home coffee roasting in 8 easy steps

How To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans In 8 Easy Steps

How To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans In 8 Easy Steps

April 30, 2021

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The more we learn about how to do stuff, the better we feel about ourselves. This is why you are here, to learn how to roast your own coffee beans.

You may save some money roasting your own coffee beans. However, the biggest perk of roasting your coffee is that you are 100% assured of a fresh coffee made the way you like it!

No more stale coffee for you and fresh is the word of the day. Freshly roasted, freshly ground, and freshly brewed coffee is yours to enjoy.

Once you start roasting your coffee beans, you might not want to go back to your coffee vendor.

However, understand that you are not going to roast coffee like a professional roaster. These guys have roasting machines costing thousands of dollars and carefully control the roasting process at each stage.

You are at home using your popcorn machine or a home coffee roaster. You may not have the expertise or expensive machinery, but you can still roast good coffee.

In this post, I’ll first look at the eight-step method for roasting your own coffee at home. Then I’ll briefly discuss the 5 stages of roasting, so you know what to look out for when roasting your own coffee beans.

We also have our ‘Ultimate Guide to Home Coffee Roasting‘ post if you want to read a more personal, and detailed, experience as a home coffee roaster.

8 Easy Steps to Roast Your Own Coffee Beans

1. Use Good Quality Green Coffee Beans

You often don’t know the best green beans to get for your roasting, so you either get some good recommendations or experiment!

Experimenting with sample packs of green coffee beans is fun but does take extra time. Try green coffee beans from different countries or regions within countries.

Experiment with small lots until you become more confident in your choices. Sample packs are a great place to start since they normally include a variety of regions.

You can also use this as a learning experience to discover more about coffee, coffee farming, and coffee countries.

Store your green coffee beans in a dry sealed container, away from direct sunlight, away from moisture, and at room temperature (about 25°C or 77°F). The beans should last at least six months without deteriorating.

2. Select Your Roasting Equipment

The next thing to consider is your roasting equipment. The equipment you choose depends upon your experience, skill, budget, and enthusiasm for coffee roasting.

⚠️ Warning! You must take care and check the manufacturer’s recommendations with any equipment. You may also void any warranty for a machine that is not designed to roast coffee beans. ⚠️

Popcorn Machines

Popcorn machines can be used for more than popcorn. Corn is solid and similar to a coffee bean. If you are just starting out, then a popcorn machine may be just the thing for you. They are convenient and easy to buy. You can start with a simple model or go for more expensive machines.

The problem with popcorn machines is that you can’t control the roast. This means that your roasts are likely to be inconsistent. You also need to ensure that the popcorn machine doesn’t have a bottom mesh because this can cause fires.

Here are some popcorn machines that may be used to roast coffee beans.

Last update on 2021-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aerogrills

We have heard of people using aerogrill (or aero grill) but I haven’t tried this method. You can always experiment with one but make sure the beans are stirred often, the fumes are controlled, and as always take care!

Do you want to experiment with these aerogrills to roast coffee?

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Skillets

You can use a skillet on your stove to roast coffee, but I don’t recommend using a home oven.

You need to keep the beans moving whilst roasting and you can do this in a skillet by simply stirring with a wooden spoon.

It is awkward and inconvenient to stir the beans in an oven. Not to mention the blast of hot air in your face every time you open the oven door.

Specialized Home Coffee Roasting Machines

If you are more experienced or you want more control over your roast, then you can opt for more sophisticated coffee roasting machines.

Of course, you are looking at more expense with these machines. However, you have much better control over the roasting temperature and time. Some of these machines also have preset coffee roasting profiles which can make them easier to use.

Here are some of the more specialized home coffee roasting machines

Last update on 2021-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are two other home coffee roasting machines that are worth mentioning and they are the Fresh Roast SR540 Roaster and the Behmor 2000AB Plus Home Coffee Roaster

The Fresh SR540 Roaster is a nice compact machine for your home roasting. It can roast dark but it doesn’t have any smoke suppression system. If you want a dark roast then you will need to make sure your roaster is near a good exhaust fan or is outside. You can control the fan speed, temperature, and time of your roast so it is possible to develop your own basic roast profiles.

SR540 home coffee roaster

The Behmor 2000AB roasts up to a pound of green coffee beans. You can choose from up to five different roast profiles. It has a good system for suppressing smoke. However, you can’t do any dark roasts with this machine.

behmor home coffee roaster

 

3. Roasting Area

Roasting coffee beans results in smoke and pungent smells that aren’t that great to have around your house. Consequently, you need to carefully choose your roasting area.

You can use your garage, kitchen, patio, or backyard. But make sure you have good ventilation to remove smoke and smells.

4. Roast Your Coffee Beans

Measure the right quantity for the capacity of your roasting equipment and start roasting.

Popcorn machines take about 8 to 12 minutes to roast your coffee beans. You can’t control the temperature as this is set by the machine, but you can decide when to stop roasting.

Home coffee drum roasters take about 14–20 minutes and you can control the time and temperature in some models.

