How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home
There are so many ways to make the perfect coffee! Of course, what counts as perfect for you may well be different for other people. In any case, it’s great that you can brew coffee beans in a wide variety of ways. While some people prefer filter or powder coffee, others go straight for the bean. In many cases, this might mean investing in a bean to cup coffee machine, which means you get a real taste of coffee in the most direct way possible.
If this all sounds a bit fancy and really doesn’t bother you too much, then you might not be too worried about getting the best coffee roast at home. If, however, the quality of roast coffee at home does mean a lot to you, then you are going to need to really read into what it is that makes the perfect blend.
If it’s your first time in making barista-quality coffee in the comfort of your own home, then there are likely to be plenty of questions you’d like to ask before you get roasting. Want to know what coffee roasts are all about? What is it that makes roasted coffee so much more desirable than other types? You’ll need to ask the experts and the aficionados. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the best ways to get roasting your beans – whether you have a specific coffee roaster or otherwise.
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Why Roast Coffee Beans at Home?
That’s a key question that many people are likely to ask should the subject of home roasting beans ever come up. However, if you ask anyone who knows a thing or two about coffee beans, they will likely tell you that powder and filter coffee really doesn’t hit the spot in the way that genuine beans and brews can.
Plenty of people will tell you that self roasted beans just taste fresher. Plenty of coffee drinkers also like to take plenty of control over their drinks, and roasting your own blends is the closest you’re going to get to actually making the coffee yourself. There are different levels to coffee roasting, too, which means that the different colours and shades of beans are likely to taste slightly different. For example, a light roast is going to taste much different to a dark roast. What you prefer, of course, is always likely to vary.
For many people, home roasting coffee just makes logical and economical sense. It means that you won’t have to rely on expensive store-bought coffee all the time. What’s more, short of actually picking green coffee and harvesting it yourself, this is the closets you’re going to get in actively creating your own brews.
Therefore, if the idea of roasting coffee from home sounds appealing, you’re likely to be the sort of person who likes making things from scratch. Why not, indeed! If you’re a novice at the roasting game, make sure to keep reading and we’ll clue you in on what you need to do to get the best blends and roasts.
Different Ways of Roasting Coffee at Home
Firstly, it’s worth remembering that there are different ways of roasting coffee from home. As mentioned, one of the easiest ways is to invest in a fully-fledged coffee roasting machine. This will simply demand that you pour your beans into the machine and let it do the rest. It’s a fairly easy process, though some people will probably want to try a cheaper method if they’re just getting started.
For example, all you might need is a stove top, a metal calendar and a frying pan. These are all implements and tools that many kitchens are already likely to have. Beyond this, you can even use a machine that makes popcorn to roast up your coffee. If you already have this facility at home, then you really won’t have to do much beyond popping your beans in and supervising.
However, we’ll come to that shortly. What you’re going to need in all cases are green coffee beans. Green beans are what coffee starts from. You’re going to need to roast green coffee to however you like it – and it’s actually plenty quicker than you might think.
Therefore – once you’ve got your green coffee beans to hand, it’s time to get started. However, it’s worth keeping in mind what the different stages of roasting coffee actually are.
Coffee Roasting Stages in Brief
There are plenty of guide out there which go into tons of detail on what you can expect at each stage of the coffee roasting process. However, we’re here to keep things simple.
Here are the different steps you can expect along the way, regardless of how you intend to roast the beans:
- Green beans indicate that you’re dealing with raw coffee, and that you’re yet to start roasting. Better get a move on!
- Steaming beans shows that your coffee is on the cook. By this point, the beans will likely have changed colour to a yellowish tint, and will be emitting water along the way.
- First crack is the initial stage of coffee bean roasting. This is right before what you’d call a city roast, which many people regard as the absolute minimum roasting level for any kind of coffee. We’re inclined to agree. The first crack is normally associated with popping noises, so don’t be too alarmed.
- From here, you can steadily roast your beans through various levels of darkness. If you ask aficionados and roasting experts, you will hear them call these stages the ‘city roasts’. It all gets a little involved – meaning if this is your first time having your coffee roasted, it’s probably best to follow things along as-is. Do some homework and worry about the city levels later!
- However, be sure to start thinking about taking things off the roast towards the second crack. The second crack is thought to help produce some of the best flavours coffee beans has to offer, meaning that if you really want to hold out for some coffee richness, be sure to wait for a second round of popping.
- Beyond here, you’re at risk of burning your beans. These really aren’t going to taste very nice, so make sure to take things in hand and stop! If it’s your first time using a coffee roaster or otherwise, you should probably do best to stop roasting between the first and second cracks.
Ok – so let’s get to the meat of the matter. How do you actually get those green coffee beans on the route to roasting? Let’s take a look.
Roasting Coffee with a Machine
As mentioned, roasting coffee beans with a machine is easy, but it can get to be quite expensive. If you’re serious about your coffee, however, and you’re willing to invest the extra cash, you’ll likely find this process to be more than worthwhile.
Four simple steps you should follow (regardless of the machine you use) to roast beans at home.
1. Loading the coffee beans
Load the coffee roaster with the amount of beans you’d like to put through, and start the process.
Wait for your coffee to roast.
Empty into a metal colander once you’re at your desired blend.
Be sure to stir it all around until the beans are warm, before leaving to cool down.
Yes – it really is that simple. One of the best reasons to invest in a coffee roasting machine is the fact that it will likely take away much of the guesswork for you. If you’re just getting started with the idea of roasted coffee at all, it’s probably going to be a good investment. However, again, you’re going to need to be sure that you want it.
