If you love all things coffee, there’s one thing you might like to try: smoked coffee.

Many people love the smoky, roasted flavor of coffee, which has led to connoisseurs taking this a step further: by actually smoking the beans for an added kick and flavor.

If you’ve never heard of smoked coffee beans, we’ll tell you what this trend is all about. Or maybe you tried a cup of smoked coffee at your local cafe but would like to recreate it at home at a fraction of the cost.

We’ll also tell you how to smoke coffee beans and prepare a delicious cup of smoked java.

Read on to learn how you can make your very own smoked coffee at home.

What Are Smoked Beans?

green, unroasted coffee beans

Smoked coffee beans are green, unroasted coffee beans that are cold-smoked in a closed room for 13 to 14 hours.

Cold smoking is a process usually used to smoke fish and meat. It involves smoking food with a passive heat source kept away from the food. It is different from hot smoking that uses a direct source of heat to cook the food and a smoke source to smoke it.

Smoked coffee beans take on the earthy, sooty flavor of smoke and the notes of the firewood used in the process, giving it a unique taste you can’t get anywhere else. Cold smoking also helps you control the smoking or roasting process from start to finish.

Dark roast coffee, too, has a smoky flavor, but smoked coffee is devoid of bitterness due to the cold smoking technique used. It gives you a smooth, mellow, rich mouthfeel that’ll keep you reaching for cup after cup of smoked coffee.

How Can You Smoke Beans At Home?

Smoking coffee can be done via a variety of methods.

To begin with, you’ll need premium-quality green coffee beans or ground coffee, preferably Arabica, along with a passive heat source and a good amount of time on your hands.

You can use a charcoal grill, an iron skillet, or a smoker to cold-smoke the coffee beans or ground coffee.

Here’s how you do it:

Grill

smokin on grill

To smoke coffee beans on a charcoal grill, you also need a Napoleon smoker pipe that will be filled with soaked smoker chips for the extra flavor.

You can use cherry, orange, apple, maple, guava, or pecan smoker chips to give the beans floral or nutty notes.

Once you’re ready with the grill, smoker pipe, and chips, follow the steps below to smoke the beans:

  • Take out the grids of the charcoal grill and place a Napoleon smoker pipe filled halfway with wood chips on the sear plates above your chosen burner.
  • Preheat the grill to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once you see smoke rising over the chips, place the green beans on a baking tray and flatten them to form a thin layer.
  • Smoke the beans passively in this manner for about half an hour. Using a wooden spatula or spoon, stir the beans every 5 minutes to ensure they are colored and smoked evenly. You’ll see the beans expand and then crack and pop as they get smoked.
  • Once you find the beans sufficiently smoked and roasted, remove them from the grill and place them in a colander. Stir gently to encourage cooling.
  • Next, pour the beans from the colander into a bowl and back into the colander. Repeat this process a few times until the skin separates and the beans cool completely.
  • Transfer the smoke beans into an airtight container and allow them to rest for at least 24 hours before using them in your brew to get a full-bodied, bold flavor.

You can also use a grill to smoke ground coffee. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Preheat 2 to 3 charcoal briquets. Place them in a mound on one side of the grill’s grate.
  • On the opposite side, place the smoker chips.
  • Place the main grate back on the grill.
  • Take half a cup of ground coffee in a ramekin or other heat-resistant container and place it on the main grate of the grill on the other side of the charcoal.
  • Cover the grill with the vent directly above the coffee and let it cold-smoke for around two hours. Stir occasionally.
  • Once the ground coffee has a smoked scent, remove it from the grill.
  • Transfer it to a coffee grinder, and grind it finely.
  • Store it in an airtight container. You can use it immediately, but it’s best to store it for a week to develop a richer flavor.

Iron Skillet

smoking in skiller

To smoke green coffee beans on a cast iron skillet, follow this step-by-step guide:

  • Place a couple of firewood chunks on a gas burner and place an iron skillet near or over the chunks. Set the flame to high. Once the skillet is preheated, reduce the flame.
  • If you’re using a grill instead of a burner, turn up the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place a lump of your favorite firewood or smoking chips on the charcoal for the flavored smoke. Place the skillet on the grill.
  • Take a cup of green coffee beans and place them in a single layer on the skillet.
  • Smoke the beans and stir them every 5 minutes to ensure even smoking and prevent burning.
  • After half an hour, remove the skillet from the passive heat source.
  • Transfer the beans into a bowl immediately and stir them so that they cool down faster.
  • Once the beans are cooled completely, store them in a sealed container. Leave them for at least 24 hours or even 3 to 4 days to get a smoother, more balanced flavor before you grind and use them in your regular brew.

Here are the steps to smoke ground coffee in an iron skillet:

  • Put a cup of roasted ground coffee in an iron skillet.
  • Place a small mound of charcoal briquets at the bottom of your charcoal grill.
  • Light the grill and place a chunk of alder wood or other firewood over it. Keep the temperature at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the skillet containing the ground coffee on the grill on the other side of the charcoal.
  • Stir the ground coffee every 5 minutes to ensure even smoking.
  • Remove the skillet from the grill after half an hour.
  • Once the grounds cool, transfer them to a sealed jar or another container.
  • Use them after 24 hours to intensify the flavor.

