The last post on coffee roasting got such a great response, I’ve decided to post a step-by-step guide to roasting your own beans in the comfort of your kitchen. You don’t need special equipment, though there are many wonderful machines available for you to purchase. Instead, you can get a great-tasting roast using your home oven.
My workstation is modest: a handful of green coffee selections, a kitchen scale, and of course, a coffee roast journal, where I log each and every one of my roasts. Today, I am allowing you a look inside my book of secret recipes. Prior to this, only my fiancée and I have seen the inside of this journal. Welcome to the inner circle, my readers!
In keeping with my last post, I decided to make a variation on the Mokha Java blend. Sadly, I found that I was low on my Yemeni beans, so I went for the next best thing. I started with a blend of Ethiopian beans I had a stash of, weighing out at six ounces.
Figuring that the roast process would shed about 80% of the moisture found in the beans, I needed an extra four ounces of coffee. Combining the Java beans, I now had the ingredients I needed to make my variation Mokha Java blend.
The whole lot fit quite nicely on a cookie sheet that I covered with some parchment paper. You can never have enough parchment paper! The oven had already been preheated to 500 degrees, and I now, we’re ready to roast.
You want a hot oven when you’re roasting coffee. Anything less than 450, and the beans take too long to reach their full potential. When using an oven, you want to keep the roast process fairly quick, or you run the risk of coffee with a sort of “baked” taste as opposed to a softer, more pleasing “roasty” flavor. MY roast today is going to be fairly middle of the road, so you need to make sure your beans can reach temperatures of 430-440 fairly quickly. To measure this, I placed an oven thermometer in with the beans to get a rough estimate of temperature.
Every five minutes, I take the beans out of the oven for a few seconds and mix them around with a spatula. This has two effects: it loosens the chaff, or outer skin around the beans, allowing it to fall away as the beans roast. It also allows for a much more even, uniform roast. I do not recommend skipping this step!
All the fun happens when the beans are in the oven, so I find myself sitting down next to it. Waiting. Watching. And, most importantly, listening. You are waiting to hear a series of loud POPs inside the oven, not unlike the sound of popping corn. As the moisture inside the beans is released, the beans expand and, quite literally, explode. The first series, called first crack, is really your first indicator that the beans are ready to be ground and brewed. Drinking a roast that has not undergone this first crack will leave you with a mealy, grassy, yeasty cup of, basically, discolored water.
My first crack began around the eight minute mark, and intensified about nine minutes into the roast. Wanting to keep that medium roast body, I took the beans out to agitate at the ten minute mark, ten placed them back in for just a few more minutes, allowing first crack to finish throughout the batch.
Had I wanted a dark roast blend, I would have let the beans sit until the second series of explosions began, also known as second crack. As mentioned in previous posts, this process is much more violent, and causes little shards of bean shrapnel to fly around the oven. Want it darker? Let the sound of beans popping build to a crescendo, but be very careful. The difference between “dark roast” and fire could only be a few moments…
Just like that, less than fifteen minutes later, you have a fresh roast of beans that you can call your own!
One thing to be aware of: the beans are still giving off CO2 at this point. This is an important part of the roast process as the moisture continues to evaporate and sugars continue to caramelize while the beans settle. Though the temptation will be there, you should allow your beans 24-72 hours before grinding and brewing. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!
As I calculated, I was left with eight ounces of fresh roasted coffee! At this point, find a container, I recommend a clean, dry mason jar with a lid, and store your beans. Don’t screw on the lid too tightly yet. Remember to allow a few hours to let the beans expel some CO2. In a day or two, you’ll have the freshest coffee money can buy!
Now you too can see my coffee notes. Keep them as detailed as you like, but I definitely recommend keeping notes so you can reproduce roasts you enjoy! Yes… I did cover a bit of the recipe. I can’t let ALL me secrets out!
That’s all there is to it! With these tools, as well as a good source for your coffee (like Sweet Maria’s), you too can roast and brew your best at home!
Would you like to win a free half pound of roasted coffee?
I will be giving away a free, hand-crafted, fresh-roasted half pound of beans to one of you!
Send me an email at email@example.com and include the following information:
- Your name.
- Your drink of choice at your local coffee shop.
- What you look for in a coffee shop.
- A topic you would like to see me cover in a future post.
One of you will receive an exclusive half pound of coffee with tasting notes, and a mention in a future blog.
You must be a subscriber, and you must live within the contiguous United States to qualify. I look forward to hearing from you, and good luck!