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How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home

roasting coffee at home in a pan

Trends in coffee are ever-changing as more people are trying out different coffee brewing methods at home. Now coffee roasting is becoming popular for coffee fanatics to try at home, and there are many reasons why. By roasting, grinding, and brewing at home, you are taking control of almost the whole coffee process, only missing the growing.

Coffee making, from start to finish, is considered a science and also an art. Every aspect from the soil the plants are grown in, to the brewing method you use can alter the taste dramatically. This is even more so with roasting. You have the opportunity to test out many flavors and roast types. It’s not all positive though, there are some downsides to roasting coffee beans at home.

Whether you are looking to have some fun and try something new or want to take up coffee roasting as a hobby, keep reading to find out how to roast coffee at home.

Can you Roast Coffee Beans at Home?

You certainly can roast coffee beans at home. It might seem intimidating on your first try but just like any other skill, you’ll get the hang of it, and you’ll appreciate your morning cup more knowing that you roasted and brewed your own coffee. It’s a skill you can unapologetically brag to your fellow coffee aficionados.

Benefits of Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans at Home

Now that you know that it’s possible for you to roast coffee at home, the next question is – is roasting coffee beans at home worth the time and effort?

Well, to give you the correct answer to this question, you must first find out what kind of coffee drinker you are. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t mind sparing some of the flavor and freshness of your coffee, then you should probably just shy away from roasting your own coffee and leave the roasting process to the experts.

But if you’re the type of coffee drinker that wants absolute perfection and you have a particular coffee palate then roasting your own coffee is worth every second and effort exerted.

Equipment Needed

Fortunately, roasting coffee at home doesn’t require huge and expensive equipment. After all, you are not roasting bag fulls of beans to supply coffee shops, only a small amount for yourself and your family. That is one important thing to remember when roasting at home, don’t cook up too much, or it will go to waste and the process will likely fail.

Equipment you can use to roast coffee include:

  • Popcorn maker (yes, really)
  • Large roasting pan
  • An oven
  • An actual coffee roasting machine
  • Microwave (last resort)
LUEUR Electric Coffee Roaster Machine
KALDI Home Coffee Roasting Machine
West Bend Electric Hot Oil Popcorn Machine

Now with the equipment listed above, some you will already have in your home and the others will cost money. A popcorn maker could be anywhere from $20 – $150 and a roasting machine could be anywhere from $150 – $10,000 on the extreme end.

It is recommended to use a popcorn maker as this will achieve the best results but if you don’t want to invest the money, use the roasting pan or oven. Whilst equipment is still important when roasting coffee at home, the process and science behind it is more important.

Note: Be wary of dangers when using appliances to roast something that is not technically meant to be roasted in them. Check the documentation from the manufacturer and never leave them unattended.

Coffee Roasting Process

As with every cooking/preparing of food and drink, there is a process. The process of coffee roasting must be acknowledged when attempting to roast from home. This will help you to understand the different stages that the coffee beans go through.

The beans must heat up, roast, and then be allowed to cool to start releasing flavor. There are a specific set of temperatures and stages that happen during this process which we will go through now.

  • Temperature – This will depend on your roasting method but should generally be between 350F and 500F. 
  • Rotation – One thing that is important throughout, is to never allow the coffee to just sit. Just like the factory machines do, you need to make sure the coffee is constantly turning to distribute the heat correctly.
  • Listen Carefully – When you roast coffee, anywhere after 3 minutes, you will hear a crack in the beans. This is perfect for a light roast. If you wait to hear the second crack, you will get a medium roast. You should continue for darker roasts BUT be careful not to go too far and burn the coffee.
  • Cooling Period – You need to remove the beans and allow them to cool. You should put them on something like a cold baking tray that will not melt. Also, remember to shake the beans to get rid of any unwanted chaff.

It may take some trial and error to get it perfect, but once you have figured the process, you can experiment with all different types of roasting methods.

Some important things to remember here:

  • Wait 24 hours before grinding your coffee.
  • Wait 24 hours (roughly) before sealing your coffee for storage.

Types of Roast

There are 4 types of coffee roast and each one can be roasted in multiple ways to produce different results. The 4 types include:

  • Light Roast
  • Medium Roast
  • Medium-Dark Roast
  • Dark Roast

The darker the roast, the stronger your coffee will taste. Dark roasts generally have a bitter taste, medium roasts are the most popular in the US, and light roast is a mild coffee that doesn’t have a “unique” coffee taste.

