If you compare wine-making at home and roasting coffee beans, the latter is easier and gives far better, even excellent, results if you know how to roast coffee beans at home.
There are several models of coffee bean roaster available in the market, but the good news is, you can do the coffee bean roasting at home even without any special roasting equipment. You can do it with the use of a simple popcorn maker or even using your good old frying pan. The important thing is, the apparatus you are going to use must be very clean. Nothing is worse than having that taste of fish or butter in your coffee!
First stop is to get coffee beans that are of good quality. And when you do start roasting, darker roasts contain less caffeine compared to lightly roasted ones and not as acidic as the latter, too.
The ideal heat for roasting your beans is between 223 degrees to 262 degrees Celsius. Roasting results in a lot of smoke, so make sure your kitchen is properly ventilated by using a fan or the exhaust of your stove. No odor comes out of the beans as they are roasted, but to be sure, just open your windows widely and make sure you inform the whole household about your intention. Better yet, do it when you have the whole house to yourself. Do not forget to turn off any smoke detectors in your house, too.
Put your beans into your coffee bean roaster – might be espresso – then turn up the heat. Some roasters have fitted thermometers on them for you to gauge the right temperature for your beans. A portable thermometer, like a candy thermometer, is the best one to use if you are using a frying pan to roast your beans.
As you roast, you will notice that the beans will change color, turning into a yellowish tinge, then later on to brown. How dark they will go depends on you.
Eventually, the beans will start to release oil and water the longer they are subjected to the heat. They will also start to crack loudly like pop-corns. This is quite normal. To make sure that all beans are roasted perfectly and evenly, stir them continuously once in a while and hold them in the heat for about 4 to 7 minutes. When the natural sugars found in the beans start to caramelize, they will turn brown and start to burn. Constantly monitor the color of the beans every 30 seconds so they won’t get burnt. As what was mentioned in the above paragraph, the depth of their brownness depends on your preference.
Do not overdo the beans. You will know they are getting burned if you hear a very loud crack for the second time. When it gets past this stage, the beans already lost much of their sugar. All that is left is the bitterness plus the burnt aftertaste. Many of us won’t be able to stomach this taste in our coffees so do not let the beans reach to this point.
Once the beans are done, place them in metal sifter to cool down. Scramble them a little as this will help them cool down quickly. As you jostle them, you may notice that the beans’ thin skin will go off. These need to be removed by using a mesh or a cooking screen.
You can apply the “trial and error” principle when it comes to roasting coffee beans. Try doing the process in small batches until you get the desired color of your beans and take note of its time. Remember, though, remove the beans from the heat early as they will still continue to roast long after they are removed from the fire due to the heat trapped inside them.
If you choose to roast your coffee beans using a popcorn maker, use one that allows you to jostle them as they are being roasted. Jostling allows for even air circulation and prevents them from sticking to the sides of the pan. You can also use a cast iron frying pan for the process. Using cast iron requires less stirring but lots of watching.
Once your beans have cooled down, you can immediately put them in your coffee grinder. You will be on your way to getting that rich cup of coffee you have always wanted! Now that you know how to roast coffee beans, why don’t you give it a try?