You’ve bought a coffee bean grinding machine and a fully automatic espresso machine. Probably you’ve been purchasing espresso pods this whole time. If you want to become your own barista, you should consider roasting your ground coffee.
Purchasing raw beans is usually less costly than purchasing coffee beans in a box. The price difference won’t be important, but it’s good to know you’re not paying for needless packaging or the designer’s salary. Whatever you think about your coffee roasting techniques, the fact is that the final cup will be as good as the grounds you began with. The following is a step-by-step process for efficient coffee roasting:
You’ll need a few pounds of raw cocoa beans that look like smaller, greener versions of their thoroughly roasted equivalents (do not even try to sample one; they’re as solid as a brick and will break your tooth). If you are aware of a nearby coffee shop that brews its own grounds, you might be able to get some; but if not, there are plenty of decent online choices.
When buying, keep in mind that while the beans will grow in size as they roast, they will also drop approximately half their mass, so order two pounds of raw beans to get a pound of roasted beans. Each raw bean has its own distinct flavor profile, so do your homework to ensure you’re getting something you’ll enjoy.
Most industrial coffee roasters use huge manufacturing roasters to produce massive amounts of great stuff, but you do not have to spend a fortune on tools to make small quantities at home. If you don’t want to spend $150 on a countertop roaster, you can get close using a popcorn popper like the one shown above.
It’s an ideal tool because the aim is to heat the beans to temperatures above 450 degrees in a confined space, exactly what they’re meant and do to corn kernels. If you’re not using a popper, a cast-iron skillet, a Whirley-pop, or maybe even a metal blending bowl and a heat gun will suffice. A couple of ceramic mugs, a pair of gloves or coffee mugs, and a wooden spoon long enough just to stir the beans when they’re in the popper should also be set aside.
Another advantage of roasting your own beans apart from the freshness is that you have total control over the flavor strength and caffeine content. Crank up the heat and stir after you’ve dumped the raw beans in your heating element. As you watch, they’ll gradually turn from green to yellow, then light brown, at which point your ears can perk up to hear them crack, a sound that sounds slightly like popcorn popping.
The “first crack,” as the coffee connoisseurs call it, happens when you start to see chaff, also known as the raw bean’s husk, surface in the hopper. The debris should rise up and out through the spout by itself if you’ve used the popcorn popper. However, if you’re using another heating tool, you can start blowing this off the tip.
If you prefer your coffee to be very light like a city roast, you should stop roasting at this stage. Do you want it to be a little darker? Wait a few minutes for a Viennese or French roast to appear. Just don’t wait until it’s so dark that it’s burnt to the point of looking like charcoal; it’ll taste awful, and you’ll risk igniting a raging inferno within the unit.
When you’re satisfied with the amount of roasting, remove the beans and set them aside to cool for several hours. This step is essential because it lets the beans cool down in preparation for use. If you lay them out over a cookie sheet, swoosh them between metal plate strainers or even jury-rig a metal grate atop a box fan, the method is up to you. Be careful not to burn your face off because the beans will be extremely hot.
Shift the batch to an airtight container once it’s fully cold. However, don’t fully close the lid for a day or two, as it can explode as the beans slowly release carbon dioxide. You’ll like to grind and brew them after around the same period of time and use them within five days for optimum freshness and to accept your next-level espresso snob-dom completely.
We’ve included step-by-step instructions for each of the four home methods in this article. Depending on the form you use, you’ll take a different approach to roast. However, the process will remain the same. Here is the procedure that is common in all approaches:
- Beans become very hot.
- The beans are roasted.
- Beans cool down.
- Beans become delicious.
It’s a simple process with a few key steps to remember along the way to ensure excellent performance. Every approach follows the same crucial steps. Let’s take a look at what happens before and after grilling so you can appreciate what’s going on when the magic happens:
- Temperature: The generally accepted average temp is 350F to 500F. It depends on the approach you’re employing.
- Agitation: The beans will never be able to rest or roast! Constant stirring ensures even heat distribution and, as a result, a consistent roast.
- First Attempt: The beans will create an audible crack after 3 to 5 minutes. This crack means that the beans have been lightly roasted and are best used for white coffee. It is the shortest amount of time available to roast beans. For darker roasts, keep roasting and agitating.
- Remove the Chaff: Chaff is the coffee bean’s dried husk that causes a complete mess. To avoid wasting time during clean-up, cool your beans outside or in the sink.
After several more minutes, you can hear a second crack. This crack suggests a medium roast. Your beans will be burnt and unusable after a few more minutes of roasting.
Experiment with different roasting times to find your pick. After hearing the second crack, we usually wait about 30 seconds.
Move the beans to a metal colander or a piece of baking paper to cool. Two metal colanders are needed (plastic can melt).
Switch your roasted beans between colanders after shaking them. It eases the cooling process of the beans and removes the chaff. If you do not have a metal colander, you can substitute it with a baking sheet.
Using a baking sheet will be easy as you only spread the beans uniformly over the baking paper. However, this form isn’t as good as the others.
There are two distinct styles of roasters to consider if you’re willing to spend some money on one.
First, like a popcorn popper, liquid air bed breweries use air to churn the beans as they roast. The beans are heated until the air is blown through them, resulting in a fast and even roast.
On the other hand, a drum roaster is the second form of the roaster. The beans are placed in a drum and heated when tumbling. While this method is slower than liquid air, it is the most preferred method used by most commercial roasters.