5. Pay Attention To The Crack Signal

When roasted the coffee bean cell wall burst and results in a ‘popping’ noise or crack. We discuss this later. You can use this popping noise to help you determine the roasting stage.

Depending on the type of coffee you want, you have to pay attention to the crack sounds. You can stop roasting at the first crack or continue until you have your desired roast.

6. Cool Your Roasted Coffee Beans and sieve out the chaff

After roasting you need to let the coffee beans cool. You can spread the beans thinly on any flat surface to cool quickly.

As you roast the coffee beans, they slough off a very fine brown skin called chaff. You can sieve the chaff from the cooled coffee beans.

Alternatively, you can use a coffee cooling machine that contains a fan and sieves.

Last update on 2021-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

7. Storing and Degassing Roasted Coffee Beans

Oxygen, light, heat, and water each interact with chemicals in coffee beans to change their flavor. Consequently, you should keep your newly roasted coffee beans away from light, dry, at room temperature (about 25°C), and in an airtight container.

The best way is to store roasted coffee beans is in a sealed, foiled-lined bag, with a degassing valve.

However, an airtight container will also work but don’t fill it to the top. You need some room for gas to escape.

Roasted coffee beans expel carbon dioxide during storage. You shouldn’t use your coffee beans to make coffee until degassing has finished. Degassing takes about 3 to 4 days.

8. Grind and Enjoy

This is the most anticipated step of all. The fruit of all your labor.

Measure and grind your coffee beans according to your brewing method.

Stages of Roasting Coffee

What should you expect when roasting your own coffee beans?

Roasting coffee consists of about 5 stages. The professional roaster carefully monitors each stage with temperature probes, by listening to the roast, and by inspecting the color of the beans. They also carefully control the roasting temperature.

It takes up to about 15 minutes to roast coffee.

You may not have all the gear of a professional roaster, but you can still listen to your roast, control temperature, and monitor your roast.

Stage 1. Drying Stage

Raw coffee beans contain about 10 to 12% water. The water gives the raw coffee bean a ‘grassy’ flavor so it needs to be removed during roasting.

Water gradually evaporates during the initial stages of roasting and needs to be removed before browning occurs.

Once the water has been driven out the coffee beans have a yellow tinge.

The initial temperature for this stage in a professional roaster is from 210 to 220°C (410 to 428°F). However, when coffee beans are added to a machine the temperature drops and this stage lasts about 1 to 3 minutes at temperatures from 90 to 110°C (194 to 230°F).

Stage 2. Browning

At this stage, the color of the coffee beans begins to turn from yellow to light brown and signals the start of important chemical reactions.

These reactions include the Maillard reaction and caramelization. These are important reactions because they create many of the flavor and aroma characteristics of coffee.

This stage is reached 4 to 8 minutes into the roast and at temperatures from 110 to 165°C (230 to 329°F) with professional roasting machines.

Stage 3. The first crack

The first crack occurs when the build-up of steam and carbon dioxide during Stage 2 increases the pressure within the coffee bean. The increased pressure causes the cell wall of the bean to expand and crack. You can hear this ‘first crack’ as a popping noise.

Very light roast coffees are produced during or just after the first crack. If you want a very light roast, then you stop roasting at this stage.

This stage is reached 10 to 12 minutes into the roast and at a temperature of about 175°C (347°F).

Stage 4. Roast Development

After the first crack, the coffee beans can be roasted to achieve the type of roast you want.

The time you stop roasting during this stage will determine whether you make light or medium roast coffee.

The better tasting medium or espresso roast coffee beans are roasted until they have a satin brown sheen.

This stage is reached at 9 to 14 minutes into the roast and at temperatures from 165 to 185°C (329 to 365°F).

Stage 5. Second Crack

At this stage, any remaining water inside the coffee beans evaporates and the beans undergo a ‘second crack’.

The coffee becomes a darker brown, releases aromatic chemicals, and the remaining sugars in the bean break down.

You don’t want to roast for too long after the second crack because the coffee bean will produce bitter-tasting coffee.

Dark roast coffee beans are made during this stage.

This stage occurs from 13 to 15 minutes and at temperatures from 185 to 200°C (365 to 392°F).

Conclusion

Roasting your own coffee beans at home is not difficult. Obviously, you are not going to roast coffee like a professional, but it is interesting and fun!

More importantly, you are assured of a fresh coffee made the way you like it!

Roasting and then brewing your own coffee is also an opportunity to learn more about what makes good coffee. And if you want to learn even more about home roasting read these books

Last update on 2021-04-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

And if you want an insight into how the professionals roast coffee then I recommend David Rosa’s beautiful and informative book ‘The Artisan Roaster.’

It doesn’t matter if you don’t get it right on the first attempt. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep trying again, and again.

One day you just might discover your perfect roast. Nothing tastes better than a freshly made coffee, especially one made by you.

Meanwhile, enjoy this YouTube video on roasting your own coffee with a popcorn machine.

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