The coffee world is a peculiar place. We’ve managed to take the everyday activity of brewing a cup of Joe and turn it into a complex, multifaceted art form. So what is there to explore after you’ve made your own cold brew, experimented with the inverted aeropress technique and become obsessed with tracking down the most elusive of single origin coffees? Why, roasting your own of course! Don’t worry though, we’ve put together a guide to why roasting your own green coffee beans is awesome, as well as a few tips to help you on your way.
Why should I try roasting my own green coffee beans?
Roasting your own green coffee beans can be a fun pastime, temperamental and challenging at times, but there are also several benefits to be gleaned too. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.
Freshness: There’s no getting around that coffee tastes best when it’s at its freshest. Green coffee beans are just unroasted coffee and roasting them yourself ensures that it is as fresh as possible - you couldn’t get much fresher unless you went to the farm directly. Plus, green coffee beans have a longer shelf life than roasted beans, so you can keep them for longer without worrying about them going stale. This is ideal for personal use, as you can roast the exact amount you need, without being tied down to using a commercially available quantity. Which lead us on to the second benefit:
Cost: Roasting your own coffee can be more cost-effective than buying pre-roasted beans, especially if you buy your green beans in bulk. While at first you may lose a bit of that saving while you trial and error your technique, there will be savings in the long run, due to the lack of wastage and extra expense added to artisanal roasted beans.
Sustainability: Roasting your own coffee beans could even help the planet. Well, slightly. We can’t avoid the fact that beans grow in countries very far away, but by avoiding ordering fresh roasted beans every time you run out, roasting your own on demand could be more sustainable than buying pre-roasted beans, as it eliminates the energy and resources required to transport and roast the beans on a larger scale.
Control: Here’s the real reason any coffee lover/nerd would choose to try out green coffee bean roasting - the ability to experiment and create something of your own (as well as bragging rights once you have done so). When you roast your own coffee, you have complete control over the roasting process, meaning you can adjust the roast level to your preferred flavour and caffeine levels, and experiment with different profiles to find the perfect roast for your taste. And that’s before we even get started on the ability to create your own blends!
It's a learning experience: If coffee is your one true love and you simply cannot get enough of it, roasting your own green coffee beans can be a fun way to improve your coffee knowledge and expand your experience. As well as the techniques you’ll be practising you’ll also learn first hand about the origins and flavours of different beans, and experiment with different roast profiles to achieve different flavours and aromas. Whether for personal or professional reasons, there’s so much to gain from roasting your own green coffee beans, and we don’t just mean the end result of a really, really good cup of coffee.
Got any tips for roasting green coffee beans?
As you’ve already seen, roasting green coffee beans can be a fun and rewarding process that allows you to create your own unique blends and flavours. However, roasting coffee beans can also be tricky. We've put together a few key tips to keep in mind when you first start out, to ensure you get the best results possible.
Choose the Right Beans
The quality of your beans is the most important factor in determining the flavour of your roasted coffee. When selecting beans, choose high-quality, fresh, green coffee beans that have been stored in a cool, dry place. Ideally, you want to choose beans that have been harvested within the past year, as older beans may have lost some of their flavour. That pretty much describes all of the Coffee Bean Shop’s green coffee beans to a T, so if you’re buying from us, you can tick that off from the start.
Decide On Your Desired Roast Level
The roast level of your coffee beans will determine their taste profile and caffeine level (although most of this will be determined by the bean type to start with), so it's important to know what you're aiming for. If you're new to roasting, start with a medium roast, as this will allow you to taste the natural flavours of the beans while still developing some roastiness. As you become more experienced, you can experiment with lighter or darker roasts.
To help you out, each of our coffee bean listings come with advice on the unique quirks of each bean type, so make a note of these before you begin roasting.
For your first time, we would recommend Green Peruvian Coffee, as it can be quite forgiving with timings and is an easier coffee to get right.
Preheat Your Roaster
Before you start roasting, make sure that your roaster is preheated to the correct temperature, regardless of if you are roasting them in a professional machine or on a pan in your oven. The ideal temperature will depend on the roaster you're using, so be sure to consult the manufacturer's instructions. Preheating your roaster will ensure that your beans roast evenly and develop the right flavours.
Measure Out Your Beans
It's important to measure out your beans before you start roasting. The amount of beans you use will depend on the size of your roaster, but a good rule of thumb is to use about 1/4 cup of beans for every 225ml cup of coffee you plan to brew. Measuring your beans will ensure that you roast the right amount of coffee and get consistent results, and will make it vastly easier to edit your technique over time.
Keep it Moving: Stir Your Beans
As your beans roast, be sure to stir them regularly to ensure that they roast evenly. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gently stir the beans, taking care not to spill any out of the roaster. Stirring or aggitating your beans will also help you to monitor their progress and prevent them from burning.
Keep An Eye on The Temperature
As you roast your beans, keep a close eye on the temperature. You want to keep the temperature within a certain range to ensure that your beans roast evenly and develop the right flavours. Again, the ideal temperature will depend on the roaster you're using, so consult the manufacturer's instructions. If the temperature starts to climb too high, reduce the heat or remove the beans from the roaster temporarily.
Listen for the "Cracks"
As your beans begin roasting, they will start to make popping sounds. These sounds are known as "cracks," and they signal different stages in the roasting process. The first crack is a sign that your beans are beginning to roast, while the second crack indicates that they are reaching the end of the roasting process. Listen carefully for these cracks, as they can help you to gauge when your beans are done.
Cool Your Beans
Once your beans are roasted, it's important to cool them down quickly to prevent them from continuing to roast and developing a burnt flavour. You can do this by pouring them onto a baking sheet and spreading them out in a thin layer, or by using a cooling tray specifically designed for coffee roasting. Allow your beans to cool for at least a few hours before storing or grinding them.
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Roasting your own green coffee beans can be a rewarding process that allows you to create unique blends and flavours. By following these tips and taking care to choose high-quality beans, monitor the temperature, and stir your beans regularly, you can ensure that your roasted coffee is full of rich, complex characteristics that will only get better with each try. Welcome to the wonderful world of home coffee roasting.
Here at the Coffee Bean Shop, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality, freshest green coffee beans in the UK, all hand selected by us and shipped out with love. We are passionate about all things coffee and are committed to making your coffee experience as awesome as possible. Browse our blog for more insightful tips and information on all things coffee related, or get in touch with us if there’s anything you need help with.