The process of coffee roasting is one that is quite complex, and involves a number of steps that need to be properly carried out in order to produce a quality product that will create delicious coffee!
Roasting coffee involves the careful and precise application of heat to the raw coffee cherry seeds in order to activate the seeds or “beans”, facilitate the release of aroma and flavor, and ultimately increase solubility.
Increasing solubility is an incredibly important part of the roasting process, because the fact that it is absolutely essential for effective and successful coffee brewing.
Achieving an optimal rate of solubility for a certain roast is crucial for achieving the proper extraction by temperature, time, and the size of the grinds.
In order to do this, the coffee beans are roasted, which can be done in a variety of ways through the use of different tools.
There are a few aspects of this process that will always remain the same, regardless of what roasting method you choose:
- Beans are heated
- Beans are roasted
- Beans are cooled
- Beans are ready to brew into delicious coffee!
Best Beans For Home Roasting
Home roasting will always start with the purchase of fresh green coffee beans (the seeds) – this is the natural color when they have not been dried or roasted.
We will provide a few different types of coffee beans for home roasting, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
Bohdi Leaf Costa Rica Palmichal Tarrazu Unroasted Green Coffee Beans
Bodhi Leaf green coffee beans are known for their quality, flavor, and freshness. They provide that much-needed caffeine boost in the morning, and are quite easy to roast at home using virtually any roasting method!
Tarrazu beans are typically grown at very high altitudes of up to 6000 feet above sea level. This altitude creates harder beans with high concentrations of sugars and flavors which creates high-quality coffee.
When lightly roasted, these beans produce coffee with layers of depth!
- Quality at an affordable price
- Sweet and nutty flavor tones
- Steady humidity helps with the roasting process
- Not certified as an organic coffee
- Seasoned coffee roaster is necessary for optimal results
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Unroasted Green Coffee Beans
These East African unroasted green coffee beans have a flavor that delivers hints of wine and fruits. They are best roasted to a medium-dark level, as this is where the best possible taste and flavor profiles are achieved.
- Very popular Ethiopian coffee bean
- Aromatic with a strong finishing taste
- Wide variety of package sizes for customers to choose from
- Wet–processed to enhance the taste
- Some may find the taste slightly mild
- More expensive than other unroasted beans
Green Unroasted Brazil Santos Whole Coffee Beans
The unroasted brazil Santos whole coffee beans are known for providing slight citrus tones, as well as a hint of cinnamon and some sweet caramel deliciousness as well.
When the beans are roasted even further, they will begin to give off chocolatey tones, to the point where a slight tobacco-style taste can come through.
- Great for home roasters
- Versatile (good for various roasting levels)
- Multiple flavor layers
- Good for cold brews
- Packaged for maximum freshness
- Beans are dry-processed which can cause loss of earth flavor tones
- May need extra flavoring
Home Roasting Methods Explained
There are a number of different home roasting methods that are commonly practiced. Next, we will provide a step-by-step breakdown that highlights the process for a few of the common methods.
Pan Roasting Coffee
The pan roasting method is one of the more difficult at-home coffee bean roasting methods to master.
For this method, you will need a metal pan, skillet, soup pot, or another metal container that is safe to heat on the stove. Make sure that the metal is thick, and does not have any sort of coating on it – carbon, stainless steel, or cast iron are ideal.
- Organize all of your equipment and your roasting area. Turn on your oven fan if you have one. If not, be sure to open nearby windows.
- Measure out your raw coffee beans. You want to have enough so that you can easily stir them in your pan.
- Preheat your roasting pan over medium heat. You want to achieve a temperature of right around 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour your beans into the pan. Be sure to stir frequently while being gentle.
- Over the next 8 to 10 minutes, observe your coffee beans carefully. You will want to see them change in color from green, to yellow, to golden brown, light brown and then darker brown.
- Adjust your heat settings as needed to maintain a steady color progression. Do not burn your coffee beans!
- Around the 5 minute mark, your beans will be at the light brown stage and at this point you should hear the infamous “first crack”. This is an indicator that your beans are now palatable.
- After the first crack, your beans will continue to darken. As they approach a dark brown color, you will hear the “second crack”. From this point on, you need to be very careful not to over roast your beans!
- Remember that you should always pull your beans off of the heat when they are 1 or 2 shades away from your desired color/taste. They will continue to cook slightly while they cool down.
- When you are satisfied with your bean roasting, dump them into a metal colander and stir them consistently until they are cool. The chaff that has come off of the beans during the roasting process will fall through the colander holes so it is best to do this over the garbage or some sort of receptacle.
- Once your beans have cooled off, allow them to degass or off-gas (releasing of gasses and other volatile aromatic compounds) overnight.
