For a few years now, Mike and I have been roasting our own coffee on and off. We go through spurts where we'll do it a lot, and then wait a year or so, and give it another go. It's something one of my brother's friend's got us into, and we really like it, but don't always have time for.
We buy our beans from Sweet Maria's, an online coffee bean supply shop, that gets their beans from all over the world. They tell you all about where the farm where the beans came from, the climate, show you pictures, etc. It's a really awesome site, and you should check it out for all of the details, because there's way too much to put on here or give them credit for.
Anyway, when you order the beans, they come to you green, and you have to roast them. You can buy special coffee roasters or rig up your own system, but the thing that we've been using is an old popcorn air-popper. We've gone through so many, because they usually overheat after a while, but they can be found for really cheap at thrift stores.
Right now it's a little too cold where I live to be roasting coffee, or I would be. These pics are from before we got our snow. The roasting has to be done outside (at least the way we do it), because the beans give off a lot of smoke, and there's a little film that separates from the bean and shoots everywhere (you can see them all over the table, ground, and Mike's pants in the first photo). It also is just too cold for the popper to heat up enough to roast the beans right now, and takes longer than it should. It's terrible, but I can't wait for spring! I'm already thinking about gardens....at least I have right now to plan.
So in our roasting process, we can only do a small cup of beans at a time (about the amount of kernels you would pop; we use that small cup to measure them out). They jump around, and get a real nice even roast. After a few minutes, the beans start to crackle, which is called the "first crack." You can stop roasting any time after this, depending on how dark you like your roast. Mike and I are dark roast people for the most part, so we give it some more time. The beans will quiet down and continue to roast, until a few minutes later they start to crackle again. At this point we let it go for a few seconds, and then call it good. Our cooling method is really simple; just pouring the beans onto a plate, shaking it ever so gently to spread them out, and placing the plate on a cooling rack. You want them to cool off fairly quickly, since they'll continue to roast if they remain super hot.
Weird fact that I've learned along the way.....the lighter the roast, the more caffeine the coffee will have, so you're actually roasting it out! I would've thought that the darker the coffee the more, but not so. Sometimes when I'm extra sleepy, I'll pick up a light roast on the go for that reason.
Anyway, that's a little about our adventures in roasting coffee! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Hope you have a splendid day.