Coffee Roasting Part 2 – Mission Completion

As part of the cruel irony that is my life, I worked from home today “making mortgage dreams a reality”. All day, the box of green coffee taunted me with a “You can’t roast me yet” siren call. Finally, a little after six, Julie said that dinner would be ready in about 40 minutes. With a grin, I quickly gathered my necessary items and headed out to the garage.


Now, before I get there, I thought it might be helpful for you to see exactly what I’m dealing with. Yep, that’s what the coffee looks like before it’s roasted. It’s called green coffee for a reason.  Ironically enough, it’s pretty much indestructible at this point, which is a plus. It means you can order a larger amount, save on shipping and still get a fresher product.


You may be asking yourself what you need to roast coffee besides a supply of green beans (hehe, green beans). Thankfully it’s not a lot of stuff. Like I mentioned yesterday, you do need a heat source, which in my case is provided by an old school hot air popcorn popper. This one was graciously donated by my friend Melissa, so thanks to Melissa! You can see a picture of it from above in the cardboard box that is recommended when you roast in cold weather (and I do live in Iowa and it is January!). Yes, the lip is broken, and that is okay. According to myth and legend, you can find these at thrift or donation stores like Goodwill for under $5, but I’ll be darned if I could ever find one. Still, as long as you have this and a supply of coffee, you’re good to go.

IMG_0561But I did grab a few other items. Namely a cookie sheet to cool the coffee on. As with all cooking processes, there is carryover, so you’ll want to stop the roasting process as fast as possible. I also had a cup of coffee to drink while roasting and some bubble gum to chew. Those are truly optional, but I find that they improve the roasting experience. Oh, and you’ll need a container to hold the finished product. The small jar you see is a salsa jar that I (and when I say I, I really mean Julie) washed out to reuse. Now we’re set to go.

Now we’re set. I started up the popper and let it warm up. Since the box kept the hot air trapped, it was a fairly quick process. Next, I added the coffee. Sweet Maria’s said you shouldn’t go above 4 ounces, so that’s what I did. In hindsight, I probably should have used a bit less, but I’m sure that the end product will be good, it’s just that some will be a little lighter roast than others. Here’s what the coffee looked like in the popper:


Within a few minutes, the coffee started to brown and the chaff started to fly off. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen …


Within 3 minutes, we had first crack. Yes, you hear a crack or popping like pop corn. This means we are getting close to completion. The coffee will be done within 2 to 3 minutes:


Once the coffee was about where I thought it should be, I shut off the popper and there was a fair amount of smoke that came up. This is why you roast in the garage unless you live in an old house without sprinklers and smoke detectors. And if you live in a house like that, you probably shouldn’t roast inside because you live in a fire trap, but I digress. I dumped the coffee out onto the cookie sheet and started to shake, shake, shake my coffee (sang in a great 70’s disco voice) to cool it off. Once done, I dumped it into the container and I was set.


Now all that is left is letting it “rest” for at least 12 hours before consuming. So tomorrow morning, it’s my first cup of my home roast. If you look closely at the above picture, you’ll see that some of the coffee is a lot lighter than others. I think I may have had too much coffee and it resulted in an uneven roast. Hopefully it won’t be too off, we’ll know in the morning. I also think I should try stirring a bit more initially to ensure that the coffee is better distributed.

All that said, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It was also a lot faster. Now, my timing was about where it was in the video I shared yesterday, but I guess five minutes sounds longer than it really is. All total, I probably spent about 20 minutes for two batches start to finish, not terribly long at all. But I’m encouraged enough by the results to keep at it. I’m also excited to try the big popper and see what I can get with that.

Next: trying the first cup.

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One comment on “Coffee Roasting Part 2 – Mission Completion
  1. Diane says:

    Can’t wait to see how it goes!

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