Roast Your Own Coffee at Home

Edited by Nuance, Anonymous

Can you imagine the aroma filling your home while you're roasting your own coffee beans? Like most things, it can be a simple process, or you can teach yourself to be a coffee master, with more complicated gadgets. Soon, you will be sipping a cup of delicious, fresh, full-bodied coffee you roasted yourself.

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Can you smell the delicious aroma of fresh-brewed coffee?
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Becoming a Roast Master

Before you run out and purchase a Home Coffee Roasting Appliances, which is an expensive prospect – most start at around $400.00, you might want to try one or more of these methods to see if it's actually something you're going to enjoy doing.

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Unroasted coffee beans.jpg

The first thing you need to do is purchase some non-roasted green coffee beans. Non-roasted coffee beans are green because they're raw. Here are a few you could choose from:

  • CENTRAL AMERICAN. Fairly balanced, mostly light, a bit acidic with a fruity undertone.
  • COLOMBIAN. Very popular in North America. Columbian is a medium coffee, fairly balanced, mostly light, a bit acidic with fruity undertones.
  • BRAZILIAN. These coffees consist are mainly from robusta beans, and are used for generic and grocery store blends. They are also used for darker roasts. They have a heavier texture, often with chocolaty overtones.
  • ETHIOPIAN. This is where growing coffee began. There are more varieties here, as they've been at it longer. Their coffees are thick, with strong overtones of blueberries and strawberries.
  • KENYAN. This is a bold tasting coffee. It has a tropical quality with undertones blackcurrants.
  • INDONESIAN. These coffees are earthy and smoky, with a lengthy aftertaste, no unlike unsweetened cocoa.
  • HAWAIIAN coffees have a sweet scent and a mild, floral mellowness.

Taste and Aroma

  1. 1
    ACIDITY.
    The sharpness at the edge of your tongue – also called "brightness". All coffees some acidity, otherwise they taste flat and dull.
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  2. 2
    AROMA.
    Our taste buds can only discerning four flavor categories (sour, sweet, salty and bitter). Our sense of smell allows us to experience many layers of aroma that for coffee, include, flowery, earthy, smoky, nutty and fruity.
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  3. 3
    BODY.
    How coffee feels in your mouth varies from light to dense. Compare the body to drinking a glass of skim milk to drinking a glass of heavy cream.
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  4. 4
    ROAST.
    The roast is determined by how long the beans are heated. Dark roasted beans require a longer roasting time.
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  5. 5
    BALANCE.
    This describes how all these things interact to make a delicious cup of coffee. The balance might provide you with a very flavorful simple coffee, to one with very complex notes and flavors.
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  6. 6
    FINISH.
    In the same way it is used for wine-tasting, the "finish" is referring to the taste left in your mouth after you drink.
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The Seven Stages of Roasting

There are many ways to roast coffee. Depending on your tastes, you will want to know the different stages of the roasting process.

  1. 1
    Yellowing.
    During the first few minutes goes from its green color to light yellow. You'll notice a grassy smell.
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  2. 2
    Steam.
    As the water inside the bean begins to dissipate, the beans begin to steam.
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  3. 3
    First Crack.
    About the time the steam becomes fragrant, you'll hear the "First Crack". This cracking sound signifies the roasting is underway. Sugars start to caramelize, water escapes and oils begin to move outward.
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  4. 4
    First Roasted Stage.
    After the first crack, it will make a good cup of coffee. This is called a City Roast. Keep roasting if you like a darker bean.
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  5. 5
    Caramelizing.
    This process continues as the oils migrate, the beans expand and become darker. This is City Roast Plus. Most recommend you stop at this point.
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  6. 6
    Second Crack.
    Now you'll hear the "Second Crack" can be heard, probably louder than the first. This is a Vienna roast. It's important you pay attention now, as during this stage, pieces of the beans can be blown off the bean.
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  7. 7
    Dark Roast.
    As the roast becomes darker, the smoke is more pungent as sugars burn completely, and the bean structure breaks down more and more. Near the end of the "Second Crack", you will have yourself a French Roast.
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  8. 8
    You've blown it.
    If left too long, the sugars completely burn up. Now you can have yourself a mug of charcoal water. Happens to everyone. Start again.
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Now You're Ready to Roast Your Own Coffee Beans

A delicious cup of designer coffee.

How it Works

The idea is simple. All beans require for the roasting process is heat, and a method to heat them. The estimated time it takes to roast the beans and turn them from green to brown is between 10 and 16 minutes, depending on how you are roasting the beans, and how many you are roasting.

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Methods

There are several methods you can choose from, to roast your own coffee at home. Your choice will be based on how much coffee you want to roast, how often you want to roast it, and how much money you'd like to invest in this. In this VisiHow article, we're going to discuss three methods of roasting your own coffee at home.

