Everyone needs a cup of coffee, and nothing beats whipping up freshly roasted coffee made from beans that you have roasted—giving you a lovely aroma and delicious taste every single morning. This is believed to be one of the best ways to enjoy your cup of joe, roasting the beans yourself.
While you can always visit your favorite coffee shop and find this type of drink, why not learn how to do it yourself so you can start creating your cups of freshly roasted coffee from start to finish at the comfort of your home? Understanding the process of creating roasted coffee will let you appreciate the art sign that goes into creating the perfect cup of coffee more. In this guide, we will discuss the importance, processes, and ultimately how to roast coffee beans.
Everything You Need to Know about how to Roast Coffee Beans.
What Is Coffee And Why Do We Need To Roast It?
Coffee is derived from a small red fruit (Coffea species - berries) that goes through various stages before reaching your cup every morning. Coffee is processed by firstly removing the outer skin, inner parchment skin, and pulp of the fruit. After that, the inner seed found in the fruit is plucked and dried. The final product of the coffee-making process is green coffee beans.
The coffee bean is similar to a dry pinto bean (speckled bean), which means it can be stored for a long period and still come out fresh when it goes through the process. If you do not roast coffee, the outcome of the drink brewed from the raw beans would be very acidic and bitter, making it undrinkable.
Green coffee does not smell like coffee. When roasting, we can create up to 800 to 1000 different aroma compounds that make the unique flavor of the drink. The process gives the beloved drink its unique aroma and different flavors, giving you the option of creating fresh home coffee with ease. We roast it to bring the aroma and flavor that's locked inside the green coffee beans out.
Overview of the coffee roasting process
The green bean can be kept for a long period without losing its quality or taste. It's drastically different before it is roasted. It is spongy, soft, and has the smell of grass. The roasting process causes chemical changes within the beans as they are rapidly brought to extremely high temperatures.
When the beans reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly set aside to cool and stop the process. The final form of these roasted beans smell like the familiar coffee we all know and love, and they weigh less because of the moisture being completely dried out. The coffee roasting can be adjusted according to your liking, light, or dark as to how you would like your roasted coffee.
What is the process of roasting coffee beans?
Roasting means turning raw green coffee beans to brown. It's a complex process that involves heating green coffee beans to transform the basic components within the seed, such as proteins, sugars, and acid into the familiar delightful aromas of malts, chocolate, berries, roasted nuts, and more. Here's the general coffee roasting process:
- The raw green coffee is loaded into the coffee roaster charge system. When the roaster reaches 500°F (internal temperature), the batch will be dropped into a hot spinning drum—starting the roasting process.
- In the first 5 minutes, the high amount of heat will be applied to the beans and bring the coffee up to roasting temperatures.
- Then after another 5 minutes, the coffee will undergo changes at low roasting temperatures (between 300°F and 350°F) developing unique aromas.
- The final 2 to 5 minutes will develop the coffee's full flavor. This part will depend on what type of roast will be made. It ranges from the light roast, medium roast, to dark roast, giving you fresh coffee at home.
Roasting Coffee Beans
Experts have identified ten stages of roast that coffee beans can go through. Which roasts levels you reach will be up to you:
Coconut Oil in Coffee Benefit
The green beans will retain their pure green essence, even when the heating process starts.
The color of the coffee slowly changes from green to yellow. You will also notice a grassy odor.
The beans will emit steam when the water molecules inside of them start evaporating.
4. Initial Crack
The cinnamon roast. Sugars inside the beans will start to caramelize, and the initial cracking sound will be heard. It sounds similar to popcorn popping.
5. City Roast
Following the initial crack means that the beans have reached "City Roast," which is the acceptable minimum level of roast for most people's tastes.
6. City Plus Roast
Further caramelization of the beans and migration of oils will let the beans swell in size and reach "City Plus Roast." It's one of the most popular roasts available.
