Being a serious coffee drinker, you can appreciate the delicate flavor of a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The smell alone is intoxicating. Buying coffee in restaurants and coffee shops can turn into a pretty expensive habit. Even buying bags of roasted beans is costly. Wouldn’t it be great if you could roast your own coffee beans?
Why Would You Want To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans?
The simple answer is that coffee tastes better when it’s made with freshly roasted beans and freshly ground coffee. When you consider the price of a standard cup of coffee, it’s also cheaper to roast your own coffee beans. After all, raw coffee beans are more reasonable than roasted.
Freshly roasted coffee beans have a shelf life of about 7-10 days. Whereas raw coffee beans can be stored for up to 12 months. So you can roast small batches of coffee beans and have freshly roasted coffee all the time.
Another benefit is that you have complete control over the process. You can adjust your roast to suit your particular taste—experiment with adding different flavors and different blends of beans.
But, there will be an initial investment. You have to source your raw beans, buy equipment and then learn how to use the equipment.
Buying Raw Coffee Beans
This is where things start to get a little complicated. Not only are there plenty of places to buy raw coffee beans, but you also need to know what kind of beans you want to buy. Arabica? Robusta? Then there’s Fair-Trade or Organic. What about blending different beans?
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider. Start by buying small bags of raw beans. You may want to begin with buying your favorite beans to try to duplicate a particular flavor.
How Long Does It Take To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans?
The longer your roast coffee beans, the stronger the flavor. How long it takes will depend on a few factors: the type of roaster you use, the number of beans in your roaster, the temperature, and the kind of roast you aim to achieve.
What Happens During the Roasting Process?
Raw coffee beans will be a green color, much like a pinto bean. They contain a significant amount of water, somewhere between 10-12%. When the beans begin to roast, they shrink.
The temperature of the roaster needs to be between 350oF and 500oF. The beans need agitation and should never rest. This ensures proper distribution of heat and an even roast.
Here’s what happens during the roasting process:
The Drying Stage
The minute raw beans are added to a hot roaster, the temperature drops before rising again. Once the temperature increases, the beans’ water begins to evaporate, and pressure builds inside the beans.
The Browning Stage
This is when the beans begin to darken. This is the stage where the flavors start to develop. After 3-5 minutes, you’ll hear a cracking sound. The beans crack due to the pressure inside them. This is considered the first crack.
After a few more minutes, the beans reach their second crack when all the water inside evaporates. This is when the beans become darker. As the beans continue to roast, they will become more bittersweet with reduced acidity.
Light to Medium Roast
Sometime between the first and second crack (a few more minutes) is when light to medium roast occurs. Dark roasted beans will usually happen after the second crack.
Once the beans have been roasted to your liking, they need to cool down. The beans will continue to roast while they cool. At this point, you’ll need to remove and discard any of the dried chaff (dried husk of a coffee bean) that separated from the coffee beans. A colander is a good tool for this. The beans will still be quite hot, so use mitts.
Once the beans are at room temperature, you can store them in a foil-lined bag or airtight container. They should be stored in a cool, dark place.
How Much Skill Do You Need To Roast Your Own Beans?
As long as you love coffee, you don’t really need any particular skills to roast your own coffee beans. As long as you can read instructions and have a desire to learn.
Different Methods For Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans
For the home coffee roaster, you may want to experiment with using equipment you have on hand, such as a popcorn popper or your oven. We’ll take a look at both methods below:
Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans in a Popcorn Popper
This is a great starting point, especially for small quantities. Of course, you know that popcorn poppers are not meant to roast coffee. If you use your popcorn, you should know that it will invalidate your warranty.
Using a popcorn popper will limit the quality of your roasted beans. Another problem is that the newer popcorn poppers do not get hot enough to roast coffee. So while this may be the easiest method, it’s not necessarily the most effective way to roast coffee beans.
If your popcorn popper has a mesh screen at the bottom, you will have to remove it. Leaving it in may cause your popper to catch fire.
There are people out there that swear by the popcorn popper, so this may be an excellent place for you to start. Air poppers typically take only 8-12 minutes to roast coffee beans.
Roasting Coffee Beans In An Oven
This is another way to get started without buying any equipment. It’s a long process, and it takes more work. The oven temperature needs to be between 475oF and 500oF. You may need to make adjustments as you experiment.
The beans are placed on a baking tray. You should only roast between ⅓ pound and ½ pound of beans at any one time. You want all the beans to be in an even layer and no more than one bean deep. This method takes anywhere from 10-17 minutes to roast. You’ll need to move the beans around occasionally.
The problem with oven roasting raw coffee beans is that you may not get an even roast. Each time you open the oven door to stir the beans, heat escapes. The beans outside of the tray may burn while the beans closer to the center are not roasted.
The Easiest Way To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans
The easiest way is to use a purpose-built coffee roaster for home use. This will take all the guesswork out of roasting coffee beans. You can pick up a roasting machine for under $100. For instance, the Coffee Roaster Machine for Home Use, 800g Capacity Electric Coffee Bean Roaster.
To create your perfect coffee blend, keep a roasting journal. Each time you roast coffee beans, note the quantity, the blend, temperature, and how long the beans roast. This will help you achieve the perfect combination for you.
Roasting your own coffee beans successfully won’t happen overnight. It will take time, but eventually, it will become a passion. You’ll enjoy experimenting with different blends and different types of roasts to find your perfect combination.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below. I’ll get back to you shortly.