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  1. 1
    Cast iron.
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  2. 2
    Oven Roasting.
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  3. 3
    Popcorn Popper.
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Cast Iron Frying Pan Method

This is the method that requires the least amount of tools, but it's challenging to get the hang of it. Still, this is a great way to try it out, and see if it's something you'd like to do more often, and become more experienced at. A skillet or saucepan will work as well, and ideally, a pan with a rounded bottom would work best. You want to use a pan with a thick metal, like cast iron. Stainless steel is also a good choice. Just make sure you don't use any kind of coating.

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A cast iron pan works well on the stove.

What You Need

It's important that everything you need is close at hand.

  • Non-roasted, green coffee beans.
  • Electric or gas burner.
  • Pan
  • Oven mitts
  • Either a wire whisk or a wooden spoon
  • A metal colander.

Roast Coffee Beans in a Cast Iron Pan

  1. 1
    If you have an exhaust fan on your stove, turn it on.
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  2. 2
    The temperature will depend on your particular stove, but you want the pan hot, about 500 degrees F.
    Medium might be about right.
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  3. 3
    Preheat the pan before adding beans.
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  4. 4
    Add ½ - 1 cup of beans, depending on the size of your pan to the hot pan.
    You want to be able to stir easily, but you don't want them too sparse.
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  5. 5
    As soon as you pour the beans into the pan, you need to start stirring.
    You need to keep the beans moving, but you don't have to beat them up.
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  6. 6
    You'll be stirring for 8-10 minutes.
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  7. 7
    To get the beans from yellow to dark brown, they will go through these changes.
     
    1. Yellow to golden brown.
    2. Golden brown to light brown.
    3. Light brown to black.
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  8. 8
    You may need to adjust your heat level during the process.
    You want the heat to be even for this process to be successful.
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  9. 9
    Somewhere near the 5-minute mark, when the beans are between golden and light brown, you should hear the "First Crack" – literally a cracking sound, not unlike popcorn popping.
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  10. 10
    Coffee is drinkable from the "First Crack" on.
    From here, you will continue until you get the depth of bean you find tastiest. The darker the bean - the stronger the roast.
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  11. 11
    During the cooling process, the beans will cook a little more.
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  12. 12
    The beans will continue to darken after the first crack, changing from a light to a dark brown.
    When the beans are dark, you'll hear a second crack. Beyond this point, you risk ending up with a bunch of charcoal.
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  13. 13
    When the beans are to your liking, pour them into the colander.
    It's best to have the colander over a bowl, as the chaff that came off while you roasted the beans, will fall through the holes in the colander.
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  14. 14
    When the beans are cool, you need to allow for the off-gas.
     
    1. Let the beans cool for 5 hours, or overnight.
    2. Store them in an airtight container.
    3. Stored correctly, your home-roasted coffee beans will stay fresh for up to one week.
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  15. 15
    Enjoy your home-roasted coffee!
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Oven Roasting

Oven-roasting is probably the easiest method regarding work, but the most difficult to perfect.

After you've oven-roasted your coffee beans, you get to enjoy them!

What You Need

  • Two cups of your choice of non-roasted green coffee beans.
  • A perforated cookie sheet.
  • A wooden spoon.
  • Oven mitts.
  • A metal colander. Make sure the beans can't fall through the holes.
  • Flashlight (if your oven doesn't have a light).
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Roast Coffee Beans in an Oven

  1. 1
    Preheat the oven to 45 degrees F.
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  2. 2
    Pour the beans onto the cookie sheet.
    Make sure they are in a single layer.
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  3. 3
    Place them cookie sheet in the oven.
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  4. 4
    Move them around on the sheet every minutes or so to ensure even roasting.
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  5. 5
    They'll turn from yellow to very dark brown.
     
    1. Yellow to golden brown.
    2. Golden brown to light brown.
    3. Light brown to black.
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  6. 6
    When the beans are between golden and light brown (about ten minutes into the process), you should hear the "First Crack" – literally a cracking sound, not unlike popcorn popping.
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  7. 7
    You'll need to keep checking the color of the beans to know when they're done.
    Some people like them light brown, while others prefer them as dark as possible, without burning them.
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  8. 8
    When they are done to your liking, remove them from the oven and pour them into the colander.
    They'll roast a bit more while they cool. To speed up the cooling, shake them around the colander. Shaking them in the colander will also remove the chaff. You might want to do this over a big bowl to avoid the mess.  
    1. When the beans are cool, you need to allow for the off-gas.
    2. Let the beans cool for 5 hours, or overnight.
    3. Store them in an airtight container.
    4. Stored correctly, your home-roasted coffee beans will stay fresh for up to one week.
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  9. 9
    Enjoy your home-roasted coffee!
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Air Popcorn Popper

Many people who roast their own coffee beans consider this method the most effective. There are two things to look at when choosing a popper. You can find an air popcorn popper for a reasonable price at a Walmarts, or similar inexpensive store. Before you do that, you might want to visit your neighborhood thrift shop. The performance of each popcorn popper is different.

