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How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home

roasting coffee at home in a pan

Have you ever wondered how to roast your own coffee at home? You might be thinking that you need a huge roasting machine and a supplier of raw green coffee beans, but it’s actually much more simple than you might think.

Coffee roasting is a complex process but can be incredibly rewarding. By roasting, grinding, and brewing at home, you are taking control of almost the whole coffee process, all that’s left is growing your own plants and harvesting.

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 true with roasting. Temperatures must be precise and timings must be impeccable to avoid ruining the coffee beans and wasting your batch.

Whether you are looking to have some fun and try something new, or want to take up coffee roasting as a hobby, this guide will show you how you roast coffee beans at home.

Can You Roast Coffee Beans at Home?

Yes, you 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 about to your fellow coffee aficionados, and who knows, you might even open up a roastery! However, we don’t recommend wood-fired roasting at home as this requires tremendous skill and expertise.

Equipment Needed to Roast Your Own Coffee

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

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 shop sells. 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. You can get green coffee beans directly on Amazon now too.

Types of Equipment Used to Roast Coffee

  • A popcorn maker (yes, really)
  • Large roasting pan
  • An oven
  • An actual coffee roasting machine (Mini version)

You may already have some of this equipment, but if not, 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 are 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.

Extra Equipment Needed:

You may already have these items at home, but it’s worth checking just in case!

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Roasting Tray (Perforated)
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Storage Container (AirTight)
  • Oven Glove

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.

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.

How to Roast Coffee in an Oven

Using an oven to roast coffee at home is one of the most common methods as everyone has an oven. Although you have to be careful when roasting in the oven since it’s prone to producing uneven roast as you can’t give the coffee beans a good shake while it’s roasting, at least not like a roasting machine does where it continuously turns. 

It’s not vitally important, but using a gas-lit oven would be ideal for roasting coffee as a fan-powered oven can cause the chaff to blow around the oven and then out of it when you open the door.

  1. Preheat to between 300F and 500F.
    This will vary depending on your oven and the type of beans you use.
  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).
    Also, don’t stack the beans on top of each other.
    A tray with holes is much better for roasting coffee beans.
  3. Keep an ear out for the crack as mentioned previously, or wait longer depending on your roast type.
    After the first crack, your beans will be ready and be in a light-roasted stage.
    A second crack would indicate a medium roast.
  4. Ventilate the room and remove the beans (roasting will produce smoke).
  5. Use a colander or bowl to shake and mix up the beans.
    Place the beans somewhere to cool and remember not to store them for 12-24 hours.

How to Roast Coffee in a Pan or Cast Iron Skillet

Roasting in a cast iron skillet is one of the most inexpensive ways to roast your coffee beans. The best thing about a skillet is that the heat is evenly distributed without getting any hotspots that would lead to charcoaled beans.

Make sure that you don’t use non-stick pans or any that are coated with material. This can impact the quality and flavor of your overall batch.

  1. Heat the pan similar to the oven temp between 300F-500F.
    This can be temperamental with a pan, especially if using an electric hob.
    You may have to try a few test runs to get the perfect temp.
  2. Place the beans in the pan being sure not to “pile” them on top of each other.
    There must be an even spread and space for you to stir them.
  3. Continue to stir the beans and ensure non-stop movement until done.
  4. The first crack will indicate a light roast and the second will indicate a medium roast.
  5. Remove, shake, 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.

How to Roast Coffee 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 it unattended.

  1. Preheat the popcorn maker (time will vary depending on make)
  2. Put enough beans in so that the machine can rotate them. If it can’t, remove some beans.
    If you have removed enough beans and they aren’t ‘turning’ help them along with a wooden spoon.
  3. Leave them in there for the desired roasting type (until you hear the cracks).
  4. Clear up the excess chaff that will come out.
  5. 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. Some coffee roasters we recommend include:

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.

Final Preparation | Transfer Your Roasted Beans in an Airtight Container

Once the coffee has cooled off, let it rest overnight or at least 12 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. 

The coffee beans need time to expel the gases built up. If you leave them too long, they will become stale. 12 hours is a good marker.

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. 

Coffee Roasting 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 gasses. There are a specific set of temperatures, timings, and stages that need to be precise during this process:

  • Temperature – This will depend on your roasting equipment, method, and beans, 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. This is why using an oven is difficult because you cannot turn the beans as much.
  • 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 de-gas and 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 out 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 and use a conical burr grinder.
  • Wait 12-18 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 bold and strong coffee taste.

Brief Science Behind Coffee Roasting

Coffee has a strong element of science involved in the roasting process, which affects the flavor and quality of your coffee. The most important thing for you to remember when roasting from home is gasses. The main gasses are carbon dioxide and oxygen:

  • 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 allow the beans to release gas after roasting and then store them after 12-hours to prevent them from becoming stale. Aim to consume them within a week. You can use beans for longer, but the taste will become a little weaker. 

Coffee is best enjoyed when it is fresh, and by roasting your coffee at home, grinding the beans, and brewing correctly, you cannot get a coffee that is any fresher. Unless of course, you decide to grow your own (if the conditions in your location allow).

The Final Sip

There you have it, a straightforward guide to roasting coffee beans at home. It may seem like a daunting task but once you practice a few times, you will probably begin roasting every week! Coffee is best enjoyed when it is fresh, and by roasting your coffee at home, grinding the beans, and brewing correctly, you cannot get a coffee that is any fresher. Unless of course, you decide to grow your own (if the conditions in your location allow). If you have any roasting methods or tips you feel would help, please feel free to share them below.

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