7. Full City Roast
Beyond the limits of the City Plus Roast is the Full City Roast. This a darker roast that's difficult to create since the beans have to be on the verge of the second cracking.
8. Full City Plus Roast
The beans undergo a second cracking, which results in the Full City Plus revealing more layers of the intensity of the coffee's flavor.
9. Dark Roast
It's also known as the "French Roast." You will notice the smoke emitted will become pungent, and the sugar will burn without ruining the coffee's flavor, breaking down the bean's overall structure. It's the utmost limit of roasting that still emits good flavor.
When the roasting reaches this final point when the beans are terribly burned, the smell will go from pungent to a plain acrid burned char.
Flavors after coffee roasting
Different coffee flavors through roasting different coffee beans. Here are the most popular roasts:
Light Roast is also known as American Roast, New England Roast, Half City Roast, and Cinnamon Roast. This coffee flavor is achieved after several minutes of the roasting, and the beans begin to pop or crack. Visibly expanding in size, and it has a dry surface.
This stage is called the first or initial crack. The light roast exhibits a lighter-bodied coffee flavor that has higher acidity and no obvious roast flavor. This level of roast is ideal for those who want the lighter variation of the beloved coffee drink.
Medium Roast is also known as the City Roast, City Plus Roast, and the Full City Roast. Variation of these roasts is achieved after the initial minutes of the roasting. It's developed through the initial crack, and the coffee will reach these roast levels with the addition of having a dry surface.
The sugars inside the beans will be caramelized further, and the acidity will become muted—coffee with this toast results in higher body and subtle hints of roast flavor.
Dark Roast is also known as the Italian Roast, Vienna Roast, Full City Plus Roast, and the French Roast. The roast is obtained from the final minutes of the roasting process when the beans begin popping again, where you can see the oil rising to the surface. Because of the oily rising to the surface, it has a shiny surface.
This coffee exhibits bittersweet flavors, and the roast's aroma and flavor are more prominent in this coffee beverage.
How long does it take to roast coffee beans?
The basic process of the roasting process is simple. While the roasting time of different roast levels varies from the method and batch size, the rough estimate of the overall process is 10 minutes for smaller batches and up to 16 minutes for larger ones.
The sorting process is important to ensure that the beans are evenly roasted. Becoming an expert roaster is the result of hours roasting batch after batch of coffee. The roasting time depends on the type of roast. Home roasters only get better as they learn from their experience.
What temperature do you roast coffee beans?
450°F to 500°F (232°C to 260°C) is the standard roasting temperature for dark, light, medium, medium-dark roasts.
Roasting coffee beans temperatures
Light Roasts Temperature
Lighter roasted beans reach an internal temperature of 356°F to 401°F (180°C to 205°C). When the roasting reaches 300°F to 350°F (149°C to 177°C), the beans will pop or crack, expanding in size.
Medium Roasts Temperature
Medium roasted beans reach an internal temperature of 410°F to 428°F (210°C to 216°C) between the end of the initial cracking or popping. Just before the start of the second popping.
Dark Roasts Temperature
The final acceptable roasting temperature. To reach this roast, the beans should reach an internal temperature of 465°F to 480°F (241°C to 249°C), which starts at the end of the second popping or beyond. They are sometimes roasted to the temperatures exceeding 490°F (254°C), where the coffee will resemble the flavors of charcoal or tar, hence, the term “dark.”
Roasting coffee beans at home
The oven roasting method
The most convenient and simple coffee roaster. When roasting using the oven, there is minimal airflow. That's why roasting coffee via this method can be smoky and lead to an uneven roast. However, the lack of airflow increases the richness of the coffee roasts' flavor if this method is done correctly, creating the perfect home coffee paired with the best coffee pot.
- Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C)
The temperature needed varies from different ovens and different types of beans. Start at the standard 500°F and adjust accordingly and find what works for you the best.
- Proper ventilation
Maximize ventilation by opening everything inside the kitchen except the oven's door because it can get smoky.
