Features: Fun and easy. Cheap and definitely "old school." This is the method I used to roast Tanzanian Peaberry (they roll nicely in the pan) 10 years ago. I thought I was the only person in the world roasting at home. This is better as an experiment, or for you cowboys and mountain men out there; the other methods produce better cup quality. It's easy to scorch the beans and produce uneven roasts. The pan needs to be covered and the beans need to be stirred without removing the pan from the flame (i.e. shaking the pan) ...not easy to do! But it doesn't cost much to give it a try! Even experienced roasters should try it once. You learn a lot by having the whole roast process unfold in front of your eyes...
What You Need: Any lightweight skillet with a good tight lid, or a heavy skillet for a real aerobic workout. (You might also try a Wok and agitate with a wooden spoon. With good technique, this method can produce fine results.) Gas or Electric stove. An oven thermometer . A big spoon, a big bowl or metal collander for cooling, and oven mitts.
Refinements: Use another method. Skillet roasting is fun and barbarous, but I must admit, after a while you can become quite intuitive and produce some good roasts. But in the meantime you'll ruin many good beans. An air popper is 93% foolproof! I have had more success using a wok than a skillet. Still, I am not a talented person with the wok technique. I do know someone who has great success because he uses a wood-type stove and the wok sits in a opening that exposes about 2/3 of its bottom surface area to heat. That means the coffee has more even contact with heat more consistenly than on a stovetop range, and the results are very good, so I hear. And he roasts 1 Lb. at a time...
Sweet Maria's Coffee Library
Coffee Travel Pictorials, New Product Reviews, Roasting Pictorials, and more