Roasting your own coffee is the best! You should totally do it! It tastes way better and you end up going to Starbucks a whole lot less. Roasting can be done in a pan, on a stove top popcorn popper, in an air popper, in the oven, or in a professional roaster. I’ve done the first three. The air popper was so easy, I stopped there. Here’s how this all works …

Coffee beans are the seeds found in the berries of a coffee bush. To make a long story short, berries get picked, seeds get taken out, washed, fermented, and dried out as green coffee beans. This card came with my sweet Maria’s coffee order. Top left #1 is the green bean and it follows the bean through all stages of roasting. You’ll probably want to roast a bit more than six.

Here’s a few of my before and afters. Some beans are larger than others. Some have different coating depending on where they were processed. What they look and taste like depends on where you get them. Burman Coffee trader, Sweet Maria’s, and Coffee Coral are three great companies selling single origin beans. There’s a few more out there too.

Your coffee maker also makes a difference in how your coffee tastes. It should have water come out at 205 F. That temp extracts the most flavor. This is my Bonavita. It works very well. Side by side with my older coffee mate, it did show a significant difference. This maker cost a little over $150 and was a birthday present. However you could get away with a $10 french press and making sure the water you pour in is just a bit above 205. You can also give your coffee maker a warm up round with just water, then pour it back in hot. But that can be messy.

Here’s my roaster. A good ol 1980’s poppery 2. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel so here’s a link to a great explanation of several roasting methods. They even did an air popper youtube.

Here’s my Roaster summary.

  • Pan and stovetop roasting can work but you need to get the right temperatures. It’s like cooking your very first steak. It can look done on the outside but be raw in the middle, you can over cook too.
  • Air pop roasting you just set a timer. Usually 6-7 min.
  • Pro roasters look like air roasters with extra knobs and a $100 dollar mark up. I’m sticking with my air popper.

Roasting beans can darken pans and roasters. You may have to clean them out eventually. Make sure your air roaster goes in a circular pattern shown above!!!  You do not want the center air one on the right. It puts beans everywhere and does not work too good. Check your roaster out before buying it!! Ebay sells the poppery 2 all day long for around 30 bucks.

Roasting advice summary

  • Don’t worry about popping. Just look at the color. The literature says first and second crack and you’ll hear a popping noise. Forget about all that. Look at the color of your beans
  • Coffee roasting sends a small amount of smoke in the air. I suggest using your garage (set your timer so you don’t forget it).
  • A small paper hull comes off the roasted bean. These will pile around your roaster and need be swept up. Also another reason to roast outside.
  • Putting the more or less beans in the popper can change the temp a bit, so can an extension chord. I just plug mine in and and enough to make it spin slow.

Beans summary and suggestions?

  • Get the variety 1 lb packs. All those guys listed above sell them and they’ll give you a good mix.
  • Ethiopian — These have good lower notes of chocolate like flavors. Also there are a few varieties that have floral and blueberry high note flavors. I’d look for those ones.
  • Costa Rica — This has the middle note flavor. Coffee flavor.
  • Sumatra/India — These have Earthy woody spice flavor.
  • Kona — a mild cup, very clean, Not exactly worth the price but worth a try. Somewhere in my tasting I got a slight straw sprig taste but it was very light.
  • Gesha — I’ve only bought one of these. They are expensive. It tastes very acidic and kind of sour. Probably not buying again.
  • Honduran — There’s a peculiar note to this coffee that reminded me of being in that country many years ago. Kind of like the kona straw taste, but different.

Over all I would suggest an Ethiopian, Costa Rica, and Sumatra. I also strongly suggest a variety pack. Sometimes those premium coffees are like the single malt scotch. Other times it’s all talk. Start with a one pound to taste it and then get more right away if you really like it.

No grinder? How about your magic bullet? My grinder is on the left the bullet is on the right. There’s not much difference in the blades. I’d bet a blender would work, but I haven’t tried it.

Here’s my external links:

Burman Coffee trader, Sweet Maria’s, and Coffee Coral

How to links: 

air popper