Want to roast coffee at home but don’t have a coffee roasting machine?
Of course you don’t have a roaster at home! Who has a coffee roasting machine at their own home?
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about roasting coffee at home. From what to use (hint you can roast coffee with stuff you already have!), how long it takes, etc. we’ll show you here.
This Guide Contains 5 Sections
The best way to use this guide is to choose where you want to go.
Ready to get started? Choose an option below
- Learn about roasting coffee at home
- Roast at home with stuff you already have (pan or oven)
- Roast at home and spend less than $30
- Roast at home and spend less than $100
- Roast at home and spend more than $100
Can you Roast Coffee Beans in a Microwave?
I don’t know. We do not currently have a microwave to try it. Have you tried this? Get in touch to share with us how it went!
What are the Benefits of Roasting Your Own Beans?
- It’s fun!
- Roasting raw coffee beans at home allows you to drink freshly roasted coffee. If you wait more than two weeks after roasting to consume coffee the coffee will contain much less flavor.
- Each person in the household can drink the same single-origin coffee at different roasts
Maybe someone in your household likes a dark roast coffee but you like a light roast. Roasting coffee at home is really the only way you can get both roasts at home.
How Long Should You Roast the Beans for Different Roasts?
The answer to this question really depends on how hot your roasting machine is. Is it an oven set to 350F/180C? Or is it a popcorn maker where you really don’t even know what temperature it is?
Remember the keys to getting the desired roast: observe your beans as they roast and stir them so they evenly roast
Approximate Roasting Times for Ovens Set to 350F/180C
- 15 minutes for light roast
- 20 minutes for medium roast
- 20+ minutes for dark roast
Keys to Getting the Desired Roast
The two keys to getting the desired roast are:
- observing the beans as they roast to make sure you don’t over roast the beans
- stirring, rotating or spinning the beans as they roast to ensure they roast evenly
Challenges of Roasting Coffee at Home
The primary challenge of roasting green beans is evenly roasting the coffee beans.
Some beans will darken faster than others. This is very similar to how some popcorn kernels pop before others. Some pop at minute one. Some at minute 2. Who knows what causes this. The cause is almost certainly the different moisture levels of each bean.
Do I Need to Brew the Home Roasted Beans Any Differently?
Believe it or not, your beans are now in the same condition as any you would buy from a store or coffee shop. The only difference is that yours are freshly roasted and so you will be able to taste the goodness of freshly roasted beans!
We invite you to taste the same batch of beans immediately, then after one week (they will still be almost as good as freshly roasted), then two weeks, then three weeks. Then keep a small amount and make it after a couple of months.
You will be amazed at how much better freshly roasted coffee is!
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, which you probably are if you’re even thinking about roasting your beans at home, we recommend brewing your freshly roasted beans in a French Press.
Be forewarned, you might not be able to go back to coffee that isn’t freshly roasted after this!
How to Get an Even Roast
How can you get an even roast with your own coffee beans?
Getting your beans to roast evenly is simple:
- Use the convection setting of your oven if you’re using an oven to roast
- Turn the baking sheet every handful of minutes as your coffee beans roast and turn brown
- If you really care about getting an even roast you could manually separate the darkened ones from the beans that stay green longer
Use a machine that automatically spins like a popcorn machine or proper coffee roasting machine
Roast Coffee at Home with Stuff You Already Have
Ok, so you’re new to this or don’t want to spend a ton of money. You just want to experiment or try roasting coffee at home. That’s fine, we get it; no problem!
The good news is is that you don’t need fancy equipment to roast your own coffee. You don’t really even need equipment at all. Except for stuff that you very likely already have: an oven or pan.
Oven Roasted Coffee Beans Instructions
Oven roasting raw beans is the simplest coffee roasting method that you can do at home.
Here are instructions on how to get the perfect oven roasted coffee beans:
- Place green coffee beans into a preheated 400F or 200C oven
- Spread your raw, green coffee beans evenly on a flat baking sheet
- Let your coffee roast until most of the beans have turned brown regularly stirring them
- Return the beans to the oven until you have reached your desired roast level
Be careful when removing the baking sheet from the oven. Both the sheet and your beans will be very hot when you take them out (like everything else but foil, right?).
Pan Roasted Coffee Beans Instructions
Pan roasting raw beans is our second favorite at home coffee roasting method.
Here are instructions on how to get the perfect coffee beans from pan roasting:
- Buy raw, green unroasted coffee beans (I use and can recommend these)
- turn on your stove to medium-high heat
- Spread your raw, green coffee beans evenly on the pan
- Add your coffee beans to the pan
- Let your coffee roast in the pan for five minutes.
