter
Eva Solo Coffee Filter and Lid

The Eva Solo is as easy to use as a french press. Let’s get started.

#1 Rinse Eva Solo

Rinse the inside of the Eva Solo with warm water. In addition to removing any residual grounds from the previous brew, this will minimize temperature loss once we start brewing.

rinse eva solo with hot water
Hot Water Rinse

#2 Add Ground Coffee

Grind coffee the same as you would for french press. So it will be on the coarse side. Since you won’t be pressing the grounds to the bottom, you can grind a little finer if you desire. Experiment with different grinds. I use a grind very close to the french press. The dosage is 1 tablespoon of coffee for each 4 oz of water. Pour ground coffee into the Eva Solo.

Eva Solo Add Coffee Grounds
Add Ground Coffee to Eva Solo

#3 Add Water

Heat water to a boil and then allow it to cool for 20-30 seconds before pouring into the Eva Solo. Start your brewer timer. If you have an electric kettle that lets you dial in the exact temperature, set it for 202 Fif it is a lighter roast and 198F if it darker.

Add hot water to Eva Solo
Pour Hot Water into Eva Solo

#4 Stir Coffee

The Eva Solo comes with a plastic stirrer. I lost mine, so I use a wooden spoon. At the 1 minute mark, give the coffee a gentle stir.

Stir Eva Solo
After 1 minute, stir the coffee.

#5 Secure Eva Solo Filter

Place the filter and lid securely on the Eva Solo.

secure lid on Eva Solo Coffee Brewer
Secure the filter on the Eva Solo.

#6 Wait 4 Minutes and Pour

At the 4 minute mark, the coffee has finished brewing. Serve. Notice how in the photo, I have one finger holding the filter back. Although the filter should be secure, I once had it wiggle free and land inside my coffee. It is better just to hold it in place while pouring. Safety first!

Pour Eva Solo Coffee
When pouring coffee from the Eva Solo, I advise holding the filter at the top with a finger. This is extra insurance in the event the filter isn’t secure.

The Eva Solo website states that the neoprene cover can keep the coffee warm for up to 30 minutes. Ignore that tip. As long as the water and coffee grounds are touching, the brewing is still happening. Once the 4-minute brewing cycle has completed, pour out all the coffee. You can always brew more.

What I like about the neoprene cover is it protects me from the glass. One, I don’t burn myself by touching the side of the brewer. Two, the neoprene cover provides some structural protection to the glass. Over the years, I’ve shattered a few french press brewers. I do not ever expect that will happen with the Eva Solo, but if it did, at least the glass and coffee won’t go everywhere. It’ll all be contained inside the zipper.

The only downside to the Eva Solo is the cost. As of this writing, you can find one on Amazon for just under $100. Is it worth it? For me, it is totally worth that price. I love mine. Also, because the Eva Solo is far less popular than the French Press, it makes for a unique gift for coffee fans


Eva Solo (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada

Bonavita Electric Kettle (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada

Coffee Brewing Guide – Our collection of coffee brewing tutorials here on INeedCoffee.

Coffee Grind Chart – A visual guide to getting the right coffee grind size.

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Accelerated Caffeine Detox

How much coffee is too much? 5 cups a day? 10 cups a day? Perhaps there is no limit? We are all different. Some of us can handle more, some less. My belief as a proponent of quality coffee is that flavor must always come first and caffeine second. When our love for caffeine is greater than taste, we may yield to the dark side of cheap gut-wrenching coffee to get our fix. Do you want to give up a good Kenyan or Puerto Rican coffee and end up on the street drinking 3-hour-old coffee from the lobby of a tire store? Of course not. How can you tell if you are at risk?

Although I’m not a scientist, I do believe I can detect if you are consuming too much with a single question:

When you are drinking a mug of coffee, do you ever start to think about that NEXT cup you are planning to have?

If the answer is YES, then this should set off a warning that maybe you are consuming too much. If the great coffee in your mug doesn’t have your undivided attention and instead you’re off dreaming of the next mug, then, in my opinion, the quest for caffeine has exceeded the quest for quality coffee. An alcoholic doesn’t really savor the taste of that first 40oz malt liquor, it is merely a pit stop on the path to drunkenness. Good coffee should never be the pit stop.

coffee planet shaking
If this describes you, then perhaps it is time to cut back on the coffee.

If you just realized that you have been cheating on your beans with a caffeine fling, have no fear. It happens to us all from time to time. There is a way to restore peace to your coffee relationship: DETOX. Short for detoxification, it simply means you will bring back the focus on why you drink good coffee in the first place. Cutting back on the quantity of coffee you drink will shift the balance back to the bean, and will upset the caffeine monkey on your back.

Detox is rarely easy and will likely be uncomfortable. Ending a caffeine addiction can bring headaches and constipation. There are also health reasons to detox having to do with adrenal support, but that isn’t the focus of this article.

Different Techniques

There are major two schools of thought on how to best detox as well a third customized method I’ve developed. One is cold turkey, the other is called fading. I’ve done them both many times and found problems with both. Along the way, I developed my own method which I’ll explain last. Let’s examine the three methods.

