We all know someone whose day doesn’t begin without a cup of coffee. While most of us grab a cup of coffee from the nearest shop, others simply use a coffee maker. There are still people who use instant coffee because it is the quickest method.
However, the trend of grinding coffee at home is rising among the new generation of coffee-drinkers. Coffee lovers are realizing that grinding your own coffee is pleasurable and the result is much more flavorful.
Buying coffee beans whole is also much cheaper. There are a large number of varieties you can choose from depending on the flavor profile you are looking for and your budget. However, you can’t just grind the beans you buy without roasting them (in case they are unroasted). The coffee roasting process also determines the level of caffeine present in the coffee.
Many people ask the question ‘How to roast coffee beans?’ as they think that roasting is a complex process, but the end result is worth it. Self-roasted and ground coffee tastes much better than anything you have ever bought.
What is a Coffee Bean?
The coffee plant bears a tiny red fruit that eventually becomes coffee. The fruit is processed, and the outer skin and pulp are removed. This reveals the inner seed, which is the coffee bean. The beans are then dried to resemble what we know as a coffee bean.
Why Does Coffee Need to Be Roasted?
Coffee beans have a very bitter flavor with high acidity. Roasting mellows out both acidity and bitterness. Roasting also determines what aromas the coffee will have.
When the raw green bean gets roasted, a complex chemical process leads to caramelization. When coffee is roasted, the moisture from the bean leaves and the grain becomes dry and expands. At the start of the process, the bean is green while at the end, it turns brown and is lighter and larger.
Stages of Roasting
The stage at which the sugars caramelize is called First Crack (Cinnamon Roast coffee). This is when roasting begins. The next stage is City Roast, which most people prefer. City Plus Roast is more caramelized, and oils start to emerge.
Full City Roast is darker and is at the verge of the second cracking. Full City Plus Roast is at the second crack, and the flavors are intense now. Dark Roast or French Roast is the ultimate stage. Beyond this, the beans will burn.
Here is How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home:
1. Using a Coffee Roaster
Several brands produce coffee roasters for the household. These are specially made for roasting evenly and giving you a premium feel about your coffee. They are slightly more expensive but are worth the price.
The machine is a simple one. You have to place your raw beans on a metal colander, and hot air will be blown on them, roasting them.
2. Using a Popcorn Machine
Most households nowadays have popcorn machines. Simply place your beans in the popper and switch it on. A popcorn machine has an agitation arm so you won’t even need to stir the beans. It should only take about 5 to 7 minutes. You can hear the popping sounds and know it’s done. Keep checking the color to see if it is done.
3. Using a Stovetop Popcorn Popper
In case you don’t have an electric popcorn popper, use a stovetop one. Most people have this in their house already. However, you must be vigilant about the temperature.
4. Using an Oven
An oven is perfect for roasting coffee beans at home. This is because there is minimal airflow in the oven, and that adds to the richness of the coffee. You will need a pan with holes in it (you can use a drill it yourself). Preheat the oven to 450 °F.
Spread out the beans evenly and then place it in the middle rack of the preheated oven. Roast it for 15 to 20 minutes. When you hear popping sounds, you’ll know it is about done. The popping shows that moisture is leaving the beans. Stir them around every 5 minutes to roast evenly.
5. Using a Cast-iron Pan
Cast iron is the perfect material for this task. It holds heat and distributes it well. You can use a grill or a stovetop depending on which you like more. Don’t use non-stick pans as they won’t be able to handle the high heat. Stainless steel pans and ceramic ones can be used, but cast iron would be the ideal choice.
6. Removing Chaff and Cooling
As the beans are roasting, they are drying and expanding. This means that they will shed their outer skins. It is essential to remove this chaff before grinding. Use a metal colander to remove chaff and cool the beans rapidly.
Throw the beans in a metal colander and shake them around. You can also keep transferring the beans between two sieves. Try to get as much of the chaff out as possible. If a small amount is left behind, it won’t alter the flavor of your coffee.
Store the coffee in an airtight container. Remember that roasted coffee starts losing its aroma after about a week. The coffee begins to “degas.” To prevent this, use the beans within a week and only roast small amounts.