Quick Science Behind Coffee Roasting

As mentioned before, coffee has a strong element of science involved in the process, flavor, taste, and growth. The most important impact to you, when roasting from home, is gasses. The main gasses are carbon dioxide and oxygen. Here is a quick overview:

  • Carbon Dioxide will release from the coffee beans after roasting. 
  • An incorrect balance of Carbon Dioxide can ruin the beans. There shouldn’t be too much or too little.
  • Oxygen will cause beans to become stale.

This is why you should start storing your beans after 24-hours and aim to consume them within a week. You can use beans for longer, but the taste will become a little weaker. 

How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home?

With the background on roasting coffee covered, it’s now time for you to learn ways to roast coffee at home. Remember that there are different methods that can be used and also different roasting devices so the outcomes may differ.

1. Purchase Green Coffee Beans

For you to be able to roast at least 1 pound of roasted coffee, you need to purchase 2 pounds of unroasted green coffee beans. This can be challenging as “raw” coffee beans are not something that every supermarket or online shops sell. So be sure to look around before planning your roasting process.

If you know a local café that roasts its own beans, you might be able to get hold of some raw coffee beans from them. If not, you can always browse online, everything is online these days. There are a lot of alternatives you can choose from. 

2. Get Ready to Roast

There are many different ways that you can roast coffee beans at home, we will take you through 4 of the most popular methods. These may vary from other instructions and your equipment, you will eventually figure out your own process.

Use an Oven

Another inexpensive way for you to roast coffee beans is to use the oven. Although you have to be careful when roasting in the oven since it’s prone to have uneven roast because you can’t give the coffee beans a good shake while it’s roasting. 

  1. Preheat to between 300F and 500F (it will vary depending on your oven. Start at one of these temperatures and experiment.)
  2. Put the beans spread across the baking tray and place them in the oven. Try to put them at the central source of heat in your oven (ideally the middle).
  3. Keep an ear out for the crack as mentioned previously, or wait longer depending on your roast type.
  4. Remove the beans and ventilate the room (roasting will produce smoke). Place them somewhere to cool and remember not to store them for 24 hours.

Using a Pan or Cast Iron Skillet (Do not use non-stick)

Roasting in a cast iron skillet is one of the most inexpensive ways to get top-quality brewing beans. The best thing about a skillet is that the heat is evenly distributed without getting any hotspots that would lead to charcoaled beans.

  • You want to try and get the same heat as an oven 300F-500F, but this can be temperamental with a pan. So experiment with different heats and see what works best.
  • Place the beans in the pan being sure not to “pile” them on top of each other. There must be an even spread.
  • Continue to stir the beans and ensure movement until done.
  • Follow the same process for the type of roast you want.
  • Remove and cool the same as before.

Although it’s good to have that one trusted cast iron, you should get a dedicated skillet for just roasting coffee since the coffee taste will linger on.

Using a Popcorn Maker

Roasting coffee beans in a popcorn maker is a lot easier, you only need to pour the beans into the popcorn maker and let them roast for about 10 minutes. It is not meant for roasting coffee so be sure to check for guides and never leave unattended.

  • Preheat the popcorn maker
  • Put enough beans in so that the machine can rotate them. If it can’t, remove some beans.
  • Leave for the desired roasting type.
  • Clear up the excess chaff that will come out.
  • Remove and cool down before storage.

Using a Coffee Roaster

If you want a more convenient and perfect way to roast coffee beans at home, you can always invest in a good countertop roaster. It will set you back a little, but it’s probably a more simple method if you plan on roasting often.

Instructions for roasting in a coffee roaster at home will vary depending on the machine. Check the website and documentation for your brand of roaster to find steps for roasting. The same process still applies though.

3. Transfer Your Roasted Beans in an Airtight Container

Once the coffee has cooled off, let it rest overnight or at least 15 hours before transferring it to an airtight container. The length of time suggested here will vary depending on who you ask. Generally between 10 and 24 hours is a normal time. 

Your beans should last a week at maximum flavor and freshness. They will start to become stale after that, but that does not mean they are undrinkable. 

There you have it, a straightforward guide to roasting coffee beans at home. If you have any roasting methods or tips you feel would help, please feel free to share them with The Finest Roast, and they can be published on this list.

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