How to Roast Coffee Beans in an Oven: A Beginner’s Guide
Roasting your own coffee beans at home seems difficult and extremely risky. After all, how do you know when it’s time to pull them out? How do you roast coffee beans in an oven?
Here’s the thing: roasting your own coffee isn’t only about getting the “perfect” cup of joe that suits your taste to a T. It’s also about appreciating the art that goes into coffee preparation. Therefore, if you want a cup of the freshest, tastiest coffee ever, you should definitely roast your own coffee at home.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of how to roast coffee beans in the oven. Let’s start roasting!
How to Roast Your Own Coffee At Home
Roasting coffee beans takes a great deal of patience. However, as many others have said before, good things come to those who wait.
Roasting your coffee is surprisingly easy. As long as you have a fully functioning oven, good-quality beans, and the equipment below, you’re good to go!
Things You’ll Need
- Unroasted coffee beans of your choice
- Oven thermometer
- Baking sheet (lined with aluminum foil)
- Large wooden spoon
- Colander or metal bowl
- Mason jars (to store your freshly roasted beans)
Step 1: Preheat Your Oven
Preheat your oven to 475 to 500 °F.
Step 2: Choose Your Roast
While waiting for your oven to heat up, allow me to explain the three well-loved roast levels so you can choose which one you prefer.
If you’re looking for a lighter “cinnamon” roast, you need an internal temperature of 356-401°F before pulling the beans out of the oven, which is why it’s best to use an oven thermometer while roasting coffee at home.
Light roasts are perfect for those who are searching for a lighter, more acidic coffee taste. They’re not as bold as dark roasts by a long shot; instead, they’ll give you a sort of “bright” clean taste with hints of floral and citrusy notes. The beans are pulled out of the roasting process after barely reaching the first crack.
Medium roasts are perhaps the most popular type of roast there is, falling just between light and dark. The ideal temperature you should be going for is 410-428°F.
Medium roasts have a mid-level acidity and a rounded flavor profile. It’s slightly bitter but not overly so and has a sweet, almost caramel-like flavor. The beans are pulled out in between the first and second crack.
Dark-roasts are for those who like a strong, bold coffee flavor that’s both smokey and bitter, making them the ideal for choice espresso shots. The best roasting temperature is around 465 °F-480 °F. The beans are pulled from the oven after the second crack.
Step 3: Maximize Ventilation
One of the disadvantages of roasting coffee beans at home is that things get super smoky real fast.
Avoid this by leaving your kitchen door and window open before putting your beans in the oven. Keep your vent fans running throughout the roasting process. You may need to keep an eye on your smoke detector because there’s a high chance the smoke will trigger it.
Step 4: Prepare the Beans
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the flavors from transferring and staining the tray itself.
Pour the green beans into the tray and spread them out in a single layer. Make sure the beans aren’t overlapping each other too much so you’ll achieve an even roast. Don’t use any more than 250 to 400 grams of coffee beans at a time.
Once the open is fully pre-heated, insert your baking tray on the middle shelf.
Step 5: Keep the Beans Moving
To achieve a perfectly even roast, you’ll need to move the beans around the tray constantly. After three minutes, remove the tray from the oven and stir them around using a wooden spoon. Repeat the process at the five-minute mark, then seven, then nine.
Step 6: Listen Closely
After the first five to seven minutes, you’ll likely hear the coffee “crack.” If you’re looking for lightly roasted beans, you can now safely pull them out of the oven to cool down.
If you fancy a medium roast, wait for another five minutes. The beans should be dark, but not that dark. Once you hear the second “crack,” it’s time to pull them out.
For dark roast beans, wait for another minute or two. Some even leave them for five. This is where the beauty of roasting your own coffee comes in; there’s no right or wrong when it comes to roasting your coffee. It all depends on your taste.
Step 7: Cool the Beans
Transfer the beans to a colander or metal bowl. If you want your coffee beans to cool faster, place your bowl into the freezer for a few minutes before transferring the beans in.
Keep in mind that coffee beans straight out of the oven will keep roasting if left alone, which is why it’s best to speed up the cooling processes by tossing the beans in the colander or carrying them outside to rest in the cool air.
You can also remove the chaff (or outer shell) by dumping the beans back and forth between two colanders or tossing them gently in the air.
Step 8: Give Them Time to Rest
Transfer the beans to an open mason jar and leave it open for 4 to 24 hours. Doing so allows the beans to vent out the build-up CO2. While waiting, simply enjoy the delicious, mouth-watering scent your freshly roasted coffee gives out. Your neighbors might even want a cup after smelling it in the air and realizing it’s from you!
Step 9: Grind the Beans and Enjoy!
Once you’ve given the beans enough time to cool down, you can now enjoy your freshly roasted coffee beans.
Benefits of Roasting Your Own Coffee
We’ve all heard of the benefits of grinding our own coffee beans at home, but what about roasting them? What makes it better than store-bought roasted coffee beans, anyway?
Flavor to Die For
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of roasting your own coffee is the pure flavor it brings.
As we all know, coffee beans lose their flavor the longer they sit untouched on the store counter.
Although it takes months, if not years, to go completely stale, coffee beans lose its freshness only after several days of being roasted. Ground coffee loses its flavor even faster; in fact, according to “Coffee Confidential“, 60% of the coffee’s aroma is lost within 15 minutes of grinding!
If you were to roast your own coffee, you’ll be able to appreciate a stronger, bolder, and more flavorsome cup than that of any store-bought beans.
Oftentimes, coffee fanatics don’t mind spending several extra dollars for premium coffee. This is why some people would pay up to $500 for a pound of Kopi luwak, one of the rarest and frankly most delicious types of coffee beans in the world.
However, if given a chance to drink a delicious cup of coffee—better than anything you’ve tasted before—at half the price, anyone would jump at the opportunity.
Unroasted coffee beans are generally sold from $5 to $7 per pound. Once roasted, you’ll find them at the price of $15 to $25 per pound from a high-quality commercial roaster. Better-tasting coffee for only a couple of dollars? Don’t mind if I do!
You’re in Control
Another great thing about home-roasting is the control it gives you. If you love experimenting with coffee flavors, you’ll be able to try out several roasting methods until you find the one that perfectly satisfies your palette. From super light to super dark, the power is in your hands.
Plus, you’ll be able to select the multiple coffee bean varieties from several regions instead of sticking to one. This allows you to brew something truly unique that no one (except you!) has ever tasted before.
Longer Shelf Life
Pre-roasted coffee beans typically have a shelf life of around a month if packaged and stored correctly. On the other hand, if properly protected, unroasted coffee beans have a shelf life of up to a year!
Many of us avoid stocking up on coffee because of how fast it loses its flavor. Unroasted beans, however, allow you to buy them in bulk without having to worry about their overall quality diminishing.
Buying unroasted coffee beans ensures its sustainability. No longer will you have to worry about the working environment of those who roasted your coffee.
Most green coffee beans have an indication of where they come from and how they’re harvested. You also have the choice to purchase Fair Trade Certified and/or Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans that are 100% organic.
Roasting your own coffee isn’t a complicated process, but it certainly is a lengthy one! Is roasting your own coffee worth it? I would say so! If you have enough time on your hands, I definitely encourage you to try it out for yourself.
Stay caffeinated friends!