1- Cold Turkey

If anyone saw the Frank Sinatra movie THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM then they understand what it means to go cold turkey. Sinatra’s character was kicking heroin, not caffeine so there probably won’t be a need to have a loved one lock you in a closet for the weekend. Although some of you may want to retain the services of that loved one just in case. Cold turkey programs work best if there is a start date, end date, and an exit strategy.

The Man with the Golden Arm (50th Anniversary Edition)

The Man with the Golden Arm (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada)

This is the quickest and most painful method of detox and in my opinion the least effective. The problem here is that although you kicked it for 3 days or so, your body needs a longer period to adjust. I’ve had cold turkeys where I return to pre-detox quantities in less than a week. In other words, a lot of effort and it doesn’t stick very long. A final word, do not plan on being productive during a detox. You will spend every waking moment wishing you had some caffeine to lift the dark cloud in your head.

2- Coffee Fading

Coffee fading is a technique for cutting the daily coffee consumption by 1/2 a cup a day. Gradually you can work down to zero or to a tolerable level. This method is pain-free but does require planning. You need to measure current consumption and then keep track of every beverage throughout the day. If you are drinking 10 cups a day and the goal is to get down to zero for 3 days then this can take 22 days to complete. Do you want to plan every beverage for 22 days? It’s pain-free, planning extensive, and requires a longer amount of time.

I like coffee fading better than cold turkey, but not by much. It just takes too long to go through the entire process. In order to resolve the differences and develop a better way, I came up with our third technique, which I called Accelerated Coffee Fading.

3- Accelerated Coffee Fading (ACCELERATED DETOX)

Instead of decreasing by a measly 1/2 a cup a day, here you reduce your consumption by 50% a day. Once you go below 1 cup of coffee, drop to zero the following day. Accelerated Coffee Fading is not nearly as painful as cold turkey or as long and tedious as traditional coffee fading. The body also has a longer period to adjust to lower caffeine levels than cold turkey. I’ve also included a “pull-out” strategy. Resume your target level by incrementing at no more than a 50% increase daily.


Using the ACCELERATED DETOX one can bring coffee consumption back to a level where the beans are the primary love in half the time as traditional coffee fading and without the pain and misery of going cold turkey. Although this article deals with quality coffee, you could use it for any addiction you wish to tackle, be it sugar or soap operas.


Pre-Surgery Caffeine Detox – INeedCoffee article.

The Decaf Diaries – An essay on moving to decaf coffee.

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How to Brew Espresso in a Moka Pot

If you like coffee, then chances are that you’ll really enjoy Italian coffee (or caffe). There are many different styles including “espresso” and cappuccino, which are both popular in the United States. All styles are based on espresso. For example, cappuccino is espresso with steamed milk and milk foam.

Note that “espresso” is a non-Italian term used in the US. What we call espresso is simply “caffe” in Italy (note the accent on the second syllable). I’ll use the more-familiar term “espresso” for this page. Just note that in Italy, the correct term is caffe.

If you want to make “true” espresso, then be prepared to spend several hundred dollars on a high-quality espresso machine like you see in restaurants or cappuccino bars. These machines use high-pressure water to produce the espresso. Home machines, even the $100 models found at WalMart and other places, do not produce enough pressure to create espresso like you find in a coffee bar.

A very reasonable alternative for home use is an “espresso pot”, called a Moka in Italy. The Moka is a simple device that uses steam pressure to force water through a strainer to make espresso. It won’t be exactly like the espresso you find in bars, but it can come close. The espresso pot is an inexpensive alternative to making good caffe.

Bialetti Moka Express 3 Cup Espresso Maker 06799
Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker, 6 Cup (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada

The method below is the Neapolitan way of making caffe. The foam usually developed from a machine is manufactured by hand in this method. One word of caution before proceeding. A 2-ounce shot of espresso has about the same amount of caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of drip coffee. Don’t get into the habit of pouring 8-ounce cups of espresso throughout the day (unless you want to be wired out all day).

You’ll need the following items to make Italian espresso: good quality espresso (popular Italian brands are Illy and Kimbo), sugar, cold water, an espresso pot, a container in which to mix the espresso, and small cups (preferably ceramic espresso cups).

moka pot espresso setup
This picture shows a disassembled espresso pot, the espresso, sugar, and a stainless steel container (far right).

Some items on the espresso pot are replaceable. After several months of use, you may have to replace the rubber gasket (pictured on the left) or the entire strainer (right). When emptying the strainer of used coffee grounds, do not bang it. This will dent it and ruin the seal. Instead, rinse it under running water.

Moka Pot - Rubber Gasket (left) Entire Strainer (right)
Rubber Gasket (left) Entire Strainer (right)

strainer assembly for Moka Pot Coffee Brewer
This is a close-up of the strainer assembly.

#1 Fill With Cold Water

Fill the espresso pot with cold water. The inside of the pot is usually marked with a line to show the fill level. If not, then fill it up to the relief valve on the side. The water should not seep through the strainer when you insert it. This will waterlog the coffee and possibly affect the flavor.

add water to moka pot espresso maker
Fill water

#2 Insert the Strainer Assembly

Insert the strainer assembly into the base. (Alternately, you can fill the assembly first then insert it. It’s a personal preference).

Insert strainer assembly to moka pot espresso maker
Insert strainer assembly

#3 Add Coffee Grounds

Fill the strainer with espresso. Ensure that you do not get any grounds on the outside rim of the container. There must be a perfect seal at this point or else the water will spew out once it begins to boil. Simply wipe any excess grounds off before assembling the pot. This is one reason why some people fill the strainer first then insert it.

