Are you a regular coffee drinker who never roasted coffee beans? Then know that roasting coffee by yourself may take your coffee experience to another level.
Besides, it allows you to do many experiments with your coffee, which can make you a coffee-expert rather than just a regular drinker.
Curious to know how to roast coffee? Carry on the journey with me.
A Short Research on Coffee Roasting
Why roast coffee?
Let me shed some light on why coffee beans need roasting. Before reaching your cup, coffee has to pass several stages. Coffee is originally a red fruit that is needed to be processed to take off its skin and pulp. Then the remaining inner seed, or the coffee bean as we know it, is dried. This process of drying turns them into green coffee beans.
Now, if you don’t roast them, you will be drinking a very acidic and bitter drink. Due to the process of roasting, coffee becomes tasty and aromatic. Basically, roasting is the process that transforms the green coffee beans into the brown, adorable, flavored, and aromatic form of coffee beans we know.
What happens during roasting is – The moisture content of the green beans is forced out, resulting in dried and expanded brown beans. Just after the completion of the roasting process, the beans start to degas immediately. After 1 or 2 weeks, some roasted beans’ flavor and aroma might begin to get lost.
Roasting your beans at home
Yes, you can roast your coffee even at your home and enjoy the flexibility of roasting according to your choice. Buying green beans and roasting them in small amounts is a good option if you are experiencing your store-bought (already roasted) beans losing their aroma and flavors after a few weeks.
Green beans are cheaper and remain fresh for a long time. Besides, home roasting provides the opportunity to experiment with the beans and enhance your knowledge of coffee.
Okay, that’s enough preliminary talk about roasting. Let’s get to the procedure of how to roast coffee from sourcing beans to storing them.
Pick up high-quality green beans
Primarily, most of us do not have a proper idea about which beans we like the most. If this is the case with you, do your experiment with small amounts from sample packs containing beans from various regions until you understand your preference.
There are remarkable differences among coffees even from the same country due to the variation in types, difference in processing methods, or if the coffees are from different regions of the country. That’s why I encourage you to research coffee while buying green beans for roasting.
As you can see, these types of details can only be learned by knowledge and experience. Good brands put information like the beans harvest date, origin, recommended methods for roasting and brewing, etc., in their products.
After sourcing your green beans, keep them in a dry place at room temperature away from sunlight to maintain the quality and freshness for a long time.
Choosing your roasting method
Several home roasting options are there to choose from, and they are simple too. However, every method has its pros and cons. Selecting a roasting method depends on how much beans you want to roast, how much control you want to have during roasting, how many bucks you want to spend etc.
If you want to go with an oven and skillet-roasting, it will be cheaper. Probably, you already have these at your home. But if you are a beginner, know that these methods require good skills to reach the perfect roast. Besides, in the oven and skillet-roasting, it is hard to control the airflow, which is an essential part of coffee-roasting.
A popcorn machine is a good option if you just start to learn how to roast coffee. It’s user friendly and produces good roasts if the amount is small. Keep in mind not to use the machines that have mesh screens at their bottom to avoid the risk of fire.
The best option is getting a home coffee roaster. This will allow you to roast a large number of beans and have better control over your roasting. Various brands and models of home roasters are available in the market. Choose wisely while buying.
Set-up the roasting place
While selecting the place for roasting your loved beans, keep in mind that adequate ventilation is vital for quality roasting. Besides, it will keep you safe. You can roast outside or in the garage if it is convenient for you. Keep the windows open while roasting inside so that the smoke released from the beans can find a way out. You can also utilize an extractor fan.
After selecting a convenient place for roasting, get some equipment like a scale, thermometer (if you are using a popcorn machine), etc. Silicon gloves, a small fan, and a sieve may also come as handy.
Time for roasting!
As for home roasters, check the manual for various roasting profiles. If you are not familiar with the roasting process previously, beginning with pre-sets is a good option. If you are using a popcorn machine, make sure not to overfill it and make arrangements for the chaff to flee.
The usual time for roasting is 8-12 minutes for popcorn machines and air roasters. Note that the drum roasters require 14-20 min. If the temperature is lower, it will take a longer time for roasting. The more time you roast, the stronger and darker forms will appear. Keep in mind that, the beans need to go through continuous movement to be roasted evenly.
The home roasters and popcorn maker do this process automatically, but for skillet-roasting, you have to do it manually by stirring the beans. Be careful not to overload the machine, if you are roasting in a popcorn machine. Overloading may stop the automatic movement of the beans.
There are various stages of roasting such as light, medium, medium-dark, dark, etc. Experts mentioned more stages like city roast, city plus roast, etc. Note that there are specific roasting temperatures for each type. To have good knowledge of how to roast coffee, try to learn more about different roast profiles.
Cooling & storing the roasted beans
After the beans have achieved their required roast development, you have to cool them. Do the cooling quickly as the beans will continue to be roasted until they are thoroughly cooled down.
Get rid of the chaff. For cooling, you can take advantage of the cold environment if you are living in colder regions. Generally, you can utilize a sieve and fan for cooling, which is beneficial for removing some chaff too. Some coffee roasters have automatic cooling programs. For faster cooling, you can move the drum out.
After the beans have reached room temperature, it’s time to store them. To keep them fresh, store them in cool and dark places, away from light, heat, or any risk of oxidation. Foil-lined bags with heat sealers are great for storing coffee beans, while airtight containers will do just fine.
Can’t wait to brew a cup right now? Hold your horses; you have to wait for the beans to be degassed. Normally, three days would be sufficient. Remember, you have to brew a bit closer to the roast date (no later than ten days) for darker roasts. As for light and medium roasts, do not wait more than a month.
Some super-dense & light-roasted coffees like Ethiopian or Kenyan coffees could offer their best flavor after two weeks of the roast date. As you can see, the more you research and brew, the more experienced you become.
Avoiding common errors
Some common errors may destroy your home coffee roasting project if you are not careful enough. For example, if you are roasting outside, the machine might need more time to warm up.
Also, the batch size might have an impact on the roasting time and temperature. Maintaining proper batch size and temperature during roasting is essential so that all of the beans are evenly roasted. Without maintaining these properly, the beans can remain under-roasted. Avoid heating at maximum temperature; this may cause the beans to get burnt.
Look for the beans’ desired color and aroma while roasting, avoid multitasking, and pay attention. Besides, keep your gears clean to ensure a quality test. Chaff and oils may give you a headache and even generate fire.
Roast coffee like a pro!
As we all know, practice makes a man perfect. This goes for roasting different types of beans. The more you do roasting, the more expert you become and understand the mechanism of achieving a proper roast.
However, don’t have over-expectation. Note that you can never change the actual taste by roasting. For example, you will never change the taste of Ethiopian coffee and make it taste like Colombian by the process of roasting. I hope this piece on how to roast coffee serves well.