Your Favorite Coffee Is Probably Burnt, Roast At Home Instead! | A Simple Guide to At Home DIY Coffee Bean Roasting

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Chances are your favorite store bought beans are BURNT. And it's not your fault. Really! Let's have a quick coffee chat, shall we?

The fact of the matter is that most of the coffee sold at your local grocery store or chain coffee shop is CRAZY over-roasted. Why? Because burnt coffee means a longer shelf life. And a longer shelf life means less waste and a better bottom line for that creepy green lady, and I'm not talking about the Statue O' Liberty.

Not to worry! I submit to you a light roast in the darkness if you will:Home Roasting. 

Not only is it fun and cost-effective to roast your own coffee, home roasting also gives you TOTAL CONTROL of your coffee drinking experience and delivers you the freshest coffee possible!

So! I've got about a half cup of green (another term for un-roasted) coffee beans, I got mine online from an online supplier called Sweet Maria's, a colander, a napkin (paper towels work fine too) and an electric popcorn popper from ebay.  

I've found that most home roasters recommend the West Bend Poppery II because it has relatively low voltage (1200W) and vents that circulate the air which protects the beans scorch.

Personally, I think it's because the name is so awesome and it kind of looks like an X-Wing Fighter Helmet...

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Uncanny no? I also have an infrared thermometer at the ready, because Lasers. Duh. If you don't have one that's totally fine. We have other methods of measuring ROASTAGE. MUAHAHAHAA!

OK! Beans go into the chamber and slightly damp napkin goes into the colander under the spout to catch the chaff that is going to fly around and get EVERYWHERE unless you give it a place to go. This model popper doesn't have an on or off switch, so when it's plugged in we're ready to roast. Set a timer for about 5 minutes.

As mentioned earlier, I like to keep an eye on the temperature via laser technology making sure it doesn't exceed 425F. BUT if that's not an option watch and listen.... I'll show you what I mean..

First you'll see your beans start to move around in a relatively organized manner, not unlike a the conga line at grandma's 85'th birthday party, but soon you'll see a bit more activity as the bean's chaff (or outer layer) starts to separate and soar along the heat wave express down into your ingeniously prepared colander below.

Keep and eye and ear on things, especially watching for a bit of aromatic smoke and the elusive "first crack" which is kind of like a popping sound. It'll usually happen within the first 3 minutes...

When you're satisfied with the color it's time to pull the beans. Ditch the paper towels and get your beans out of the popper and into the colander-CAREFULLY! THEY'LL BE HOT. Keep 'em moving by shaking or stirring with a wooden spoon.

When the beans are cool to the touch, transfer to any storage container of your choosing but make sure not to seal them tight! These little beans have a bunch of C02 they need to release in the next 4-12 hours before they can be ground up and brewed.

A few notes about bean color:

Typically the supplier of your green coffee beans will have suggestions about how dark a particular bean should be roasted based on the bean's origin and how it was processed. I have yet to roast every level because I personally prefer the mid to darker end of the spectrum, but I'll work on getting a wider representation as I continue roasting and hopefully post a color guide of my own for you in the coming weeks. insert thumbs up here In the mean time, here are a few facts to help you decide what you might prefer:

  • As coffee roasts get darker, your beans lose the flavors of their origin and take on more flavor from the roasting process.
  • Lighter roasts have more acidity than darker roast, but also more caffeine.
  • Light roasted beans are dry, while darker roasts develop oil on the bean surface.

I hope this guide has served as at least partial evidence that home roasting coffee beans is nothing to be intimidated by, AND has inspired you to troll you local thrift shop or ebay for a vintage popcorn popper of your very own!

As always if you have any questions or if you decide to exercise your God-given right to home roasting, let me know how it goes!

Until Next Time!
<3 Dayleeo