If you’ve come to appreciate freshly roasted coffee, you may want to try roasting your own coffee. Roasting coffee at home is a fun way to explore coffee and learn more about it. It’s also surprisingly easy to get started.
Roasting Coffee Requires Heat, Time, and Green Coffee
Roasting coffee is simply the application of heat over time to green coffee beans. Beans are brought from room temperature up to 400°F, although the specific temperature they reach will vary depending on the desired roast profile and individual roaster. How quickly the beans are brought to this temperature affects their flavor, making time the other significant factor.
Finally, you will need green coffee beans to roast. You can find green coffee beans online: Sweet Maria’s is one popular site for home roasters. Additionally, most local roasters are happy to sell green coffee. They won’t get rich from giving you a pound of green coffee, but most people who roast coffee love to share their passion and introduce others to the practice.
You Can Roast with a Skillet, Grill, Popcorn Popper or Toaster Oven
While you can purchase a home coffee roaster, which start around $150 and go up, there are several less-expensive ways to begin home roasting.
Anything that will safely bring beans to 400°F can be used. Keep in mind, however, that this is an internal bean temperature. The equipment you use will need to reach higher temperatures, between 450 and 500°F, to compensate for heat lost when roasting.
Some common home roasting devices include:
- heavy-duty skillets
- grills with custom-made drums
- air popcorn poppers (older ones from Ebay usually work better)
- toaster ovens that have a maximum temperature of 450°F or higher
When you first start roasting, you may want to try it in a garage or outdoors. There can be a lot of smoke from the beans, especially at darker roast levels, and you don’t want to smoke your family or roommates out the first time you’re roasting coffee.
Tips for Getting a Good to Great Roast
Although roasting coffee is a simple process, it’s a delicate one. For the best possible roast, be sure to;
- roast the beans for 8 to 15 minutes (quicker roasts are too fast, and slower ones produce a baked flavor)
- ramp up the temperature quickly
- cool off the beans within 2 to 3 minutes after the roast is complete
- let the beans de-gas for at least 24 hours (48 is preferable)
If you begin roasting at home, you’ll soon see just how much fun it can be. We obviously love roasting coffee, and we’re excited to see others exploring this additional dimension of coffee.