The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Roasting at Home

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What is coffee roasting?

Coffee roasting means transforming green coffee beans to brown. It involves the careful application of heat to green coffee beans to transform it into the flavorful, aromatic beans that we recognize as coffee.

Coffee roasting

Why roast?

Coffee is a fruit. Unlike other fruits, coffee isn’t something you can consume after harvesting. It needs to be roasted.

The coffee roasting process affects the physical and chemical properties of coffee. Before roasting, coffee beans are green in color. Green coffee beans do not have the characteristics of roasted coffee beans. They are soft and spongy. They do not smell like coffee at all either. In fact, green coffee beans have a grassy and beany aroma.

The roasting process is important in producing a quality cup of joe. When you roast coffee at high temperatures, the chemical structure of the beans changes. About 800 different aroma compounds are developed during the roasting process. It brings out the flavor and aroma that is locked inside the coffee beans.

Types of coffee roast

Types of coffee roast 

Light roast

The beans will be dry and pale-looking. Typically, the beans do not show any traces of the roasting process. The coffee beans are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through the surface. This results in coffee that has less body and more acidity.

Light roast works best for milder coffee varieties.

Medium roast

Medium roast beans fall between the first and second crack. The beans are roasted at temperatures between 410 to 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

Medium roast is often referred to as American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States. This level of roasting gives the beans a slightly darker appearance. The beans exhibit less acidity and a sweeter, more balanced flavor. The caffeine level is slightly less than light roast but higher than the dark roast variety.

Medium-dark roast

Coffee beans are roasted to the beginning or middle of the second crack. The beans are roasted at temperatures between 435 to 445 degrees Fahrenheit. As compared to medium roast, this roast has a darker, richer color, with some oil on the surface.

When brewed, medium-dark roast produces coffee with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.

Dark roast

Dark roast looks like chocolates. They are dark brown in color. Sometimes, almost black. Coffee roasted to this level has low acidity, heavy body, and reveal deeper, darker flavors.

It can be difficult to pick out the characteristics of a specific coffee’s origin since the original coffee’s qualities are mostly lost at this roast level. But that doesn’t mean that dark roast coffee is bland and boring.

Why roast your own coffee?

We all have our own preference when it comes to coffee. Some like light or medium roast while other prefer medium-dark to dark. Roasting your own coffee means being able to roast the coffee exactly to your liking.

Also, coffee roasting at home allows you to save money. Did you know that green coffee beans is only half the price per pound of roasted coffee? Not only will you save money, it can also reduce waste. Raw coffee is shelf stable. That means, you can store it until you’re ready to roast it. Roasted coffee, on the other hand, will only stay fresh for about a week.

We all know that foods taste better when they are fresh. Coffee is one of them. Once you’ve developed your skill, you can buy a bag of coffee and roast the exact amount you need. You no longer have to buy a bag of coffee that has been roasted a few days before. With freshly roasted coffee available, you can create the perfect coffee specifically to your taste.

How to roast coffee at home

Roasting coffee at home is easy. It may take a while to develop your skills, but it’s actually easier than most people think. What’s more, you don’t need to invest on special equipment just to get started.

Learning how to roast your own coffee is highly rewarding. Plus, will make you appreciate coffee even more. You can easily turn green coffee into freshly roasted coffee that can rival even the best commercially produced coffee by following these tips.

Roasting coffee in a popcorn popper

Roasting coffee in a popcorn popper 

A popcorn popper is ideal for beginners who want to start roasting coffee beans at home.

  1. Setup the materials in a well-ventilated area or near an open window. Roasting coffee produces a lot of smoke.
  2. Start by pre-heating the popcorn popper.
  3. Once it’s hot, add about half cup of coffee beans.
  4. Roast the coffee beans. It will only take about 5 minutes, so it is important to pay attention to the roast. At this point, the coffee beans will start changing color – from green to yellow to brown.
  5. Shut off the popper once you reach the desired roast.
  6. Let it cool before storing in an airtight container. Allow the coffee to sit for at least 12 hours before you brew your coffee.

Roasting coffee in a pan


Frying pan with coffee beans during roasting

The frying pan method is one of the most convenient ways of roasting coffee since everyone has a pan lying around. However, it’s not the easiest to master. For this method, a skillet or a cast iron pan are excellent choices.

  1. Maximize ventilation. Make sure that you open the windows or turn on the exhaust before you start roasting.
  2. Place the pan on the stove. Turn on the stove on medium heat.
  3. Measure your coffee beans and pour onto the pan. Start with just half cup.
  4. Stir continuously. You want to keep the beans moving to prevent them from getting burned.
  5. Continue cooking. The beans will change color from yellow to green to light brown to dark brown. Turn off the heat once they are one to two shades lighter than your desired roast. The beans will continue to cook during the cooling process.
  6. Place the beans in a colander. Continue stirring until they are cool.
  7. Once cooled, transfer the batch to an airtight container.

When roasting coffee, expect that it will produce smoke. The darker the roast, the more smoke is produced. That said, it is best to work next to an open window, under your stove vent hood or outdoors. Also, it is best to start with fewer beans. More coffee equals more work. You can add more beans as you gradually gain experience. Never leave coffee roasting unattended.

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