Common Ground: RYO Coffee

Thursday, 21 May, 2015
We caught up with Kirsten van Jaarsveld, owner of start-up Roast Your Own Coffee, an online store for green beans and all the coffee paraphernalia that goes with it.  Kirsten was joined by comedian, Dave Levinsohn to experiment with some stove roasting.

TCM: How did you get into coffee and how did RYO coffee start?

It feels like coffee has been part of my daily routine forever. There’s always been a love of coffee, but that has changed substantially over the last year. What I thought was a love, was clearly just a like compared to what I have now. And it all started with a random trip to Mali, where my husband got bumped off his connecting flight in Ethiopia, and that’s where he learned of the Ethiopian coffee tradition. Now we can’t get enough experimenting with coffee beans.

What is your background before RYO Coffee?

I worked in the Marketing and Advertising industry for about 10 years, and I’m using those principals to help me market the RYO Coffee range. I love it. I’m now my own Marketing Manager, for my own brand.

What is your philosophy on home roasting?

Respect the beans and the process they’ve been through to get to you, and enjoy the diversity of each roast. But most of all, don’t look for consistency. For me, that’s when it gets boring, unless you’re trying to test yourself for fun.

This was Dave's first attempt at roasting coffee. All you need is some green coffee, a stove top and a pan!

What is your favourite coffee at the moment?

I think the Guatemala Antigua. Somehow I always go back to it. It’s got such bold flavours that don’t create a twang. It’s a super tasty origin.

Do you recommend a specific methodology or is self-discovery and experimentation part of the fun?

Definitely self-discovery and experimentation. I used a popcorn machine a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed that, but at the end of the day, I still go back to my pan on the stove. I feel comfortable at the stove. My husband loves his potjie pot on the braai method, and that makes sense, he’s a braaier, its where he’s more comfortable

Do you think about espresso extraction vs. manual brewing in mind when roasting - how does it affect your process?

Most often no, because I don’t have an espresso machine. I do keep the type of manual brew method in mind, and make sure that I grind accordingly, in order to get the best extraction of flavour for that brew method.

Awesome result for a first attempt!

Where can people contact you and find out more?

The easiest way to contact me is probably on, and for more info, my web address is , my twitter handle is @RYOCoffeeSA , my Facebook page is /RYO Coffee and my Instagram handle is RYO_Coffee

Any parting words for potential home-roasters out there?
You can buy great coffee, and you can make great coffee. Respect them both, and love them both….. and always, share lovingly with family and friends!

Comedian Dave Levinsohn and Kirsten van Jaarsveld have some fun roasting and brewing!

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