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How To Roast Coffee Beans At Home – Beginners Guide To Home Roasting

how to roast coffee beans

Many people who haven’t had home-roasted coffee beans don’t yet understand why one would want to do the extra work to roast your own coffee beans at home. However, it usually only takes one batch of home-roasted coffee beans to turn them into fans of the roasting at-home process.

In addition to the ability to choose the perfect level of roasting for your personal tastes, the cost savings in home roasting and grinding coffee beans is quite substantial.

While you may enjoy your Folgers crystals right now, the difference in the home-roasted coffee beans as far as flavor is concerned will make a coffee roaster out of nearly any coffee drinker. There are many methods to home roast coffee beans, and in this article, the five top home roasting methods will be covered in detail.

Of course, like any home how-to article, there may be a favorite method that you have that isn’t covered on this list If you have a method of home roasting coffee beans that you already love, don’t switch if you don’t feel the need to.

In order to spread the information about home roasting coffee beans, we’ve simply decided to bring the top five methods of home roasting to the everyday coffee drinker.

Feel free to share your favorite home roasting methods with your family and friends in order to spread the home roasting affinity to the coffee lovers in your life. The more coffee lovers learning to love coffee even more, the better, right? So here are some coffee roasting techniques so you can learn to roast coffee at home.

What To Look For In A Roasted Coffee Bean

First, you’ll need to know that you’re beginning with a green bean. When you begin the roasting of the bean, there will be a grassy smell, and the coffee bean will first start to turn yellow.

how do you roast coffee beans
Coffee Beans Before Roasting

As you continue to roast, the darker the bean becomes, the more full the taste of the bean becomes. Therefore, if you want to have a very full-bodied tasting coffee, you’ll want a fairly dark coffee bean after roasting.

Once the bean starts to roast, it will begin to smell like coffee, but beware, they also smoke. You’ll definitely want to think about airflow and smoke detectors prior to beginning your coffee bean roasting process.

You also want to ensure that you don’t use any type of cooking oil when you are roasting your coffee beans. First, the cooking oil will scorch at the temperatures needed to roast your coffee beans. Secondly, the beans will produce their own oils as they roast, so sticking isn’t going to be a problem.

A good thing to remember is that once you roast your coffee beans, you want to ensure that you’ll be ready to grind and brew them relatively soon.

This is because once you roast the coffee beans, they will begin to oxidize much more quickly. Just do the amount of coffee beans that you’ll need for a five to seven day period so that you don’t end up wasting coffee to oxidation and grounds going stale prior to brewing. Lastly, the key to roasting is to listen for your coffee beans to begin cracking.

Just as it sounds, when the beans start to heat up, and the moisture from inside the beans evaporates, the coffee beans will produce an audible cracking sound. In roasting a dark roast coffee, they actually will crack twice.

how to roast green coffee beans at home
Cracked Coffee Beans

The Stages Of Roasting A Coffee Bean

When you’re roasting your own coffee beans for the first few times, it is going to be a strong process of trial and error to figure out the exact flavor for you.

However, the good thing about roasting your own coffee beans is that buying green coffee beans is a lot cheaper than buying pre-roasted coffee beans, so you can afford to make a few mistakes in the process.

To begin with, let’s break the coffee bean roasting into stages. The first stage is the drying stage. This is when the coffee beans begin to lose their humidity or internal moisture, due to being roasted.

how do you roast coffee beans
Coffee Beans Being Dried

At around 320 degrees, the browning stage begins. This gives off a nice, toasted aroma while it is occurring, but doesn’t yet smell strongly of coffee.

At around 385 degrees, the first crack will begin in the coffee beans, and you should be able to hear this take place as your coffee beans are roasting. If you want a light roast coffee, this is the point where you should stop roasting your coffee beans and transfer them to the metal colander.

The coffee beans will be dry and light brown color, so if they are not. You need to continue to roast them for another minute or two.

At 440 degrees or so, the second crack of the coffee beans will begin. At the onset of the second crack, you will have a coffee bean that is a medium to medium-dark roast. If this is the flavor you desire, remove your coffee beans from the roasting medium, and transfer them to a metal colander.

Following the second crack of the coffee beans, the oils are going to start to leave the bean. This will begin a dark roast on the coffee bean.

The beans will look shiny and oily as they become a dark roasted coffee bean. You do not want to roast your coffee beans any further than this, because they will have a burnt and bitter flavor and will be intolerable to the pallet.

