The first thing we will cover is the basic method in the steps of roasting coffee beans in a pan at home.
The general process of pan roasting coffee pretty much remains the same whatever type of pan you are using.
Once the basic methods are mastered you can experiment with various pans and find out which works best for you. The only rule is to keep trying, have fun, and enjoy the fruits of your labor with a nice fresh cup of coffee.
Equipment You Will Need To Roast Coffee:
I don’t want to be a wise guy, or state the blindingly obvious. I can 99% guarantee you all have the equipment in your kitchen right now.
Here is the list:
- Oven mitts: safety first.
- Stove top (if you’re living rough, really just need a hot heat source).
- Stirrer (a wire whisk or wooden spoon works great) Metal Sieve or colander.
Not too complicated, right?
Before You Get Started, A Few Considerations…
Before you get started, you need to select your green coffee beans. There is no trick here simply go with your favorite.
Coffee roasting can easily be done in your home.We suggest small batches, no larger than a half a pound.
Depending on the roast that you desire you can roast coffee in five to fifteen minutes.
The next decision you must make before beginning is to decide what type of roast you are aiming for. Do you want a lighter roast or a darker roast?
Each type of roast imparts a different appearance, qualities and taste to the coffee beans.
American Roast: When a coffee bean is roasted to an American roast the beans will have a very light color to them and they will appear dry.
Breakfast Roast: A medium roasted bean, or Breakfast roast will have a rich brown color and will be oily in appearance.
French Roast: A French roasted coffee bean will have a very oily appearance with the beans appearing very dark brown.
Espresso Roast: The darkest roasted beans or Espresso beans will appear black.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, darker roasts tend to have less caffeine and acid than lighter roasts.
Quite simply, a darker roast “cooks” longer and more caffeine and acid is cooked away.
If roasted too long, the flavor subtleties of the coffee being will be lost in it to will develop a more smoky, flavor that can easily cross the line into burnt.
What about lighter roasts? Lighter roasted coffee beans tend to bring out subtleties of flavor in your bean.
Though they may taste less heavy, remember lighter roasts are actually higher in acid which can be a problem for sensitive tummies. And they are higher in caffeine which increases the stimulant effect.
Here is A Great Video Showing Color Changes As Coffee Beans Progressively Roast Over Time:
The Basic Method Of Pan Roasting Coffee Beans.
(‘Cooking’ Time About 15 Minutes)
- Step 1: Preheat Your Pan. It is important that you preheat your Pan. You’ll be cooking over a medium-high heat. The ideal temperature to cook at is a Pan temperature of 500°. I’m not sure how you would accurately measure that but one way is to take a couple drops of water on your fingertips and flick them on the pan.
- They should hit sizzle fast and immediately disappear. It is also important to select a large enough pan that most of the beans are actually in contact with the heated surface.
- Step 2: Stir & Agitate Beans Slowly: The trick here is to pay attention and not get distracted. Do not leave your beans. Watch them like a hawk. During the cooking process they must be slowly stirred and moved around to ensure all beans are cooked evenly. Keep a very close eye on the color change in the beans.
- Step 3: Cook Until Desired Color Is Achieved. Remember when we said one of the decisions you must make prior to roasting is what type of roast you’d like? Now it pays off. If you have your temperature high enough, you should notice your beans changing from the raw, green color to yellow and then on to tan. The longer you cook the darker brown they get. If things are going well it will take approximately five minutes for the beans to reach their “first crack” stage. The cracking noise will sound sort of like muted popcorn popping. At this point the beans will be at a light roast and be light brown. The coffee beans can be used any time after that first crack. The degree of “doneness” is up to you. If that is your goal, stop cooking and pull them off the heat. If you want a darker roast monitor the beans for the second crack. The color of the beans will start moving fairly quickly from tan toward toward deeper shades of brown. If you pull the beans when the second crack starts, you will be at a full roast stage. We previously referred to this stage as breakfast or French roast.
- Step 4: Pour Beans Into Strainer Or Colander. Now, what needs to happen is to cool the beans quickly to stop the roasting process. Even though they are off the heat they will retain enough to cook a bit further. Agitate the beans to incorporate cool air and help them cool. This also helps remove the chaff from the bean itself.
- Step 5: Allow The Beans To Rest & Store Them: A rookie mistake is to get all excited and grind the coffee right away. WRONG. The coffee beans should sit out for five or six hours to allow the off gassing of CO2 (carbon dioxide). Now, you can seal them in a container and wait another 24 hours for them to develop full flavor. The beans have a shelf life with full flavor of about seven days maximum. They should be used before then.
How To Roast Green Coffee Beans In A Skillet
Believe it or not, using a skillet to roast coffee beans is pretty much the exact same process as using a frying pan. Simply follow the basic outline already given using a few tweaks.
Some cooks swear by their iron skillets especially the kitchen staple Loge Cast Iron Skillet available at a discount from Amazon. That’s okay, if this is your preference go with it will work just as well as a frying pan.
Here is a suggestion that has worked for some people in determining the desired 500°F temperature. Using a medium heat and the tight lid on the skillet preheat it. Pop in an oven thermometer and when it reaches 500° you’re good to go. The beans should be constantly agitated. This may require a bit more muscle power with a heavy iron skillet than a wider frying pan.
Here Is A Video Demonstrating Coffee Bean Roasting In A Skillet
How To Roast Green Coffee Beans In A Wok
I hate to repeat myself, roasting coffee beans and a Wok ploys the same basic method as a pan. There are a couple of points you should be aware of in using a wok:
- Use A Heavy Gauge Wok: Make sure your Wok is able to withstand the high heats used for roasting coffee beans. Some of the cheaper Woks’ coating may not stand up to the high heat. Don't cheep out - use a good Wok
- Circulon makes a heavy gauge aluminum wok. It will hold up to high heats
- with their typical coating which withstands heat very well. Here ia a Circulon forged aluminum heavy duty wok.
- Stirring Is Easier: you think about it, Woks are designed for stir-fry - rapid agitation of ingredients at a higher heat. This is exactly what pan roasting coffee beans need. The design of the Wok lends itself to a greater ability to stir the beans and make sure they are evenly roasted. If your wok came with a Wok stirring tool that fits the contours, use it.
Conclusion And Pan Coffee Bean Roasting Preferences
First of all, it is confession time. Whether you are roasting coffee beans with a pan, Wok, or iron skillet, it is tricky business. However, everybody wants to learn how to roast coffee beans at home has to start somewhere. This method involves virtually no equipment cost and can be done in anyone’s home. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it is very difficult to get consistent results. Be prepared for some less than stellar results and some out and out failures. The old adage try and try again applies here.
Don’t be dissuaded, we have absolute faith in your ability to come up with your perfect version of your favorite coffee. Enjoy,
PS – You Might enjoy the following recipe.
Bonus: One of our FAVORITE Recipes:
Kahlua Irish Coffee
- 2 oz Kahlua or coffee liqueur
- 2 oz Irish Whiskey
- 4 cups Hot coffee
- ¼ cup Whipping cream, whipped
- Pour one-half ounce coffee liqueur in each cup.
- Add one-half ounce Irish Whiskey to each cup.
- Pour in steaming freshly-brewed hot coffee and stir.
- Gently spoon two heaping tablespoonful of whipped cream on top of each.
- Serve HOT. Serves 4