Coffee roasting

Last year my wife bought me a countertop coffee roaster, and I’ve been hooked on home-roasting coffee ever since. Lately I’ve also been roasting in our convection open, which works great for medium- to medium-dark roast. (I use the countertop roaster for light- to medium-roasted coffee.)

Here’s a typical oven roasting session. Prep the house by opening several windows, because this will generate quite a bit of smoke! I pre-heat the convection oven to 500 °F (260 °C), the max for our oven. I also have some baking stones in there to help maintain an even temperature.

Green coffee, ready to roast

Load a perforated baking sheet (~12 x 18 inch) with about 12 oz (350 g) of green coffee — today I’m roasting Sweet Maria’s GCX-5443, Ethiopia Gera Jimma Nano Challa Co-op, my current favorite for medium-dark roast.

The coffee being roasted today

Put the loaded roasting pan into the oven, and listen for “first crack” (when the first coffee bean audibly pops open). Usually that’ll be about 5:00 minutes for me. About a minute later, it’s time to rotate the pan–this helps the coffee roast more evenly.

Beans mid-roast

Ten minutes or so into the roasting process, I’ll start to see a bit of smoke coming from the oven. At that point, it’s time to start checking the coffee every minute or so. I pull the pan out of the oven just before I think the beans look “done”, because they’ll keep roasting a bit more from their internal heat. I pulled this batch out after 11-12 minutes. (I forgot to check the time.)


Now comes the hardest part: getting the 500-degree coffee beans from the pan into a colander. Then I take this and another colander outside, and pour the beans from one colander into the other. This helps the beans air-cool quickly, and also releases most of the chaff. Once the beans are cool enough to touch, I put them into a vented container and let them cool completely.

My coffee roasting guidebook

For more information on roasting your own coffee, check out Home Coffee Roasting: Romance and Revival by Kenneth Davids.

About Jim Vanderveen

I'm a bit of a Renaissance man, with far too many hobbies for my free time! But more important than any hobby is my family. My proudest accomplishment has been raising some great kids! And somehow convincing my wife to put up with me since 1988. ;)
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