Warning: Do not pack the espresso down! This could possibly clog the system and generate too much pressure. Although acceptable for commercial machines, packing the espresso in this type of pot can be dangerous.

Add ground espresso to moka pot espresso maker
Add espresso to Moka.

This is what the espresso should look like after you fill the strainer. Piling the espresso like this places it flush with the upper strainer of the pot, thus producing a stronger flavored drink. You can adjust it to your liking.

Espresso in the Moka Pot
Espresso in the Moka.

#4 Assemble the Pot

Assemble the pot. Once again, ensure that no grounds are on the outside rim. Screw the pot onto the base by holding the pot itself, not the handle. The handles can break easily (but are also replaceable).

Assemble the moka pot coffee maker
Assemble the pot

#5 Place Coffee Pot Over Heat

Place the pot over a low flame. A low flame increases the brew time, which enhances the flavor. At a later step, you’ll want a slow trickle of espresso instead of a full-force fountain.

In this picture, you’ll notice a small metal piece under the pot. This piece is common for Italian stoves and is available at any hardware store. It should work with an American-style stove if the burner sides are spaced too far apart.

use a Low Flame for moka pot brewing
Low Flame

#6 Get Sugar Ready

While the espresso is brewing, add sugar to your mixing container. You can start with about a teaspoon per cup and then adjust it from there to suit your taste. The pot in this picture is a 10-cup pot, so I used a little more than 10 teaspoons. After some experience, you will be able to just dump the right amount of sugar into the container without measuring it. Remember, making espresso is an art, not a science.

Add sugar to moka pot espresso
Add sugar

#7 Pour Coffee and Mix with Sugar

This step is critical and may take some practice to get right. As soon as the espresso starts to come out, remove the pot from the heat and pour some of the liquid into the mixing container with the sugar.

Adding too little is much better than adding too much, so be conservative. Once you have some espresso with the sugar, start stirring. The end result will be a slurry with the consistency of peanut butter (or a little thinner). If it is too dry, keep adding espresso a little at a time until you get the right consistency.

If you run out of espresso, add it back to the flame until more comes out. You should use the first espresso out of the pot since it is the strongest. Don’t brew the entire pot then try to add it to the sugar. It won’t taste the same.

mix coffee with sugar
Pour coffee

This is about the right consistency, maybe a little thin but it worked. If you accidentally add too much liquid, you can either add more sugar (not recommended unless you don’t mind it being super sweet) or simply add the remaining espresso at the end of the brew. It won’t have a lot of foam on top but is still drinkable.

Stir sugar with coffee
Stir coffee

The espresso comes out as mostly steam toward the end of the brew. The pot pictured here has a tube designed to minimize splatter during the brewing process. The lid on this one can remain open during brewing. Other models have two holes in the side and will spray espresso all over the kitchen if the lid is up.

#8 Pour More

When the espresso finishes brewing, pour about half of it into the mixing container.

Pour half the espresso from moka pot maker
Pour half the espresso

#9 Stir, Add Remaining Espresso and Mix Again

Stir vigorously to aerate the mixture and produce a thick foam. Once thoroughly mixed, add the remaining espresso to the container and mix once again.

Stir espresso with sugar and Mix again.
Mix again.

The end result. The amount of foam produced depends on the technique and the amount of sugar used. With just a little practice, you’ll be able to make perfect caffe every time, just like a Neapolitan.

Espresso foam from moka pot
Espresso foam

#10 Serve

The best part. Pour the espresso into small ceramic cups. You can use a spoon to get the foam into the cups if necessary.

Since the cups are small, the espresso can become cold very quickly. To keep it hotter longer, place the cups in hot water just before you start brewing the espresso. When you pour the espresso into the hot cups, it will retain the heat and allow you to serve piping hot espresso to your friends.

Serve espresso from moka pot into ceramic
Serve Espresso

Two cups of perfect caffe in ten easy steps!

Finished Espresso from moka pot maker
Finished Espresso

It’s not hard to learn how to make caffe using the espresso pot. Part of the enjoyment of caffe is actually making it.


Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker, 6 Cup (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada

eBay page for Moka Pots – You can buy both brewers and parts for brewers on eBay.

Stovetop Espresso Brewing Tutorial – INeedCoffee article

The Story of the Bialetti Moka Express – INeedCoffee article

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The Double Bourbon Iced Coffee Recipe

Alcoholic drinks with coffee are a kind of oxymoron of sorts. At first, your heart starts pumping, and you feel fresh with energy, ready for the day or the moment ahead, but almost immediately, there is a calm need to relax. Your body says, take a seat buddy, put your legs up, and enjoy another sip.

The Double Bourbon Iced Coffee is no different in those regards.This drink combines three of my favorite things, cold brew, stout beer, and bourbon. It’s the perfect combination of sweet coffee and bourbon with the slight bitterness of the stout. Best of all nobody will know you have this brunch trick up your sleeve for those who prefer coffee to a bloody mary or a mimosa.

Double Bourbon Cold Brew Coffee

Ice cold and creamy with that smooth bourbon undertone, this drink will have you yearning for more. So go ahead, double the recipe while you’re at it, and share with some friends or family.