It is very important that you keep a close eye on your coffee beans after the first crack. It doesn’t take very long at all to go from a light roast to a dark roast, and if you aren’t stirring your coffee beans constantly in this stage, you will more than likely end up with unevenly roasted coffee beans that don’t taste the way you intended for them to taste. So there’s a good guide on how to roast green coffee beans, and how to roast coffee beans at home!

What Color Should My Beans Be Post Roast?

You will more than likely need to have a few trial roasts before you really perfect the coffee bean roasting process, but a general guide to coffee bean color after roasting is:

A light brown coffee bean isn’t generally good for making coffee. It will typically have a sour and acidic taste when ground and brewed.

A light, the medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the eastern United States, and you’ll find it produces a full-bodied coffee with a mild sweetness to the flavor. Light brews, half brews, and cinnamon brews usually are made of coffee beans that are roasted to a light, medium brown.

A full medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the western United States, and it produces a coffee with a full-body, strong aroma, and a mildly sweet flavor. American roasts and breakfast blends are typically produced from full medium brown coffee beans.

A medium-dark brown coffee bean is often used to produce a French or Viennese roast coffee. They usually will have a full, strong, and sweet flavor to the coffee.

A dark brown coffee bean is usually used in making Espresso or French roast coffee grounds. You’ll find that a dark brown coffee bean produces a full body, medium aroma yet fully sweet coffee.

A nearly black roasted coffee bean is used for dark French roast or Spanish coffees. These types of roasts usually have a weak body, mild aroma, and a low level of sweetness to the coffee.

pay to roast coffee beans
Post Roast Coffee Beans

Ready To Roast?

The first roasting method to discuss is using your oven at home. Using the conventional oven can seem to be the easiest home roasting method because of the ease in keeping a steady temperature on the beans. However, because of the lack of airflow in the oven, you can sometimes end up with an uneven roast to the coffee beans. This can, however, increase the richness of the coffee beans flavor.

To begin with, preheat your oven to 450 degrees while you prepare your beans to place in the oven. You need to use a slotted baking sheet with a lipped edge. Spread a single layer of coffee beans on the sheet. You want the beans to be close together, but not overlapping at all.

coffee beans for roasting
Put Your Oven At 450 Degrees (F)

Place the baking sheet on the middle oven rack. Roast from 15 to 20 minutes, and be sure to listen for the beans to crack. Also, you want to stir the coffee beans around every few minutes to help prevent uneven roasting of your coffee beans. Once you have achieved the desired color for your coffee beans, remove the tray from the oven.

how to roast coffee beans in the oven
Coffee Beans In The Oven

Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.

After you have cooled them in the colander, your beans will need to sit about 12 hours to cool and degas. This is because there is carbon dioxide in the coffee bean that needs to be released prior to storing in an airtight container. Once the beans have cooled and degassed, place them in an airtight container. Grind them fresh for your coffee brewing, if at all possible. Grinding the coffee beans well before brewing is going to give less fresh taste than freshly ground coffee beans.

There is no need to worry about roasting your green coffee beans in a hurry because green coffee beans have a shelf life of multiple years.

Cast Iron Skillet Roasting

Much like you do when oven roasting your coffee beans, you can roast coffee beans in a cast-iron skillet either on your grill or on the stovetop. Again, don’t use any type of cooking oil when you are roasting your coffee beans in a skillet. This is because the temperature necessary to roast your coffee beans will cause cooking oil to scorch and will produce an unusable coffee bean.

You want to have a skillet temperature somewhere between 450 and 500 degrees in order to roast your coffee beans. Your skillet doesn’t have to be cast iron; however, you don’t want to use a non-stick or coated skillet to roast your coffee beans.

how to roast coffee beans with flavor
Cast Iron Roasting

In order to achieve a light roast coffee bean, roast your beans in a single layer in the skillet at the required temperature for between 4 and 8 minutes. You need to constantly stir your coffee beans in order to prevent your coffee beans from uneven roasting.

Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.

After you have cooled them in the colander, your beans will need to sit about 12 hours to cool and degas. This is because there is carbon dioxide in the coffee bean that needs to be released prior to storing in an airtight container. Once the beans have cooled and degassed, place them in an airtight container. Grind them fresh for your coffee brewing, if at all possible. Grinding the coffee beans well before brewing is going to give less fresh taste than freshly ground coffee beans.

