Very recently I finally bought my first burr coffee grinder and now that I have one I’m getting tempted to roast my own coffee beans at home. You can usually buy green beans a lot cheaper than pre-roasted beans and you can control just about every input along the way… you know, outside of the growth and sourcing of the beans.
My intent with this page is to serve as a hub for all “how to roast green coffee beans” type of posts on this site.
As I explore various coffee roasting techniques I’ll update this page with links to things that I find on the topic and to blog posts I publish.
To start off let me direct you back to my first post on the topic which went live earlier this month:
How Long Do Green Coffee Beans Stay Fresh – In this article I was learning about the storage of green beans and what to expect if I decided to go down this road. Apparently it’s not bad to buy green coffee beans in extreme bulk because they probably aren’t going to go bad on you any time soon.
If you are stumbling on this page before I’ve had the chance to fully develop this topic then I hope you’ll return at a later date. Maybe hit the subscribe box at the bottom of this post for updates.
The Many Different Ways Of Home Roasting Coffee
Here are the best ways to roast green coffee beans yourself from the comfort of your own kitchen. In the coming days/weeks I’ll be expanding on these techniques as I learn about them and actually try them out for myself.
1. Roast Coffee Beans On The Stovetop – This topic will be be developed very soon. I’m currently researching and drafting my first posts on this topic.
2. Roast Coffee Beans In The Oven – WIP
3. Roast Coffee Beans With A Popcorn Popper – WIP
4. Roast Coffee Beans In A Dedicated Coffee Roaster Machine – WIP
I also plan to explore lots of informational topics on the process of home roasting coffee. As each post goes live you can find them all listed right here. In the mean time feel free to read the rest of this post for a broad-scoped look into home roasting coffee.
What Type of Green Coffee Beans Can You Roast
The internet abuzz with health and fitness hype. It seems that all things with the word “green” means something healthy, organic or perfect for diet and nutrition. But among coffee aficionados, there’s really nothing so fancy about green coffee beans.
Truth be told, green coffee beans are simply unroasted coffee. Freshly picked, raw and unroasted. It’s coffee bean at its original state.
The coffee ‘cherry’, which is the fruit of the tree, usually contains two beans. Sometimes there will only be one bean in the cherry and such beans are called ‘peaberry’. These are often discarded, although they can also be sold to a different coffee market.
Types of Coffee Beans
For a better understanding, let’s take a look at the four major types of coffee beans in the market today.
Arabica (Coffea arabica)
Arabica coffee beans are the most popular among the coffee drinking world. It accounts for 60% of the world coffee production and consumption. Arabica beans grow in high altitude with even rainfall and plentiful shade. The Arabica tree is easy to tend and prune. It makes harvesting easier because the tree does not grow taller than 6 feet.
Note that the quality of the Arabica bean diminishes when served cold or with creamer. It is best served hot, perhaps brewed with the pour-over or drip coffee technique.
Other popular varietals of Arabica coffee are: Typica, Caturra, Bourbon, and Blue Mountain.
Robusta (Coffea caniphora)
Robusta is the second most popular coffee beans. It can withstand various conditions and can grow in hot regions. Robusta coffee beans have almost double the amount of caffeine that Arabica does- it is because caffeine acts as a means of self-defense that the Robusta plant has such a strong resistance to disease.
If you love milk and sugar in your coffee, Robusta is the perfect coffee for you. The flavor of the coffee does not diminish, rather it is enhanced by adding your favorite coffee condiments.
Liberica (Coffea liberica)
The Liberica almost got extinct but was saved and came into the coffee world scene in 1995. The Liberica trees mostly grow in the Philippines. Liberica beans are larger than the others, often asymmetrical, and is the only coffee bean in the world that has such an irregular shape. The beans are said to have a unique aroma, consisting of floral and fruity notes, with a full body that possesses a smoky taste; those who have had Liberica coffee say that it is unlike any coffee they have ever tasted- with many saying it does not even taste like coffee, stating that it tastes too “woody”.
Excelsa (Coffea excelsa or Coffea liberica var. dewevrei)
Excelsa is related to the Liberica and grows in Southeast Asia. It accounts for a mere 7% of the world’s coffee circulation. It is largely used in blends in order to give the coffee an extra boost of flavor and complexity, better affecting the middle and back palate. Excelsa is said to possess a tart and fruity body- which are flavors reminiscent of a light roast- that also somehow has dark roasty notes.
All of these coffee beans are green coffee beans before they are roasted and get readied for grinding.
How to Roast Green Coffee Beans at Home
Coffee roasters have their own machines to roast large volume of green coffee beans. However, you can also roast your coffee at home with these simple steps:
Using a Dedicated Consumer Grade Roasting Machine
Materials: Roasting machine, green coffee beans
- Place the proper amount of coffee inside the roaster. Check your manual to determine the correct amount.
- Close the roaster and turn it on.
- Allow the coffee to roast until the desired color has been reached. Remember, the longer you roast the coffee, the darker and stronger it will become.
- Pour the coffee into a colander and stir it until it is warm.
- Store the coffee in a room temperature location away from the sun.
Using a Stovetop Popcorn Maker
Materials: A Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Popper, an outdoor burner (gas or electric), green coffee beans, a laser thermometer (optional), a baking sheet, an airtight container
- Pre-heat the Whirley Pop until it reaches about 400 degrees. A laser thermometer is the best way to gauge the temperature, but simply pre-heating for anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes should put the popper in the right range.
- Add the coffee beans and make sure to keep the beans moving around to ensure even roasting.
- Watch the beans carefully and note the color changes until you achieve the kind of roast you love.
- Remove and cool the beans on the baking sheet.
- Store in airtight container to avoid exposure to moisture.
The 10-Stages of Roasting Coffee
Roasting coffee is an art. It requires patience. It’s a labor of love. The difference between a perfect roast and a failed one is just a matter of time. Here is a 10-stage guide to roasting so you can avoid burning your coffee beans when you roast at home.
- Green: This is the original virgin color of the beans. They remain green for a time even under high temperature
- Yellow: The color will start to change to a yellowish color, and the beans have a strong grassy aroma
- Steam: Steam will rise from the beans. Water from the beans will start to evaporate.
- First Crack: Real roasting begins at this stage. You can hear popping sound similar to cooking popcorn.
- City Roast: Following the first crack, the beans have reached City Roast. This is the minimum level of roast acceptable for grinding and brewing. If you want to use coffee for its full health benefits, this is the roast perfect for you as it retains most of the antioxidants present in coffee beans.
- City Plus Roast: At this stage, the coffee beans start to increase in size. This is the average roast used for most commercial coffee beans.
- Full City Roast: This is a darker roast on the verge of a second cracking.
- Second Crack (Full City Plus Roast): The beans undergo a second, more violent cracking and enter Full City Plus. This roast will reveal even more layers of intensity to the flavor.
- Dark Roast (French Roast): The smoke will become pungent, the sugars will burn as much as they can without ruining the flavor, and the beans overall structure will break down. This is the utmost limit of roasting within the confines of good flavor.