Roasting Coffee Beans At Home

By nicko, Aug 25, 2014 | | |
  1. If you are a coffee lover then the thought of roasting your coffee beans at home has probably crossed your mind. While the process is not complicated it does require some financial investment up front. There are many equipment options and while often roasting your own beans can be more a labor of love it can save you money. Coast savings aside there is nothing quite like the smell of freshly roasted coffee and the plain fun of trying different beans and experimenting roasting times.


    There are numerous equipment options and in this article on ChefTalk you can actually learn how to build your own   . However if you are not interested in geeking out out and building your own roaster you can go with any of the following options.

    For this how-to we are using the following:   




    If you are serious about roasting your own coffee I would recommend that you start with a visit to Sweet Marias. They are a smaller shop and they offer just about everything you would need to roast your own beans. They also have some excellent articles on how to roast your own beans.

    Do you really save money roasting your own coffee beans?

    This was one of the main reasons I personally got into roasting my own beans. Once I made the investment in a high end Alex Duettto espresso machine I found that buying espresso beans (good quality) was pricey. Here in Chicago we have an excellent local roast by Metropolis Roasting company. While I found their espresso blend great it was still pricey to buy at $15.00 a pound. They do sell their Redline Espresso blend in green bean format and I have found if I buy that in 5# sizes and roast it myself I only end up spending $7.00 a pound. That is a huge savings and one worth the effort to get into roasting.

    When it comes to roasting your own coffee at home for drip I have found that you don't really save much. Even when buying green coffee beans in a 5# size it still can run you around $5.00 - $7.00 a pound for the beans. For some this doesn't seem like much but if you are budget conscience and just want to get basic brew for your day to day drip coffee then roasting your own beans is not going to help you save money. I suppose if you are buying your coffee at starbucks or whole foods then yes buying green beans will probably save you a few bucks. For myself I just did not find the effort of having to roast coffee each week worth the effort. Let me remind the reader I am talking about my daily drip brew which I am not as picky about. The espresso is more important since I am often making espressos and cappuccinos for friends and family.  For basic green beans you can get pretty decent deals from Coffee Bean Direct on Amazon. And of course if you are a prime member shipping is free.

    Roasting your own coffee beans process

    Here are the steps I use when roasting my own beans. This is very much a matter of taste so there is really no right or wrong method. Some like their beans darker some lighter you have to do a few practice sessions to find out what works for your tastes.
    1. Fill your bean hopper with 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups of beans. 
    2. For an espresso roast with the Gene Cafe I simply set the temp (red dial) to 465.
    3. Time is set for 18 minutes. (Please note I do this for my first roast and after that you have to take the time down other wise your beans will get to dark. For a second roast I might take it down to 16 minutes. )
    4. Roast outside. Unless you have a very powerful exhaust vent in the home I do not recommend roasting beans in doors it throws a fair amount of smoke.
    5. Understand that ambient temperature has a lot to do with roasting your own beans. Roasting outside on a warm sunny day is going to take less time than roasting in winter. In fact I would like to point out that if you are going to roast during cold days the best option is to roast in doors. Typically I roast in my garage and run the roaster through 1-2 cycles to heat it up before I roast.
    See the photos below for how it happens. (Click on the photos for the larger version)
     The beans above are about 6 minutes into the roast. Outside temp was in the 80+ Fahrenheit 
     The beans above are just about at the end of the roasting cycle. 
     After the cooling cycle (the beans will continue to roast during this process) is complete pour the beans into a colander and allow them to cool fully 
     Lastly be sure to remove all of the chaff out of the vent of your roaster. Failing to do so could result in fire. 

    Be sure to let your beans age a bit (2-3 days) after you roast this really helps the final result. You will have to experiment with how long you let the beans age after the roast.


    We have loads of coffee lovers here so be sure to enjoy these other articles by other ChefTalk community members.

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  1. alexb
    I have roasted my own coffee beans for the last year with a hot air popcorn maker. I probably overpaid for it on eBay by about $16 it came out to $50 for an old West Bend in as new condition. I might've found one in a thrift shop for about $16 I overpaid for it . But in the end it is been worth while. I use a French press. The coffee is as good as any that is roasted that I've been able to find in New York. The price for the beans is a little cheaper. I go to "Sweet Maria's" on line and order my coffee, green, there . 
  2. nicko
    Thanks @Pete roasting your own beans does not require a big expensive machine and I think it is actually an enjoyable process. Roasting honestly takes less than 20 minutes a week and depending on how much you brew it is a nice to have your own roast.
  3. pete
    Great article.  Never had even thought of roasting my own beans before, not that we drink a lot of coffee, at home, but it sounds like something fun to experiment with.