Sweet Maria's General Guide to Home Roasting

Roasting is fun and easy as you want to make it, or as exacting and technical as you care to be. You can be a barbarian and roast in a skillet (as I used to do), or go buy a fancy professional sample roaster. Don't be afraid of crackling coffee beans and pay attention to the process, especially toward the end of the roast. Either way you will make friends and influence people (maybe).

On this page:


Choosing a Roaster

There are many ways to roast coffee, from home appliances made specifically for this purpose, to simple pan roasting. The method you choose should be influenced 1) how much coffee you drink (i.e. how much roasted coffee you need) and 2) how much money you want to spend. Whether you choose a D.I.Y. approach or a small appliance matters depends more on how you like to approach things, and if you want a more convenient way to home roast.

D.I.Y. Instructions
I think the D.I.Y. approach is a great way to get started, especially if you can re-purpose an electric hot air Popcorn Popper that you have in a cupboard, or can find second-hand. You can even find them cheaply in a hardware store or Target or Wal-Mart usually. You can also use a skillet, a stovetop popper, or a cookie sheet in the oven. These latter methods are less even and require some technique to get good results, that is why we recommend the air popper method.

Hot Air Popcorn Popper Instructions (Recommended) Ye olde Skillet / Wok Instructions
Stovetop Popcorn Instructions Popper Oven Roasting Instructions

Small Home Coffee Roasting Appliances

An appliance gives you a built-in timer, a way to collect chaff, and (depending on the model) some control over the temperature and air flow. We sell some small appliances (like the Freshroast Home Roaster that work on the same principle as a hot air popcorn popper). Air roasting takes under 10 minutes and roasts very evenly without scorching. The other main method of roasting is radiant drum roasting (like the Behmor Roaster.) The advantage of drum roasting is a larger batch size and an even roast, but it requires a bit more attention and can mean more smoke.

See our Choosing a Roaster FAQ for more help finding the right roaster for you.


The Roast Process
In a nutshell, here is the roasting process:


Good to Know


To better understand the roasting process, check out our Visual Guide to the Roast Process for photos and video.

Our Coffee Library Covers These Topics and Much More:

Roasting Specifics, Blending, Espresso Blends, Decaf, Ecology, Storing Roasted Coffee, Storing Green Coffee, Grinding, Brewing