There is no need to worry about roasting your green coffee beans in a hurry because green coffee beans have a shelf life of multiple years. There is our guide on how to roast coffee beans in a pan, and how to roast coffee beans with flavour.

Popcorn Popper Bean Roasting

There are two different styles of popcorn poppers that will work perfectly for roasting coffee beans to perfection at home. The first is the old hand-crank style popcorn popper that can be found in thrift stores or online specialty cooking stores. The second style popcorn popper is the automatic electric popcorn popper with the metal interior. It is important that you use one of these style popcorn poppers because some other styles may not get to the appropriate temperature to roast your coffee beans.

how to roast coffee beans in a pan

When roasting your coffee beans using this method, you want to roast no more than 8 ounces of beans at a time. The coffee beans need to be constantly stirred as well so that you obtain a nice, even roast on your coffee beans. The great thing about using the popcorn popper to roast your coffee beans is that the chaff will usually be blown out of the popcorn popper as the beans roast. However, this can also create quite a mess, and some people find it easier to use this roasting method outdoors in order to prevent making a mess inside.

Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.

After you have cooled them in the colander, your beans will need to sit about 12 hours to cool and degas. This is because there is carbon dioxide in the coffee bean that needs to be released prior to storing in an airtight container. Once the beans have cooled and degassed, place them in an airtight container. Grind them fresh for your coffee brewing, if at all possible. Grinding the coffee beans well before brewing is going to give less fresh taste than freshly ground coffee beans.

There is no need to worry about roasting your green coffee beans in a hurry because green coffee beans have a shelf life of multiple years. There is our guide on how to roast coffee beans in a popcorn popper, and how to roast coffee beans commercially.

how long to roast coffee beans

Air Roaster Coffee Bean Roasting

Using an air roaster to roast your coffee beans at home is typically your most expensive option. The air roasters specifically for roasting coffee beans can be upward of two hundred dollars to purchase, and some people find that to be quite steep in order to roast coffee beans at home.

If you are in the market for an air roaster specifically for roasting coffee beans at home, some of the name brand roasters you will find are Fresh Roast, Hearthware I Roast, and Nescafe. These are all well-known name brands for home coffee bean roasting and are trusted by most folks who roast at home.

how to roast coffee beans in oven

Air roasting is also referred to as fluid bed roasting. The air roasters have a glass container that allows you to constantly see the color of your beans as you’re roasting to ensure that you are not getting too dark of a bean for your tastes. Air roasters work much like the popcorn popper does when roasting your beans, by essentially blowing hot air across your coffee beans in order to roast them to perfection.

Your air roaster will come with an information booklet on its usage. Simply follow the instructions and guidelines in the literature to set the roaster up and achieve the correct temperature. Most air roasters will also provide coffee bean roasting guidelines in the written instructions as it is a very popular home use for the air roasters. Once you have roasted your coffee beans to the desired color, you want to turn the air roaster off following the written instructions.

Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.

After you have cooled them in the colander, your beans will need to sit about 12 hours to cool and degas. This is because there is carbon dioxide in the coffee bean that needs to be released prior to storing in an airtight container. Once the beans have cooled and degassed, place them in an airtight container. Grind them fresh for your coffee brewing, if at all possible. Grinding the coffee beans well before brewing is going to give less fresh taste than freshly ground coffee beans.

There is no need to worry about roasting your green coffee beans in a hurry because green coffee beans have a shelf life of multiple years.

Spinning Roaster Or Coffee Bean Spit

If you want to design a roaster that is a more long term design, but you don’t want to spend the money for an air roaster right away, a spinning roaster is a great way to roast your coffee beans on your grill without spending a great deal of money for fancy coffee bean roasting equipment. You will probably find that your coffee beans roast more evenly over a propane grill than a charcoal grill, for obvious reasons, and the charcoal may alter the flavor of your coffee beans, so it is highly suggested that you perform your roasting on a propane grill if at all possible.

how to roast green coffee beans
Coffee Bean Spinning Roaster

You can build a coffee roaster easily from incredibly cheap and easy to find items that you can get at a hardware and kitchen supply store.

Your parts list:
• 2 steel mesh colanders (5 quart or largest metal colanders they have)
• 1 ‘ threaded steel rod (36″ long)
• (6) ” wino nuts
• (4) 11 washers
• 1 adjustable hose clamp
• A drill
• ” drill bit

Gather all of your parts and tools. First, drill a hole through the center of the base of each colander. Next, spin one nut and one wing nut onto one end of the threaded rod. About half-way down the length of the rod is fine. From the opposite side, slide one washer down the rod. Slide one of the colanders onto the rod through its drilled hole, next to the washer, with the open side up. Now, add another washer and two regular nuts, then tighten all nuts, so the colander stays fixed in place.

