In the old time roasting coffee at home was pretty normal.
It was not so easy to find it, so families had to do it themselves.
Now times have changed and so the coffee industry.
The ranges of coffee beans we find in shops could make us believe we need the help of experts to enjoy the best brews.
But the question still remains: is roasting coffee at home a do or a don’t?
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Is it Possible to Roast Quality Coffee at Home?
Here’s the point: If you roast it right, your own roasted beans can taste every bit as good as the ones you find in branded sachets.
So it is roasting coffee at home is definitely something to try, particularly if you love having your coffee and want to have exactly the way you want.
Like all the good things it take some practice but it you are willing to give it a go you may even discover your new favorite hobby in the process.
What You Need
Firstly you must realize the importance of the preparation stage.
Coffee roasting can be a fun experience but it’s essential you follow a systematic process if you want beans that are worth sharing with your friends.
Make sure you have all your utensils ready so you don’t have to panic in the middle of your roasting.
Because timing plays such an important role in roasting you can’t risk leaving your beans alone for too long during any of the steps we discuss below and figure out what tool to use.
Get Your Gear
Source Your Beans
Here’s an important fact: your roasted beans can only be as high in quality as the beans you use.
Yes, that is intuitive: keep in mind that your roasting process is important, but a low quality bean will never taste as great as an Arabica.
If you actually want to enjoy your brews you need to invest in a quality product.
You can purchase green coffee beans which you’ll find from local sellers or even online.
An interesting fact is that while your invest in a quality product green coffee beans can actually last longer.
Store them in a cool, dark place and you’ll be able to keep them for some time.
So buy in bigger quantities and save some cash and then you’re guaranteed to always have beans on hand for your next batch.
How to Know When It’s Ready
What if you’re not a great cook or you simply don’t like spending time in the kitchen?
When you follow the easy steps below you’ll discover coffee roasting can actually be loads of fun.
The roasting process takes about 30 minutes and then you just have to wait for the beans to cool down.
The fascinating part of roasting coffee at home is monitoring the stages the beans go through. These help you gauge when your beans are ready.
What do You Hear?
Basically you’ll listen for two things:
Important note: You can’t return your beans to the heat if you realize you took them off too early. As they’re already cooled off they won’t simply continue roasting. You need to learn when is the best time and it will get easier to discern with every batch.
What do You See?
The first few batches of beans will be your learning curve, but we’ll help you get good results faster.
When you know what each shade of colour means, you’ll quickly gauge when to remove the beans from the heat.
Coffe Beans Colors
Here’s a list of bean colours and what you can expect from each:
These changes are possible because of the 800 plus compounds inside the coffee bean that change during roasting.
Your green bean may not smell like anything tasty, but a dark brown is a completely different thing.
What do You Smell?
The aromas you pick up while the beans roast will most likely be in your coffee brews too.
When you smell flavors you know you’ll love to drink it’s a good time to take the beans off the heat, before those details disappear.
The beans will keep on changing as long as they’re roasting.
How to Roast Coffee Beans:
You may imagine this process will require a huge capital expense to get all the equipment in your kitchen. Not so!
Of course you can invest in fancy coffee roasting gadgets but you can also use the utensils already in your cupboards.
Have you ever thought of using these:
Try these methods first.
If the process sparks a new passion in you or if you want to be more meticulous in your roasting you can invest in a purpose built home roasting machine.
If you’ve picked your appliance you can follow one of the 6-Step plans below.
Your 6 Step Coffee Roasting at Home Plan
1 - Pan Roasting
This is a winning method because it’s convenient:
Everyone owns pans, right? Just note that it’s more difficult to measure and maintain the temperature. Gas stoves usually work better.
The thicker your pan the better, but make sure it’s steel or uncoated.
The Pan Roasting Process
Here’s what you do:
As stated, this isn’t the most accurate method in terms of temperature, but it’s very easy to follow.
2 - Oven Roasting
Here’s another favorite option of roasting coffee at home but this one’s unfortunate side effect is a lot of smoke.
When you open the oven door you need to make sure there’s enough ventilation.
This method also won’t work in all ovens: If your oven’s fan blows very forcefully the chaff won’t stay in the pan and the moment you open that door it will be all over your kitchen.
Other than that it’s an easy method requiring little effort or action from your side, different to pan roasting which requires you to stand in front of the stove the whole time.
The Oven Roasting Process
From start to finish it can take more or less 20 minutes, depending on when you decide to take them out of the oven.
You can use a normal tray with a sheet of baking paper in the bottom, or a perforated oven dish with holes small enough not to let the beans through.
Here’s what you do:
Did you know beans expand up to two times while going through the roasting process?
This is important for oven roasting because a bean that falls into a small hole, e.g. in a perforated dish, may get stuck in there while it roasts.
Make sure you get all of them out before doing your second batch. The forgotten beans will get burnt during their second time in the oven and any bad aromas could affect the other beans.
You also need to ensure there’s enough space in the oven dish so the beans won’t get pushed up against each other.
This will prevent even roasting so make sure the amount of beans you use leaves space for them to swell.
3 - Coffee Bean Roasting in a Popcorn Machine
This is a dynamic approach because these appliances are designed to distribute heat evenly among the items inside.
This is essential to get an even roast.
Your popcorn machine should at least be a 1200W model and if there are slots and grooves on the sides, rather than at the bottom, it’s ideal.
Fewer beans will burn because they fall into those holes.
The traditional crank style poppers are very dynamic for this task, which you can place on the stove for a more effective stove top roasting method.
The Popcorn Machine Roasting Process
The steps are simple:
This same method can be followed with an air roaster. It’s a more expensive appliance, but if you already own one it’s an effective tool and there’s very little chance of damaging it in the process. Some of these appliances may even have special settings for coffee roasting, so always read the manual first.
What Happens Now after Beans are Roasted?
Unfortunately you can’t use your beans the moment you’re done roasting.
Therefore you should keep an eye on your stock of coffee beans so you don’t run out one morning.
Beans need to mature for about a day before you grind them up if you want to enjoy the full body that will come to the fore.
Remember to roast only enough beans for a short period of time. They can quickly go stale so making weekly batches is ideal.
How to Optimize Your Home Coffee Roasting
How particular are you about the coffee you drink?
If you want to be as satisfied with your own brews as the ones you get at the local coffee house you’ll need to learn a few habits the pros have.
Here are some of their secrets.
Here’s what you need to know: coffee roasting and brewing are basically a science. You need to be meticulous in:
Why is this necessary? Because when you’ve created the perfect brew you’ll want to recreate it.
How can you do that if you don’t have a record of what you did?
For this you need quality measuring instruments such as spoons, scales and jugs.
Get the Right Beans
We already mentioned beans, but it can’t be over emphasized how important this aspect is.
Your beans determine the flavor you’ll have and the quality of the brew.
This is one aspect worth investing a little bit of money in. We will not go deeper into the coffee bean here as it is not the scope of this article but you can read our post on the best coffee beans.
Keep Everything Clean
If you plan on roasting a large batch of beans you’ll probably use the pan, oven or appliance a few times over on one day.
Always make sure you removed all the chaff and beans before starting the following set.
apart from ruining the taste of the beans, these particles can catch fire if they get too hot.
It’s much easier than you think, right? As a matter of fact the processes are easy, but they require practice to be mastered.
Roasting coffee at home can give you tastier coffee than you find in specialty stores at the moment.
Why? Because your coffee will taste the way YOU want it to taste, and all you need is already in your kitchen. Now time to get your roast done!