- Constantly stir the beans (this ensures an even roast)
- Take out the beans and mix them around on the baking sheet
- Return the beans to the oven
- Let the beans roast until you’ve reached your desired roast level
- Stir the beans repeatedly and observe them closely as they roast
Roast coffee at home for less than $30
If you want to take your home roasting game up a notch, you can spend a little bit of money to do so. Here are your options:
- Use a popcorn machine
How to Roast Coffee in a Popcorn Maker
Here’s the best way to roast your own beans in a hot popcorn machine:
- Before starting, ensure your popcorn machine rotates (to ensure the beans roast evenly)
(click here to see the list of popcorn machines that we’ve tested for roasting coffee)
- Measure your desired amount of green coffee beans (we recommend roasting a 1-2 weeks supply so the beans don’t lose flavor before consumption)
- Put your beans in the popcorn machine maker
- If your popcorn maker has a temperature setting, set it to low-medium
- Run the popcorn machine until you reach your desired roast level
(observe while roasting as popcorn machines are very hot)
- You may want to open a door or window as there can be a bit of smoke
- While roasting your beans, ensure that the beans are roasting evenly
Even a machine that spins while roasting could leave some of the beans stuck to the bottom and the ones on top
Popcorn Machines that Work for Roasting
Not just any popcorn machine will work for roasting beans. You need one that spins or otherwise stirs your coffee during the roast. This is because the spinning will help roast the beans evenly.
Here are the machines we tested for roasting
Roast coffee at home for less than $100
For less than $100 ($99 when we looked) you can get the highest rated coffee roaster on Amazon. The capacity of that one is 400 grams, so roughly 14 ounces or 20 cups of coffee fit. This machine quickly cools your beans once they’re done roasting so they don’t over roast.
This is what it looks like:
Roast Coffee at Home for More than $100
Ok if you are serious about roasting coffee at home you can splurge and get a variety of different machines. This should go on every coffee lover’s bucket list right.
1. Kaldi Home Coffee Roaster
Weighing in at a cool $539 this coffee roasting machine sits on your gas stove. So obviously you need a gas stove to use this one. I’ll cover more below that don’t need gas stoves below.
Check it out:
So I guess for this one the hot air from your stove flows up through the beans to roast them.
There are other roasting machines like this one that look like slow cookers. That one is only $119.99 when we looked. This type basically is slow cookers but spin to get an even roast.
I was going to say that there aren’t too many priced between $100 and $500, but there is this one that costs $209 at the time of this post.
It has 437, 4.5 star ratings so it must be good. This Amazon review by a guy who has been roasting coffee at home for 30 years was super helpful to me when I was considering buying this one or not (I do plan on trying this one when I am back in the US in a couple of weeks). This one looks like a smoothie blender sort of.
2 Benefits of Roasting Your Own Coffee
In our article about how to drink better coffee at home, we told you that the best way to improve your at-home coffee experience is to roast your own green coffee beans.
When coffee is roasted its flavor begins to drop drastically.
After two weeks, much of the flavor is gone. Don’t believe us? The next time you are at a high-quality grocery store, buy two bags of beans: one that has been roasted within two weeks (the more recent the better), and one that was roasted longer ago — say longer ago than one month.
After doing some experiments at home, we came up with a few different ways to roast coffee at home, without an expensive (or huge) coffee roasting machine. It’s time for a better cup of joe.
Do You Need An Expensive Coffee Roasting Machine?
You don’t need an expensive $600 gas coffee roaster to roast your own beans.
You also don’t need a huge coffee roasting machine like the ones that professional roasters and cafes use.
Spoiler alert: this is not a hard thing to do. Lots of people think it’s difficult to roast your own coffee beans at home.
But it’s not.
And again, roasting your own coffee beans is the number one thing you can do to improve the taste of your coffee at home.
And it’s easy: it only takes five minutes to evenly roast your own coffee beans.
Why Roast Your Own Coffee?
1. Because Coffee Beans Start to Lose Flavor Once They Have Been Roasted
Immediately after you roast green coffee beans a process of flavor loss begins. The flavor curve looks something like this:
Actually it is more like this:
Coffee starts off as a cherry growing in a tree (bet you didn’t know this, or did you?)
Cherries seem flavorful. That brings up a good question: what does a coffee cherry taste like? I’ve never had one.
Then the coffee cherry is dried and we are left with green coffee beans that look like this:
How do the beans in the above picture look? How flavorful do they seem?
And how flavorful do these darkly roasted coffee beans look?
But back to the point: we start with green, flavorful beans. Then we roast them.
Roasting is essentially heating something, right? Lots of heat.
The roasting process immediately starts the degradation of flavor. The heat expels some of the flavor immediately and the rest is released over the coming weeks.
Over the course of the first two weeks though, the flavor stays fairly high.
Don’t believe me? You can try it yourself with our home roasting guide.
If you have never roasted beans at home, try it, it’s not that hard.
These are some Ethiopian green beans (probably the country that produces my favorite coffees) that are only $13.97 and are the cheapest ones on Amazon right now (most green coffee bean products are multi-pound sizes).
When you go to a grocery store, the coffee has almost always been roasted months before. I have seen coffee in Whole Foods (in Atlanta if you’re curious) that was roasted almost a year before.
Some high quality grocery stores close to high quality roasters do have freshly roasted coffee.
You can look on the bag of beans.
If you do, you will see that almost every package was roasted a lot longer ago than two weeks. And really you need to buy it at the one week mark, because it will take you a week to grind and drink the bag of beans.
So this is why I strongly recommend roasting your own green coffee beans, at least if you are like me and really care about the taste and experience of drinking your own coffee.
It is the number one thing you can do to improve the experience, even including starting with high quality beans. Beans are all high quality when they start. Unless the trees were starved of nutrients or water that growing season.