  • 2 oz. strong cold-brew coffee
  • 2 oz. stout beer (I used Anderson Valley’s Bourbon Barrel Stout)
  • 1½ oz. Bourbon (Here I used Basil Hayden’s)
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce heavy cream

Double Bourbon Ingredients Setup


Fill a large glass with ice and pour in the coffee, beer, bourbon, and simple syrup and stir. Pour the cream over the top and stir. Then enjoy!

Add Coffee over Ice

stir coffee, beer, and bourbon together

add in cream and stir

finished double bourbon cold coffee brew

Video Tutorial

Watch the video version of the Double Bourbon Iced Coffee Recipe on YouTube.

Youtube video for Double Bourbon Iced Coffee

Double Bourbon Iced Coffee by Random Crockery


Cold Brew Coffee is Not Rocket Science – A guide to making your own cold brew coffee.

Homebrewing: Espresso Stout – If you wish to make your own stout for this recipe, here is a primer on homebrewing.

The Coffee Martini – Recipes using coffee and vodka.

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The History of Instant Coffee

We all have seen and possibly used instant coffee sometime in our life, but have you ever wondered where this dark, mysterious, water-soluble powder gained its popularity? Some might snub their noses at it today, but it has proved to us in the past that it is always ready when we need it most!

The earliest version of instant coffee is said to have been invented around 1771 in Britain. The first American product was developed in 1853, and an experimental version (in cake form) was field tested during the Civil War. In 1890, David Strang of Invercargill, New Zealand invented and patented instant coffee. ¹  In 1901, the first successful technique for manufacturing a stable powdered product was invented in Japan by Sartori Kato, who used a process he had developed for making instant tea. ²

The first time it was mass produced was in America around 1910 by George Constant Louis Washington (not related to President Washington). He accomplished a great feat and acquired a patent, but the instant coffee powder was perceived by most to be a novelty with a disagreeable taste. Around 1938, Nescafe became the most popular brand; by co-drying coffee extract along with an equal amount of soluble carbohydrate they improved the taste. Currently, the best process for retaining the taste is freeze drying, which came around in the 60’s.

Teaspoon of Instant Coffee
Teaspoon of Instant Coffee by Andy Straw

Where this novelty found its niche market was in the military. Caffeine consumption on the battlefield provided a much-needed boost, and now this was made much easier with instant coffee. In World War I some soldiers nicknamed it a “cup of George.” ³

I am very happy despite the rats, the rain, the mud, the draughts [sic], the roar of the cannon and the scream of shells. It takes only a minute to light my little oil heater and make some George Washington Coffee… Every night I offer up a special petition to the health and well-being of [Mr. Washington].

-American soldier, 1918 letter from the trenches

By World War II instant coffee was incredibly popular with the soldiers. G. Washington Coffee, Nescafe, and others had all emerged to meet the demand. One year, the entire production from the U.S. Nescafe plant (in excess of one million cases) went solely to the military. 4

Today instant coffee still has a force in the market. It is great in recipes like a quick mocha frosting for a cappuccino cookie. In the grocery store, you will see it in all of the instant cappuccino drinks and blended ice drink powders, some of which are even used in coffee houses. Even the military still provides instant coffee powder for that much-needed caffeine boost. Always in an instant, it is there for you!


Instant Coffee Store (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada)

Instant Coffee (eBay)

1: Instant Coffee on Wikipedia.

2: Instant Coffee on

3: George Washington (inventor) on Wikipedia

4: History of Instant Coffee on NestleUK (archived)

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Brewing Coffee with the Java Maestro Pour Over Coffee Dripper

This month I’ve been playing with my latest coffee brewer. It is a stainless steel pour-over coffee filter made by Java Maestro. What makes this particular pour over coffee brewer interesting is it doesn’t require a paper filter. The dripper is the filter.

There are two benefits of not needing a paper filter. The first is economical. Not having to buy filters ever is one less expense. The second benefit of not having a paper filter is you get all the oils from coffee in the cup. This gives the coffee a richness that is sometimes sacrificed with paper filtered coffee.

However, the benefit of paper filters is they keep all the coffee grounds out of the cup, which results in a cleaner cup of coffee. The Java Maestro Pour Over Coffee Dripper does such an excellent job with filtering that not only does it make a rich cup of coffee, but a clean one as well.


The Java Maestro Pour Over Coffee Dripper

#1 Heat Water

For this brewing method, I strongly recommend getting a Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle. As with any pour over coffee, you are responsible for making sure the coffee is saturated with hot water. Being able to control the water flow will make that task much easier.

Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle
Bonavita Electric Kettle (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada)

#2 Hot Water Rinse

The Java Maestro is made of stainless steel. Give it a quick rinse of hot water from the sink before you start brewing. This will preheat the dripper and minimize heat loss.

#3 Place Brewer over Mug

The Pour Over Coffee Dripper is a one mug at a time brewer. The only question is how big of a mug you’ll be using. If you are not weighing as you add water, there is a risk you could add too much water and cause a mess. There is a tiny visible hole in the brewer that you can view the progress of your pour over. Not ideal. A glass mug or jar would be a better approach.


#4 Add Ground Coffee

Grind your coffee medium-fine.

