Coffee-and-mad-science party video

John Young says:

This morning, some friends and I had a "Green2Steam" party, where we start with green coffee beans, roast them in a hot-air popper, grind them, and immediately brew them up in a siphon brewer over a camp stove. Boy, when coffee is _that_ fresh, just-roasted and just-ground, it smells like coffee from some other alternate dimension that's REAL-er than ours.

My high-school friend Chris Young (who played Bryce Lynch, Max Headroom's nerdy inventor, on the HBO series) made this video of the process; I thought you might like it!


  1. I’m from Serbia and about fifty years ago something like this would have been the usual coffee ritual. I’ve had it a couple of times and I can attest that a Turkish coffee made from freshly roasted and ground beans is a marvelous experience.

  2. Wait, they made a video about my normal Saturday morning? And there’s no way this should take two hours.

    1. Set up the vacuum pot and put it on the stove to heat. If you’re using a Chemex instead, put your teapot on.
    2. Roast your beans. 4-5 minutes.
    3. Grind the beans. 30 seconds.
    4. Put grounds in your vacuum pot or Chemex.
    5. Wait for it to bubble up, or water to get close to a boil for the Chemex. Check email.
    6. Take off heat & brew. 2-3 minutes.

    It’s a cute video, but that kind of time is going to scare people away from making really good coffee. It really isn’t that involved. It should take under 10 minutes of actual work for a full pot.

  3. @agraham999 i’ve found that storing the green beans in a hyperbaric chamber 24 hours prior to roasting, then demagnetizing them with a typical magnetic tape bulk demagnetizer effectively eliminates bean degaussing issues. they’re certainly pick up a static charge in the popcorn popper, but not so much that they’ll effect any electro-paramagnetic imaging you may have going on in your kitchen at the time.

    seriously though. on a trip to the big island, the propietrix of the random coffee stand at the hilo mall told us about the joys of fresh, fresh brewed. i just wish i had more time in my typical morning to chase the civit, roast the beans and brew the coffee in a toddy.

  4. Depending on the particular variety of beans, and how dark they are roasted, a “rest” of a few hours to a couple of days can be a good thing.

    I usually roast four or five days worth of beans at a time, and give them at least overnight to “rest”.

  5. “..when coffee is _that_ fresh, just-roasted and just-ground, it smells like coffee from some other alternate dimension that’s REAL-er than ours..”

    Isn’t it! It’s what I have every morning. But in my case, it’s espresso.

  6. @7
    I… didn’t even know about any of that. Wow. I think maybe I’ll make friends with google. That sounds kind of stupendous.

  7. We’ve been doing this for several years.

    Do dome research on the popper, you need the cheaper ones that move the beans properly. After that, sit tight and listen for the 2nd crack to finish and you are set.

    It really is quite amazing the quality of the roast you get from it

  8. That’s a cute video, and I’mma let you finish, but commenter number seven brews some of the best coffee of all time. OF ALL TIME!

  9. grinding in the manual grinder like that would have added a lot of time.

    Also, it depends on how much coffee they roasted. Looks like they were using a hacked Presto Poplite, and that’ll only handle 1/2 a cup of beans at a time.

    Home Coffee Roasting, Revised, Updated Edition: Romance and Revival by Kenneth Davids–borrow it from your library, or mine, via InterLibrary Loan! Then be inspired to lay hands on 50 lb sacks of green coffee beans! ;D (after reading it, I did put a little extra touch of roast on some of my 8 O’Clock Columbian–and if NOTHING else, it smelled GOOOOOD)

  10. One time at burning man; I have tried to roast green beans in a wok on the stove top and it took FOR-EV-ER just to get an even med roast. It was a really hot wok as well.

    I then realized I had forgotten the grinder so I busted the beans up with a hammer and soaked them in the enamel cowboy coffee pot over the stove and it didn’t taste that great.

    I went out on the playa and got really wasted!

    Hey shout out to Chris Young! I loved that show and Chris’s character was one of my favorites! (I liked the time he was photoshopping a flock of sheep.) It was on a network channel (ABC?) in 1987. I still watch the video tapes of it that I bootlegged back then. 20 minutes into the future!
    I loved Blank Reg and his pirate tv network!

    TPTB need to mashup Max Headroom with Firefly and
    and get the Bryce character back in there, can you hook that up?

    best, A.Shamus

  11. I’ve worked in the specialty coffee roasting industry for 12 years. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the coffee needs to rest and release its CO2 for about 24 hours for the flavor to develop. That’s why coffee bags have those 1 way valves on the front. They are for releasing to CO2. Try it yourself. Roast 2 batches 24 hours apart and brew them at the same time. The one left to rest will have a much richer and deeper flavor profile. That being said, brewing right after roasting is still better than the crap you can buy in the grocery store. Its just even better if you give it day.

  12. Agree with above posters concerning resting the beans prior to brewing. I’m sure it was very good, but it would be better in a day or two. ijs.

  13. I believe there was a Max Headroom talk show on cable briefly before the also brief ABC series.

    And I believe there was a British TV incarnation before that.

  14. It took me more than a minute to get what the commenter was alluding too with the Anathem reference.

    BTW, I’d probably be the guy who would take his fresh roasted cup of coffee and promptly add a bucket load of cream and sugar, just to see everyone gasp.

  15. @10 Hahahahaha….Really? No one laughed at the civet comment? Man, I cracked up at that one. I totally imagined 4-7 adults chasing a jungle cat around waiting for it to dookie. Anyhow, thanks, #10!

  16. I home roast as well, air-popper method usually. I let the beans sit for a day, probably just in a paper bag, and grind and use them the next day. Also, I found an old 50’s style Percolator and realized that our grandparents enjoyed pretty good coffee before the advent of the drip machine.

  17. I roasted my own coffee for years in a popcorn popper like device.

    Yes, you definitely need to wait 24 hours or more for the beans to de-gas. The will release about 3-4 times their size (blow the bag) in CO2.

    I have had to brew coffee that wasn’t given the proper time to degass before (was running out of beans.) And the coffee is tasteless comparatively.

  18. I wanna chime in on the Chris Young love fest. I was 8 years old and I desperately wanted to be like Bryce when I grew up.

    I just turned 30 yesterday…and… not so much. But everything is levels of success, yeah?

  19. There was an African restaurant here in Calgary that made coffee from green beans at the end of the meal. They just roasted the Syrian beans on a small frying pan over an open flame, ground them in a spice grinder and prepared them Arab style in a long-handled dallah over the same open flame. The restaurant would fill with smoke from the beans, and the aroma would bring people in off the street. They eventually went out of business, but I still salivate when I remember that coffee.

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