If you’re a Coast-to-Coaster, you’ve probably found that you like some of our coffees a whole lot. Have you wondered how difficult it could be to buy green beans and do the roasting at home? We invite you to find out! We’re now offering all our amazing single origin coffees for home roasting. 

If you’re roast-curious and want to know what’s involved, here’s a primer. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process, from choosing the right roaster to savouring the fruits (aka coffee beans) of your labour.

Home Roasting

Coffee Beans + Heat
The concept of coffee roasting is simple: heat raw beans (which vary in colour from green to tan) until they turn brown, then cool them down before they roast too much. The trick is to roast beans evenly and to stop the roast at the ideal level of roastiness. Find a refresher on what roasting does to beans’ flavour profile here. Roasting time will vary depending on your method and the size of your batch, but you can expect the process to last about 10-12 minutes for smaller batches and 15-20 minutes for larger batches.

Choose Your Roaster
There are several standard home roasting methods—you may invent a new one!—and they all have advantages and drawbacks. Let's explore the four most popular home roasting techniques:
  • Pan coffee roasting is the simplest to get started with, providing you have a hot plate or stovetop, a wooden spoon or spatula, and a frying pan. It’s very hands-on, difficult to get the heat right (keep it low), and all but impossible to get an even roast on all sides of the bean. Turn your fan on and get ready for a fair bit of smoke, plus hot-hot-hot! jumping beans.
  • Oven coffee roasting is more hands-off and yields a more (but not terribly) even roast. Spread green beans on a baking sheet and slide them into a preheated (ideally convection) oven (170F to 250F) . You’ll need to turn the beans every two minutes or so for a more even roast. After eight to ten minutes the beans will audibly crack a first time and a second time after about 20 minutes. For very lightly roasted coffee, take your beans out of the oven after the first crack and cool them quickly.
  • Popcorn machine coffee roasting is an attractive option because it tends to roast beans fairly evenly. Hot air, beans swirling around…you can imagine them all getting toasty at about the same time, all over. It’s surprisingly effective, inexpensive and perfect for beginners. You’ll have to listen closely for the crack over the sound of the motor around four to five minutes in, suffer small batch sizes, and clean up some silver coffee skins blown out of the popper. Otherwise the popcorn machine roasting method works quite well.
  • Dedicated home coffee roasters come in a variety of sizes and price points, from just over $100 to several thousand dollars. The better ones offer precise temperature control, allowing you to experiment with different roast levels and coffee beans in a repeatable way. This method provides consistent results in a controlled process so, if you’re looking for a more professional setup, this is the method for you.
Home Roasting Options

Choose Your Green Coffee
The coffee you choose to work with is the most important factor in achieving roasting nirvana. If you like a light, bright cup you won’t get very far with most Robustas. You can find a variety of high-quality green coffee beans at Coast To Coast Coffee, at some coffee shops, or other shops online. Explore different varieties and origins to discover the flavour profiles that suits your taste. Consider sourcing Fair Trade and/or Organic green beans—it’s good coffee karma! More on {The importance of Fair Trade}.

Set Your Roasting Space
The roasting process produces smoke, so make sure that you set up in a well-ventilated spot. Most of us will choose the kitchen, so a range hood is nice to have. In a pinch, a fan and an open window will do. Make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment within easy reach before you start—roasting goes quickly and scrambling for the stuff you need isn’t fun.

Roast Away!
Are you all set? You’ll want all kitchen tools and hot mitts at hand, with ventilation turned on. Figure out your bean-cooling strategy ahead of time. On the counter works, but in a fridge or freezer (or outside in the winter!) is even better. Take your cooling method into account when you roast: if you’re going to let the beans cool on the counter, take them off the heat a bit earlier, as they will continue to roast.

Preheat your roasting apparatus and add the green coffee beans. Make sure to spread them evenly for consistent roasting and monitor the temperature closely, adjusting as needed to achieve your desired roast level. Pay attention to the cracks: the first crack signals a light roast, while the second crack indicates a darker roast. You’ll likely want your beans somewhere in the middle.

Once your coffee beans reach the desired roast level, cool them quickly to halt the roasting process. If it doesn’t go smoothly the very first time, keep at it! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Experiment with different methods and explore different green coffee beans. We wish you luck and hope that you will soon savour the rich, aromatic results of your home roasting adventure.


Anne Patterson

Date 3/30/2024

Your blog on coffee roasting was quite informative, but I shall gladly leave that process to YOU. Happy Easter!??

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