Included with the Java Maestro Pour Over Coffee Dripper is a scooper that also serves as a coffee bag clip. For a single 12 ounce mug use 3 scoops. If you lose the scooper or want to use a gram scale, I used 20 grams of coffee and 310 grams of water. That works out to a 15.5 to 1 ratio (water to coffee).


#5 Add Hot Water

With the kettle, you’ll be adding coffee in the 195 F – 205 F range. For more information about brewing temperature see section #2 in the article Hacking Dark Roast – Tips on Brewing a Better Bold Coffee.

For the initial pour, add just enough water to cover the coffee grounds and allow them to bloom. For those weighing, this works out to about double the weight of the ground coffee. So if we are using 20 grams of coffee, the initial pour will be 40 grams of water.


Let the coffee sit for 20 seconds and then continue pouring the remainder of the water. The water will be poured slowly in a circular motion. Even and smooth.


#6 Remove Filter and Enjoy

Once all the coffee has exited the brewer, you are done. Enjoy your coffee.

#7 Cleanup

Empty the used grounds into a compost bin or set aside for your gardening needs. You can wash the filter with hot soapy water. It is also dishwasher friendly.

Pour Over Coffee Dripper - Coffee Filter and Brewer with Bonus Coffee Scoop with Bag Clip - Paperless, Reusable and Permanent Stainless Pour Over Coffee Maker with Stand by Java Maestro
Pour Over Coffee Dripper by Java Maestro (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon CANADA)

Additional Coffee Filtering

While playing with the Pour Over Coffee Dripper, we discovered the filter was so good that it could be used as an additional filter for other coffee brewing methods. Full immersion brewing methods such as the French Press or some cold brewing methods sometimes have a little grit, which are those loose grounds that sneak past the filter.

Using the Java Maestro as an additional filter will improve the flavor of your French Press and Swedish Egg Coffee.


Pour Over Coffee Dripper by Java Maestro (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon CANADA)

Coffee Brewing Guide – INeedCoffee guide to several coffee brewing methods.

Disclosure: INeedCoffee was sent this product at no cost. 

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Camping Showdown: Steeped Coffee vs The Bripe Coffee Pipe

Recently, I received two new coffee brewing items in the mail to review. Both brewing methods seemed like they might be candidates for a camping trip or other trips where one needs to make coffee without electricity.

Steeped Coffee is an idea that I’m surprised hasn’t happened before. Steeping coffee in a tea bag. If someone else had tried this before and was successful, it didn’t make in on my radar. With Steeped Coffee, all you need is a mug and some hot water. If you really want to reduce your backpacking load, I don’t think you can get lighter than this.

Steeped Coffee

Steeped Coffee – California Blend

The Bripe is the most bizarre yet intriguing coffee brewer I have ever seen. It is a pipe where you sip the coffee out of a metal straw. The coffee is brewed by heating the base with a portable blue-flame torch. At first glance, the act of brewing and consuming coffee from the Bripe almost looks illegal. Flames and pipes will do that. The second thing it reminded me of was how I saw Yerba Mate being consumed in Uruguay and Argentina, so the idea wasn’t too foreign to me.

Bripe Coffee Brewer

The Bripe

guampa y bombilla

Yerba Mate is often consumed in a container called a guampa with a straw called a bombilla.

Making Steeped Coffee

Steeped Coffee is perhaps the easiest coffee brewing of all-time. Instant Coffee is the only thing close. Add hot water to a mug. Dunk the Steeped Coffee bag a few times in the water. Wait 4-5 minutes. Remove bag and consume. That’s it.

Steeped Coffee Brewing

Steeped Coffee steeping

Making Bripe Coffee

Before you do anything, you’ll need to fill the quad jet torch that ships with the Bripe. It requires butane. With that loaded, you are ready to go.

  1. Add the filter inside the Bripe making sure the hole that connects the straw portion has a filter covering it.
  2. Add 5 grams of ground coffee.
  3. Add enough water to cover the grounds and come almost to the top, which is about 30 grams.
  4. Stir the coffee and water.
  5. Proceed to heat the coffee with the torch. Bring the temperature up to 185° F.
  6. Remove torch and place the Bripe on the stand. Let it cool to 140° F.
  7. Sip coffee from the straw.

Afterwards, you’ll need to follow the cleaning instructions to prep the Bripe for the next brew. There are some warnings that come with the Bripe. After all, you will be aiming a flame at the brewer. Don’t burn yourself.


The Steeped Coffee was good. Not great. It was a solid blend that exceeded my expectations on what to expect from a pre-ground bagged coffee. If I were away from my kitchen, it would be good enough for my needs. I preferred the California Blend, which is a medium roast over the Odyssey Blend, which is a dark roast.

If space was a premium, Steeped Coffee would be an excellent option. I could see having a few of these in the car for a long road trip or when visiting family.

The Bripe is the most inefficient coffee brewer I have ever tried. After setting up the brew, it takes a few minutes to heat the coffee. Then a few minutes to cool. All this for a single ounce of coffee. Not espresso. Brewed coffee. If you wanted to drink a 10-ounce coffee, it would take over an hour of heating, cooling, and cleaning. Ridiculous. Plus it costs around $75 USD, which is a pricey way to brew an ounce of coffee at a time.

The Bripe can also be used to make tea, which makes more sense since good teas can support multiple steeps. I could see drinking a puer tea or nice oolong in the Bripe, much more than coffee.

