How-To: home roasting your own coffee

by Adri on August 20, 2011

So when do you make that jump? From coffee enthusiast to a full blown Coffee Enthusiast? When does buying fresh roasted beans from your local coffee shop just not cut it?

I’m not quite sure when it happens… but there is a huge appeal to home roasting. It’s all about creating the freshest batch of roasted beans essentially ensuring a high quality bean makes it directly into your cup without weeks and months of middlemen…

So why do we roast? According to Jon Thorn in The Coffee Companion, the fresh coffee bean is introduced to heat and begins a chemical reaction, where starches convert into sugars and some acids begin to break down. The beans will essentially pop like popcorn as they are roasted. They also emit oils which are proteins that break into peptides. These oils are the ‘essence’ of coffee and are the element of roasted coffee that begins to oxidize with exposure to light and oxygen. They go from a green color to a dark chocolatey brown through the process.

Levels of roasting of coffee beans at Alabaster Coffee and Tea Room (Adri/thegirlblogger)

You can make many kinds of roasts depending on the kind of bean, the region it comes from, and the length of roasting. The complexity is similar to fine wines…

If you are interested in home roasting there are several great guides I have found that go through the process of choosing the right beans right through to the choosing of equipment. I found it most interesting that you can get started at home roasting your own beans using a popcorn popper. The best tips to keep in mind are to give yourself enough space to work, to keep an eye on your roast as it is flammable, and to work in a well-ventilated area because the roasting process produces some smoke along with the aroma.

There is a really great breakdown of methods of home roasting, from stovetop and drum roasting to fluid-air roasting in the book The Art and Craft of Coffee by Kevin Sinnott.


The best first step you can take is doing a little research on what outcome you’d like your coffee to reach, from there just a few items (either household or purchased new) and you’ll be on your way to trying your hand at the freshest most rewarding cups of coffee you ever thought possible.


Popcorn Popper Roasting via flickr user INeedCoffee

Professional roaster that is powered by laptop! At Alabaster Coffee and Tea Room (Adri/thegirlblogger)

If you want to make the splurge there are coffee roasters designed for all batch sizes, from simple counter sized roasters to commercial grade roasters powered by laptops… the possibilities are endless. You ready to geek out over your coffee?



Online Resources
How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home
Home Roasting Basics
Popcorn Popper Roasting


Karl & Bethany Fisher, owners of Alabaster Coffee Roaster & Tea Room
The Coffee Companion: A Connoisseurs Guide by Jon Thorn
A Cup of Coffee: From Plantation to Pot, A Coffee Lover’s Guide To The Perfect Brew by Norman Kolpas
The Art and Craft of Coffee by Kevin Sinnott

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