At Home Roasting Basics

Getting Started

Green Yirgacheffee Beans

Home coffee roasting is as simple (or as technical), as you want to make it. You can roast in a re-purposed popcorn popper, use a skillet or buy an actual coffee roasting appliance. Whatever method you use, you will be on your way to drinking much better coffee.

OR…. You can just have us do it for you at the Roasting Studio but if you’re curious follow the instructions below.

The basic process is simple: use heat to turn green unroasted coffee into brown roasted coffee. Roasting times vary, depending on the method and batch size but you can expect the process to last about 10 minutes for smaller batches and about 16 minutes for larger batches.

Choose Your Bean

Each Type of bean from our shop has the same basic roasting methods. However, there are slight variations. I find Yirgacheffee goes straight from first crack right into second without skipping a beat. Noted difference is the popping sound continues throughout but the steam stops for a short time, then the caramelization smoke starts. Knowing these small differences comes with time and experience. I suggest trying a small selection of coffee beans and journaling the differences between them.

The Roasting Process

Understanding the different stages of the roast will help you control the flavor of your cup and appreciate how different roasts result in different cup flavors.

Yellowing: For the first few minutes the bean remains greenish, then turn lighter yellowish and emit a grassy smell.
Steam: The beans start to steam as their internal water content dissipates.

First Crack: The steam becomes fragrant. Soon you will hear the first crack, an audible cracking sound as the real roasting starts to occur: sugars begin to caramelize, bound-up water escapes, the structure of the bean breaks down and oils migrate from their little pockets outward.

First Roasted Stage: After the first crack, the roast can be considered complete any time according to your taste. The cracking is an audible cue, and, along with sight and smell, tells you what stage the roast is at. This is what is called a City roast.

Caramelization: Caramelization continues, oils migrate, and the bean expands in size as the roast becomes dark. As the roast progresses, this is a City + roast. Most of our roast recommendations stop at this point. When you are on the verge of second crack, that is a Full City roast.

Second Crack: At this point a second crack can be heard, often more volatile than the first. The roast character starts to eclipse the origin character of the beans at this point and is also known as a Vienna roast. A few pops into second crack is a Full City + roast. Roasting all the way through second crack may result in small pieces of bean being blown away like shrapnel!

Darkening Roast: As the roast becomes very dark, the smoke is more pungent as sugars burn completely, and the bean structure breaks down more and more. As the end of second crack approaches, you will achieve a French roast.

Don’t go past Full French Roast. Fully Carbonized to Immanent Fire are just a waste of good coffee