In the battle between Steeped Coffee and The Bripe, the clear winner is Steeped Coffee.


The Bripe Coffee Pipe (eBay)

Making Coffee With the Cowboy Joe Coffee Brewer – Review and tutorial of a pour-over coffee brewer ideal for camping.

Title photo by Julius Ulbrich.

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Making Coffee With the Cowboy Joe Coffee Brewer

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Cowboy Joe Coffee Brewer. The Cowboy Joe is a single cup plastic coffee brewer with a hole in the bottom that takes a standard 8-12 cup basket coffee filter. A plastic plug is placed inside a drain hole to allow the coffee to steep. Once the brew is complete, the plug is removed and the coffee exits directly into the mug.

The lightweight and small size of the Cowboy Joe Coffee brewer makes it a candidate for traveling and camping. Unlike a french press or other brewers, there is no risk of breakage. The only concern I see is losing the plug. One idea I had was adding a little piece of bright color reflective tape to the plug, so it stands out more. And to keep the plug from running away from the brewer, you could use a string to tie it to the hole on the lip of the Cowboy Joe.

#1 Place Plug Into the Drain Hole

I place the plug handle so it is parallel to the ridges in the bottom of the brewer and then turn it one quarter or 90 degrees. This locks the plug into place.


#2 Add the Coffee Filter and Ground Coffee

Place the basket filter into the Cowboy Joe. You can see from the photo below the filter ridges goes around the plug. Place the brewer over a mug.

A tip I got from the Cowboy Joe website is to not use a mug that is too narrow as it can become tippy and is at greater risk of falling over should you bump it. Also, you want to have a mug that holds enough volume to both capture the brewed coffee and allows you to add additional water and or cream. The majority of mugs are fine.


Since the Cowboy Joe is small there are 2 approaches you can take to brewing a cup of coffee.

  1. Brew a small 8 oz cup of coffee.
  2. Brew a more concentrated cup and then add water.

Option #1 wasn’t for me. I’d rather have more coffee. To make the coffee more concentrated, you can either increase the dose or the steep time. I decided to use the higher dose. Now in other coffee brewing tutorials, we pull out the scale and weigh by grams to get the 17 to 1 ratio (water to coffee), but since this brewer is likely to be used when traveling, I am going to keep it simple. For a single brew, I used my trusty coffee can scoop which I’ve now had for over a decade.

coffee scoop

1.5 scoops is about 15 grams of coffee. Start there. I got good results using a basic drip coffee grind.

#3 Add Hot Water and Stir

Bring water to a boil, wait 10-30 seconds and then pour slowly until the water line reaches about 1/2 inch below the top of the brewer. I like to use the pour to make sure all the ground coffee is making contact with the water. If after the pour you see clumps of dry coffee, give a gentle stir.


The coffee should steep for 3-4 minutes.

#4 Remove Plug, Wait and Tilt

The coffee is done brewing. Hold the brewer with one hand and then turn the plug and remove it. The coffee will begin draining into your mug. Once you can see the grounds, tilt the brewer so the side where you removed the plug is lower. This will allow the last bit of coffee to drain into your mug.

#4 Add Water to Taste

At this point, I add an ounce or two of hot water, just like I do for the Aeropress. This is optional. Experiment.

Comparisons to Clever Dripper and Melitta Pour Over

The Cowboy Joe at first glance is similar to the Clever Coffee Dripper and the 1-cup version of the Melitta Pour-Over. Like both, the brewer is placed directly over the mug. The Cowboy Joe and the Clever are full immersion coffee brewing, in that you control the steeping time, whereas the coffee immediately begins to exit with the Melitta. The standard Clever is larger and can brew more coffee at once, which means it takes up more space and is more at risk for damage when traveling.


The Clever Coffee Dripper (L) and the Cowboy Joe Coffee Brewer (R).

The Cowboy Joe like the Melitta is dishwasher safe. Just use the top rack. The Clever is not. The Cowboy Joe and the Melitta do not have any parts that can go bad. Although it has not happened to my Clever, there are reports that after a lot of use the parts that initiate the seal with the Clever get stuck. And as Chris Arnold pointed out in the Clever Coffee Dripper Review, there are some mug sizes that don’t work for the Clever. This is not an issue for the Cowboy Joe as the coffee is released when the plug is removed from the drain hole and doesn’t require a seal mechanism to be engaged.

The Clever also has a lid to keep heat in during the brew. The Cowboy Joe doesn’t, but I’ve never once used the lid, so I don’t consider it a loss. However, if you were making coffee outdoors at a cold campsite, you might want to place something over the top during the 3-4 minute brew cycle to hold the heat in.

Which is best? That will depend on your needs. What is most important to you? Volume, durability, portability or price? They all do a fine job of brewing. On my next trip, I will be leaving my Clever at home and taking the Cowboy Joe with me.

Cowboy Joe Single Cup Direct Immersion Coffee Brewer


Cowboy Joe Single Cup Direct Immersion Coffee Brewer (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada)

Melitta Ready Set Joe Single Cup Coffee Brewer (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada)

Clever Coffee Dripper (Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon Canada

Coffee Brewing Guide – Our collection of coffee brewing tutorials.

Cowboy Joe – Official site for the Cowboy Joe Coffee Brewer.

