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  1. #1
    tarek's Avatar
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    Roasting coffee.

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    I just bought a pound of unroasted coffee. Super cheap, and really high quality (single-origin organic from Nicaragua). However, I've never roasted coffee! I've read a few articles on the subject, and I understand the basics, but I'd love to hear some tips from those of you who do this yourself. I don't have a popcorn popper, unfortunately, but I do have a cast iron skillet and an older oven.

    Any suggestions?

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    sakura_girl's Avatar
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    Well wouldn't that really depend on your preferences? I'd use an oven at 350F and roast until very light brown, because I do not like dark roasts. If you like the flavor to be more "burnt," then roast until they're a deeper brown. Not too difficult to figure out =P

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    i'm actually intrigued by this idea. although from what i read, coffee roasting is an art form, and literally seconds can make the difference between perfectly roasted beans and charcoal. but it seems like a fun thing to try. i've seen commercial roasters, and they work kind of like clothes dryers, spinning the whole time, so i wonder if the cast iron pan on the stovetop would be the best solution. kind of like the way people used to do the old jiffy pop popcorn things on the stovetop

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    I'm intrigued too. I may play around with this.
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    I bought my husband some green coffee beans last week at an Ethiopian market. He's been wanting to roast coffee for a long time. Now he wants to buy a coffee roaster. His reasoning is that a popcorn popper might work sometimes, or it might not, but at best, the results would be inconsistent.

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    cookie's Avatar
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    my husband and i roast coffee. we started by using a popcorn popper. the reason we don't use the oven is because the beans won't tan evenly. what will happen is the parts that touch the pan will burn, while the rest of the bean will be half roasted. the reason one uses a popcorn popper is to keep the beans moving so they roast evenly.
    using a skillet is a slightly better method than the oven, because you can keep the beans moving by shaking the pan.
    the beans have to be in constant movement or they will become bitter. that would be a waste of quality beans!
    you can find air poppers at thrift stores all the time!

    we have finally moved on to buying a real small batch roaster, which was a big investment. but for us, it is worth it because we love the hobby and we really love great coffee!

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    I second the fact that roasting in the oven produces uneven results and does weird things to the oils, which is where most of the flavor is. We use a popcorn popper too - your purchase may be inevitable!

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    I roast my own coffee. Green beans are inexpensive and stay good for a very long time. I can't see how an oven would work well for roasting them though, because it is VERY important to keep the beans agitated and moving so they roast evenly. I would try the cast-iron skillet instead because you can stir it constantly.

    Don't go by color when you're roasting. Go by sound. Stir the beans constantly until you hear a popping sound (like popcorn). This is first crack. It will go on for a minute or two, and when the popping slows it indicates that the beans have now reached the minimum level of roast. If you leave them going, it will be quiet for a bit (another 1-3 minutes typically) and then you'll hear more popping. It will be quieter though, like Rice Krispies. This is second crack. This is where seconds count. I usually let mine go for 5-10 seconds, enough time for second crack to really get rolling. This yields a beautiful darker roast, although still not to the level of Vienna. Just be careful because if you go 30 seconds longer than you meant to, you might end up with carbon and not coffee!!

    One word of warning if you've never done this before. Roasting coffee makes a LOT of smoke. If you're using a cast-iron skillet that's totally open to the air, I would try no more than 1/4 lb at first. Personally I have a Behmor roaster that has smoke suppression and I still don't roast more than 1/2 lb indoors. Even that much (with the Behmor's filter) leaves a haze of smoke in my entire kitchen!

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    Wow, that's a lot of good information about coffee roasting. I'd like to try that sometime if I ever get back into coffee.

  10. #10
    tarek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimInGA View Post
    I roast my own coffee. Green beans are inexpensive and stay good for a very long time. I can't see how an oven would work well for roasting them though, because it is VERY important to keep the beans agitated and moving so they roast evenly. I would try the cast-iron skillet instead because you can stir it constantly.

    Don't go by color when you're roasting. Go by sound. Stir the beans constantly until you hear a popping sound (like popcorn). This is first crack. It will go on for a minute or two, and when the popping slows it indicates that the beans have now reached the minimum level of roast. If you leave them going, it will be quiet for a bit (another 1-3 minutes typically) and then you'll hear more popping. It will be quieter though, like Rice Krispies. This is second crack. This is where seconds count. I usually let mine go for 5-10 seconds, enough time for second crack to really get rolling. This yields a beautiful darker roast, although still not to the level of Vienna. Just be careful because if you go 30 seconds longer than you meant to, you might end up with carbon and not coffee!!

    One word of warning if you've never done this before. Roasting coffee makes a LOT of smoke. If you're using a cast-iron skillet that's totally open to the air, I would try no more than 1/4 lb at first. Personally I have a Behmor roaster that has smoke suppression and I still don't roast more than 1/2 lb indoors. Even that much (with the Behmor's filter) leaves a haze of smoke in my entire kitchen!
    Awesome, thank you for that!

    I did a very simple Google search and found this, it seems pretty useful: How to Pan Roast Coffee

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