Want to learn how to roast your own beans at home? Perfect because I want to introduce you to Benji Newell, an iBook author wants to help you brew delicious coffee (snob-free) in your own kitchen via his new multimedia filled production called Roast Your Own.
Last week, I had chance to talk to Benji about his iBook, coffee and why you’ll want to check out his book if you’re interested in roasting coffee.
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few question for DailyShotOfCoffee.com, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you.
My name is Benji Newell, I live in Southern California and work as a motion designer, videographer and video editor. I produced Roast Your Own on the side as a fun little project to help more people get into the really fun hobby of roasting coffee at home.
Can you tell us about Roast Your Own? What’s in it? What can we expect to learn from it?
A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of roasting their own coffee or they don’t know about it. While it certainly is a craft, you can easily roast better tasting coffee at home as a beginner then you will find at most local shops (especially Starbucks) simply because you will be roasting specialty coffee FRESH. Its cheap and easy. Roast Your Own walks you through all the steps of making awesome coffee at home from choosing your green coffee to brewing it.
The sample chapter of Roast Your Own will introduce to you home roasting explaining the cost and freshness benefits. We’ll then help you understand coffee bean origin and recommend some places to order your green coffee online (though 90% of hobbyists buy from Sweet Maria’s which is why we feature them in a video).
The chapter “Understanding the Process” is home coffee roasting in a nutshell with a simple roast degree chart and a guide to how to use your senses to know when your beans are done roasting. Once you’re introduced to the basics you are ready to start roasting! The rest of the book reads more like a cookbook with a separate step by step guide (with tips) to roasting with a Pop Corn Popper, Heat Gun, and Whirley Pop.
Then we de-mystify grinding and give 2 more step by steps: one for brewing with a french press and one for brewing with the clever coffee dripper. All the equipment we recommend is affordable and easy to find. We wrap it up with some coffee tasting tips, an official roast degree chart (ours is a lot more simplified), and a chart explaining coffee tasting terms like “full body” ,“acidic” and what it means for a coffee to be “sweet”. The handbook is a two cup of coffee kind of book. You can blast through it in one sitting and skim past all the videos or take your time and absorb it.
A family friend roasted coffee at Christmas and we all drank some. I saw how easy it was and how good it tasted. I wanted to learn more and I kept wanting to show all my friends how to do it.
I knew I could make videos that were a good overview of the process and I enjoy layout. As soon as iBooks Author was announced I immediately thought a home roasting coffee handbook would be perfect for the format because you need to see someone else doing it with these cheap appliances to see how simple it really is. I approached Samuel Harvey about writing the text for the book and being the general consultant as he was a lot more experienced at home roasting than I was. A director friend of mine Sam Griffith directed all of the videos.
Sorry about that We’ve searched high and low for a simple way to get all of the content onto something other than iPads, but it is a royal pain. E-ink devices can’t show off the video potion of the book which is kinda the point as well as the interactive elements and the way color is used. The experience of the book really gets botched if we try to port to another device at this point. If we generate enough sales on the on the ibookstore over time we may produce on other formats using some of the new Adobe InDesign tools but for now its only iPad.
Any plans for books on other coffee topics or in general?
We’ve talked about a similar book on espresso using some of the good sub-$400 espresso makers out there, but it depends on what the response to this book is.
Finally, How much is the book and where can we find it?
The book is $4.99 and you can get it on the ibookstore here http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/roast-your-own/id548973204?mt=11
Also if you go to www.roastyourownbeans.com before Septemeber 1st you can enter to win a complete home roasting kit from Sweet Maria’s.