How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home in the Oven

Last week I shared with you my latest experiment- home roasting green coffee beans.  In my first attempt I used a popcorn popper.  You can read that post here but, basically it went…well…ok.  The coffee was good enough but just slightly odd.

As my experiment continues I am researching many different ways to roast green coffee beans at home.  In doing so I came across a method that struck me with its simplicity, using a common household piece of equipment- the oven. Could we be wasting our time with all of these fancy roasters, popcorn poppers and pans when all along we have the perfect vessel right in front of us?

Let’s find out! I started by placing about half a cup of Green Coffee Beans on a foil lined baking sheet.

Green coffee beans on foil lined baking sheet

In doing my research a.k.a. watching You Tube videos, I failed to pay attention to what temperature the oven should be set at so I guessed…400 degrees sounds good to me. I placed my beans in the oven, set my timer for 5 minutes, stirred and waited another 5 minutes. This is when it dawned on me that my temperature may be a bit too high.  The beans were already changing color significantly and I was starting to hear the infamous cracking noise that I read so much about.

home roasted coffee beans 10min

I wanted to make sure I had a fairly dark roast coffee so I decided my beans should go back in for 5 more minutes.  After plenty more cracking my timer buzzed and out came a pan of gorgeous, dark brown beans along with a huge waft of smoke…oh well no biggie right, I am sure they will be fine.

I immediately poured them into a colander to cool.

home roasted coffee beans cooling in collander

They looked so much better than the uneven, somewhat orange result I got from the popcorn popper.  I also discovered that this time the beans shed their chaff (sort of like a coffee beans version of an onion peel).

home roasted coffee bean chaff

The easiest way to separate the chaff from the beans is to simply blow on them. Note to self…next time take them outside and do not blow chaff all over the kitchen floor.

At this point I felt like a coffee genius, an official home roaster… I am so cool. But, how will it taste?

home roasted coffee in french press

April’s Brew as I have dubbed it looked ominously dark in my French Press.  But, I did say I wanted a dark roast! Time for the first sip!
home roasted coffee in mugOh my extreme grossness. This was the darkest, cup of coffee I have ever seen. It was so thick and left such legs on the side of my mug I swear it could have gotten up and walked away on its own.  I drank a few sips but in an effort to avoid a bleeding ulcer, I stopped and poured April’s Brew down the drain.  Back to the drawing board.

My name is April and I suck as a home roaster.

Precious Keurig, my coffee safety blanket, oh so perfect every time… I am sorry I have strayed.  Get me a cup of Golden French Toast stat!


How to Roast Coffee Beans in a Popcorn Popper

Home roasting is all the rage these days. Coffee aficionados are shelling out big bucks for fancy schmancy equipment to make their perfect cup of coffee, prepared just the way they like it from green bean to cup. But, who wants to spend that kind of money on a Coffee Bean Roaster? Not me, that’s for darn sure.

I knew home coffee roasting was something that I wanted to try but, I had no intention of buying any expensive equipment.  Actually, make that I had no intention of buying any equipment period.  I have learned that there is always an alternative and I was determined to find one. Google here I come.

Eureka, I was right…did you know that you can use a popcorn popper to roast coffee beans?  Who would have thought?! But, does this process produce a good cup of coffee? Let’s put my popcorn popper and newly purchased green coffee beans to the test!

Everything I have read on using a popcorn popper to roast coffee points to an air popper, however, I chose to first try my experiment with my Stir Crazy popper simply because I don’t follow directions well.

green coffee beans

I used about a quarter cup of beans, estimating that would produce about 2 cups of coffee and my estimates were correct.

green coffee beans in measuring cup

This part is complicated, you better get a pen…pour the beans into the popcorn popper and turn it on.  I will wait while you write that down….

The popper will start to work its magic spinning and heating the beans slowly but surely.  I did video record this to share with you but, you would be bored to tears so let’s go with a picture instead.

roasting green coffee beans in popcorn popper

One thing I noticed right away is that the beans were not roasting evenly.  As you can see some are dark, others are light or even still green! I am guessing that this would not have happened with the air popper.

I let the roasting process continue for approximately 10 minutes. Legend has it you should hear one crack when the beans are ready for a light roast and a second crack when they are ready for a dark roast.  I did not experience this phenomenon so I decided to go by color. Eventually I saw a nice brown color start to appear on most of the beans.

green coffee bean before and after

It was finally time to grind and enjoy my VERY freshly roasted coffee!

