Coffee Time - The Easy Way to Roast Coffee at Home

Another cold day in the Pacific Northwest. We are expecting snow soon and very cold temps. What a wonderful time of year to enjoy a rich warm cup of coffee. Of course in our house, anytime of the year is coffee time. I explained in my post, Shoestring Savings - Coffee Time, why we started roasting our own coffee. Then in my next two posts, Home Roasted Coffee Time and I Would Sell My Cow For a Bag of These Beans, I discussed the roaster that we use and where we buy our green coffee beans. Today let's talk about how to roast.

As I've mentioned before there are lots of different methods for home roasting but the method that we have found to be the most economical and the easiest is to roast with a hot air popcorn popper.

You will need:
  • 1 hot air popcorn popper. Remember to buy the poppers with the air vents in the cylinder and not the popper with the screen in the bottom.
  • About 1/2 cup of green coffee beans. Use the same measure of beans that you would use for popcorn.
  • A bowl to catch the chaff, if you are roasting in the house. We roast outside so we just let the chaff blow away.
  • A colander.
Where to Roast:
You can roast inside but the beans will smoke during the roasting process so be sure and roast in a place where the smoke can vent out. We prefer to roast outside. That way we don't have to worry about the smoke and the chaff can blow away and be swept up later.

How to Roast Using a Hot Air Popcorn Popper:

  1. Place the popper outside on a table near an outlet. Note - popper will not roast very well if the temperature around the machine is too cold. The machine sucks in the cold air. If it is below about 40 degrees, place the popper in a small box, big enough to allow some air to flow around the popper. We use the kind of box that two gallons of milk come in. Cut a small hole for the power cord to go through.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of green coffee beans into the popper.
  3. Place the cover on the popper, including the butter dish.
  4. Place a small to medium size bowl below the chute to catch to chaff or just let it blow away in the wind.
  5. Turn on the popper.
  6. In approx. 2 to 2 1/2 min. you will smell fragrant smoke ( I think that it smells like brownies) then you will begin to hear the first crack which sounds like popcorn popping. If you like a lighter roast, start watching you beans now. Pull the beans just before they reach the color of roast that you like as they will continue to roast a little as they cool.
  7. The first crack will subside and in another couple of minutes you will start to hear the second crack. The second crack sounds like rice crispies snap, crackle, popping in milk. If you like a darker roast start watching your beans now. This is the place where you will get a darker French Roast. You will also see more smoke at this point. This is normal, don't panic. During the peak of the second crack, the beans are usually a dark brown with some oils starting to show.
  8. When the beans have reached the desired roast, about 4 minutes for lighter roasts and six minutes for darker roasts, stop the popper, pour them into the colander and stir with a wooden spoon or swirl them around to cool and stop the roasting process.
  9. You can grind and brew as soon as the beans are cool enough not to melt your grinder. I always like to make a pot right away, but the maximum taste is achieved after they have set for about 4 hours to overnight.
  10. When the beans are completely cool store in an airtight container out of direct light. The experts say not to store in your fridge or freezer.
  11. For the best fresh taste use your beans within five days and then roast some more.
  12. For more information on popcorn popper roasting, visit one of my favorite coffee sites Sweet Maria's.
See how easy it is to have fresh, rich, deliciously affordable coffee?
Coffee Time posts still to come: The Difference between City Roast and French Roast, What's the Deal With Decaf.

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