Roasting Green Coffee Beans at Home

Something I've never done, never really wanted to try and never thought about is roasting my own coffee at home.  I didn't give it a thought until I was studying ways of saving coffee for long term storage and saw message boards where people have purchased and stored green coffee beans and then were discussing ways to roast them to make them useable.  It sounded like a huge hassle to me!

However this weekend I was reading one of my favorite 'go to' sites I always find interesting things to read and learn from; Mother Earth's News.  They had an article about how to roast green coffee - and it looked pretty darn simple!

With a stove, a heavy cast-iron skillet, a whisk and a colander, it appears if you are quick and can stir continuously and don't mind a little smoke, you certainly can roast your own coffee.  They also suggest doing the process on a grill outside to alleviate the smoke issue if you don't have a powerful exhaust fan and open windows to clear the smoke.

  • Gather 1 1/2 cups of green coffee beans as well as a few roasted beans to use as a comparison for the color of the roast you hope to achieve.
  • Place the colander in the sink. The larger the colander’s holes, the better it will remove the bits of chaff clinging to the beans.
  • Preheat the pan over medium-high heat. You want the pan hot enough that a drop of water will dance across it and disappear quickly, but not so hot that coffee beans will scorch. If you have an infrared thermometer that can be aimed at a surface to gauge its temperature, shoot for between about 500 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When the pan is hot enough, pour in the green beans and begin stirring immediately with your spoon or whisk, and don’t let up. Keep the beans in constant motion.
  • About 5 to 10 minutes after you put the beans in the pan, you’ll hear the “first crack” that signals the beginning of the progression from light to medium roast. It will sound like popcorn popping. When the continuous popping of the first crack begins to fade, you’ll have a light-medium to medium roast. If you continue until a fainter, second crack begins, you’re entering dark-roast territory. (Coffee beans expand as they roast. Occasionally, a bean may pop out of the pan, but using a pan with high sides will corral most of them.)
  • While you are listening to the beans, check their color as best you can without pausing in stirring. Work quickly when matching a roasting bean to your comparison bean. A second set of hands can be helpful during this process. In addition to color, Daniel Bowersox, head roaster at Z’s Divine Espresso in Lawrence, Kan., recommends waiting to remove the beans at least until the edges have slightly rounded and the mottled color you observed early in the roast has fully disappeared into an even color all over each bean.
  • When most of the beans in the pan have reached the roast color you’re aiming for, pour the beans into the colander and stir, stir, stir. Beans should be free of most of the chaff and cool to the touch within 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Store in an airtight container for use over the next several days, grinding the beans right before you start a pot of coffee. Freshly roasted beans are actually best 12 to 24 hours after roasting.

You might also be interested in these green, unroasted beans;