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Nov 14, 2012 09:47 AM

Home Roasted Coffee Beans - Share Your Technique!

I discovered the joy of home roasting years ago. It is literally the best coffee you will ever drink! My french roast has a chocolate flavor that I've only encountered in Europe. It's also incredibly inexpensive!

My technique is simple.

- Buy green coffee beans from internet suppliers

- Roast beans in an old hot-air popcorn popper

- Listen for the crack stages to get the desired roast

- Cool beans quickly in a metal colander

- Wait 24 hours before sealing

- Grind, brew and consume within 5 days

Please share your experiences.
What is your technique?
Where do you get your beans and what types do you use?
How are you dealing with the smoke? (I do all my roasting outside.)

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  1. I share your enthusiasm for home-roasting. I started about 4 years ago with an iRoast2 and just a few weeks ago upgraded to a Behmor 1600 drum roaster when the former died. The idea of our "obsession" being inexpensive though is something I must take issue with. For over 2 years, I bought almost exclusively Colombian Supremo from in 25# bags (free shipping) and watched the price rise from under $100 to $147.50 currently. That's almost $6 a pound and doesn't include the 15-20% weight loss after roasting. The price for 5# goes to over $7.50 per before roasting. Also, there are more expensive beans (Kona, anyone?) that we can't resist trying from time to time. I currently buy the 8 pound sampler pack from Sweet Maria's (8 different varieties) and pay about $6.50 per before roasting. I like buying the smaller amount because I use it up faster and it's cool not being in the "Supremo Rut" anymore. And then there's the equipment......Roaster $300, Breville Smart Grinder $200, Technivorm MoccaMaster $300. Hey, if you're going to all the trouble of roasting your own beans, then you also must assure yourself that those roasted beans are processed perfectly at each step on the way to your cup. Anyway, it's a productive hobby and less than a thousand dollars is a good investment for the benefits received. btw Shellhead, if you want to make life easier and REALLY hear the cracks, ask Santa for a Behmor!

    5 Replies
    1. re: grampart

      Great info Grampart!

      Where did you end up purchasing the Behmor roaster?

        1. re: grampart

          Thanks. I did an internet search and sweetmarias is price competitive so that's probably my best best (and I trust them).

          I noticed that in some states the local beer brewing shops sell coffee roasting supplies, but that's not the case where I live.

            1. re: grampart


              It looks like a great system.

    2. I use the same method. I had an iRoast2 but it never did seem like it got hot enough. Then it took a dive and broke the glass and I'm back to the popcorn popper.

      I roast outside too, although its getting a little cold for that. Mrs CHM does not like the chaff that collects in the garage, but I'll probably move my roasting in there when it gets too cold to roast outside.

      I exclusively by beans at . Have for years. I'm finishing up a pound from Yemen that is really, really good but almost gone. It's back to Ethiopian Harrar once that's gone.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chileheadmike

        I've had great luck with the popcorn popper. My only complaint is that the quantities are small and I end up roasting every few days or so. I wouldn't mind looking into the Behmor that Grampart mentioned above.

        Yeah, the outside temp really changes the roasting times. Initially I was roasting inside under the hood going at full blast, but I noticed my sofa started to smell smokey so I stopped. It's not an unpleasant smell, but it's pervasive. I've considered the garage but haven't tried it.

        I've only purchased beans at sweetmarias. I wonder if there are any other suppliers that provide the same quality? I'd like to try some samples.

        1. re: Shellhead

          I now roast in the garage for the winter. The Behmor has a smoke suppression system that works pretty well until you get into second crack. Again, the Sweet Maria's sample packs are great. Right now, I'm drinking "Brazil Fazenda do Sertao Catual" described as " City+ to FC+: Nice clarity in lighter roasts, huge body, classic nutty roast tones (hazelnut, macademia), cocoa powder finish at darker roast levels." I just finished a pound of "Java Kopi Sunda" and have some "Rwanda Jomba Vunga" on deck. Others have come from El Salvador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Sumatra, Colombia, and Burundi. I highly recommend you give it a try.

          1. re: grampart

            I love the sample packs. It's a great way to zero in on what you really enjoy. It's also nice to have other beans around for visitors that might have different preferences.

      2. I roast in the park, on a camping stove, with a Whirley-Pop popcorn pot. I'm working my way through an 8lb sampler from Sweet Maria's. Just did half a pound of Ethiopia Sidama this afternoon.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Scrofula

          I almost bought one of those to use just for popcorn. So how many lbs of coffee are are you roasting at a time? Any issues?

          Looks like Sweet Maria's is the vendor of choice. I just placed another five lb order a few hours ago. This time just the basic French Roast Blend.

          1. re: Shellhead

            I roast half a pound at a time, though you could probably do a full pound. No major issues, though it takes a little practice to get a consistent roast.

        2. My hot-air popcorn popper bit the dust, and I can't seem to find another one. I don't think they make them anymore, so I might have to find a new technique.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Shellhead

            I'd sure like to get the Behmor, just can't justify the 300 bucks. Not sure what I'll do when the popcorn poppers goes South. Maybe the stovetop popcorn popper. Looks like it has more capacity and I can use it outside with my campstove.

            1. re: chileheadmike

              I just found a Presto popper at Walmart for about $20. I can't tell from the photo whether it has the right vent/fin arrangement for the swirling or not, but I might order it anyway.

              Yeah, I learned the hard way to roast outside. When I first started doing this my couch started to smell like smoke :)

          2. Been roasting for a little over a decade.

            Started out with a Freshroast roaster. A kinda modified air popcorn popper. After realizing the batch size was way to small unless you like roasting daily I took a spin with the heatgun method. Good batch size but stiring by hand got old.

            That lead me to the stircrazy turbo oven roaster which I still use today. I've gone through 2 turbo ovens but still have my original stircrazy stiring the beans. Unbelievable after nearly 10 yrs. I would have considered it the weak link. With this roaster my average batch size is 14 oz of green

            I built a cooling station with a metal box that houses a squirl cage fan with a mesh colander that sits on top of the down daft opening. The exhaust port is fit with a nylon stocking which collects the fine chafe which is liberated when stirring with a wire wisk. This set up is stationed in front of a window with a window fan in position to rapidly vent the smoke outside

            I got involved with the online Green Coffee Coop when it was first founded and now purchase most of my green from the Green Coffee Buying Club. I do my roasting in our pool house slash man cave. Rain or shine, hot or cold I'm roasting comfortably. Usually while smoking a cigar and enjoying an adult beverage

            4 Replies
            1. re: scubadoo97

              That sounds like a great setup! Did you modify the stircrazy roaster to remove the plastic parts?

              I'm currently buying from Sweet Maria's, but I'll check out the Green Coffee Buying Club.

              1. re: Shellhead

                Yes. I tried the shields but eventually if melted in the first few months of use

                I replaced the plastic stirring drive shaft with a 2" socket and added a second stir rod to get more movement.

                I use a springform pan as a spacer between the SC and the TO. I also disconnected the heater on the SC and added a thermocoupler to the SC pan. Came in from underneath so it's sitting just under the beans and not measuring air temp.

              2. re: scubadoo97

                The Green Coffee Buying Club sounds a bit complicated. These days I buy from either Sweet Maria's or Burman Coffee Traders.

                1. re: grampart

                  I have ordered from all those places and they are fine. A shout out to Unclebeanz, good people and coffee.

                  The GCBC is not that complicated. See what's currently available commit to an amount and pay by paypal. Pretty straight forward when ordering a single origin. The complete fees are listed for 5,10,15 or 20 lbs. it can get a little more involved when ordering multiple beans from the same distributor.