If you are passionate about drinking coffee, you could make the experience even better by roasting your own coffee beans at home. Regardless of how many cups you drink in a day, there is a consistent need for quality of taste and that all starts with the bean. Instant coffee is great for a quick fix, but it will never reach the standards of genuine, roasted coffee. So if you are trying to find out how to do it yourself, this guide is the perfect reading material for your journey.
Why Should You Roast Your Own At Home?
So, why should you roast your own coffee beans at home? If you are the kind of person who loves the quickness of throwing a spoonful of instant powder into a cup and channeling in the boiling water, this process might not appeal to you. However, if you drink coffee not just for the pick me up but the taste as well, and the whole experience around a great cup, it is definitely worth exploring. Take a look at the main advantages listed below to decide whether this is something worth doing for yourself.
- You are in control of your cup from start to finish.
- The base bean is sourced by you so you know it’s origin story and what it will turn into.
- You dictate the flavor intensity and level and can adjust it as and when your needs fluctuate.
- It is the freshest way to drink coffee.
Understanding Green Coffee Beans
The first stage is to take a look at the smaller aspects of the journey. Understanding these are vital to the wider knowledge that you will need to carry out the process of roasting coffee at home. Green coffee beans are the rawest, most purest form of bean and are where all the flavor potential lies. The roasting process is what turns the color to brown, and through doing this releases all the tastes and scents that we know and love as coffee. So a green bean is just one waiting to be roasted, and this is what you will need to start with.
What Are Roasted Coffee Beans?
Roast coffee beans are ones that have gone through the roasting process. They are essentially put in a tray and blasted with high temperatures to reduce the moisture and inhibit a flavor response. Without roasting them, it it very hard to make an actual cup of coffee and therefore, this process is a necessary one.
The Roasting Process Explained
There are a few different stages to roasting your own coffee beans that require different levels of equipment and dedication. Alongside this, there are variations in roasting methods which determine the end result. You will need a coffee roaster for cooking coffee beans at home, which is explored in more detail in the next point.
What to Look for in Roaster
There are two conventional types of roaster. These are air roasters and drum roaster.
The air model uses hot air to push through the bean and cause a reaction, thus turning it brown and cooking it. Air roasters:
- Take less time to cook the beans compared to drum roasters.
- Tend to have an optimal flavor as the less time a bean spends cooking, the more flavor it has in the end.
Drum roasters use a heat source such as a conduit or similar to heat the beans instead. These models take longer to heat the bean, but are still flavorsome and preferred by many. They can generally carry more beans inside because of the way they are built, and provide different levels of heat, which means the person roasting has more control over the process.
Therefore, there are advantages to be found with both methods. What you chose will depend on the size (and therefore capacity), speed, budget, and temperature factors.
How big your roaster needs to be, depends on how much coffee you want in supply. Because the point of this is to have a fresh taste and therefore an enhanced drink, you don’t need anything too big. It does need to hold at least a cup’s worth of beans though, and some only cater to espresso sized portions, so be vigilant when deliberating this aspect.
If the device is too fast, it can be hard for a beginner to get the level of roasting right. The risk is that the beans become burned and you waste time and money and don’t get a nice cup of coffee at the end of it. So when just starting out, opt for a slower setting and try to learn with the steps. Taking things slowly allows for a bigger opportunity to acquire essential experience and knowledge which will accumulate over time and lead to a great experience.
Like everything, there are various price ranges here. Each model has something different, however subtle, and this is reflected in the price. For a basic roaster, it is not too expensive. The price increases as features are added on and for a machine that has multiple temperatures, speed settings, and capacities, it will naturally cost a bit more. A basic machine is fine for novices in the area.
The trick is to avoid cooking the beans because that means all the flavor will be lost entirely and thus render the whole thing pointless. Lower temperatures take a longer time but a slow roast is better than facing a burnt batch when roasting coffee beans.
The Steps to Roasting Coffee Beans
Once you have decided on a roaster that is right for you, it is time to consider the next steps.
First Stage: Equipment Verification
The process will fall apart quickly if your equipment is faulty or not up to the task. Make sure that it is clean and dry and ready to go. You don’t want the coffee flavor being contaminated by residual dirt or similar in the mechanism.
Second Stage: Ingredient Check
For the best results when roasting coffee at home, the ingredients have to be up to scratch as well. This means not too much moisture and just the right size and color. The sagey, earthy green needs to be strong and it must have just the right level of moisture, as this will devalue the process if not observed. You can retain optimal moisture levels by making sure the beans are stored in an airtight container, preferably in a colder environment like a fridge shelf.
Third Stage: Preheating
Preheating should never be skipped. The beans have to be added to an already heated environment rather than warming up alongside the mechanism.
Fourth Stage: Adding in the Right Amount of Beans
Space the beans out on a tray just like when roasting potatoes. If they overlap or sit too close to one another, there is a risk of uneven results when the roasting completes. Measure it out per cup, and remember to factor in expansion as the moisture is released. If you roast too many, it will just get wasted which also wastes money and products so should be avoided where possible.
Fifth Stage: Pick the Right Setting
If your machine only has one setting, this is less of an issue. Every model has a bespoke instruction manual and various settings. Your cup of coffee will taste different depending on which setting you put your roaster on. So pick wisely and make sure it is in line with your mood for the morning.
Sixth Stage: Pay Attention
Don’t leave your beans unattended without setting a timer or some form of reminder. It is all too easy to forget about things cooking when you’re running around doing other things, after all, and they can burn fairly easily, which is a risk on many levels. When roasted, they will begin to crackle. The longer you leave them, the more they will crackle, and the darker the roast will become. Dark roasts have bigger flavors and are definitely more striking than lighter roasts. Therefore, how long you leave the beans will depend on your strength preferences. Leaving it to get too dark will only burn the bean, so getting the timing right is essential.
Seventh Stage: The Exit and Delivery
When the crackling begins, you’re in the final stages. Take the beans out when they are how you want them to be, and let the machine cool down before you clean it. Cleaning is essential to avoid mold build up. The whole roasting process might take around 15 minutes, but it can be as little as five. When the beans are roasted, you can either grind them or brew them to make your drink.
Roasting your own coffee can be done through a few simple steps. It might take time to perfect the process, and practicing with different beans and roaster settings is all a part of the fun. Finding the optimal cup of coffee is the end goal for many people entering this process, and that is the key focus. Everything you do will determine the taste and texture and the personal sense of achievement you will feel when you find the bean for you is irreplaceable.