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  • The thrift shop is a good bet, because the older models work better to roast beans. The temperature is higher and the fans were made better. Most of the modern poppers don't have a thermostat.
  • When choosing a popcorn popper, look down into the chamber. You will either see holes or a mesh screen at the bottom, or a solid bottom with vents along the sides of the lower part of the chamber wall. The models with solid bottoms are preferable to those with holes or a mesh screen.
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A hot-air popcorn popper - never thought you'd roast coffee beans in this, did you?

What You Need

  • Non-roasted green coffee beans.
  • Hot air popcorn popper.
  • Bowl to catch the chaff the popper will spit out.
  • Bowl to cool the beans in.
  • Wooden spoon.

Roast Coffee Beans in a Popcorn Popper

  1. 1
    Heat up your popcorn popper.
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  2. 2
    Place the bowl near the spout.
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  3. 3
    When it's hot enough, add ¾ cup of coffee beans.
    In a popper, bigger beans are better.
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  4. 4
    You don't have to stir, as the agitator will do that for you.
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  5. 5
    You do need to watch the process.
    You'll decide when their done by the color they've become, and what taste you prefer.
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  6. 6
    The chaff will come out of the spout and land, hopefully, in the bowl.
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  7. 7
    The beans will go from yellow to dark brown in this order.
     
    1. Yellow to golden brown.
    2. Golden brown to light brown.
    3. Light brown to black.
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  8. 8
    When the beans are between golden and light brown (about five minutes into the process), you should hear the "First Crack" – literally a cracking sound, not unlike popcorn popping.
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  9. 9
    Coffee is drinkable from the "First Crack" on.
    From here, you will continue until you get the depth of bean you find tastiest. The darker the bean, the stronger the roast.
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  10. 10
    Note - During the cooling process, the beans will cook a little more.
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  11. 11
    The beans will continue to darken after the "First Crack", changing from a light to a dark brown.
    When the beans are dark, you'll hear a "Second Crack". Beyond this point, you risk ending up with a bunch of charcoal.
    #When the beans are to your liking, pour them into the bowl. 
    
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  12. 12
    When the beans are cool, you need to allow for the off-gas.
     
    1. Let the beans cool for 5 hours, or overnight.
    2. Store them in an airtight container.
    3. Stored correctly, your home-roasted coffee beans will stay fresh for up to one week.
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  13. 13
    Enjoy your home-roasted coffee!
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Issues With Roasting with a Popper

  1. 1
    Uneven Roast.
     
    1. Too many beans in the popper.
    2. Some dry processed coffees will roast unevenly.
    3. Not enough agitation. You might want to stir the beans intermittently with a wooden spoon, only for the first 30 seconds, after that, you'll see more movement with the beans.
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  2. 2
    Done in five.
    If you've gotten to the dark roast stage in five minutes or less, it's too fast. There are a few reasons for this happening.  
    1. Too many beans in the popper. Reduce the amount of beans you're using.
    2. The heating element is too hot. Decrease the temperature if you can. A trick to reducing the heat if you don't have a way to control it, is to plug the popper into an extension cord, as it lessens the amount of electricity the popper receives.
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  3. 3
    Not Fast Enough.
    If you are 12 or more minutes into the process, and the beans aren't yet roasted, or you haven't heard the "Second Crack".  
    1. Your popper just won't get hot enough to roast coffee beans, and you'll need a different popper.
    2. Many new poppers have an automatic mechanism that shuts off the heating element when it gets too hot, and this could be the problem. Often it's at the very crucial time when the "First Crack" is going on. This stalls the process. You'll know this is the problem when you hear the frequency of the motor change. You'll need a different popper.
    3. Not enough beans. Just add more beans next time.
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A little cinnamon in your coffee on those cold winter mornings.

Tips and Warnings

  • Add a tiny pinch of salt to the coffee grounds before brewing.
  • If you like cinnamon, add a shake to the coffee grounds before brewing.
  • Roast more than one batch.
  • If you don't have an exhaust on your stove, and you're able, roast the beans outside or in the garage.
  • The darker the bean, the stronger the roast.
  • Make your own special roast by mixing different beans.
  • If you are new at roasting your own coffee, you might want to purchase a sampler of non-roasted, green coffee beans to acquaint yourself with different flavors.
  • When working around anything hot, make sure you have oven mitts, and take care that children are around.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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