Does it make sense to roast your own coffee?

If you are buying freshly roasted coffee beans from your local roasters you probably already know that it can get very expensive. Is it worth to roast your coffee? I have been buying my coffee beans from Slight Glass, Blue Bottle, and other similar local roasters; the price for an 8oz to 12oz bag could go anywhere between $12 to $18. We  (my wife and I) typically go over a bag in around two weeks. In other words, we spend $30 per month on coffee beans; that 's $360 a year!!

In this post, we are not going to discuss the qualitative advantages people claim over roasting your beans, such as getting them to the exact point you want, knowing exactly when your beans were roasted or the satisfaction of doing it yourself.  Today we are just going to check if it makes economic sense to do it.

How much does it cost to buy freshly roasted beans?

We already established that an 8oz bag of locally roasted coffee could be in average $15, with two bags per month this adds up to $360 per year.

So, how much does it cost to roast your beans?

Two components need to be considered to answer this question: the ongoing cost of the green beans and the initial investment on a roaster.

For all of us, who are getting started on roasting coffee, Sweet Marias is going to be the site to go for everything you need: information, green beans, roasters, etc. All the equipment and prices discussed here will be based on this site.

By looking at the cost of the green beans, we can see their prices can go from $6 to $8 per pound for beans they consider good for espresso. There are 16oz in one pound, double the size of an average roasted coffee bag; this means I would spend $84 per year on coffee beans. In other words, savings of $276.

Comparison Table (without investment)

Average Price per bag
Quantity Oz
Price per Oz
Oz per year
Cost per Year

Just based on this information, it seems that buying roasted coffee beans is 4.25 times more expensive than buying green beans. However, note that these numbers are not considering utility costs, time, weight reduction and waste due to the learning curve.

Investment cost

There are different types of roasters for coffee: hot air roasters, drum roasters, and stovetop.  Although stovetop is the cheapest method and the one where you can make the biggest batches, we are not considering it, since it requires a lot of manual intervention, something I don't have time to do, and I am assuming it is similar to you.

Drum Roaster
The cheapest drum roaster is $369, and it can roast batches of up to 16oz, which is slightly greater than what I need based on our current consumption. Even with $276 on savings per year on beans, once we include some utility costs and waste, I believe it would take two years to justify the investment; this seems too long to me. Not to mention, what happens if I find that coffee roasting is not for me?

Hot Air Roaster

There are a couple of different types of Hot Air Roasters, and the prices go from $20 to $179. However, the $20 one is really a popcorn popper which makes me doubt it will create a consistently good quality product. On the other hand, the SR500 which costs $179, although similar to the popcorn popper, was created to roast coffee. With this model, in the first year, I could recover the investment, even considering the additional costs and waste.

Here is a nice video about the SR500 in action


I believe that the SR500 Hot Air Roaster is the way to go to get introduced into the coffee roasting experience. If you normally finish a 12 oz bag of roasted coffee every two weeks, you could recover your investment in less than a year, and you could potentially save a couple hundred dollars per year after that. It seems it gives you enough consistency on small batches, and even if you decide that coffee roasting is not for you, the investment is not as significant as with other types of roasters.

Do you have any experience roasting coffee? Leave your comments and recommendations

5 Coffee Mugs Every Geek Should Have

The right cup is as important as the coffee you pour on it. For coffee purists, there is one perfect cup for every type of coffee. For the rest of the people, the coffee mug where you drink your coffee is often a display of who you are, of your personality. Unfortunately, most of the time we end up drinking in paper cups or simple plain ones. 

Today, we will break up with this, and we are going to check the 5 coolest Coffee mugs you could buy right now. After all, coffee should be fun!! These are the "shut-up and take my money" finalists for the Geekiest Coffee mugs

5) The Classic Camera Lens mug

"You just ruined a $200 lens!, oh no wait, is that a mug?". If you or someone you know is a Photography Geek, this is a perfect gift.  This model has been out there for several years and it has become a classic. A very clever design.

You can find it here

4) The self stirring mug

For all the lovers of swagways, roomba and "easy six packs in seconds" there are good news: The self stirring mug: "just add coffee, cream and sugar, and press one button". However, the best part is that it is self-cleaning! Just add water, soap and press the button. Perfect for the Gadget Geek.

By using this mug, you would also become eco-friendly since you would save tons of plastic spoons and plastic stirrers... mmmm... wait a second... are batteries eco-friendly? 

You can find it available in Amazon

3) The Lego mug

"Lets run the financial projections for the next quarter, just let me give a sip on my completely ordinary cup of joe".  

