Dummies Guide: To Roasting Coffee
Do you want to roast coffee at home but don’t know how to roast coffee at home? Well believe it or not roasting your own coffee at home can actually be kind of fun and easy or it can be exacting and technical. It all depends upon you and how difficult or easy you want to make it. There are all kinds of ways to roast coffee at home too. You can roast the beans in your oven, you can use a skillet, you can re-purpose an old popcorn popper or you can go out and buy some fancy coffee roasting machine. Whatever the method you decide on you will be well on your way to drinking a lot better tasting coffee when you roast coffee at home.
First Step: Picking the Roaster
There are several different ways you can roast coffee at home. Whatever method you pick should be influenced by just how much roasted coffee you are going to need and how much money you actually want to spend for the whole process. If you go the DIY route or you pick a small appliance to do the work for you depends on how you like to do things and how much automation you prefer.
Pro Coffee Roaster Option – Espresso Gurus
Recommended DIY Coffee Roasting Method – Hot Air Popper
You Will Need the Following: DIY Coffee Roasting
- Hot air popper
- Big bowl to catch chaff
- Big spoon
- Metal colander for cooling
- Oven mitt
Instructions: Coffee Roasting
- Put popper in a well ventilated place in kitchen either near a window or the exhaust fan.
- Turn on the popper and start putting green beans into the chamber. The coffee is going to spin under the force of the popper. When the beans are barely moving you need to stop putting beans in the popper. This is probably about 4 ounces or 2/3 to ¾ cup of beans.
- Put the plastic hood including butter dish in place on the popper.
- Place the big bowl under the chute to collect the chaff.
- Now listen for the “first crack” This is a cracking or snapping sound that will start about 3 minutes after you have put the beans in the popper.
- Depending upon the popper, the lightest roast will take about 4 minutes and the darker roasts will start to develop over the next few minutes, so it’s all up to you on how dark of a roast you want. Since the roasting continues until the beans are cooled off it’s a good idea to remove the beans when they are a shade lighter than the actual roast color that you want.
- Pour beans into colander and agitate the beans with the big spoon until they are cool enough to touch with your fingers.
- Store your beans in an air tight container until you are ready to grind them but don’t tighten the lid for 12 hours to give the beans a chance to vent off the CO2 produced.
Second Step: Pick the Green Coffee Beans
If you are just starting off roasting coffee at home it’s recommended that you buy a 4 pound sampler package of green coffee beans. It’s a good idea to pick coffees that will help you learn the major differences in the flavor of coffees grown in certain regions and which ones will give you a more even roast coffee at home. After that you can start browsing region information and what different coffees offer so later on down the road you can see what kind of coffee you might want to try the next time around.
Third Step: Understand the Roasting Stages – Especially for DIY Coffee Roasting
Before you start to roast coffee at home, especially with DIY coffee roasting method, which we’ll get to soon. You need to understand the different coffee roasting stages so you can help control the flavor of your coffee and learn to appreciate the different coffee roasts and flavors that come from them.
- Yellowing: For a couple of minutes the coffee beans will stay green, then they will turn to a light yellow and let off a grassy smell.
- Steam: This is when the coffee beans begin to steam. This is because the internal water is dissipating.
- First Crack: Now the steam from the coffee beans become fragrant and then you will hear the first crack of the beans, this is the sugars in the beans that are caramelizing and the water continues to escape.
- First Roasted Stage: Once that first crack has been heard, the roasting is considered to be finished at any time after that and it all depends on the taste you are after. This first roasted stage is called a “City” roast.
- Caramelizing: This is when caramelization of the beans continues on and the oils migrate as the beans expand in size as the roasting becomes much darker. The roasting progresses and most people recommend that you stop at this point in time because you are on the verge of the “second crack” and this would be considered the “Full City” roast.
- Second Crack: When this second crack happens you will know it because it’s much louder than the first crack. The character of the beans begin to change and at this time it’s often called a Vienna roast. This is the stage where the beans might start to blow off small pieces like shrapnel! So you need to be careful if you go this far.
- Darkening Roast: This is when the roasted beans become very dark and the smoke coming from them is very pungent because the sugars are burning off completely along with the bean structure breaking down. You are now at the end of the second crack and this is usually called a French roast.
You go any further than the darkening roast and you have destroyed the coffee beans and all you will get is a thin bodied cup of black water.
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