10 min

Roasting coffee beans at home

Apparently, an air popcorn popper makes a decent home roaster for coffee beans. We'll try it out. [Sep 2013 update: This works well. Roast in the evening, outside. Let beans cool and rest uncovered inside at room temp. Grind and brew in the morning. Enjoy! Store remaining roasted beans in air-tight glass container.]

On Sep 5, 2013, we received our first shipment of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's.

Sweet Maria's

Our first batch of coffees:

Each bag weighs slightly more than a pound. For example, the El Salvador bag of beans weighed 468 grams. One pound equals 454 grams.

These coffees ranged in price between $6.50 and $7.50 per pound. Shipping costs made the three-bag total price be $30.00.

The roasted coffee beans that we buy locally cost between $10.00 and $13.00 per pound, so roasting our own beans is about the same price. If we bought larger amounts from Sweet Maria's, then maybe the shipping cost relative to the total price will be lower. Unsure about that.

Roasting our own beans allows us to control the taste.

  • El Salvador Finca Matalapa Bourbon
    • Outside Finca Matalapa
    • Arrival date June 2013 Arrival
    • Appearance .0d/300gr, 16 - 18 Screen
    • Grade SHB/EP
    • Processing Wet Process (Washed)
    • Region La Libertad District
    • Varietal(s) Bourbon
    • Intensity/Prime attribute Medium intensity / Malic fruits, mild citrus, cocoa
      RoastThis coffee does great in the City+ to Full City range, but will hold up to Full City+ as well.
    • The cup tastes of fresh caramel and almond, and with a subtle bittering cocoa quality. Complexity builds in the cooling cup, and notes of apple, pear, and mild citrus 'pop'. Layered chocolate notes are dominant in darker roasts, while still retaining aspects of malic fruit. This is such a great option for a "classic", SO espresso.
  • Panama Organic Duncan Estate
    • Ricardo Koyner, the farmer behind Duncan Estate
    • Arrival date July 2013 Arrival
    • Appearance .2 d/300gr, 15-17 Screen
    • Grade SHB EP
    • Processing Wet Process (Washed)
    • Region Boquete, Panama
    • Varietal(s) Typica
    • Intensity/Prime attribute Medium intensity/Big sweetness, brilliant acidity, lightly fruited, toasted nut
    • Roast This is a flexible coffee that will show well anywhere from City to Full City. Dark roasts will make a great espresso.
    • Duncan Estate is a uniquely sweet coffee. The sweetness in the dry grounds runs the range from graham cracker to honey and with wafts of dried stone fruits. Dark roasts bolster the smell of sweet baking spices and burning sugars. Diverse honeyed sweetness permeates the wet grounds and there's a delicious smell of maple butter and blackberry syrup (which is intensified at darker roast levels). The cup is so sweet, which comes through loud and clear, even when the cup is hot
  • Guatemala Huehuetenango Baudilio Castillo Micro-Lot
    • A blog post from late July or early August mentions this lot arriving at Sweet Maria's, but no other information about this bean exists on the Sweet Maria's website. Maybe they sold out of the small lot and removed info about it.
    • From Google cache/search results: The cup has balanced sweetness, acidity, great body and mouthfeel. There's a caramel flavor along with a bit of milk chocolate. It's fruited too, but they don't dominate the profile. As the cup cools spiced aspects of cinnamon, mace, and all-spice develop nicely in the finish, with a touch of orange rind. Darker roasts have some dark berry notes, along with well developed sugars - toffee, caramel, and even a bit of nougat. This makes an excellent single origin espresso, with our shots producing intense caramel sweetness, high % dark chocolate, and bracing, berry-like acidity. City to Full City.
    • City to Full City.
    • Balanced sweetness, spice hints, dark berry notes, developed sugars, good SO espresso.

Sep 16, 2013 roasting

  • roasted Panama Organic Duncan Estate coffee beans.
  • two batches.
  • 2/3 of a cup of beans per batch.
  • used our Orville Redenbacher Air Popcorn Popper.
  • roasted outside.
  • placed popper on patio table.
  • plugged big, yellow, outdoor extension cord into garage outlet.
  • put on one oven mitt.
  • plugged popper electric cord into extension cord, which turns on the air popper.
  • started stop watch.
  • added 2/3 of a cup of beans to popper.
  • put on the other oven mitt.
  • began stirring beans immediately.
  • stirred beans with the skinny handle of a wooden spoon down in the beans.
  • stirred constantly and vigorously. hand, wrist, forearm gets a little tired.
  • the thin, paper-like outer husks of the beans begin coming off and floating up out of the popper within the first minute. a light amount of these husks.
  • still stirring fast to keep beans evenly roasted.
  • at approx the 2 min and 50 sec mark, first crack begins.
  • a lot more of the outer bean husks float up after first crack.
  • first crack continues for 30 seconds or so.
  • then it quiets down.
  • for the first batch, i pulled the plugged, stopped roasting at the 4:25 mark.
  • for the second batch, i stopped roasting at the 4:10 mark.
  • the popper had cooled between batches.
  • i think second crack was beginning at the 4:15 to 4:20 mark.
  • after roasting ended, quickly dumped beans into a colander.
  • toss hot beans in colander until beans can be easily touched or grabbed with bare hands. this tossing and cooling will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • place beans in an open glass bowl or jar.
  • let beans rest overnight with no lid on the bowl/jar. CO2 gasses need to escape.
  • grind and brew the next morning. aeropress is our favorite method.
  • place unused beans in an airtight glass container, and store at room temp on counter.


