One of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself, if you love coffee, is to roast your own beans. Roasting coffee at home ensures that each cup of coffee you make will be fresh, and with a little bit of practice, it can be tweaked exactly to suit your taste. While the learning curve can be a little dissatisfying at first, there’s nothing more special than knowing that your morning cuppa came from your hard work.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you start roasting. It’s time to wake up all your senses, here’s why:
Smell: The beans will start to emit a grassy smell as they turn yellowish on heat. They start to smoke as they roast, and smell like coffee at this point.
Sight: Your bean also goes through a whole array of colours as it roasts, and the darker the bean, the fuller body the coffee.
Sound: As the beans begin to roast, the water inside them evaporates and you will hear a definitive cracking sound. This could happen twice in the roasting process, as the temperature rises. Please note, you can roast your coffee into first crack for a medium roast and approach second crack if you want a dark roast.
While there are a few ways to take up your home roasting hobby, we’ll analyse the two most popular ones: an oven and iron skittle.
- Preheat your oven to 232°C; though the temperature will vary depending on the beans and your oven. This is a safe starting temperature for you to begin with.
- Ventilate the space, things are about to get really smokey.
- Spread the beans over a perforated tray, these are easily available at your local baking supply store. If you don’t have a perforated tray, use a regular one with a baking sheet.
- Place the tray on the middle shelf for consistent temperature, and watch out for the first “crack” after about 6-8 minutes. You now have a light roast.
- Watch out for the second crack if you’re looking for a dark roast, wait roughly 60 seconds and take them out of the oven.
- Transfer to a colander, stir and shake to bring the temperature down as quickly as you can. Don’t forget to wear heatproof mitts!
- Leave them exposed to fresh air overnight.
- Place a thick pan over medium heat, around 230°C will do the trick. It’s handy to note that getting the right temperature the first time can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
- Add a thin layer of beans to the pan and stir!
- No seriously, keep stirring and agitating the beans. This ensures that they’re heated evenly.
- Turn on the exhaust fan and open up all your windows. You might want to grill outside too.
- Listen for the first crack, and then the second if you’re looking for a dark roast, at around 8minutes.
- Wait roughly 30 seconds and remove from heat, stirring and shaking to cool them down as quickly as you’re able.
- Leave the beans exposed to fresh air overnight, and you’re ready to grind!
- Don’t be too hung up on the roast time. Batch size can affect roast time and ideal temperature, as can where you’re roasting.
- Higher temperature setting can help you get a quicker roast time, but also burnt beans. Pay attention to the colour and aroma of the beans.
- Don’t leave your roaster and puppy unattended! One could cause a fire and the other could eat your kitchen roll. No points for guessing which is worse.
If you value fresh coffee above everything else, then roasting your coffee at home can be worth a try. There’s a short window of time when beans are at their peak freshness (read as: most delicious) so roasting your own beans guarantees you get to enjoy all the goodness. However, it can be a complicated science, so a good option could be to invest in a coffee subscription or to make best friends with your local roaster. Happy beans!