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A cup of coffee on a table, with Coffee bean

How to Roast Green Coffee Beans

Today I’m going to walk you through the entire process I followed to get started, complete with tips and advice on creating your perfect cup of home-roasted coffee.
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Course: Drinks
Cuisine: World Wide
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Cost: $1.50

Equipment

  • air popcorn popper
  • two metal mesh colanders
  • small bowl or another container to catch chaff
  • oven mitt
  • airtight container

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw, green coffee beans

Instructions

Roast

  • Measure out 1/2 cup green coffee beans and pour into the popper where you would normally pour the popcorn kernels.
  • Turn on the air popper. Place the bowl in front of the machine where the popped popcorn would exit, to catch the chaff. Watch the beans swirling around in the machine. They are not going to pop out the way popcorn would.
    In a few minutes, as the machine heats up, you’ll see the beans turning brown. Next, you’ll hear the beans starting to making a cracking sound. At the first crack, you will have reached City Roast, which is a light roast.
    The longer you let the beans roast from this point on, the darker the roast you will achieve. You will hear the beans pop like popcorn for several seconds. Then the sound will taper off.
    The next stage is when the beans start to sound more like Rice Krispies crackling in milk. This is called the “second crack” and signals that you have reached what is called a Full City” or dark roast. While the beans are roasting you'll see chaff flying off either into the bowl or box or into the air. This is normal and another reason you want to roast outdoors.
  • The minute you have reached your desired roast, turn off the air popper very quickly and pour the beans out of the popper into one of the colanders. Careful! The beans and the popper will be very hot. At this point, you just cool them quickly or they will continue to roast.
  • To cool the beans fast, you can pour them into one colander, shake them around, and then pour them into a second colander. Continue to toss the beans back and forth from one colander to the other until the beans are just warm to the touch.
  • Place the beans in a container that has a tight-fitting lid. However, do not apply the lid at this time. Freshly roasted beans must be allowed to “de-gas” for at least two hours, up to overnight, to achieve their full coffee flavor. If you were to grind and brew beans immediately upon roasting, you would be very disappointed. The beans are not ready to be ground and brewed until they have rested for at least a few hours, to allow them to de-gas and develop to their peak of flavor.

Resources

  • BOOK
    For detailed information on every possible question I recommend Home Coffee Roasting: Romance & Revival.
  • RAW GREEN COFFEE BEANS
    Go easy in the beginning, buying just a few pounds of green coffee so you can try different varieties. Remember, I didn’t invest in 150 pounds of one variety at a time until many years after starting out with my old air popper. Amazon offers lots of green coffee beans, some with Prime shipping.
    U-Roast-Em.com offers a large variety of raw green beans at very competitive rates, starting at about $5 per pound. You can buy a single pound at a time, up to 25 pounds or more. Prices vary.
  • WHIRLEY-POP
    You’ll soon outgrow your air popper as it roasts only 2 to 3 ounces of roasted coffee beans at a time. The next method is to upgrade to a Whirley-Pop popcorn maker. This stovetop machine will allow you to roast more coffee per batch, using a slightly different technique.
  • BEHMOR 1600 PLUS
    Say hello to my current home coffee roaster. It’s a dream come true. Complete with a smoke suppressor (I still opt to roast outdoors), I can roast up to one pound of coffee at a time, and I do at least a couple of times each week.
  • LA MINITA TARRAZU, COSTA RICA
    It did not take long for me to identify our favorite coffee, La Minita Tarrazu. It’s smooth, mild and absolutely the best. And it’s pricey in all its forms—green beans, roasted whole beans or pre-ground. By purchasing directly from the plantation in Costa Rica (minimum purchase is one full bag, which nets about 150 pounds), we cut the cost by more than half.
    To give you an idea, my last shipment worked out to $4.51 per pound, including shipping. Just know that market prices go up and down dependent on market conditions and the unknowns growers face.
    When you are interested in this kind of investment (if not now, down the road) I invite you to contact La Minita Coffee, 110 Riggs Rd., Ste A, Hinesburg, VT  05461-4453. They will take care of all of the issues of customs, import fees and delivery to your front door—all for one easy payment you will make in advance of delivery. Very easy.
  • EPILOGUE
    I roast coffee for two reasons—to save money and to enjoy really good coffee. I’m not into formal tasting and “cupping” or any other advanced areas of serious coffee enjoyment. I love that I am known for this thing that I do—something quite unique in our social circles.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!