- Store your beans in an airtight container, they will stay fresh for up to 10 days.
- Enjoy your home-roasted coffee whenever you please!
Oven Roasting Coffee
Roasting coffee in your oven is another great way to go about home roasting coffee beans. This method provides a significant impact on the texture and flavor of the resulting coffee brew made from your beans.
One thing to keep in mind is that roasting coffee beans in the oven will tend to create a lot of smoke.
Make sure that you have a properly functioning stove fan in place, as the smoke build-up can definitely set off your fire alarms!
- First, preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. High heat is necessary to roast coffee beans, and this will also help reduce roasting time.
- While your oven is preheating, prepare your beans by pouring them onto a baking sheet. Make sure that they are nicely spread out into one single layer.
- When your oven has finished heating, place your baking sheet on the middle rack.
- Next, set up a timer to go off in intervals of 1-2 minutes. When the timer goes off, put on some oven mitts and give your beans a gentle shake in order to mix them around.
- Keep doing this until you hear your “first crack”. At this point your beans should be approaching a light brown color – this will typically take around 5 – 6 minutes.
- After this milestone, check the color of your beans every 30 seconds to a minute.
- Remember to take your beans out of the oven when they are a shade or two lighter than your desired final color, as they will continue to roast slightly after being removed from heat.
- Next, transfer your beans from your baking sheet into a strainer or colander or some sort. Shake it over the sink in order to allow the chaff (husks of the coffee beans) to fall through the holes.
- Repeat this step a few times in order to get as much of the chaff out as possible. This will also facilitate the cooling process.
- When you have finished removing the chaff, put your beans back onto the baking sheet in a nice even layer. Allow them to remain uncovered to rest and degas (release CO2 and other unwanted chemicals).
- It is recommended to wait at least 12 hours before using your coffee beans in order to get the best flavors and aromas. The first 24 hours is when most of the degassing will occur.
- Enjoy your freshly home roasted coffee beans! Be sure to store any beans you are not using right away in an airtight container as they will stay fresh for up to 10 days.
Popcorn Popper Roasting Coffee
Using a popcorn popper to roast your own coffee beans at home is another convenient method. No fancy tools are needed, and it typically takes less than ten minutes!
- To start, pour your coffee beans into the popcorn popper receptacle
- Plug the machine in and turn it on. Poppers will typically send the chaff that comes off of the beans flying, so it is recommended to do this outside or in a controlled area.
- To start, the beans may be water heavy and will need to be stirred periodically to allow for even roasting, especially if there is a large amount.
- Popcorn poppers roast quite quickly, so be sure to watch the color of your beans closely.
- Typically around 2 to 3 minutes in you will hear that “first crack”, and your beans will actually start to emit a nice coffee smell while turning darker brown.
- Around the 4 to 5 minute mark you will start to hear that “second crack”.
- Turn the machine off when the beans have reached your desired roast level. Remember that the beans will continue to roast after they are removed from heat.
- Strain your beans in a strainer or colander to remove the unwanted chaff and allow them to cool down.
- Allow your beans to rest and de-gas for 12 to 24 hours before brewing for the best possible results!
Purpose-Built Home Roaster
Purpose-built home coffee roasters are quite self-explanatory as the name suggests. These are products that have been designed and built specifically to allow people to roast their own coffee beans at home!
Instead of using one of the other methods we have covered, you can purchase a coffee roaster of your very own, which will provide the simplest and most effective roasting experience of all.
Things To Be Careful Of When Roasting Coffee Beans At Home
- Coffee roasting produces a number of chemicals that can be very toxic to humans. If inhaled, these chemicals can cause irreversible damage to the lungs and respiratory tract.
- When roasted coffee beans are going through the process of degassing, they release CO2 and other potentially harmful aromatic compounds.
- Keeping freshly roasted coffee beans in a container can result in gas creating explosions that can be dangerous.
- Roasting coffee beans can produce excessive smoke, depending on temperature and roasting method. It is important to have proper ventilation in order to protect yourself and others from smoke inhalation, as well as protect equipment and other things in the area from smoke damage.
How Does Home Roasted Coffee Compare To Branded Coffee?
The general consensus is that professionally roasted, branded coffee will be better than home-roasted coffee, simply because of the fact that branded coffee is prepared by professionals using professional equipment.
Professional, branded coffee will be significantly more consistent in-process and quality, unless a home roaster has perfected its own techniques and can produce consistently high quality as well.
Even so, industrial-grade professional roasters are built for excellence.
For these reasons, it is safe to say that branded coffee will be inherently better than home-roasted coffee. It will be more expensive, but will almost always be the better choice if the quality is what you are after!
Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Ashok Parmar