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How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and Save Money) Video

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This post, and most especially, the video, will explain how to roast gourmet coffee beans, at home, in order to have the most deliciously freshly roasted coffee beans you’ve ever had! And the best part is that not only will they be the most delicious, but you’ll save money, as well! Doing this in a Whirley-Pop requires effort, but we did it for five years, once a week, before we broke down and purchased a coffee bean roaster.

How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money). Can you believe we do it in a WhirleyPop?#coffeebeans #roastcoffeebeans #greencoffeebeans #popcornpopper #DIY

The beans. The beautiful, beautiful beans.

With the price of gourmet coffee being what it is these days, have you ever wondered if it might be possible to roast gourmet coffee beans at home? No? We have.

How We Decided to Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans

We wanted great coffee, at the lowest price possible, and at the optimum freshness, roasted just the way we like it. Is that asking too much??? We didn’t think so. Plus, we’ve kind of got a terminal case of the “Can Do” spirit around here, when it comes to making great things to eat. 

Our bane, and our blessing, is that we love to eat, and we love to eat well. But we often find our tastes are a little more expensive than our budget allows. Which leads us to wonder if we couldn’t make the stuff we love, at home, cheaper and better. This type of curiosity and willingness to “give it a whirl”, have sparked our adventures into dry-aging our own beef, grinding our own grains, baking our own whole wheat bread, making our own sourdough bread, and even, in the last year or so, making our own wine. 
But of all these culinary adventures, roasting our own coffee beans is something that has become a weekly ritual. My husband has been roasting coffee every week, for over six years! He has it down to a science. Takes him about 15 minutes to do. But we’ve squished the whole process into a 1 minute video,  that’s toward the bottom of the post, so you can see the process for yourself. We hope you like it!

Where Do You Source Your Green Coffee Beans?

We buy our green coffee beans from Sweet Maria’s, an online website. They ship our beans right to our door, from beans they have curated literally from all over the world: Central America, South America, Africa, Arabia, Indonesia, Asia, and Oceania. I’ve asked my husband to try to narrow down what his favorite types of coffee beans are, but, honestly? We really couldn’t say what type is our favorite. The inventory at Sweet Maria’s is carefully selected and constantly changing, depending on availability, and we just enjoy trying all the types. (Besides, if you found the “perfect green coffee bean” chances are, it might not be available the next time you go back to buy more.) Another factor that can completely change the flavor of your “perfect bean” is how dark you roast that bean. Roasting your own coffee beans is an inexact science, and you learn as you go, how to produce the color of roast that *you* prefer. 
If your budget allows, you can purchase a coffee roaster at Sweet Maria’s, and skip our instructions.

Sweet Maria’s, in fact, is where we learned pretty much all we know about coffee roasting. 
But here’s how we do it, via some still photographs. 

How to Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home 

How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

These are the green (unroasted) coffee beans, looking down inside the Whirley-Pop.

First, my husband conducts this operation outside the house. Coffee beans that are roasting put off quite a significant amount of smoke, and you really don’t want that in your house. So, he roasts them on a propane burner outside.

Second, he uses a Whirley-Pop, which is a popcorn popper with a hand crank on the top that keeps the kernels stirring. My husband drilled a hole in the top to insert a meat thermometer into the pot. Achieving the proper temperature and keeping the beans moving are both important parts of the process. There is a “first crack” and a “second crack” that you have to listen for. And it sounds a lot like the snap, crackle, pop sound of Rice Krispies. But at the same time that you’re listening for the “crack”, you also have to be watching the color of the beans to be sure you have gotten the depth of roast that you want: in other words, it’s an art, and a science. 

How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

Here you see the beans just after the roast has begun: they are beginning to change color.


How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

They’re turning browner.

How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

As the beans continue to brown, from time to time, my husband leans in, and blows off the chaff. Here, you can see the chaff flying.

How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

This is just after the First Crack. The beans are almost ready.


How To Roast Gourmet Coffee Beans at Home (and save money)

When he’s reached the brownness he desires, he cools the beans rapidly by dumping them into a colander. You can see the chaff is still blowing off.

The 60 sec. Video that Shows You How To Roast Coffee Beans:

Both friends and family agree: this is the best coffee you’ll ever have. And for 15 minutes a week worth of work (for our family of 3 coffee drinkers) and the huge savings of money? It’s so worth it! 
If you prefer a less primitive approach, for the last two years we’ve been using a Behmoor roaster  which allows us to roast indoors, with a lot less arm muscle. It’s definitely more convenient!
How to Roast Coffee Beans in a Whirley Pop Popcorn Popper

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Juan Miguel

Friday 10th of June 2016

When it comes to choices in coffee beans, people often consider the differences to be found in “light” and “dark,” with little-to-no consideration in between. However, nothing could be further from the truth. My recent post Keurig Coffee Maker Reviews

Anne Louise Bannon

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

My husband has been roasting our beans for years - lost count of how many. He uses a cast iron pot, although he has used a Whirly-Pop before. Well, actually, he has a roaster. Bought his first one used off of eBay, then coughed up for a new one after that one died. One other really nice thing about Sweet Maria's is that they source all their beans from Fair Trade growers. An awesome way to go there. My recent post We Have a Winner in the Pick the Cover Contest!

Susan Williams

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

That is a good point, Anne Louise! Glad you brought that up!