Why Roast Your Own Coffee?
Roasting your own beans is easy and fun. If you’re new to
home roasting, you will soon be experiencing the best coffee you
have ever tasted – for about ½ the price of store-bought
Once roasted, coffee beans retain their maximum flavor for about
three days. During this period the beans are degassing – giving
off C02. As the gas leaves the bean, it prevents oxygen from reaching
the bean. Oxygen is what causes the beans to go stale. As you walk
the coffee aisles of a grocery store, you smell the aroma coming
from the roasted coffee beans. While it is a pleasant coffee fragrance,
what you smell is the freshness leaving the beans!
First, a word about home roasting: Roasting your own coffee can
be accomplished in a wide variety of ways. The simplest (but not
the easiest, by any means!) is to roast the beans in a hot frying
pan while constantly stirring them to prevent scorching. No kidding!
Then there are air roasters, drum roasters, and heck, if you search
the web enough you can even find a guy that gives instructions on
how to convert a barbeque into a roaster.
If you purchase one of the roasters offered by The Lost Dutchman
Coffee Co., please make sure to read and follow the roasting instructions
that come with the roaster.
coffee beans can be roasted to various degrees. Which one
is best depends on: personal preference, type of brewing
method (drip, espresso, press-pot, etc.), and coffee bean
type. By experimenting, you can determine your own likings.
Roasting the Beans:
1.) During the first part of the roast, not much happens. The beans
start to turn yellowish and give off a grassy-type smell.
2.) The beans will start giving off steam as the moisture inside
the beans “cooks off”. Roasted beans generally lose
20-30 percent of their pre-roasted weight. This is due to loss of
water content during roasting. The darker the roast, the lighter
the roasted bean will weigh.
3.) The smell gradually becomes more like the coffee aroma that
you are used to. At this point, “first crack” occurs.
What happens is that moisture inside the beans expands because of
the intense heat and blows off the outer skin, creating “chaff”
(your roaster has a chaff collector which will trap most of this).
First crack refers to the period of time when you first hear one
of the beans give off a distinctive crack, until the other beans
finish making a similar cracking sound. This can be anywhere from
a minute to several minutes depending on the roaster used, the amount
of beans in the roaster, roaster temps, etc. The sound of First
Crack can be characterized as the sound of pencils breaking (kind
of a dull, low pitched thud).
4.) Anytime after First Crack, the roast can be considered complete.
However most people would probably prefer to wait awhile longer.
5.) Oils migrate from deep inside the bean to the outside. The beans
expand and darken in color.
6.) Second Crack occurs. Depending on the roaster, the beans, and
the temperature, First and Second Crack can overlap. Second Crack
usually is characterized by a “more violent” and rapid
cracking sound. It sounds like toothpicks breaking (sharp snap).
7.) Roast becomes darker and darker, giving off more smoke. The
beans appear shiny from the oils.
8.) Oils burn off; beans have given off all their moisture and turn
to carbon. If roast continues, a fire can occur. Fortunately, most
roasters sold today prevent over-roasting to this degree (a person
could still do it if they really try hard though).
After roasting, the beans need time to degas. This is best accomplished
by placing them in a container for anywhere from four to twelve
hours before use. Of course, if you’re out of roasted beans
and need to drink coffee now, then by
all means, grind it up and brew it now!
It will still taste great!
Commercial specialty coffee roasters use a technique called "profile
method controls the temperature during the roast to achieve a desired
finished bean (flavor and taste). Profile roasting is particularly
useful if a light roast is desired. This is because there is a risk
of winding up with some under-roasted beans in the batch due to
non-uniformity of the overall roast. By profiling, the roasting
temperature can be reduced, and the roast time lengthened. The result
is a more uniform roast, thus minimizing the risk of having under-roasted
beans in the batch which create a rather nasty cup of grassiness-taste.
This is but one example of a good use of profile-roasting. Other
"profiles" are thought to create different characteristics
using the same beans. The Hearthware i-Roast we offer has a profile
roast feature that allows the home roasting enthusiast a certain
degree of roast profiling control.
See the section of Roast
Level Terminology for descriptions and images of beans
roasted to different degrees.