  • if continuing to roast through and after second crack, then that will produce a dark roast or a French roast, meaning the beans will be near-black and a bit oily.
  • i try to stop before a French roast, producing a mocha-colored bean.
  • later this week with these same beans, I'll stop roasting at the 3:30 to 3:45 mark to produce a lighter colored bean and a different flavor.
  • normally, i buy French roast beans at the store, but through our initial experimentation of roasting at home, the lighter at-home roasts taste better and have more interesting and complex flavors than the darker at-home roasts.

Brewing Coffee

September 2013

I liked the Guatemala micro-lot coffee listed above a lot. I don't think it's for sale right now at Sweet Maria's.

I've been roasting beans between 3:30 and 4:00 minutes.

The first crack occurs at different times. I don't know if that depends upon the bean type or the outdoor temperature. I would think that in a very small confined heated space like the popcorn popper that the outdoor temp would have little influence on roasting times.

Since the Aeropress only produces one cup at a time, I've been using the French press pot, and I like the muddy coffee the press pot produces. It tastes great black or with a small amount of heavy cream.

If leftover coffee exists, I place the press pot in the frig, and start the next morning with a small dose of chilled coffee, which also tastes great plain or black.

My thread


They also recommend a burr grinder, scale, and thermometer as you do in the your last paragraph.

... the key is to start with the Golden Ratio of 17.42 units of water to 1 unit of coffee. The ratio will get you into that optimal zone, plus it is unit-less, which means you can use grams, ounces, pounds, stones ... So if you're hoping for a 20 percent extraction against 1.28 percent Total Dissolved Solids, you can start with 30 grams of dry coffee grounds, 523 grams of water, and then adjust from there.

Immersion methods, like the French Press, leave all coffee beans in the full quantity of water for the brew time, and by using filters that remove only coffee grounds, produce a flavorful, full-bodied cup of coffee with natural oils.

Pourover methods, such as the Chemex or the V60, generally combine the use of a paper filter with a specific coffee grind to limit the rate at which water flows through the coffee, generally in a cone-shape, which results in a "clean" (less oily) cup of coffee with more fruity and citrusy flavors.

The line between immersion and pourover coffees is blurred by hybrid brewing methods such as the Aeropress or the Syphon, which mix ground beans and water for the full brewing time, then extrude through a filter that extracts oils from the coffee.

Me : brewing coffee in our large french press pot: 45 grams of ground coffee, 784 grams of water at 190 to 200 degrees F. add enough water to cover grounds, stir, let sit for 30 seconds, add rest of water. steep for at least 4 minutes. Another, easier to remember ratio: 40 g of coffee and 700 g of water.

Have to be careful not to fill the press pot with too much water. Try to stop just below the metal band, located near the top of press pot.

Maximizing coffee taste is similar to producing the best tasting bread.

A huge amount of brewed coffee can be purchased for under a dollar at convenience stores/gas stations. Pre-sliced, limpy bread sold in a plastic bag can be bought in stores. In my opinion, that's not real coffee, and that's not real bread.

Coffee variables:

  • location beans are grown:
    • soil and climate - like grapes for wine.
  • some beans lend themselves to a darker roast while others are better if roasted lighter.
  • brewing methods:
    • beans with hints of fruitiness may taste better if brewed with the pourover method. (some Central American beans)
    • Bolder beans may taste better if brewed with a press pot. (some African beans)
  • time between roasting and brewing.
    • I think the ideal time frame is to brew beans within 7 days of being roasted.
    • allowing the beans to "age" a couple days after roasting and before brewing may produce more flavor.
  • the burr grinder is recommended over the whirly blade grinder for producing better tasting grounds.
  • grind right before brewing.
  • after roasted beans have cooled in the open air over night, then store beans at room temp, away from sunlight, in airtight container.

Currently, we use a whirly blade grinder. Burr grinders cost between $50 and $100, at least.

If upgrading roasters from the air popcorn popper, the Behmor 1600 Roaster (drum-style) cost around $300.

French Press Pot

The French Press Pot has been my main brewing method for 2014.

I weigh 35 grams of beans before grinding.

Water temp around 175 to 185 degrees F.

Add enough water to cover the ground coffee in the press pot, stir, and let rest or "bloom" for 30 seconds.

Add water to fill near top. I use the large press pot.

I wrap the press pot with a small swatch of wool that I knitted for practice.

Let steep for at least 5 minutes before serving.

When drinking, I find that I need nothing else added. The coffee straight or black is fine.

#home - #recipe - #coffee - #beverage - #blog_jr

By JR - 1880 words
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