How to Roast Coffee Beans (& Guinea Pig) Over Fire




About: Whatever you do take care of your shoes

I'm from Chicago but have been living in the beautiful south American country of Ecuador ten months out of the year for the last seven years.  Ecuador produces many products that we use everyday; bananas, chocolate (cacao), and the most important substance on earth: Coffee.  You would probably be surprised to know that most ecuadorians don't drink "real" coffee.  That's right they drink instant Nescafe.  Nice to see big business at work in a third world country.  Being from the United States of Starbucks we love our coffee.  So we had a friend show us all about coffee, from picking to roasting the beans.  Here I'll just show how to roast green coffee beans in a clay pot over a fire.  Some of the old-timers here still do it that way and will prepare it to drink as they eat grilled guinea pig or cuy as they're called here.  Yum!

Step 1: Materials

- Green coffee beans
- Large open clay pot (can also use large metal bowl but not as cool as clay!)
- Long handled wooden spoon (the longer the better)
- Pan to cool hot beans
- Fire starting apparatus (ie. matches, flint, lightning bolt)
- Firewood 
- Hot pads or oven mitt
- Guinea pig ( optional )
-  Sharpened stick ( for the guinea pig )

Step 2: Fire!

 Ok, well I'm not really going to explain how to prepare the guinea pig for all you pet lovers (I preferred hamsters when I was growing up).  So on to the coffee!  If you got a nice little fire pit you might want to use that.  I just have a few rocks and logs piled up in our jungle of a backyard.  Place some rocks or larger logs strategically so your clay pot will sit rather level before you get the fire going.  Make a little pile of firewood in the middle and pray for lightning or light a match.  Once your fire is going pretty good place bowl back on top.  Make sure your handle is over a rock so that it is not engulfed in flames once your beans are done.  

Step 3: Keep It Moving!

 Once the pot is hot you can dump your beans in.  The beans need to be stirred continuously so they do not burn.  You don't need to stir like crazy but you do need to keep them moving.  If you stir in a circle don't forget to stir the middle also. 

Step 4: Smoke in Your Eyes

 Steam will start to come off the beans (and smoke may blind you many times).  You'll hear the first crack about here.  At this time the skin of the beans will start to fall off.

Step 5: !Que Rico!

 Almost there.  At this point the beans are going to start crackling a lot more.  This is what many refer to as the second crack.  You might be showing your own crack at this point too but there's no time to hike up your pants or the beans will burn.  Lightly blow on the beans so the chaff or skin of the beans blows away. 

Step 6: Cool Beans!

 Once the beans have finished snap crackle poppin' and they are almost as dark as you want, put on your oven mitt to remove pot from fire.  Pour the beans into a pan so you can spread them out to let them cool.  If you leave them in a heap they will keep cooking for a while and might burn.  You can run water under the pan to cool them faster.  If you want to get rid of the skins and left over burnt debris, blow gently into your pan or use a fan as you swish the beans around.  

All done!  Put beans into airtight container once cooled.  Now your are the coolest kid on your block with home roasted coffee beans.  You can serve it with grilled guinea pig if so desired. Enjoy!



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    12 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    You have to remember this is an internationally viewed website and users are from a wide range of cultures. I've been living in Ecuador for a dozen years and it's a common dish here and even a specialty. Admittedly I did put it there because I thought it was humorous but it is what it is. Should we delete all Instructables involving beef because some believe the cow to be holy?


    Reply 1 year ago

    I thought it was amusing too so you are not the only one. I'm interested in cooking guinea pigs also, but I think it would be better if you didn't just repeat the same instructional guinea pig window. What do guinea pigs taste like?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Well, I'd say the old adage is true 'tastes like chicken' but kind of dark meat, greasy not very appetizing chicken. I had a hard time eating it as I grew up in the states and everyone had them as kids. But seriously, they love them here. A good friend of mine raises them to be sold and eaten. She usually has 30-50 of them in a big pen. I walk by a "restaurant" every day that grills about 10 on a rotisserie. Bleh... They also ship them fully cooked to the States to family that has immigrated and can't find them there.


    3 years ago

    Cool will give it a go with the coffee not the pet.
    In a down town Durban RSA Ethiopian coffee shop last Week they were roasting over fire made in pot.

    Need a grinder perhaps


    5 years ago

    I hate you! Guinea pigs are amazing and you're cooking them?! Wtf is wrong with you! Gosh!

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Over in third-world countries things that we would never eat and call pets, they eat for survival and it is natural to them. They also eat dog and cat in china :p.

    Don't be so judgmental. I have keep chickens and ducks as pets but don't go off my rocker every time someone goes into KFC. I'm leaving to visit Ecuador and Peru in 2 weeks and am actually looking forward to trying Guinea Pig. They look a lot bigger and tastier than the ones here in Australia.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    @misty_ninja, Hey there! Careful not to judge, there are folks on this site from around the world that think the hamburger you would prefer comes from a cute and cuddly cow.

    Guinea Pigs are cute to be sure, from our point of view... ... but some people don't exactly have a grocery store nearby nor the money to choose the food they eat so easily...


    Reply 5 years ago

    It's not me that cooked them. Anyway it is kinda gross but they do eat them here in Ecuador. They roast them on a spit over coals. To them it's normal, to me it's like eating a pet. When I was served guinea pig at a friends house I tried a piece and couldn't finish it. It was a mental conditioning that it's a pet. But on the other hand if you eat beef, poultry, or fish you can't be hating on other cultures for their choices. I mean, who decided that we should put a guinea pig in a cage and call it a pet?


    That's fantastic, easy and was a lot of fun to read, thanks for sharing. I feel like I've emerged from brainwashing that had me convinced roasting coffee beans is too mysterious and complicated for the average Jane or Joe. My first glimmer that wasn't the case was while I sat in an Ethiopian restaurant for a coffee ceremony….. not only did they roast the beans right then and there for us to drink, they acted like it was a perfectly normal thing to do. Brought them smoking through the restaurant and around us while they were doing it, with frankincence burning, too. I'm taking my power back now!


    6 years ago on Step 6

    great post, can't wait to try. Thanks.
    Can I replace the Guinea Pig with Rat?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great instructable! but if you add a bit of cardamom and cook it a bit lighter, you end up with arabic coffee.