Title photo by Marko Horvat.

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Make Cold Brew Coffee Quickly with the Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer

In several tutorials here on INeedCoffee, we show you how easy it is to make cold brew coffee at home. Soak coffee grounds in water for 12-36 hours, filter, and you’re done. The only step left is to chill the finished brew. So what makes one cold brewer better than the next? Volume, the quality of the filter, how easy it is to clean up, and how good it looks on your counter. That was it. Until now.

Gourmia came in and solved the one variable everyone else took for granted: The Wait. Why must we wait 12-36 hours for cold brew coffee? Does it have to take so long? Can we speed up the process?

The reason we wait so many hours for cold brewed coffee is that the coffee grounds are just sitting in motionless water, slowly releasing their flavor. Very slowly. What if throughout the brew cycle the water gently agitated the coffee grounds to accelerate the release of flavor? You could reduce the brew time.

This is what the Automatic Cold Brewer by Gourmia does.

Depending on how rich you want your cold brew, the Gourmia will softly push the water evenly over the coffee grounds for a period of 10 to 40 minutes. This is followed by an optional cooling cycle of around 6 minutes. What this means is that you can have filtered cold brew coffee from set up to finish in minutes.

Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer

Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer (Amazon USA

The Equipment

When you unbox the Gourmia Cold Brewer, you will see several parts. Don’t be overwhelmed. It is really easy to get started and the documentation is well-written. The first thing you’ll want to do is remove all the plastic wraps covering the different sections. Then wash and dry everything.

Cold Brewer Parts

This photo shows the different parts of the Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer.

From top to bottom: Lid, Top Filter on the Coffee Basket, Ice Basket, Pitcher, Removable Fountain (inside Pitcher), and the Main Unit. Note that the Coffee Basket is used only during the brew cycle and the Ice Basket is only used during the chilling cycle. 

Cold Brew or Cold Brew Concentrate?

Before you start to brew, you will decide how strong you want to make your cold brew. There are four settings, each corresponding to a brew strength.

  • Light – 10 minutes
  • Medium – 20 minutes
  • Bold – 30 minutes
  • Concentrate – 40 minutes

Gourmia recommends using a Medium-Coarse grind for all the settings, however, if you wanted to make a strong coffee in 10 minutes, just tighten up the grind to Medium. If you find that you’ve used a grind too fine and your coffee is too strong, you can always add water to bring the coffee to the strength level you prefer most.

Brew Quantities

There are three markings on the side of pitcher indicating different brew quantities. Each level has a different coffee requirement. This information is in the instructions, but I’ll reprint it here in case you’ve misplaced yours.

  • 10 ounces water – 25 grams or 5 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 16 ounces water – 40 grams or 8 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 24 ounces water – 60 grams or 12 teaspoons ground coffee

The brew chamber can hold a lot more water, but don’t be tempted to make more than 24 ounces, because the basket that holds the ground coffee is limited to around 60 grams. Adding more water will only result in a weaker brew. You can add water post-brew if it tastes too strong to you.

Step By Step Brewing Instructions

The Gourmia Automatic Cold Brewer has two phases.

  1. Brewing Cycle
  2. Chilling Cycle

Phase two is optional. You do not need to use the brewer to perform the cooling, but if you are having the coffee right away, use it. Otherwise, bottle the coffee and place in the frig.

#1 Add the Removable Fountain

Twist the Removable Fountain clockwise into the bottom of the pitcher before adding water.

#2 Add Water

Fill the pitcher with cold water up to the marking level you wish to make. 10, 16 or 24 ounces.

Add water to Cold Brewer

On this brew, I was making 16 ounces of coffee.

#3 Add Ground Coffee to Basket

Add coffee grounds inside the Coffee Basket and then place on top of the pitcher.

Place Coffee Basket with grounds

Add coffee grounds inside the Coffee Basket and then place inside Pitcher. 

#4 Put on the Top Filter and Lid

Put the Top Filter over the Coffee Basket and press into place. Then add the Lid and turn into place.

Top Filter in place

The Top Filter will fit snug over the Coffee Basket. 

Lock Lid on Cold Brewer

Secure the Lid on top. 

#5 Plug in the Cold Brewer

Confirm the cold brewer is plugged into a working outlet. You’ll see the LED Display if you have power.

#6 Set Brew Time and Begin

Pressing the left button will cycle through the brewing times in 10-minute increments. Set the time based on the brew strength you desire and then hit the right button to begin. If in the middle of a brew you decide you want to make the coffee lighter or stronger, you can adjust the timer.

bold cold brew 30 minutes

Here I have set the brew to 30 minutes (Bold) with the button on the left. Then I pressed the right button to initiate the cold brew. 

At this point, the coffee has finished brewing. You can bottle it and place it in the refrigerator or if you’ve made a concentrate, you can add ice/cold water. Or heat it and drink it hot.

(Optional) Perform Chilling Cycle

The Gourmia has a chilling cycle that moves your cold brew near the basket of ice in a way that cools the coffee without melting the ice. The cold brew retains its brew strength and gets chilled.

#1 Swap Coffee Filter Basket with Ice Basket

Remove the Coffee Filter Basket and place inside the Ice Basket filled with ice cubes.

