I’ll let you know right from the start… this is maybe an article for the coffee die-hards.
The convenience factor of buying pre-roasted beans is quite high compared to roasting your own coffee at home for yourself.
But, on the other hand (and not to just scare you off), it’s a lot easier than you’d think!
In this article, I’m going to be giving you a step-by-step tutorial about how to do this.
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By the end of it, you may as well call yourself a coffee roaster and give your coffee a brand name!
Ok but seriously, you may find that if you try this process of roasting coffee yourself right at home, you’ll really enjoy it and get addicted.
And if you’re wondering why there’s a picture of a popcorn popper here… you’ll find out very soon.
The truth about coffee, that not so many people think about often, is that the coffee you make will only be as good and tasty as the beans you started with.
This is super important and brings us to my next point, just before we get into how to roast your own beans…
Why Roast Your Own Green Coffee Beans At Home?
This could be a reasonable question to ask yourself.
Is it just for fun, just to make yourself more of a coffee nerd, to be able to say you can do it?
There are even better reasons than those, and ones that are quite reasonable.
Here’s one great reason to roast your own coffee beans: you will have maximum freshness if you roast your coffee beans at home.
No one can argue with that.
Any coffee that you buy in a grocery store, or online, or at your favorite coffee shop, will not be as fresh as if you roast it right in your own home.
You can brew your coffee on the same day it’s roasted.
Coffee that you purchase anywhere else could possibly be weeks, or even months, past it’s prime.
This is certainly the main reason why you’d want to roast your own coffee.
There are other reasons, which are more of novelty, I’d say.
It’s nice to know how the roasting process works, how to get a light roast, medium roast, and dark roast.
You’ll be able to understand the first and second crack, and science of coffee roasting.
These are also great and I couldn’t say otherwise.
But as someone who’s all about great coffee, the main reason would be to have ultra-fresh coffee, which is exactly what you get if you roast it yourself!
Now let’s get into how to do it…
Step 1 – Choose Your Equipment
You have options for doing this, from cheap and simple to expensive and high tech.
But if you’re just starting out with this, I’d highly recommend taking the cheaper and simpler route.
This would be either with a popcorn popper or cast iron skillet, like these ones.
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Most commercial coffee companies use industrial size, super expensive coffee roasters to get the job done.
There are also smaller ones available online, like this one.
But it’s much more pricey than a popcorn popper, so for starters I’d recommend just using a good old whirley-pop machine for your coffee roasting pleasure.
And if you choose the popcorn popper or cast iron skillet route, you’ll also want to round up a few metal bowls, a pair of gloves or oven mitts, and a wooden spoon long enough to stir the beans while in the popper.
Step 2 – Choose Your Green Coffee Beans
Not to be confused with green beans, green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee beans.
Green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee beans.
There are many places where you can either order online or purchase green coffee beans in person.
If you want my recommendation though, these single-origin specialty grade beans from Nicaragua by Primos Coffee Co. are a great pick.
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They are best as a medium roast, and yield a sweet, citrusy and cacao profiled coffee.
But when you buy the green coffee beans, don’t try to taste them or grind them before they’re roasted!
They’re as hard as rock and you could hurt your teeth or your coffee grinder.
Also, keep in mind that while the beans will increase in size when they’re roasted, they also lose about half their weight, so 2 pound of raw beans will yield 1 pound of roasted coffee.
Step 3 – Roast The Beans
Once you have everything ready go, it’s time to get roasting.
Now, you have full control over the roast level (dark, medium or light) and thus how much caffeine your coffee will have.
Put your green coffee into your desired heating device – which I recommend the popcorn popper – then crank the heat and stir.
As they’re on the heat, you’ll notice that the beans will change color from green to yellow, and then a light brown.
Around the time that they turn to light brown, you’ll hear the first crack.
The first crack will sound, funny enough, sort of like a popcorn kernel popping.
And what the first crack means is that just after that sound, you have light roast coffee!
Approaching the second crack is medium roast, and at the beginning and after second crack is dark roast.
Those are the basic guidelines for roast degrees.
But please be careful to not wait until it’s so black that it looks like charcoal, because at that point it will taste terrible and you’ll risk starting a bonfire in your machine.
Step 4 – Take Them Off The Heat When They’re Done
It could be a good idea to go for a medium roast with your first coffee.
So this would be a little after the first crack.
Also, look for the color.
If you know what light, medium and dark roast coffee looks like, you can not only listen for the first and/or second crack, you can keep a close eye when it’s the color you like.
And of course, you can roast the coffee to whatever you like… light, medium or dark! Just make sure it doesn’t burn, which is a bummer and a waste.
So once your beans are nice and ripe for your liking, take them off the heat.
Step 5 – Let Them Cool
After you’re satisfied with the roast and you pull them off, put them on a cookie sheet or in a metal strainer to let them cool down.
You should let them cool to room temperature before doing anything else with them.
And be careful when you handle them because they’ll be ridiculously hot after roasting.
Step 6 – Enjoy Them
After they’re cooled down, put the beans in an airtight container.
But, it’s important to not seal the lid completely for a day or two, because the beans will give off carbon dioxide and the lid could fly off if you seal it completely.
Just leave a bit of it open.
You can enjoy your insanely fresh coffee right after they’ve cooled down, or you can wait to brew it.
But if you want maximum freshness, it’s good to brew them within five days of roasting.
And there you have it, enjoy your own home-roasted coffee!
It may seem a bit daunting when you think about it or as you start, but not only is roasting your own coffee at home probably easier than you think, it’s also a great learning experience that will help you understand coffee better and give you the freshest coffee you can possibly have.
I hope that if you take the leap and try to roast your own green coffee beans at home with a popcorn popper or on a skillet, that you’ll not only enjoy doing it, but make some amazing coffee!
I also hope that this article was helpful, and if you have any questions or comments please feel free to write in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help you.
Fresh coffee cheers!
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