How to Roast Your Own Coffee




 One of my favorite hobbies is roasting my own coffee. In this instructable, you'll learn how to roast your own coffee (tastes way better than any other you can buy). I buy it green from a company called Legacy Coffee. You can order it green online from Sweet One of the reasons that I like to roast it fresh, is because I read somewhere that 2 weeks after roasting the coffee, it loses nearly 70% of it's flavor. Most store bought coffee has been sitting on the shelf for over 3 months. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I do know that my coffee tastes a LOT better than store bought! You can buy green coffee for about $4.50 a pound (this is one pound at at time, buy in bulk and it gets cheaper pretty fast), so you save some money roasting your own too.

I can't really take full credit for this, I learned this from a friend, but it still might help you guys out.

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Step 1: Supplies, Tools, and the Roaster

 You will need to purchase a roaster. I have an old popcorn popper, a "Poppery II". It works great. You can purchase new coffee roasters online, but they coast over $200, when you can buy one that works just fine for about $30 on eBay. Just make sure that the popcorn popper does NOT have a screen in it! Which is why Poppery IIs are so good. 
Also, you'll need some oven mits (so your hands don't get burned), coffee of course, and some cookie sheets. You'll want to work in an area that has a freezer near by.

Step 2: Roasting the Coffee

 Pour your coffee into the popcorn popper. For my Poppery 2, I prefer to use 2/3 cup at a time; that way it doesn't have too much air going through it to stay cold, but not so much coffee that it burns on the bottom. Place the lid on it and turn it on. You will probably need to use an old coffee can or some other type of metal container to hold the coffee chaff. There is a LOT of chaff , as you can see from photo 3. :)

Note: My Poppery 2 starts to overheat after about 3 batches, or 15 minutes. Too much longer than this, and the coffee starts to get a burnt, bitter flavor(really disgusting); so make sure you let it cool off after a couple of batches.

Step 3: Getting It to the Perfect Roast

After about 2 minutes, you will start to hear a cracking sound. This is called the "first crack". You should now stir the coffee to make sure the coffee is being roasted evenly (don't forget to wear your mits, the air from the roaster is REALLY hot). This sound will soon die down, and a louder more popping sound will take it's place in another minute or two. This is called the "second crack". Light roasts, which have more caffeine and flavor(but also more diversity), should be roasted to just before the second crack. Dark roasts should be roasted till slightly after the second crack is finished. 

Pour the coffee onto the cookie sheet, and spread it out using your oven mits. You should then stick the cookie sheet into your freezer.Let this cool until the beans are about room temperature. Repeat until you have a masonry jar full of nice roasted beans.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Now that the coffee is cool, you can put it into a masonry jar. Put the lid on, but do not seal it. If you seal it, the lid will explode when you try to open it. Trust me - I've had this happen before - it is VERY dangerous. Don't seal it until about 2 days after it's roasted. If you want, you can enjoy the coffee right away. But it peaks in flavor the third day after the roast. After the 4th day, it will slowly start to loose its flavor, so drink it quickly!!! Grind it and then enjoy. You can purchase your own bur grinder too, which allows for different types of grinds(that's fun to experiment with too). Have fun my coffee roasting friends!

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    14 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Good article
    I may be the only one but I like my freshly roasted coffee beans warm to hot before grinding them and put through my plunger right away...
    I find the taste exquisite...!

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Done that a few times, when I ran out of roasted beans, and really wanted a cup.  Still think it tastes so much better the next morning.  I drink strong, black, full bodied coffee.  Usually Colombian or Costa Rican.  Should note, that the expensive exotics, aren't really any better tasting, is a matter of preference.  Mostly they are expensive, because of the quantity available.   The best part of roasting your own, is when you get lucky, and hit the right amount of roast for your beans.  The coffee almost has a sweetness to it, and the flavor is so clean.  My roaster does about 3/4 lb per batch (search 'Turbo-crazy'), its a convection oven top and Stir-Crazy popcorn popper.  Did 3 lbs this morning, will last 2-3 weeks.

    Oh, and if you are huge StarBucks fan, wouldn't even bother roasting (burning) your own beans, you could possibly taste any difference.  Freshly burned beans, probably taste about as good as year old, burnt beans.  Much cheaper though...


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Nice use of popcorn maker, if only I could get one here.  I live in Ecuador and roast all our coffee in a clay bowl over a fire in my back yard.  I use a big wooden spoon to stir it continuously so it doesn't burn.  My coffe beans are grown near by and I pay a local friend about $2 a lb.  I love the smell of coffe roasting!

    2 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Not the best or accurate information, sorry.  Been roasting my own coffee for about 3 years now.  Started off with the same popcorn popper, should mention this is an outdoor activity, there is chaff and smoke blowing all over the place.  No need to stir, the popper fan does that for you (try few beans).

    Thought your price was a little high, checked my supplier.

    Coffee prices have gone up, over the past couple of months, about 30 cents a pound, wow.  Hope it goes back down before my next order.  I get 25 lbs, last about 5 months.

    First crack is louder than the second.  I usually wait until the second crack is going good, before dumping out the beans.  Use to metal bowls and a fan to cool the beans quickly, you want them to stop cooking.

    Store them air tight, to keep them fresh longer.  They do continue to release gases (CO2?) for a few hours, usually wait at least 4 hours.  Next day is the best, and that can't get it anywhere else flavor, lasts 3-4 days.  It's still great coffee 3 weeks later, but you know the difference. 

    The glass cracked, because you put hot beans in there.  They get over 400 degrees...

    Oh, only grind what you need, just before brewing.  Use filtered (bottled) water, and keep you coffee maker clean.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Prices may be different at Sweet Marias, my prices were from Legacy Coffee, which is where I get my beans.The glass didn't crack, I sealed it too tight, and when I tried to open the container, the lid flew across the room. :)
    True, don't grind it until you need it. Thanks for the help and tips HarveyH44.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    My brother did this a few years ago before buying a roaster.

    step 2: Roasting the coffee
    ... You will probably need to use an old coffee can of some other type of metal container to hold the coffee grounds. There are a LOT of grounds , as you can see from photo 3. :)

    What grounds? You're roasting whole beans, not grounds.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I think he meant the chaff, the papery 'skin' on the coffee beans.

    This looks fun, I hope to try roasting beans some time soon.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This got me really excited! I did not know you could buy green beans and roast your own- My cup is raised to you!~ Cheers


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Wow... I barely have enough time in my day to cook for myself, but hey more power to ya.