Here’s the skinny: coffee beans are most flavorful within a week of roasting. That means the stuff you buy off the shelf is already past its prime. So why not roast your own coffee beans at home? You don’t need to be a professional – just follow these tips!
Buy Unroasted Coffee Beans
You may be able to pick up unroasted coffee beans from local coffee shops that roast their own beans. You can also order them online from a variety of sources.
Coffee beans expand in size as they are roasted, but they also lose roughly half of their weight. This means that if you want to end up with a pound of roasted beans to should begin with two pounds of unroasted beans.
You don’t need an industrial roaster to roast your own coffee beans. In fact, you don’t even need a countertop roaster (although they are nice). You can roast beans with a variety of household appliances.
One option is to use a popcorn popper since the temperature they use to popcorn kernels is exactly what you need to roast beans. You could also simply use a cast iron skillet.
The only other equipment you need are some metal bowls, oven mitts and a wooden spoon to stir the beans.
This is the part where you can control the amount of caffeine and the boldness of the coffee flavor. Unroasted coffee beans start out yellow and as they are roasted will turn light brown and then get darker.
Listen for the first crack, which sounds similar to popcorn. The husk of the raw bean, called chaff, will start to appear. You’ll want to blow the chaff off the top of the bean – if you’re using a popcorn popper, the chaff should rise and come out of the spout on its own.
Roast Your Own Coffee Beans Tip: Darkness Level
The lighter the roast, the more caffeinated the bean. Test out a variety of roast levels to get your beans to the level that you prefer. Just don’t let them turn completely black. At that point, they are trash.
Those beans need to cool after roasting, so lay them out on a cookie sheet or toss them between two metal strainers. They’ll be really hot to start with, so be safe. It’ll take a few hours for the beans to be completely cooled.
Furthermore, you’ll want to let the beans breathe for a couple of days so don’t seal them up as soon as they are cool. They are shedding carbon dioxide and sealed beans could cause an explosion.
After a day or two breathing, the beans are ready for brewing! Hopefully, you’ll find yourself enjoying one of the best cups of coffee you’ve had. For the best level of freshness, brew your beans within five days.