As noted in our recent City of Coffee feature, coffee tastes best when it's made from fresh-roasted beans. Some coffee fanatics take that concept to the extreme and roast their own coffee beans at home. (Hot air popcorn machines are very popular for this purpose.) Several of these home roasters have asked where they can buy quality green beans.
One place to get green beans is at the Spec's warehouse store on Smith Street downtown. They sell some 20 varieties of single-origin green beans from such regions as Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia and Malabar. Spec's also roasts coffee on the premises on a 30-pound roaster that sits right near the front door. Just follow your nose -- if they're roasting, you can't miss the aroma.
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Spec's carries some 30 varieties of fresh-roasted coffee, including single-origin coffees in a variety of roasts and some of the store's own custom blends. Prices are pretty reasonable, with the most popular blends going for less than $7 a pound. Green beans sell for around 60 percent of the roasted coffee price.