How to roast coffee at home for beginners

We’ll explain what green, unroasted or also coral coffee is and where to buy it and we’ll help you to pick the home coffee roasting machine that is relatively cheap. Then we’ll show you how we roast coffee using a popcorn popper that you might actually have at home already.

Why to roast coffee at home?

I think there are many good answers, but for me, there are four main reasons. You learn about coffee in a fun way. Roasting coffee on your own pushes you to learn more about coffee origins, chemistry, but also about coffee brewing. You will always drink fresh coffee. Since coffee ages much slower in the raw form and you will roast in small batches you will have always some fresh coffee on your shelf. You can roast to your taste preference.

Filter or espresso, light or dark. All of us have a slightly different taste preference and even your favourite roaster might not always meet your expectations. It’s cheaper. Perhaps not at the very beginning when you invest in the equipment and also you buy coffee in a small quantities but later on you recognize the difference. If you can relate to one or more points, you are ready to go ahead with this video.

We are not professional coffee roasters so we are making this video having a beginner in mind since we are just more advanced beginners ourselves. Coffee roasting is simple, but not easy. There are few things that you need to learn, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating. There are two questions I want to answer before we will roast coffee together.

What is green coffee and where to buy it?

And what is a good home coffee roaster for beginners? Okay, so this is a green coffee bean. At this very moment it’s very hard and dense. You could hardly grind it or extract any flavor from it. It’s actually seed of a coffee cherry that is produced on a coffee tree that in our case grew in Colombia. When a coffee cherry is ripe at least for specialty or high grade coffee it’s picked, processed, dried, packed and shipped to Europe.

The real challenge for home roasters is the fact that the regular green coffee bags are 20, 50 or 60 kilos. That’s not what you buy if you just want to give it a try, right? So what are your options to buy a small batch of green coffee? Say 200 grams, half a kilo or kilo. If you are in the US you are lucky because Sweet Maria’s is an amazing place for buying small batches of green coffee and learning all about home roasting machines and craft of roasting.

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At the time of filming they had a selection of over 60 coffees in stock. In Europe things are a little more complicated. We get our green coffee beans from Georgi at Caventura in Germany. You can buy a home roaster starter kit for 29€ that includes a popcorn popper. 250 grams of green coffee and 100 grams of roasted coffee for your reference.

That’s what we got for this video Another tips for buying small batches of green coffee in Europe online are Hasbean in the UK where you can buy most of their coffees also in a raw form and Roast Rebels in Germany. My ultimate recommendation though is asking your favorite local coffee roaster.

Most of them don’t officially sell green coffee for customers but if you are regular and explain your aim to learn more about coffee I think there is a big chance they will sell or give away a sample of their raw coffee beans. Perhaps they will add you also some extra learning tips and you can compare your home roast to their official one. So give it a try and have fun!

Home Coffee Roaster Overview

Now I will give you a quick overview of the most common ways how you can start coffee roasting at home. and I will also explain why we pick to use a popcorn popper for this video. Once you have green coffee beans you can really start straight away in your kitchen with no extra cost.

Your options are an oven or stove top and then you have a dedicated roasting machine that start at about 150 to 200 dollars and it goes to thousands. Even though I did my first coffee roasting on a stovetop using a regular pan now, I believe the best option for the beginners is an electric popcorn popper.

The problem with both oven and pan roasting is that it’s quite difficult to agitate coffee beans so you don’t burn them or roast them unevenly. I think it’s almost impossible to do it in the oven to be honest. You have a better chance on the stove top yet it will take practice to do it right and you will need to keep stirring and rotating coffee beans all the time.

For a stove top you can buy stool like StovePop or Nuvo. That makes it much easier to agitate coffee beans during roasting, you feel much more in control of the process. Yet you will keep moving all the time.

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Why we picked the Popcorn Popper

What I like about the electric popcorn popper is that it automates the process. Hot airs keeps coffee beans in constant motion so you can focus on a visual control of roasting which means picking the desired roast color and other theory evaluation which means hearing the first crack. We’ll use a popper from a German brand Severin and I saw that Nostalgia brand is a popular choice in the US. Of course, you can’t control temperature, airflow, it’s messy and you can really roast only a small batch of coffee.

All these problems are solving more advanced and dedicated home coffee roasters but for much higher price. Eventually, many of you will get there and buy more expensive home coffee roasters. but in this case, I think it’s good to start small and progress over time. All right. We have green coffee beans, we picked our home coffee roaster. Let’s roast a batch of green coffee together.

Roasting coffee w/ Popcorn Popper

We actually went out of our studio because it will be quite loud and smoky and since we are filming at the middle of the day, not all our co-workers would appreciate the smell. But if you are doing it at home It’s okay to do it by the window or in a well ventilated room.

Besides the popcorn popper and green coffee we’ll also need metal colander to collect a silver skin during roasting and to cool down roasted coffee. A wet towel to help us collecting chaff to keep the space relatively clean. A scale to measure beans before and after roasting, a timer to keep a reference about our roasting process. I will just use my phone.

A bowl or tray to let the coffee cool down to a room temperature. I will start by preheating the machine. It will take about a minute and in the meantime, I will weigh 50 grams of green coffee beans That’s about the optimal for this popcorn popper. You shouldn’t overdose it which prevents coffee beans from moving inside of the hopper.

Okay, our goal here is to turn green or raw coffee into brown roasted coffee and now we are lucky because we have the very same coffee roasted on the commercial roasting machine by Georgi. And this will be our reference for our home roasting attempt. Now we are roasting and we can observe a color change of the beans.

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First from green to yellow and then to brown. Between two and three minutes depending on the type of coffee beans You’ll start to hear them popping like when making popcorn, that’s called the first crack. Okay, so we are about three minutes in and I’m starting to hear some popping inside so it’s a first crack. Now we need to pay attention. From there a real development of coffee starts and it will take another minute or so to reach a light roast for filtered coffee.

Now we’ll use our eyes and later perhaps experience to stop the roasting process and quickly cool down roasted coffee beans. All right, so we are done. Now let’s quickly clean it up! Okay last important thing after you finish roasting with the popcorn popper is to cool down the beans very quickly because they are really really hot after finished and you need to cool them down quickly so they don’t continue baking actually and developing some unpleasant flavours.

Okay, so I put our roasted coffee on scale, we started at 50 and now it’s 43 grams So we lost about 7 grams which is 14 percent and there’s more or less the average between 10 to 20 percent loss and most of it comes from the water that evaporates and there are some other losses like like these beans that are on a table right now or the chaff that is all around the place. Now if you want to roast another batch, it’s good to wait five to ten minutes so the machine cools down a little bit because it’s not really built for long usage.

Probably it will break down anyway, but this way you can keep it alive a little bit longer. Okay, so we are back in the office. Our coffee is already cooled down. It’s more or less in a room temperature and it rested for a few hours and now we can put it into the bag.

And tomorrow It should be ready for a brewing. If you are curious to know how our coffee tasted so check out our instagram page where we will share our tasting. I hope that this video gave you all the essential information to start coffee roasting at home. Let us know in the comments if you tried and what was your experience.

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