When I set out to try roasting I imagined amazing aromas wafting through my house.  Instead, I smelled almost a hay like, earthy sort of smell… until I ground the beans and there was that heavenly scent I had been waiting for. The color of the ground coffee was also very much unexpected. With orange hues and a dryness about it, it did not look like any coffee that I was used to!

home roasted and ground coffee in french press

I prepared one cup in my French Press and anxiously awaited the results.

home roasted coffee light roast

Again, the color was odd however, it tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. There was an earthy taste and feel perhaps amplified by preparing it in my French Press.  I would qualify my cup as a light roast but the body was so nice and thick.  It was smooth and hit that coffee spot (my fellow coffee addicts know exactly what I mean!).

Could I tell the difference between my home roasted coffee and store-bought or Keurig Kcups? Absolutely.

Was it “better”? Not really, just different.

Was it fun? Of course!

Would I do this everyday for fresh roasted coffee? Not in a million years.

Maybe I am just lazy but, I love the convenience of my Keurig.  Despite the fun I am having with exploring other brewing techniques, I always go back to old faithful.  Maybe if I didn’t have a job, kids, house and a dog I might have the time to roast every bean to perfection, grind them to just the right consistency and use the most state of the art brewing method. Even then I am pretty sure I would use my time on other things.

Not to mention that the quality and consistency of my Kcup coffee is always spot on. There is no relying on human error to screw it up (and I am good at that!). Every cup, every single time is quick and delicious!

If you would like to try home roasting we recommend these products:

20oz French Press Coffee Maker

U-Roast-Em Green Coffee Beans, Rwandan Bourbon Green Coffee Beans

West Bend 82416 Air Crazy 4 Quart Corn Popper

Hamilton Beach 80365 Custom Grind Hands-Free Coffee Grinder, Platinum

How to Make Espresso

how to make espresso

There are several ways to make espresso.  Today I would like to teach you what is rapidly becoming my favorite method- the stove top espresso maker also known as a Moka Pot.

stovetop espresso maker

I am instantly drawn to the beauty of the unit itself. The iconic design is sleek yet has an old world charm and old world charm is right up my alley. Of course the price is pretty appealing as well- I paid less that $9.00 including shipping-there is a link at the bottom of this post for your shopping pleasure : )

The Moka Pot consists of three very removable, very washable parts.  The water chamber, the filter and the central column.

moka pot pieces

Start by filling the water chamber with bottled or filtered water- good water makes good coffee. You should fill the chamber to directly below the pressure valve (the gold colored thingamajig) which is slightly more than half way.

bottom of stove top espresso maker

Perhaps the most important  step to brewing in the Moka Pot is to choose a high quality espresso bean.  I am using a Marley Coffee Lively Up Organic 5 Bean Espresso Blend. Arent they gorgeous…(I wish there was an app that allowed you to smell them- iSniff?).

marley coffee lively up espresso beans

Start by grinding the beans to your preference.  I have not quite mastered that part, I have been grinding mine very finely which I generally enjoy but, I have read that could cause the Moka Pot to clog.  In addition, I ended up with some solids at the bottom of my cup. Next time I am going to try a course grind to compare the difference.

Next place the ground coffee in the filter section of the espresso maker.

My Moka Pot is very small, I used 1 T of grinds and it was completely full.  This make 1 cup of espresso.

espresso grinds in stove top perculator

Next, reassemble your Moka Pot and place it on the stove top on high heat.

espresso on the stovetop #2

Dont go anywhere because it will heat up very quickly.  You should start to hear it boil.  The boiling water will be sent up through the filter and ground coffee into the main chamber. I took a peek but, be careful it splatters quite a bit when you open the lid.

espresso on the stovetop

You will know that your espresso is ready when you hear a last puff and the boiling stop- mine takes maybe three minutes from start to finish.

Next, this is crucial, choose a super cool espresso cup. The whole reason I wrote this post was so that I could show off my new set of Demitasse cups – I LOVE THEM!  I feel uber sophisticated drinking my freshly ground, freshly brewed espresso in my perfect, tiny cups.

(And I couldn’t wait to use the term Demitasse which is fancy talk for small cup)

espresso with cream in demitasse cup

The simplicity of using the Moka Pot to brew espresso is irresistible to me.  Similar to the French Press, I feel as if it has an artistic flair, its raw… there is nothing synthetic about this process.  The best part of course are the results… one darn good cup of espresso.

P.S. You can use the Moka Pot to brew any type of coffee not just espresso!


Marley Coffee Lively Up Organic Espresso 5 bean blend

Primula Aluminum 1-Cup Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

Proctor Silex E160BY Fresh Grind Coffee Grinder, White

12-pc. Demitasse Set – White