Nice! I'm going to start experimenting with this soon. The Sweet Maria's site
mentioned in the article has great resources for home roasters. Apparently home roasting was the normal thing back in the day (turn of the 19th century).
Originally Posted by indesertum
AY what books would you recommend on coffee?
I like the Professional Barista's Handbook because it's pretty technical, but explains many things in plain English. You can get it from http://www.professionalbaristashandbook.com/
And it's important to do a lot of your own experimentation too. The book will tell you some basic things like when over- and underextraction happens, but those things really came alive for me when I started trying to figure out how to fix my own brews. It's good to get a good burr grinder, a good thermometer, and a good scale, if for nothing else than to give you consistency in what you're doing. FWIW, I use a Capresso Infinity grinder and a Hario hand grinder, a Thermapen thermometer, and an American Weigh SC-2KG scale.
Drink a lot of coffee, and try to notice what you like or don't like about a particular cup of coffee. If you have a good coffee shop near you, make friends with the baristas, and see if you can catch them dialing in an espresso (usually at the start of a day or when they just changed beans) and ask them what they're tasting and how they're adjusting their process to compensate for it. Obviously, don't do this when they're super busy --- I've had good luck going in near closing time (for reasons explained below). If they never dial in their espressos, then they're not a good coffee shop.
What's a good coffee shop? Beyond just the obvious things like having the portafilters mounted on the heads of their espresso machines when they're not in use (keeps them at warm temperatures so the espresso doesn't cool suddenly when they're pulling a shot) and preflushing their heads before a pull (they'll flush some water through the head before attaching the portafilter to get rid of the water that cooled in the pipes outside of the boiler), IME the best indicator of a shop's dedication to quality is their cleaning regime for their espresso machines and grinders. The espresso machine should be cleaned out every night, and this takes quite a while if you do it properly, so only the dedicated shops will do this. This is also why closing time can be a pretty good time to hang out and talk to them. Obviously, don't be a pest, and be considerate of their time and patience.
I've kind of described things only in terms of espresso, but that's a pretty finicky drink, so if they do that right, everything else will tend to be done right, too.