And it still sounded very tricky and fiddly.
I started researching it again more recently, and I stumbled onto a suggestion of using a hot air popcorn maker as a roasting oven. This idea appealed to me on many levels. First, it sounds much less troublesome and smelly than roasting the beans in the oven. Secondly, it can be done outside. Finally I have a hot air popper that has been sitting in the cupboard, gathering dust for the past fourteen years. I considered ordering some raw beans over the net as there are a fair number of on-line sources for them now, but I decided to hold off until we got to Vancouver so that I could save on shipping.
(Picture interlude: here is some random mountain in Banff. I missed a glorious photo opportunity further back on the road. Between when I saw it, and when I finally found a place to pull over, the lighting had changed and the moment was gone (and I had lost the beautiful foreground that really would have made the shot spectacular anyway.)
Today I dug out the hot air popper, wiped off many years worth of dust, and poured a pot's worth of raw beans into it. I didn't know how long to roast them -- the suggestions ranged anywhere from five to twenty-five minutes. I decided that I would just watch the process and stop it when they looked like they were done. After about twenty minutes, the beans did not seem to be getting much darker, and I wondered if I had reached the temperature limit of the old popper I was using. I shut off the "roaster" and poured out the roasted beans into a metal sieve. They smelled lovely, and had the colour of a city roast. Lately I have taken to drinking coffee with a lighter roast (so that I can taste the flavour of the bean, rather than the roast) so I decided to call it done.
I tossed them until they were cool enough to handle comfortably, ran them through the grinder and made myself a pot of coffee in the French press. The beans were still warm and venting CO2 from roasting, so the coffee foamed up quite vigorously when I added the water. Four minutes later I plunged the plunger and poured myself a cup with a splash of cream (but naturally I tasted it before adding cream).
If one could attribute a flavour to the feel of an orgasm, it would be this coffee.
I have drunk a lot of coffee in my time. I have drunk some very good coffees in my time. The blogs, and instructional pages and research did not prepare me for this coffee. This was the best coffee I have ever tasted; it was rapture in a cup! Has this ruined me for other coffees? Probably not. If it was a bit faster and easier, I would never buy pre-roasted coffee again. As it stands, I am going to regard it as a special treat for lazy days when I have a bit of time on my hands.