BBQ Coffee Roasting

Picture of BBQ Coffee Roasting
After trying fresh roasted coffee, I've been hooked and was determined to learn how to do this myself.  I'm an industrial designer and at some point I'd like to design and build a cool coffee roaster for myself but before I get there, I've been learning the basics and came up with a method that works extremely well, requires no fabrication skills, uses an off the shelf roasting basket, a cordless drill and a few items found in a typical workshop.  Below is a quick video showing the general process of roasting some coffee. Follow the steps to learn how to start roasting your own coffee!

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Assemble the roaster

Picture of Assemble the roaster
The nice thing with this roaster is that you don't really have to fabricate anything.  Just some simple assembly.  The heart of the roaster is the basket to hold the beans.  At this point I didn't want to re-invent the wheel so I looked for something I could buy off the shelf and found that the basket for the Behmor 1600 home coffee roaster is available as a separate part.  The one I bought is actually an older version that was on clearance for only 10 bucks!  However, the newer version has a smaller hole pattern in the mesh and will allow you to roast smaller beans.  I'd recommend spending the extra bucks on the new version as I do get some beans that fall through from time to time, so it does limit your been choices a bit.  The Behmor basket is nice because it has a round slotted shaft on one end which fits on a BBQ rotisserie bracket and on the other end it has a 1/4 inch square shaft that just happens to fit a 1/4" socket wrench adapter.

I purchased my basket as well as different varieties of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's.

Next you'll need to assemble some sort of drive shaft out of whatever parts that will allow you to attach your cordless drill to the roasting basket.  I started digging around in my toolbox and found a 1/4" to 3/8" socket wrench adapter, fitted to a 3/8" socket wrench extender.  Then found a 12mm socket that happens to fit the other end of the socket wrench extender and finally a socket to drill adapter to complete the driveshaft.  You could get by with just a 1/4" socket wrench extender and attach it directly to your drill, but I did not have one.

You'll need a cordless or corded drill or whatever motor you can find that will spin the basket at about 1 revolution per second.  Roasting coffee takes about 20 minutes so you will want some sort of clamp that you can attach to the drill to pull and hold the trigger.   In my case I also need a couple of blocks of wood to support the drill at the proper height of the barbecue rotisserie brackets.

Next you need to prepare your barbecue grill.  I think a gas grill is going to be the best bet here as I don't think you'll want a lot of smoke flavor in your coffee.  You'll also need one that is setup with a rotisserie function or at least has the brackets for one.  The motor that is used for rotisserie chickens is much to slow for roasting the coffee so don't bother trying to use it.  Our grill came with some extra brackets that I use in the center of the grill to hold the roasting basket.  I just shove them in between the two halves of the grill and hold it down with the weight of one of the grill grates. (see photo above)  If you need extra brackets, you can make them or buy something like this..  You'll also need to remove the grills under the burner that you're using to allow the roasting basket to fit.  

Once you've assembled all your parts, you will want to clean up your grill as much as possible.  I'm guessing chicken flavored coffee isn't going to be the next best thing :)   Our grill has a "Clean" setting which runs the burners as hot as it goes and cooks everything to dust.  I clean it up and run it on high until there is no more smoke coming out of the grill.  

As always, please be careful and read all the safety requirements for the operation of your particular gas grill.  The coffee you are going to roast is also going to finish some ware around 400 degrees or higher so please wear proper clothing, oven mitts etc.  Also be aware if you forget about your coffee and cook it to oblivion, it could actually catch fire so please keep a close eye on things. 
great idea ive got a set up like this, that id like to try adding a smoker box maybe applewood chips
alehnhar (author)  jpalmer-rye iii2 months ago

Very cool! That sounds like it would be fun to try.

BarryS12 months ago

Just got my drum from Sweet Maria's. Now off to the home center for the drive shaft, adapters, and other bits...

alehnhar (author)  BarryS12 months ago

Sweet!! Let me know how it goes.

AlexG105 months ago

I have a question about the top and bottom portion of the cylinder. I already have a a long rotisserie bar and device that does the rotation but am I able to remove the brackets that are used for rotation on the behmor and just input the bar.

alehnhar (author)  AlexG105 months ago
Hi Alex,

I'm sure you could with some effort but the brackets are welded onto the behmor basket. You'd have to cut them off and somehow attach your rotisserie bar. Make sure your motor can spin at about 60 rpm. The rotisserie motor that came with my grill is much to slow.

Thanks for checking out the instructable!
AlexG105 months ago

I forgot to proof read my comment, not adding a ? at the end of my sentence but I'm pretty sure you figured that out.

RyanR46 months ago

Nice vid

How did you connect the drill shaft to the basket?
alehnhar (author)  tatekennedy1 year ago
Hi tatekennedy, One end of the basket has a square peg that will exactly fit the 1/4" to 3/8" socket adapter. I've added an additional picture to the "Assemble the Roaster" section that shows this more clearly.
bigme1 year ago
Sweet score getting the basket at clearance price, the new basket is $30!
alehnhar (author)  bigme1 year ago
Yeah, got lucky there. I looked into making a basket but it was hard to beat 10 bucks! The new version for 30 is probably still worth it as the mesh is a little smaller to allow you to roast some smaller beans.
That's a really creative use of a grill. :D
alehnhar (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago
Thank you!
cookery1 year ago
Great video! I'm inspired to give it a try.
alehnhar (author)  cookery1 year ago
Thanks! Have fun with it :)