Otherwise, it might be a good idea to experiment – safely – with your oven, or with a popcorn popper machine. It’s true that these systems might make the roasting process a little finer to follow, but it’ll be much cheaper. What’s more important to you – cost or convenience? Let’s look at the other ways you can roast beans at home.L
Roasting Coffee with a Stove Top
Whether you’d like to try a light roast or a dark roast, it’s completely possible to follow the process with your own oven and a frying pan. In fact, many people prefer this option as it often means they won’t have to invest in any extra equipment or clunky bits and pieces. Here’s what you’ll need to do when home roasting on a stove or with a hob:
1. Gather Your Coffee Roasting Tools
Grab a frying pan, an appropriate stirring tool such as a spoon or whisk, as well as that all-important metal colander.
2. Measure & Warm Your Pan
Measure out the beans you want to use – start out small – and heat your pan up to around a medium level of heat.
3. Stir Your Coffee
Start stirring in your beans. Don’t be too hasty – these things take a little time, and you might want to give it around five to ten minutes for the best results. As mentioned above, you’re going to need to watch the colours change.
3. Listen for the First ‘Crack’
You should, of course, listen for that all-important first crack. From here on in, your roasted coffee is as you want it to be. Be sure not to roast too much, or you’ll end up with burnt coffee that tastes foul.
4. Transfer and Cool Your Coffee Beans
Once you’re happy that the beans are sufficiently roasted to how you like them, be sure to pour into your colander over a bin or waste disposal. This is because there’s going to be a bit of debris that comes off – and you don’t want to shake everything over the floor or hobs. From here, you’re going to need to keep stirring to help cool the beans down.
5. Rest and Store Your Coffee Beans
Then, make sure to leave the beans to one side for four or five hours, before storing air-tight. You’ll then be able to enjoy your beans for up to a week.
This is another surprisingly simple way to enjoy roasting your own coffee. The roasting process is basic in six simple steps, and you have complete control over how ‘roast’ your beans actually get. Many people prefer the ease of roasted coffee making through a machine, but this roasting process is often preferred by those who want to get the most out of their beans. Roast them your way, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently!
Roasting Coffee with a Popcorn Maker
Finally, if you already have a popcorn popping machine on the go, you already pretty much have a self-contained home roast system. Who’d have thought that a simple popcorn popper would produce some fantastic roasted coffee?
However, the way this works can be a little intricate. It’s simple, of course, but you’re going to need to keep your eye on the roast throughout the process. Crucially, popping corn is a lot like roasting coffee – the first and second crack you’ll hear is a lot like the sound of popcorn popping. Here’s what you’ll need to do throughout the process:
1. Gather Your Coffee Beans and Grab Your Popcorn Maker
Grab your beans, your popcorn maker (we’re working with a hot air machine here), and some baking paper or a metal bowl. It’s also worth keeping another container to hand, again, to make sure you have somewhere to store the beans when all is said and done.
2. Turn on Your Popcorn Maker and Add Your Beans
Power up and heat up your popcorn popper for a few seconds – about half a minute should do it. Then, you’re going to need to pour the raw beans into the machine to help them turn a nice shade of yellow, and then steadily brown.
This process is going to be quick – so keep a close eye on the popcorn machine. You could end up with burnt, not roasted coffee in the space of five minutes. It’s a quick way to get a roast blend quickly, but a roast can soon turn to charred if you’re really not careful.
3. Monitor, Empty and Cool Your Beans
Keep a close eye on the popper and switch off as soon as you’re ready. Then, make sure to pour them out onto your sheet or bowl and shake / stir, as you would with the pan method. Then, again, leave them to cool for a few hours, and store in a container.
For many people, this method of getting roast coffee up and running is super-speedy, and massively convenient. Therefore, it’s likely to be the go-to method for a lot of people. However, this process of getting roast coffee beans is going to be painstaking as far as keeping a close eye is concerned. Therefore, if you’re willing to put in the time with a home popcorn maker, you’re likely to still get some fantastic results.
Is Home Roast Coffee Really Worth It?
Absolutely! Thousands of people swear by their own roast processes. Roast coffee is delicious when you make it from home, especially as you have complete control over the process. However, getting your roast the right colour will always take time and patience. Beans are going to change colour quickly, and if you leave them too long, they are going to burn.
Therefore, during any roast, you should make sure to listen for the first and second cracks. These are crucial stages for the roast, meaning that the sweet spot is likely to be somewhere in between. Some fans of roasted coffee will likely tell you that the best-tasting blends come from after the second crack, however, so be sure to carefully roast beans on the approach if you want the best flavours.
Is a light roast or dark roast best for your beans? That all depends on your taste. Experiment – why not give roasting beans a go from home and see how you get on? As you can see, you don’t need much more than a frying pan, an oven and a colander to get started on the road towards tasty, home made roast beans. Who knows – you might become a convert!
Hopefully we have inspired you to order your coffee beans and to start roasting. But, depending on which camp you sit in, you may be left thinking:
Roasting coffee beans isn’t for me
How can I use my home roasted coffee beans?
Well, regardless if you have roasted your own beans or brought them, one thing for sure is that you have a keen taste for coffee, so maybe you would like to invest in a nice new coffee machine…here opens another minefield, so in order to try and make your life a little easier we have written a review to help: The Best Coffee Machines for 2020 and if you are interested in grinding your own coffee beans at home we have written a review on the Best Coffee Grinders for Home Use Review 2020