A Guide On Roasting Coffee Beans

If you want to craft the perfect cup of coffee at home, roasting your own beans might just be the best solution. Whether you’re brewing a classic pot of drip coffee, a highly concentrated shot of espresso or a frothy latte, utilizing a bean roaster improves the process starting directly from the source. 

When you have complete control over the roasting of raw beans to light, medium or dark levels, you get a better pot of coffee. Keep reading to learn how you can craft the best batch of beans.

Different Type Of Coffee Roasts

There are three main categories of roasts, sorted by hue. Let’s take a look at some key characteristics and what you can expect from light roast, medium roast and dark roast.

Light Roast

Roasted for the least amount of time, light roasts generally taste more fruity or floral with a higher acidity and brighter finish. People tend to have a polarizing attitude toward light roast coffee because flavors can be much more prominent than alternatives, sometimes to the point of being overwhelming. These beans are pulled from the roasting machine directly after the first audible crack is heard, usually at around three minutes. 

Medium Roast

Medium roast is defined by a more traditional, middle-of-the-road taste. As arguably the most sippable roast, it’s remained the most popular type of coffee in the U.S. for decades. A medium roast keeps cooking for several minutes after the first crack is heard, but before the second crack occurs.

Dark Roast

Dark roast offers the most full-bodied, robust drinking experience out of the three roasts. Common tasting notes include chocolate, carmel, spice, nuttiness and other decadent flavors. With a dark roast, you’ll notice a subdued yet pleasant bitterness that makes it a great all-day type of coffee. It’s normally pulled no more than 30 seconds after the second crack occurs and before burning occurs.

Coffee Bean Roasting Equipment

To make things easier on yourself, you’ll need a few essential pieces of coffee roasting equipment. These tools will keep the process efficient and consistent.

Coffee roasting drum

The most basic piece of equipment you’ll need is a coffee roasting drum. You can find these in a variety of sizes, but beginners tend to start with something with lower capacity. Normally, a two-pound drum is enough for at-home brewing purposes, producing enough in one batch to last you weeks. You’ll also need a rotisserie rod and other components that help to rotate the drum during the roasting process.

Raw coffee beans

Unlike a bag of coffee beans, not every grocery store will carry raw coffee beans. Check your local co-ops, farmers markets or organic grocery stores for high-quality options.

Heat source

Whether an oven, grill or campfire, you’ll need a consistent heat source that can get hot enough to roast the beans to your preferred temperature. There are also electric at-home coffee roasters that allow you to cook your beans to a defined set of criteria, but they tend to be substantially more expensive. 

DIY coffee roasting equipment

You can always take a DIY approach by roasting beans using equipment around the kitchen:

  • Roast in a pan over the stove: Simply roast your beans over 450°F, stirring constantly. The first crack occurs after four minutes, the second crack at six minutes. Dump your beans into a colander and let beans cool and degas for 12 hours.
  • Roast in the oven: Place beans on a perforated tray and put into the oven at 500°F. Listen for the first crack at five minutes and remove soon after to prevent burning. Let beans cool and degas for 12 hours.

How To Roast Coffee Beans

Once you’ve decided on a roast level, acquired the equipment and the beans, and decided on a preparation method, it’s time to start the roasting process. Here are step by step instructions to get started with roasting coffee beans at home:

Step-by-step coffee bean roasting instructions

  1. Prepare your coffee roaster by cleaning out any left-over residue and turning it on to warm up. Open windows or turn on a fan, as the process may create excess smoke.
  2. Add raw coffee beans to your coffee roaster. Check your manual for specific amounts.
  3. Cover your coffee roaster with the lid, adjust the temperature setting to 370°F to 540°F, depending on the type of roast level you want to achieve.
  4. Let your beans roast for several minutes. Your machine will dictate how fast you reach the first crack, but you’ll first notice the beans turn a yellow hue. This is exciting as the first chemical reactions, degassing and evaporation, are starting to take place.
  5. Roast until you hear the first crack. Your beans have now achieved a light roast level, and you’ll likely see remnants of the beans’ coatings in your machine. Remove now for a more complex-tasting bean, or keep roasting for a darker roast.
  6. Wait until the second crack to achieve a dark roast level. Don’t leave beans on for longer than 30 seconds after this point.
  7. Remove the beans from the roaster and transfer to a colander immediately. Agitate them until they’re cool to the touch. Let them sit for 12 to 48 hours to allow degassing to take place.

Best Of Luck With The Coffee Roasting Process!

Now that you know how to roast coffee beans, you can give it a try yourself. Take complete control of your favorite drink’s flavor profile, whether with a bright, floral light roast or a robust, full-bodied dark roast and everything in between. No matter what type of beverage you’re brewing up, it’s sure to taste better when you employ a labor of love: roasting your own coffee beans – best of luck!

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