Home Coffee Roasting

I love coffee. I am not a coffee snob, however, and do not like the way most chain coffee shop brew tastes. I’ve been wanting to try roasting coffee beans at home for a while to see if it would make a difference in how it tastes. Well, ok, I know it would make a difference but what I wondered was whether the flavor would be enhanced enough to make it worth the effort. And, how much effort anyways was there in roasting coffee? I found a local coffee shop that roasts their beans and bought some “green” beans from them.

I read enough about home roasting to know to do this outside. I used the burner on our outdoor grill along with a cast iron pan and a big spoon. Turn the burner on. Heat the pan and pour in the coffee. Start stirring.

Keep stirring. It takes about 20 minutes for the coffee to reach the first “crack” stage. It starts to pop and smell burnt. You will see some chaff in the pan. Keep stirring. After a while, the beans will hit the second “crack” stage. Since I was afraid of overcooking them, I took them off the flame and poured into a colander to cool.

It was fairly windy outside so I poured the beans back and forth and let the wind willow away more of the chaff. This also cooled the beans.

Eight ounces of green beans yielded 6.2 ounces after roasting and losing some due to being sloshed out of the pan by my over-enthusiastic stirring.

After grinding the beans and then brewing a cup, I was ready to taste the result of my efforts.

It was bad. Really bad. It’s hard to describe the flavor other than weird mix of oily and green. Maybe I needed to roast them longer? Maybe the cooled beans need to sit for a while before brewing? Maybe I shouldn’t have bought the cheapest beans for sale? Or maybe, just maybe, I should stick with the supermarket coffee that comes in cans.



  1. Megan said

    Why don’t you just buy the roasted beans from the place you bought the green ones?

  2. shannon said

    wow- those dont look barely dark enough to be done! another friend of mine roasted her own beans recently… she said it was gonna take more practice. 🙂 I think I’ll stick with buying roasted beans and be happy Im grinding them myself.

  3. Nancy said

    An interesting experiment, but it seems that the consensus from others that have tried it is that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. One of the links that your site put on this comments page says the coffee flavor develops 3 days later. Another says the oily beans are highly flammable when being roasted. Good thing you did it outside. I think it is easy to over-roast them, so it seems that amateurs often end up with under-done beans or a mix of levels of doneness, which taste horrible. I guess you need to shop for a coffee brew shop that roasts the beans to your liking. Or, buy a specialty roasting machine that rotates the beans while it roasts them. Yeah, with whose trust fund? I hate Starburnt coffee too. Stick with Dunkin Donuts.

  4. John said

    Your beans may not be cooked enough. We have roasted our Ethiopian coffee beans until they are literally smoking and have a gleaming oily look to them. We have overdone them before and this leads to other flavor issues. We use a popcorn air popper for about 5-6 minutes and then you get to the smoking stage and perfect color. They should be dark brown to black. We grind ours to Espresso texture and you do have to be careful how much you use to make your normal pot of coffee because it can be very strong. Don’t give up! It really is fun once you get the hang of it.

  5. jody said

    LOLOL!! I love this post. The last pic made me lol!

    Popcorn popper is the way to go.

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