Smoker

smoking beans in smoker

A stand-alone electric or gas smoker is a great tool you can use to smoke green coffee beans or even roasted ground coffee.

To smoke coffee beans using a smoker, check out the steps below:

  • Set the temperature of your smoker to its highest setting, between 350 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once the smoker is adequately preheated, place a few wood chunks in the fuel pan over the heating element or even directly on the heating element.
  • Take a cup of green coffee beans and spread them on a thin layer on a baking tray.
  • Place the tray on the wood chunks in the smoker and stir the beans every 5 to 10 minutes.
  • After 20 to 30 minutes of smoking, you’ll find that the beans have expanded and cracked. Remove the tray from the smoker and let it sit for about 10 hours.
  • Then store the beans in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark area away from direct sunlight to prevent them from becoming stale.
  • After 3 to 7 days, grind the beans just the way you like it. You can now use your smoked ground coffee as needed in your morning cup of joe.

Now, to smoke pre-roasted ground coffee in a smoker, follow the steps outlined here:

  • Set the temperature of your smoker to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place 2 to 3 wood chunks on the heating element inside the smoker.
  • Take a cup of ground coffee in a ramekin or another heat-resistant dish.
  • Keep the ramekin or dish on the wood chunks and stir the ground coffee every 6 to 10 minutes.
  • After 15 to 25 minutes of smoking, remove the dish from the smoker and let it sit for about 10 to 12 hours.
  • Transfer the ground coffee into an airtight container and keep away from direct sunlight.
  • Use it after 3 to 7 days to get a bolder flavor.

Pros and Cons of Smoked Beans

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of smoking coffee beans on your own to help you decide how to move forward.

Pros

  • It gives you complete control of the smoking process
  • Enhances coffee’s earthy, smoky flavors
  • Allows you to customize the notes in the coffee blend by using different types of firewood
  • Ability and freedom to experiment with different blends, suppliers, and grinds
  •  Cheaper than going to a coffee house

Cons

  • Time-consuming process
  • A delicate procedure that may lead to burnt beans
  • Steep learning curve
  • Equipment used to smoke beans can be expensive
  • Need to smoke outdoors, or else your house will be filled with smoke
  • A messy process as the husks of the beans separate after smoking and can spread everywhere
  • Difficulty to get the consistency of the smoked flavor right every time due to factors like smoking time, temperature, humidity, the smoking method used, etc.

How to Properly Grind Smoked Beans

grinder

After you’ve smoked your coffee beans and let them rest for a day to a week, it’s important to grind them the right way.

Grinding coffee beans correctly is key to ensuring a delicious cup of smoked java every time. Let’s delve into how to grind smoked beans properly.

Using A Blade Grinder

If you’re just beginning your coffee journey and don’t want to spend a lot on an expensive, high-end grinder that you may not use too often, you may want to check out a blade grinder.

You can easily buy one online and use it to grind your smoked beans. If you don’t mind a coarse or medium grind size, it’s a good choice.

But note that you can’t control the grind size with a blade grinder. An uneven grind may lead to uneven extraction of the flavors of the coffee and a flat brew.

Using A Burr Grinder

A burr grinder is the best choice when it comes to grinding smoked coffee beans.

It is what hardcore coffee lovers use to grind their fresh coffee beans, as it gives an all-around evenly ground batch of coffee. You can choose from fine, medium-fine, medium, and coarse grind sizes.

An even, consistent grind size translates into optimal extraction of the flavor of the smoked coffee grounds and a well-brewed cup of smoked joe. It will help you detect the subtle notes of the firewood used in the cold smoking process and make your efforts worth it.

A burr grinder is a tad more expensive than a blade grinder but is the right way to grind smoked beans properly.

Grind your smoked beans fine or medium-fine and store the ground coffee in an airtight container.

How to Prepare Smoked Coffee

of preparing smoked coffee

The process of preparing smoked coffee is the same as preparing your regular cup of joe. You can prepare it in any of the following coffee brewing tools and equipment:

  • Kettle
  • French press
  • Drip coffee maker
  • Pour-over coffee maker
  • AeroPress coffee maker
  • Cold brew coffee maker
  • Keurig coffee brewer

Take a teaspoon or two of your smoked coffee grounds and follow the instructions of the respective coffee maker to brew your coffee as usual. You can enjoy it black or add milk or cream for extra richness.

Conclusion

Smoked coffee is a relatively new trend, but its rich, smoky flavors and the notes that emanate from the firewood make it a must-try experience. If you don’t have a smoker at home, you can use your iron skillet or grill.

Have you ever tried smoked coffee beans before? Would you make it at home? Tell us your views in the comments section below!

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Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Ashok Parmar

My name is Ashok Parmar, and for seven years, I worked as a warehouse manager that strictly dealt with coffee shops all around the United States.

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