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How To Roast Coffee at Home

There’s nothing quite like a fresh cup of coffee. It’s even better when the beans were roasted yesterday. Ever wondered how to roast coffee at home? It’s easier than you think.

How To Roast Coffee at Home

That smooth black elixir in the morning, served in a heavy ceramic cup almost too hot to hold… luckily there’s a handle. The toasty-caramel-earthy aroma that wafts slowly through the house, as slowly as I the sun rises. This is the joy which is coffee.

You’ve not had this experience? Is coffee a harsh and acidic beverage, only to be dowsed and tamed with milk and mounds of sugar? (Not dissin’ anyone, do what you like.) You might not believe how tasty coffee can be when it’s freshly roasted a day before you drink it. Yes, even not bitter and acidic. For reals.

It’s no secret I’m a raging fan girl of the stuff. Go ahead, look at my Instagram stream. A small cup is good, with good conversation permeating the air. Yeah, baby, that’s good coffee.

Watching the masters at work.

When I get the chance, I love watching the master roasters do their thing at local roasters in my area. It’s a science and an art to roast coffee, and I enjoy the fruits of their labor. I became insanely curious about doing it myself. Ya know, cuz that’s how I roll. Except I wasn’t really in a position to import a gargantuan cast iron roaster from the ruins of a coffee shop in northern Europe.

Hey! I could do that!

A post from a friend’s blog was what really what put me over the roasting edge. Roasting beans in an oven? I could TOTALLY do that! Also, I had heard of a local shop nearby called Mr. Green Beans, where I could get the “green beans”. Yes, it’s adorable, and there are mason jars, roasters, coffee grinders which include a mason jar, and other preserving equipment that I almost passed out from happiness. But that would have been awkward.

After talking with the shopkeepers, I felt empowered with information. I also picked up a roasting guide so I was sure to have somewhat of a clue of what I was doing. *gulp* They assured me once I roasted my own coffee, I’d be even more spoiled for life. I was ok with that.

Roasting Coffee at Home Suppliles

So, I rounded up my supplies per the instructions in my little booklet: green beans, skillet, colander, wooden spoon and an oven mitt (ok, the oven mitt came later, after nearly singeing my hand off). I took this little production outside, as the process can be a little bit messy, and I’m fortunate to have a burner on my barbeque.

The process was surprisingly simple! Here’s what I did:

How To Roast Coffee At Home

  1. Roast the beans: Put one layer of green beans on a skillet over medium-lowish heat. Constantly stir the beans to make sure they cook evenly. Watch with awe and wonder as they start to turn brown.
  2. Separate the chaff: The outer skin (chaff) will start to come off, so I blow on the pan occasionally, scattering it everywhere (which is why I do this outside).
  3. Roast it how you like it: I listen for the first “crack”, and when it starts to die down, I pull it off. This is about a medium roast from what I can tell.
  4. Quick! Cool off the beans: Immediately pour the beans into a colander, swishing or stirring them around until they are cool. More of the chaff will come off. (Cooling off the coffee quickly is key!)
  5. Give the beans some breathing room: The beans need to “off gas” for up to 48 hours. So, I put the cooled beans into a bowl, and let them sit for 2-3 hours (unless I forget). Then, I put them in a jar with the lid just sitting on top (not screwed on or tightened in any way). Leave the lid like this for about 48 hours. You can start using the beans after about 12 hours.
  6. Drink it! Grind, brew, and enjoy.

My Coffee Roasting Notes:

- If you’re roasting outside, on a gas burner, and the wind blows, your hand holding the skillet’s handle will (feel like it just) burst into flames. Wear an oven mitt, K?
- I’ve only tried Brazil and Mexican beans. So far, I think Brazil is my favorite. I’m looking forward to learning more and making my own blend.
- The green beans will keep for 6-12 months in a cool dark place at room temperature.
- Roasted beans will be their best for 7-10 days after roasting. So, I roast them in small amounts that we usually drink up in 2-5 days.
- Have ventilation – At the advice of a friend who went on a coffee tour in Hawaii, I did this all outside. When the weather cools, the beans will cool off even faster. When it rains, I’ll likely bring this operation inside, unless I grow another arm that will hold the umbrella.
- Buy the inexpensive beans the first time. This was GREAT advice from the shopkeeper, so I’m passing it on.
- Green beans are about HALF the cost of roasted beans. What?! (Though I admit, I still buy beans from my awesome local shops when I need a larger quantity. Hey, those guys are GOOD!)
- I also like pour over coffee at home. Because I totally suck with an automatic coffee maker.
- Have fun!

How to Roast Coffee At Home – Resources:

Do what Nic does: He roasts coffee in the oven (great for rainy winters… and easier than growing a third arm.)

Go get some beans: My new favorite store, Mr Green Beans. Visit them live if you’re in the Portland, Oregon metro area, or shop their online store.

Get a book to help: Home Coffee Roasting- A book that looks like a great resource.

Bowl of roasted coffee

Comments

Mary Cecchini
Reply

Hi Brandie! Glad to hear Nic’s tips we’re helpful in your own quest to be a home roaster! I’m dying to get back to the land of DIY coffee. I’m thinking of doing a DIY holiday gift guide in November and will for sure have coffee on the list!

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