Do the exact same assembly with the other colander, then place onto the rod so that the rims of the bowls face each other. Leave a 6″ space to hold the rod vertically and add your green coffee beans to the lower colander. Tighten your colanders down and screw together tightly on the rod. This will give you a full 5-quart roaster. You are going to use your drill as the actual mechanism to turn your coffee roaster. This is because you will not be able to turn it by hand due to the heat coming off of the grill and off of the metal device.

Start off with 1-quart batches until you get the hang of the operation and can roast your coffee beans with no scorching or uneven roast. You will roast your beans in essentially the same way you would cook meat on a spit over the grill. As long as you are constantly rotating the spit, you should have a nice, even roast to your coffee beans.

When your beans are roasted to your preference, simply remove from the heat. Using oven mitts, unscrew the nuts from the center rod, and empty your coffee beans exactly as you would from any other roasting device.

Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.

After you have cooled them in the colander, your beans will need to sit about 12 hours to cool and degas. This is because there is carbon dioxide in the coffee bean that needs to be released prior to storing in an airtight container. Once the beans have cooled and degassed, place them in an airtight container. Grind them fresh for your coffee brewing, if at all possible. Grinding the coffee beans well before brewing is going to give less fresh taste than freshly ground coffee beans.

There is no need to worry about roasting your green coffee beans in a hurry because green coffee beans have a shelf life of multiple years.

A Few Roasting Tips To Follow:

The type of coffee bean that you choose is absolutely key to the taste of your coffee. There are generally two types of coffee beans that are used primarily in brewing coffee:

Arabica Beans: They have a sweet, soft, and slightly sour taste. This is a costlier type of coffee bean than the robusta, and due to this, it is used much less often in everyday brewing at home.

Robusta Beans: This coffee bean has more caffeine concentration than Arabica beans and produces a strong and bitter taste. It is popular due to its low cost.

how to roast decaf coffee beans

While you are roasting and as your coffee beans are resting, you want to ventilate the room and beans as much as physically possible. Not only will the airflow help to wick away the chaff of the coffee beans, but it will also prevent your coffee beans from tasting scorched.

When you are cooling your coffee beans after roasting, don’t just leave them in the colander to cool. Spread them out over a baking sheet and put as much space as possible between them so that they cool as quickly as possible. This is also going to encourage the degas to occur quickly and will prevent your beans from losing a large amount of their flavor.

It is absolutely vital to store your roasted coffee beans in an airtight container, and then you need to store them away from any source of light. A Tupperware container inside of a lower kitchen cabinet is an ideal storage spot for your roasted coffee beans to be stored.

Here is a recap on your bean shades so that you can be positive that you are getting the absolute best bean color for your flavor profile:

You will more than likely need to have a few trial roasts before you really perfect the coffee bean roasting process, but a general guide to coffee bean color after roasting is:

A light brown coffee bean isn’t generally good for making coffee. It will typically have a sour and acidic taste when ground and brewed.

A light, the medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the eastern United States, and you’ll find it produces a full-bodied coffee with a mild sweetness to the flavor. Light brews, half brews, and cinnamon brews usually are made of coffee beans that are roasted to a light, medium brown.

A full medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the western United States, and it produces a coffee with a full-body, strong aroma, and a mildly sweet flavor. American roasts and breakfast blends are typically produced from full medium brown coffee beans.

how to roast coffee beans at home

A medium-dark brown coffee bean is often used to produce a French or Viennese roast coffee. They usually will have a full, strong, and sweet flavor to the coffee.

A dark brown coffee bean is usually used in making Espresso or French roast coffee grounds. You’ll find that a dark brown coffee bean produces a full body, medium aroma yet fully sweet coffee.

A nearly black roasted coffee bean is used for dark French roast or Spanish coffees. These types of roasts usually have a weak body, mild aroma, and a low level of sweetness to the coffee.

If you’re looking for more coffee guides, we have a German coffee guide, a Ethiopian coffee guide, and even a Guatemalan coffee guide!

About David Dewitt

Hi, my name is David and I come from Columbus, Ohio. I am a amateur photographer, and a coffee lover. I love to write, and don't mind me a cup of joe!