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Aug 5, 2009 03:06 PM

Should I roast my own coffee?

Have been thinking of roasting my own beans. I'm not doing it to save money and I don't even drink that much coffee (once/twice per week). But when I do I want the best taste.

There are local roasters where I can get freshly roasted. Should I stick to that or do you think that I'd get a better taste if I buy a decent home unit and roast it myself?

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  1. Not necessarily better tasting (though that is a distinct possibility - even a probability) - I find that you have more control (eg preferred roast level) and variety (eg ordering beans online). If you don't drink that much coffee, then it may not be worth your effort - and your roaster will end up in the cupboard next to your ice cream maker. You can get smaller capacity home roasters if you decide to take the plunge.

    1. When I was City Manager of a name brand city, we needed an instant ordinance prohibiting the roasting of coffee beans. I enjoy my morning cups of quality jo as much as the next guy, but the roasting process is stinky to the 3rd power. Let others do it.

      1. I'm a fan of home roasting. Most home roasters have fairly small capacity - I use the iRoast 2, which produces roughly enough roasted beans to make 2 quarts of coffee. So even if you only drink coffee a couple of times a week, it's unlikely to get stale.

        Depending on your local roaster, you may be able to produce better results at home. The bigger difference, though, is the variety of coffees available. If you have a favorite coffee that you're happy to drink every day, and if the local roaster does a good job with it, then you're already set. But if you like the idea of deciding among a dozen estate-grown varietals, you're a good candidate for home roasting.

        No doubt the process is a little stinky. If the climate allows you to roast outside, then you have no worries. If you're roasting inside, you'll need ventilation. Some roasters come with an adapter for a dryer vent. If your hood works well, you can use that.

        11 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          I love roasting coffee, and love the flavor. Experiment with roasting a small amount of medium-roast beans to a darker roast. That's as easy as heating up bread in the oven.

          I've used a cookie sheet with a lip several times and that worked very well. Just keep an eye on both the color and the sound (crackle) of the beans.Lots of info online.

          A hot-air popcorn popper works extremely well.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Hot air roasted coffee is the best. Haven't made it myself but a local roaster does this and I love it.

            1. re: DishDelish

              These air popcorn poppers are in nearly every thrift store into which I've ventured.
              Get one for $5 and roast your own coffee in small batches -- enough for a week or two at at time, for example.

              1. re: maria lorraine

                The air poppers are a good first step to coffee roasting. Cheap, fast....too fast? Roasts can take 4-5 mins to first crack. The biggest problem is the small batch size. Only a few ounces at a time. Great for sample roasting but I found my self having to roast several batches at a time and several times a week. I did this for a year before moving on. I still have a couple of air poppers and a Fresh Roast Plus roaster in the closet in case of emergencies.

                With my current set up, the stircrazy/turbo oven combo homemade roaster, I can roast about 14 oz at a time and the roast time is ~15 min. I use an Aeropress which burns through a lot of beans. I've been using the SC/TO roaster for a few years now

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  you can always do two rounds on the air popper. the op will be roasting only enough coffee for once or twice a week.

                  can you tell us more about your stircrazy/trbo oven combo homemade roaster gizmo? how you put it together, your logic/strategy? thanks.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    I was thinking that the OP would maybe begin to drink a little more coffee is they started homeroasting.

                    Check out this page from sweetmarias. Look for the "Turbocrazy"


                    attached pic of my roaster

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Scubadoo, that Turbocrazy is one fine lookin' roaster. Wow, I love that inventivenss. So, this is what you use?? Too much. Thanks for the
                      great new insight.

                2. re: maria lorraine

                  I really want to try this some day. =) Thanks for the tip.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    It takes me about 15 minutes to get the green coffee beans out, get out the hot air pop corn popper and roast up three batches of coffee. That is enough for me, myself and I to have 2 cups of coffee a day for about a week.

                    Put that in my Aeropress and it's perfect coffee every day.

                    1. re: BeaN

                      Nice report.

                      By the way, a plan ole cake pan and an oven work fine.

                      I bought some beans a few months ago, and they were under-roasted Sumatra. So I just poured the beans in a 9x13x2 roasting pan and stuck them in the oven for a few minutes. Sure enough, they were transformed into magical coffee goodness. SO aromatic.

                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        Where does all of the chaff go when it comes off of the green bean?

                        By roasting outside with my popcorn popper, it's all gone with the wind - any slight breeze whatsoever. I don't want that in my house, and as an asthmatic, I don't want to breathe all of the particulate matter that is produced.

            2. Go for it. It's a fun rewarding hobby. The smell is not stinky just different from what you expect roasted coffee to smell like. You aren't going to be producing high volumes of smoke anyway in a personal roaster. Check out Sweetmarias website for a discription of the most popular off the self roasters and homemade roasters.

              1. We roast our own coffee. Try it out with out spending a lot of loot to see if you like it. All you
                need is a pan which you put in the oven. Spread the coffee beans out on the pan so they
                are not more than one deep. Roast at 375 until they are the color you like best. I like to
                hold some beans that are my favorite color in one hand to compare colors during the last
                few minutes. Takes about 30-45 minutes. goes slow at first and then finishes fast so keep
                a close watch. One place to get green beans is Expresso roast makes lot's of smoke but City roast is not bad.
                Good Luck