Roasting coffee can be as simple as popping corn.

The basics of coffee roasting are very similar to popping corn. Many methods used to pop corn can be used to Roast Coffee ( NO microwave or oil).

To see how easy Home coffee roasting is here.


A few things you should know before you Roast.

  1. Coffee roasting can produce smoke, especially if you like dark roasts, and chaff. The aroma of roasting coffee is not the same as brewing coffee; it is a little Smokey at darker roasts. Roasting dark indoors we use the fan on the hood of the stove or open a window.
  2. Chaff – A skin that covers green unroasted coffee beans, when coffee is roasted it dries and separates from the beans. It is very light and will follow the air current. Chaff must be removed from any type roaster before you begin your next roast.

The Good News and Bad News of roasting your own Gourmet coffee at home.

  • First the Good News – Coffee beans will expand to about two times their original size when roasted. You select just how dark to roast. Fresh coffee tastes better!
  • Now the Bad News – Coffee beans will lose one to three ounces per pound in weight when roasted, due to moisture loss and separation of the chaff. Shucks.

Home coffee roasting is a tremendous value even when taking the roasting weight loss into account, your overall cost per pound and availability of quality beans can’t be beat.

Coffee makes two distinct sounds as it roasts.

First Crack – Begins when your beans reach around 380 degrees F, this may take from 3 minutes to 15 minutes to begin and should last from 1 minute to 3 minutes. These ranges are large and vary depending on roasting method used, amount of coffee, and amount of heat being applied and are only intended as a guide not a rule. The sound is similar to wooden toothpicks being snapped. Like popcorn, it will start slowly, increase in intensity, and then taper off. End of First Crack is a good point to remove your beans from the heat if you like fairly light to medium light roasted coffee. The pace of your roast quickens as First Crack begins, the beans are generating heat due to the chemical reaction taking place in the beans, pay close attention.

You may remove your beans from the heat at any point from early First crack on. If they look good to you, light brown or darker, they can be ground and brewed. Once removed from the heat do not return them to the heat as they will NOT continue to roast.

Second Crack – Begins 15 seconds to 2 minutes after First crack ends, when your beans have reached about 435 degrees F. If the sounds have blurred into one continuous intense crackling you may have the heat too high, and your beans may be burnt (try less heat next time). Second crack should sound more like crispy rice cereal when you pour on the milk, it too will start slowly and intensify. Dark roast lovers should watch very closely as Second crack may allow a very short period to achieve your exact roast. You may learn to remove the beans just before they reach the color you want. Much past Second crack you may have charcoal. By keeping a record of your roasts, and with a little practice you should easily be able hit that perfect roast.

Depending on roasting method (very loud fans or noisy enclosed drums) it may be difficult to hear the Cracks, they do occur none the less, simply watch for color.

Simple coffee roasting directions for most manual methods

Manual methods:

Things you have at home that you could also use to pop corn, requiring you to stir, shake, or turn a handle to prevent the beans from burning on one side.

These items can include; a pot with lid, cast iron skillet with wooden spoon to stir, crank handle (we like the Whirley Pop) stove top popcorn popper.

Even when camping (or prepping) it’s easy to roast coffee just like popping corn on a camp stove or fire. Put about a quarter pound in a pot and shake until the pops of first crack end; pour onto a lid or plate to cool, simply blow across beans to separate chaff from coffee.

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