Make every drinking experience unique by creating your own mug every time. Are you an Star Wars fan, do you like Batman or do you want to  look at a City on every sip, this is the cup for you. All your Geek friends will be jealous. This could be a perfect gift for the Star Wars Geek or Comic Book Geek

You can get this at Amazon or ThinkGeek

2) The Floating Coffee mug

I know what you are thinking: "this is not a fun cup", and you are right; however, it is a cool one.  It is not colorful, self stirring, or  deceiving, BUT the air isolation between the coffee and the outer glass is perfect to maintain the coffee temperature. Besides, its simple and clean design make it perfect for the Chic Geek who always like what is cool and trendy. 

You can get this one on Amazon

1) The Not for the Geek with OCD mug

This cup  (or is it cups?) is (are?) not recommended for the people with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). My brain hurts when I look at it and I just want to unstack the cups. It is not natural for cups to be like that, something needs to be done... what were we talking about? 

You can find it in Amazon

Bonus) The Hi-Tech mug


The honor position and the one you should get right now is The Ember Mug, that is assuming you have $144 to spare. It comes with an LED display, bluetooth chip, adjustable temperature dial, and battery; more importantly, it keeps your coffee at the exact temperature you like. 

Their video is probably the best coffee mug video I have ever seen. Although, I think it is the only coffee mug video I have seen. As I have mentioned before, coffee should never be drunk from a paper cup. Take a look:

You can order yours at the company's website here. Now you know what to give me for an early Christmas present.

Do you agree with the list? Have you seen cooler cups? Add a comment with other cups you think are really cool.

By the way, you can check the Sacred Order of Geeks on this website, although they missed one: The Coffee Geek

4 Great Cafes to visit in the San Francisco South Bay - San Jose, Santa Clara Area

These are my top 4 Cafes in the Santa Clara area. Please note that none of them are in San Francisco since all of them are within 8 miles of the Levi's Stadium.

1) Roy's Station

 Located 6 miles away from Levi’s Stadium, in what used to be a Gas Station in the middle of San Jose’s Japantown. This is my favorite

Why I like it: Its character. You can still see the structure of the gas station, which gives them a unique personality. It was beautifully designed, and it has a nice outdoor seating area (combine that with the great weather in San Jose). 
What I don’t Like: If you are driving, you need to bring coins for the meters during the week (and between 9 am o 6 pm).
Their coffee beans: They serve Verve coffee from Santa Cruz

197 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112 | Website | Yelp Reviews

2) Bellano Coffee at San Pedro Square

Located in Downtown San Jose inside San Pedro Square. , 7 miles away from the Levi's Stadium.

Why I like it: Since it is located inside of  San Pedro Square, it is the perfect place for grabbing a coffee and then going into some of the other establishments for food, desserts or even drinks. If you park on the structure in front of it, you can validate your parking, and it is free.
What I don’t like: There’s a nice seating area outside, but you will need to walk around 100 feet to get there.
Their Coffee beans: They used to serve Verve from Santa Cruz, and Slight Glass from San Francisco, but they are now they are roasting their beans

87 N San Pedro St, San Jose, CA 95110 | Website | Yelp Reviews

3) Red Rock Coffee 

Located in Mountain View Downtown, 7 miles north-west from the Levi’s Stadium. This is a not for profit that has multiple events (music, book reading, etc.) scheduled through the week.

Why I like it: Being at the heart of Silicon Valley, you will feel energized on this place. You will be able to see bunches of young entrepreneurs discussing their business plans, pitching their ideas, or just focused on their laptop creating the next big thing (or maybe just playing online games). 
What I don’t like: They don’t have outdoor seating, which is a shame. During peak times is hard to get a table. The free wifi (both from them and from Google) makes it a perfect place for people to camp for hours
Coffee Beans: They use Four Barrel from San Francisco, and they have a single origin bar where they prepare spectacular espressos

201 Castro St. Mountain View, CA 94041 | Website | Yelp

4) Bellano Coffee, West San Jose

Locate in West San Jose, 7 miles away from the Stadium; it belongs to the same group as the one in San Pedro Square
Why I like it: There is usually a small crowd, and it is easy to find parking and a table indoors or outside. It was a little surprise to find good coffee in this little strip mall.
What I don’t Like: They need to put more work into their decoration, both inside and outside. Outside they have some tables, but it is not inviting to sit down
Their coffee beans: They use to carry Slight Glass, but they recently started roasting their beans, but I still miss when they had Slight Glass; however, I think they are getting there.

3985 Stevens Creek Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95051 | Website | Yelp

Please leave a comment to let me know your opinion if you visited any of this places. If there are other great places you discovered, please let me know.