How to roast your own coffee
Nothing compares to freshly roasted coffee. One whiff, one sip, and you’ll be hooked. As with most simple staples, roasting coffee is quick and easy- it just requires the right tools. You’ll need…
- Green coffee beans
You can find these at your local coffee shop that roasts on site, or online. I buy mine at smokinbeans.com. With these guys, you can buy anywhere from 1 lb to 500 lbs and they ship 5lb+ in burlap bags. Order a variety of 1 lb. bags to see what you like. Sumatra is my favorite. Generally, a good average price for green beans purchased for home roasting is $5/lb.
- Stovetop popcorn popper
I bought mine on Etsy. It’s an E-Z Pop. I looked around at antique and thrift stores but couldn’t find one. Keep your eye out! A whirlypop would also work, but I went for the E-Z Pop since its from the 1950s, doesn’t have any plastic parts, and is made of thicker metal. You can also use electric popcorn peppers, but the plastic parts tend to melt or wear out and you’re not as in tune with the beans during the process.
- Laser thermometer (optional)
This is useful for gauging the progress of the beans. French roasts can go up to almost 500 degrees. You can also just go by look/smell/sound.
- Heat source
Anything will do. Stove, grill, flame. You can roast beans indoors, but just be prepared to have everything from your curtains to your hair to your towels smell like they just sat in Starbucks for a few days. Roasting is a smoky process.
- Mesh roasting pan or small-holed strainer
This is what you’ll use to separate the beans from the chaff at the end of the roasting process.
- A funnel (optional)
This helps move the beans from the pan to a mason jar.
- Mason jars
Or anything else you want to use to store the freshly roasted beans.
Here’s the wonderful thing about roasting coffee: it’s all by feel. You put the beans in the pan, start stirring, and wait until you hear the “first crack.” It starts to sound like a campfire just getting started. Depending on how dark of a roast you want, that’s when you want to start intensely monitoring the color and temperature to reach the roast level you want. For a light roast, take the beans off the heat after a few moments of first crack. I like dark roasts, so I try to wait as long as possible before taking the beans off the heat source. The challenge is that there’s only about 15 degrees difference between an extra dark French roast and a bean that turns to ash. You can find various charts to guide you on roasting time and temperature. Just keep in mind that all of this will vary depending on altitude, heat source, bean type, and roasting pan. So you have to be tuned in to what’s happening to your beans. Use a laser thermometer to gauge the heat.
The video demonstrates it much better than text. So check it out! Just a couple other things to keep in mind:
- If storing roasted beans in mason jars, leave a loose lid on overnight. The gases released will cause the lid to tighten.
- Wait until the next day to grind and enjoy the beans.