- Spread coffee beans
Spread the beans over the tray (perforated trays produce the best results). Make sure to spread it in one even layer only. Never stack them. If you do not have a perforated tray, the use of a regular oven tray with a sheet of baking paper under the beans is recommended.
- Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven.
That's because the middle shelf of the oven provides the most consistent temperature. However, if there's only one shelf you can use that too.
- Listen for the first "crack."
These beans usually make a "cracking" sound after 5 to 7 minutes. The first crack means that the coffee is now lightly roasted. Do not leave the beans inside the oven for too long because it will result in burnt beans.
- Listen for the second "crack."
After the second "cracking" sound, the beans have now become medium roast. Wait roughly around for 1 minute after the second crack before taking the tray out of the oven. Take note that dark roasts are stronger than both medium and light roasts.
- Transfer to the colander
Stir and shake and place into a colander (strainer) and let them cool down. Place it inside the sink or outdoors to avoid the chaffy mess. Always heat-proof mitts the whole time.
- Leave the beans exposed.
Leave the beans exposed in an open-air room to let it vent out the carbon dioxide.
The grill or pan roasting method
The most utilized method for home coffee roasting. Everyone has a standard grill or pan lying around their kitchen, which means this method is very popular amongst the home coffee roasting community. There are many tutorials regarding this method, but those DIY coffee roasters tend to burn the beans using this simple method. Never use a non-stick or coated pan in the roasting process because it will negatively impact the flavor of the coffee roast.
- Maximize ventilation
Open everything inside the kitchen that can increase the airflow. Because you will be roasting the beans in an open method, which can become smoky and smelly. If possible, grill outside of your home to avoid overpowering your home with a smoky coffee aroma.
- Place pan on medium heat
The standard temperature of 450°F (232°C) will suffice. Remember that getting the temperature the first time can be difficult. Experiment to find the most suitable heat. Using the gas stove or grill makes adjusting the temperature easier.
- Add an even and shallow layer of beans on the pan.
Place an even layer of coffee beans into the pan. Enough so you can stir the beans inside the pan with ease.
- Continuously stir
It's important to keep stirring to ensure that they're getting heated evenly. Never let them rest.
- Listen for the first "crack."
In making home coffee roasts through this method. The first crack typically occurs 4 to 5 minutes, turning the beans into a light roast.
- Listen for the second "crack."
Depending on your preference. If you wish to have a medium roast, the second crack typically occurs after 6 to 7 minutes, which indicates a medium roast. Roasting it a little longer can burn the beans, but doing it properly can give you a dark roast.
- Transfer roasted beans into the colander
Place the beans into the colander, then proceed to stir and shake them. Let them cool down. The ideal place to place the beans is in the sink or outside, which can help you avoid the chaffy mess.
- Expose the beans
Leave the coffee beans to be exposed for 12 hours, which de-gasses it—effectively getting rid of the carbon dioxide inside of them.
The popcorn popper method
The popcorn popper is another convenient coffee roaster that can do a great job at roasting—producing even roasted coffee for the ideal coffee at home. Use the machine with side vented heat to prevent burning and continuous rotation.
Start the process by placing the popcorn popper near an open window or outside of the house.
- Preheat the machine
Pre-heat it for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the model of the machine.
- Drop beans into the machine
Measure half a cup of beans and make sure that they can rotate continuously when placed inside the machine. It should be able to agitate the beans effectively. You may assist the agitation by using the standard wooden spoon or spatula if you cannot see visible agitation. This encourages the beans to start moving.
- Collect chaff
The accumulation of chaff is inevitable. Collect the excess chaff (protective casing of the beans) that will come out of the popcorn machine's spout.
- Listen for the first "crack."
This home roasting method starts to crack around 3 to 5 minutes, indicating that you have achieved a light roast.
- Listen for the second "crack."
This occurs after 6 to 8 minutes, indicating that the beans will now produce medium coffee roasts. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds to obtain a dark roast.
- Place into the strainer.
