Learning enough understanding and technique to get consistently good results is very rewarding to me. Love to learn. So there's that.
And there's fooling around with all the equipment, "mastering" it, and the ever-popular buying new tools. If that doesn't caress the "y" chromosome, what does?
Cost isn't bad. Some people actually save money. Once my roaster is amortized, expendables are factored, yadda, yadda, I'm probably in at about the same price per pound as a high end shop. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Call it a push.
What I like best is the sheer variety of green beans. So many options. So much control. Don't get me wrong, I'm no master roaster. My roast profiles are very basic, and so are my bean choices. But, oh the things I could do and the places I could go if only I did know what I was doing. Maybe some day.
Grew up in Hawaii. We had coffee trees off the back patio. Picked, dried and roasted our own from time to time. There is definitely an art to it. As we were decidedly amateurs, not all of our batches were that successful. Definitely worth it if you are really into coffee though.
We brew and roast for espresso extractions, and while a lot of them make good to excellent (regular) filter coffee we haven't found a really good Hawaiian bean for espresso; or, at least not yet.
The change in roasters from a Behmor 1600 to a HotTop Programmable was a big step up. The machine itself doesn't act as a limiting factor, roasts are very even and professional in every respect. Rather, the limits are with my choices and expertise.
Getting back to beans... We generally prefer blends to "SO" (single origin) espresso. And like a couple of Sweet Maria's "greens" espresso blends a great deal, Monkey and Lenny Dee. Sweet Maria's pre-blends "green," and chooses not only for flavor but for blends which will roast to the same stage at the same time. It's as difficult to do well as it sounds -- and SM does it very well. Monkey is a modern espresso in what's now the classic PNW style and has been a staple of SM's for years and years. Lenny Dee is very sweet, rich, and third wave.
One of the pleasures of roasting is choosing your own beans and constructing your own blends. We've been using two based on greens from Klatch.
I call the first "K Conversation," because I got the idea from an email correspondence with Klatch's roastmaster. It's 3 parts El Salvador San Juan de Bosco, 2 parts Guatemala Antigua Covadonga, and 1 part Brazil Bob O Link. The second is "Backatcha." That's 3 parts Brazil Bob O Link, 2 parts Costa Rica Tarrazu Cerro Paldo and 1 part El Salvador San Juan de Bosco. Conversation is very lively with a lot going on, while Backatcha is very much "comfort food."