#2 Add Top Filter Lid and Start Chill Cycle

To start the chill, hold the left button down for 3 seconds. Once you see CH:LL, press the right power button. This will take about 6 minutes. During this time it may appear the machine is doing nothing, but the coffee is being circulated through the Removable Fountain by the ice.

Chilling Cycle on Cold Brewer

The coffee will not be super cold at the end of the chilling cycle, but it will be cool enough that if you do add ice, the ice will not melt right away.


If the coffee tastes too strong, just add water, ice or both.

If the coffee is too weak, tighten up your coffee grind and/or extend the brew cycle time.


The Automatic Cold Brewer by Gourmia is a pretty neat brewer. The cold brews I made at both the 20-minute and 30-minute settings were just as delicious as the cold brew I had in my frig that took 24 hours.

Besides the extreme time savings you get with the Automatic Cold Brewer, another benefit is with the 4 settings, all the guess work on how long to leave your cold brew is handled for you. Being able to repeat your brewing results is will be easy to accomplish with the Gourmia.

As much as I like other cold brewing methods, even the newer ones with better filters, I found that the Automatic Cold Brewer brews a cleaner brighter tasting cold brew. There wasn’t the sandy reside at the bottom of the pot when it was finished brewing.

For those that love cold brew coffee, but don’t like to wait a day, this might be the coffee brewer you need.


Gourmia GCM6800 Automatic Cold Brew Coffee Maker (Amazon USA)

Cold Brew Coffee is Not Rocket Science – An overview of the basics of cold brew coffee.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored. INeedCoffee received equipment and compensation for this article. If you are interested in having a sponsored article for your site, product, or service, visit our Sponsor / Advertise page.

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Buying Your First Home Coffee Roaster

I started home roasting coffee in June 1998. Since then I’ve used a number of different roasters and methods. I’ll be the first to confess that I haven’t kept up on all the different machines available to home coffee roasters. What I have learned are the most important factors to consider when buying your first home coffee roaster.

#1 Indoor, Outdoor or Somewhere In Between?

The most important factor in deciding on a roaster is answering the questions: Where do you plan on roasting?

Some coffee roasters work indoors. Many or most would be better set up in a garage, a patio, or a porch. The reason is roasting coffee produces smoke. More smoke that you get when cooking food. Coffee also releases a thin paper like chaff during the roast that can add to the cleanup.

The darker you roast your coffee or the more volume you roast, the more I would encourage you to not to roast indoors. An exception would be kitchens with extremely good vents. Most dedicated home roasters will have some filter to catch the chaff. They also clean the smoke to differing degrees. Popcorn poppers won’t.

The downside to outdoor roasting is if you live in a cold environment, you will need to come up with hacks to keep your roaster warm enough without creating a fire hazard.

#2 Noise

Coffee roasters can be somewhat quiet or extremely loud. Air roasters tend to be loader than drum roasters.

Noise can be a problem for the new home roaster since you are learning how to listen for the first and second crack. The quieter the roaster is, the easier it will be to hear those cracks. As a general rule, drum roasters tend to be quieter than air roasters. They also tend to cost more, but they also last longer.

#3 Price

Home coffee roasters can be as cheap as a tray in an oven or as much as you want to spend. The Hottop Programmable is about $1000. Roasting coffee is an intense process. Don’t expect your roaster to last as long as your coffee pot. It won’t. Almost half the roasters I’ve owned have died shortly before or after the warranty expired. If the machine you buy has a 2-year warranty, expect 2 years of life and no more. Start saving for your next machine as soon you pull it out the box.

#4 Volume

Different roasters have different volumes. Some coffee roasters roast too little for some households. Although there is something to be said for starting off small while you are learning, you also don’t want to spend a lot of money on a small volume roaster that you are certain to outgrow.

Decision Time

Once you’ve answered those four questions, you can then drill down on the home coffee roaster best for you. CoffeeGeek has a section dedicated to extensive reviews of different coffee roasters. Keep in mind that most of the home roasters I know will experiment with many different roasting methods. It is too much fun not to experiment with new methods.

Westbend Poppery Roaster
Westbend Poppery 1500 Watt – Best For Beginners.

The Poppery For Beginners

However, if I were to plug a single home roasting method for the beginner it would be the Westbend Poppery 1500 Watt popcorn popper. It is not an indoor roaster, but it is super quiet and hands-on, so you can hear and see the coffee roasting.

They are available on eBay for about $60. That is too expensive for a lousy popcorn popper, but a bargain for a solid coffee roaster. My Poppery roasters have outlasted every other coffee roaster I’ve ever owned. The Poppery does require access to the outdoors, as it throws chaff and produces smoke.

I hope this helped. Knowing how much money you have to spend, your noise sensitivity, how much coffee your home consumes, and if you have access to a porch or patio with an electrical outlet will help guide your search for your first home coffee roaster.


Westbend Poppery 1500 (eBay)

Roasting Coffee in a Popcorn Popper – My tutorial on roasting coffee in the Westbend Poppery

Hottop KN-8828P Coffee Bean Roaster First Look – Overview of the Hottop coffee roaster.

Home Roasting Coffee in an Oven – Tutorial on how to roast coffee in an oven.

Behmor 1600 Coffee Roaster Tutorial – How to roast coffee using the Behmor 1600.

CoffeeGeek – Roasters, Accessories & Misc review section.

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