Transfer the roasts between colanders and let them cool down.
- Expose the beans
Leave the beans exposed in the open air and allow them to vent their carbon dioxide out for 12 hours.
After obtaining the light, dark, medium, or medium-dark roast from these methods. You can use coffee in french press or use the high end coffee makers for the home in creating your roasted coffee at home.
Important Tips on How to Roast Coffee Beans in the Oven
When it comes to roasting coffee beans, the most convenient way to do it is using the oven. However, when you roast coffee beans using the kitchen appliance, there's little airflow, leading to uneven roasts due to the lack of airflow. But when done correctly, this method may boost the richness of the coffee roasts' flavors, providing the perfect roast for the best brews. So, how to roast coffee beans in the oven?
It's crucial to roast coffee beans using the oven carefully as it can easily lead to burnt beans, smoky aroma, and uneven roasting. The following tips can help you prevent all these—and help you create consistent and perfect roasts each time.
Preheat Oven, Prepare Tray and Have a Spatula Ready
Before roasting your chosen coffee beans, make sure to preheat the oven around 450°F (232°C) to 500°F (260°C). The temperature needed depends on the oven model and the beans you're using. However, the provided temperature range is a great place to start, helping you adjust accordingly.
While the oven is warming up, make sure to prepare the tray for roasting. You'd want to use a perforated metal sheet for the best results. Plus, since you need to ensure even roasting, having a spatula on stand-by is also ideal. Doing this helps you monitor the beans better and streamline the roasting process.
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Maximizing ventilation is crucial as the oven roasting method often emits plenty of smoke, and you want your home to smell like it either. So, make an effort to open everything inside your kitchen—except the oven door.
Spread Coffee Beans on the Tray
To get the best and even roasted coffee beans possible, spreading them out over the tray is a great way to do just that. Scattering the beans to one even layer on the tray can guide the heat to roast all the beans perfectly, helping you achieve the perfect results every time.
Place the Tray on the Oven's Middle Shelf
Standard home ovens typically have several shelves inside, and when it comes to roasting coffee, you'd want an even heat distribution throughout the beans. When placing the beans-filled tray, make sure to put it in the middle to provide consistent temperatures.
Be Attentive for the 'Cracking' Sounds
Beans typically make 'cracking sounds' during the process, and the longer you leave it inside, the more frequent cracking sounds may happen—giving you a darker roast. Generally, the first crack suggests that the beans are now lightly roasted.
Additionally, if you're looking for darker roasts, listen for the second crack to happen. However, when the second crack happens, it's best to wait for a minute before taking it out of the oven.
Remove and Cool
After reaching the roasting level of your choosing, place the coffee beans onto a baking sheet and shake them to allow the beans to cool off naturally. Additionally, doing this helps prevent the beans from getting over burnt.
Leave the Beans Exposed
After placing the fresh-roasted beans in your colander, make sure to leave the beans exposed to an open-air room, venting out carbon dioxide. Letting carbon dioxide all out can improve coffee's flavor by preventing the carbon dioxide's naturally sour taste from infusing with the coffee.
Is Roasting your own coffee worth it?
Yes, for avid coffee lovers. Creating freshly roasted coffee can be worth the effort and time that love their dark, light, or medium roasts in the morning. Coffee is most flavorful during the first week after the process. So, home coffee roasting means you can always get the best cup of coffee. Take the time to perfect the art of roast and how to use a coffee maker. Beginners will have to go through hours of roasting multiple batches until they get the exact level of roasted coffee that they prefer. This is also the reason most people leave the roasting process to professionals. The time spent may be a chore and can be tedious. However, when you get the roast which fits your needs, it can be an ecstatic moment.
Roasting coffee at home is an easy and rewarding process. Take the time to learn these different methods. You can use whatever coffee roaster you have at home and experiment on various methods to achieve the perfect cup of coffee always to start your mornings right. We hope this guide on how to roast coffee beans helped you understand more about the art of roasted coffee. Happy brewing!