How To Get Started Roasting Coffee In the home

Green coffee
You love coffee right? Of course you do or you may not be on this page. Order some green pinto beans and we will help take you step-by-step through the home roasting process.

Green coffee
There are really only three steps en route to roasting your own coffee.

Choose a roaster (or even a method of roasting)
Choose your green pinto beans
Understand the roasting process

Choosing the first coffee roaster

There are lots of alternatives for your first roasting experience. Fortunately the best ways to get started are considered the cheapest.

The best way to start (and the way I first started) is with a Hot Air Popcorn Popper. Yes, contrary to popular belief this is the cheapest and easiest way to get started and learn about roasting. You could also use a skillet, wok, stovetop popper or numerous other homemade methods. For purposes I will discuss while using Hot Air Popcorn method.

Air poppers

You can purchase an air roasting starter kit from us here, or you can go to Walmart and pick up an air popper. Our kit will include some green coffees to get you started, or you can just order the green coffee from us here.

There are a few things you should be aware of before we discuss air poppers further.

Hot air popcorn poppers usually are not made for or intended as used for roasting coffee
When using these poppers the life expectancy from the machine is short (typically 6 months in my experience) they only are not intended to run so long as they do when roasting coffee
Any warranty that comes with the popper will be voided from it for roasting coffee

Wonderful that out of the way, the poppers usually only cost about $12 to $30 at Walmart and work perfect for a new home roaster. For the guide to roasting which has a Hot Air Popcorn Popper visit here.

Choose your green espresso beans

To help you get started there exists a 4 pound sampler pack that includes a variety of our current offerings here. You may also view all of our current green coffee only at that link.

The process of roasting coffee

As your coffee begins to heat it will go through several stages that you will have to be able to identify in order to know how long to roast. There are many things to watch, smell and listen for as you roast however, these are the basic stages.

Yellowing - Initially while the beans are heating they will start to turn a somewhat lighter yellow color, as well as the smell will be stronger but similar to the unheated green beans. Most roasters liken the smell to a grassy smell.
Steam - Since the beans heat further water within them is dissipating and there will be small amounts of steam noticeable.
First Crack - The valuable "first crack". This is as it says an audible sound in the beans cracking. At this time the smell actually starts to change and the sugars within the beans begin to caramelize. As the beans crack, oil inside the beans begins to escape.
Roasted - As soon as the first crack the beans are roasted. A roast stopped soon after first crack is called a "City Roast". From this point forward you are roasting to a matter of taste and preference.
Caramelization - After first crack the beans will continue to have oils escape along with the beans themselves expand in proportions as the roast gets darker. This slightly darker point as soon as the "City Roast" is called a "Full City Roast".
Second Crack - At this time the beans commence to start making a new cracking sound. This is known of course as the "Second Crack". The second crack can often be much more frequent and intense. Some liken this sound towards the noise of Rice Krispies cereal. A roast stopped immediatley as soon as the second crack is known as a "Vienna Roast". A little further to the second crack stage is known as a "Full City Plus" roast. You will need to know that after the second crack the beans start to lose the unique flavor they possess. Commercial coffee is frequently roasted to this point or beyond in order to get a consistent taste.
Dark Roast - Since the beans darken following your second crack the smoke becomes intense in the beans as the sugars lose completely and the beans expand and break up. At the end of the second crack roasts are called a "French Roast".
Point Of No Return! - Do not go beyond this point since the smoke intensifies further accurate the risk of fire through the beans. At this point the beans will never be worth using.

Cooling and Storing Your Coffee

When removing your coffee from your roaster you will pour it into a colander or strainer to allow it to cool down the. Leaving beans in the roaster will keep them warm and also the roasting process continues until they cool. After your beans are cool allow them to sit for 12-24 hours in a loosely sealed container since the beans will continue to emit CO2. Coffee is better used with in 1 week of roasting (one more reason to roast your personal coffee or buy freshly roasted coffee). After 1 week the quality begins to degrade. However, it is usually best to wait 24 to Two days to use your beans as they definitely attain peak flavor after degassing.