Last night I roasted my own coffee. Well, last night and this morning. Let me explain.
For the last few weeks I’ve been jonesing for freshly-roasted coffee. I got a chance to try some a little while ago and it made my usual Starbucks brew taste burnt and bitter by comparison. I looked into services that roast coffee and then send it to you every few weeks, but ran into the same problem with all of them: not enough coffee, too much money.
Then I thought: hey, what if I did it myself? I’ve seen lots of articles online about how easy it is to roast your own beans; what if I just did that?
So I did.
I ordered my beans from Coffee Bean Direct; their prices are reasonable, their selection large, and — because they’re located in New Jersey — they ship to me pretty quickly. Yesterday, a 5-pound bag of unroasted Columbian beans arrived on my doorstep. It was time.
There are a number of methods you can use to roast coffee at home. You can buy a coffee roaster, of course, but if you’re just trying this thing out to see if you like it that’s not a practical purchase. You can also roast coffee in a garden-variety popcorn popper, or so I’m told. I don’t have one, so I opted for a different method.
First I tried to roast some beans in the oven. I set the temperature to 500 and let them roast for eight minutes, but when I opened the door I found that my oven heats things really unevenly. Some of the beans were burnt, some were still pretty green, and the whole batch was a bust. No worries; that’s why I bought 5 pounds.
Next I tried roasting them in a frying pan, keeping the lid on and shaking them every now and again to agitate the beans and keep them from burning. That probably would have worked if I’d done it long enough, but I jumped the gun and took them off the heat too soon so, the next morning when I made a cup of coffee, I was treated to green coffee. No fun. Rather than scrap the whole batch though, I threw the beans back into a deep pot, but the lid on, and roasted them some more.
Here’s the thing: when you’re doing it right they’re going to smell like they’re burning. They’re going to pop. They’re going to give off a lot of smoke. That’s all fine; just keep an eye on the color of the beans and you’ll be fine.
At any rate, twenty minutes or so later I had the nice medium roast that I’m enjoying right now. I’m going to keep experimenting, keep refining, until I perfect this process. I may eventually buy a popcorn popper or even a roaster. But one thing’s for sure: I’m sold on this idea of roasting my own coffee. It’s easy and the results are delicious.