Roasting coffee can add an fun element to your culinary and kitchen preparation skills. It also gives you more control over the coffee you drink and saves you money since green coffee is relatively less expensive than roasted coffee. Although it will likely take quite a few batches for you to master your home-roasting skills and achieve your desired roast profile, you will need to be patient, relax and enjoy the experience. So let's get started now.
The first thing you will need is some green coffee, but you won’t be needing a huge amount to start. RhoadsRoast Coffees & Importers fulfills coffees in quantities as small as 1 and 3 lbs. in many varieties and greater weights too for when you become a coffee roasting aficionado. For now, three pounds is a good way to start and to experiment; there are going to be some mistakes so please be patient with yourself and "listen to the beans" You'll now what we mean when you get started! Please see our Un-roasted, green beans collection Here and our 3 pound varieties to start Here.
The method below is a relatively easy way to start out, but it is important to be in a well ventilated area by using your exhaust fan(s), opening doors or windows, or roasting outside on your barbecue/grill. The coffee roasting process is very smoky, even if your goal is to produce a light roast. Additionally, this process does get very hot so it is important to be vigilant and cautious. You should always use good kitchen gloves/mitts for the pan and have a fire extinguisher nearby, even though the chances of needing it are very slim.
You will quickly develop your skills faster by roasting several batches of the same coffee and perfecting it as opposed to continuously roasting different coffees because each single origin coffee is grown and milled differently. Once you have one coffee mastered, try to perfect a roast for a different coffee. Before you know it, you’ll have 4-5 different roast profiles under your belt, and you can apply them to all different coffees. This will make it easier to rotate between origins, roasting profiles, and blends more quickly! So let's start, be careful and patient with yourself ~
Cast Iron Pan Method
What you will need:
Stove-top or Barbecue Grill
Cast Iron Pot or Pan
Kitchen Mitts, thick cooking gloves, or thick pot holders
Wooden Spoon or Whisk
Metal Strainer or Bowl
Step 1: Before heating the pan, figure out how much coffee you will need. This is highly dependent on the pan or pot you will use. Use just enough to cover the surface of the pan in a thin layer 1 bean deep, about 150 g in a 7″ pan or 225 g in a 10″ pan.
Step 2: Preheat the empty pan over medium-high heat until it is about 400 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer, add a few drops of water and if they boil immediately, you should be good to go. If the pan is smoking, it is probably too hot.
Step 3: Add the predetermined amount of green coffee to the pan, shake the pan back and forth to quickly distribute the beans evenly across the bottom surface. Start the timer and begin stirring immediately.
Step 4: Stirring the coffee is important for even roasting, equal mixing of the beans over heat, avoid scorching and tipping. Stir the coffee in a consistent spiral motion so that all sections of the pan are turned every second. It is also helpful to lift the pan and shake the beans regularly to redistribute them across the surface, every 10-15 seconds or so.
Step 5: The roast should progress in a manner that the coffee changes color to yellow around 4:00-5:00, turns completely brown between 6:00-7:00 and begins to “crack” or pop like popcorn between 8:00 and 9:00.
Step 6: Now that the coffee is cracking, we are nearing the end of the roast! For a light roast, reduce the heat and end the roast about 1:30 – 2:00 after the crack is rolling. For a darker roast, do not reduce the heat and end the roast 2:00- 2:30 after the cracks are rolling. The ground beans will be lighter than the whole beans, keep that in mind when deciding when to end your roast.
Step 7: Empty the coffee from the pan into a metal strainer or colander. Try to strain or blow off the chaffe from the beans and continue to stir or “toss” the beans until they are cool to the touch.
If the coffee took too long to reach first crack, try using a higher gas setting throughout the roast, carefully. This style will always be somewhat uneven, and scorching is almost unavoidable. Take the time to remove any clearly yellow and under roasted to beans to make sure they do not damage your grinder. Removing any black or clearly scorched beans will make a large difference in increasing the finish/quality of the final cup.
Good Luck and let's us know how you make out!
Stay well, be safe.
The Coffee Teams @ RhoadsRoast Coffees & Importers