How to roast your own coffee

Lady in market at Sumbawa
Years ago while travelling the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia I found a lady selling green coffee beans in a market. As you can see from the picture she was also selling wonderful spices, but it was the raw coffee beans I was interested in.
Green beans
I instantly decided that this is something I have to try. Roasting my own coffee. I bought one kilo. The lady did not speak any english and kept repeating “goreng, goreng!” At that point I didn’t understand what she was trying to communicate, but later on I learned that “goreng” means roast or braise. Like in “Nasi Goreng” wich means fried rice, or “Flied Lies” as they pronounce it in southeast asia. She was obviously not confident that this blond backpacker with the red beard knew what he was doing.

Beans in oven
This time I did. After carrying this coffee in my backpack around Kommodo, Lombok and Bali we travelled home and I could start experimenting.

Because you are intelligent enough to read this blog you will not have to experiment when you get hold of some green beans. Recently my good colleague Astrid returned from Cuba with some very good green beans. She was kind enough to give some of it to me! When roasting them today I took some nice pictures and made these simple guidelines:

1. Turn off your fire alarm / smoke detector
2. Preheat your electric oven to 250 degrees celcius (482 F)
3. Spread the beans in an even layer on a plate only one bean deep
4. Roast the coffee for 15 – 25 minutes

250 degrees 15 minutes

The beans will start turning golden and swell, after about 10 minutes they will start making a popping sound as the inner part of the bean transform during roasting. When you open the oven after about 15 minutes to check on the beans it will smoke heavily. Turning off the smoke detector is no joke!

During the last minutes you have to check on the beans regularly. Use a flashlight if necessary. Depending on your taste, you can roast the beans all the way to the darkest italian roast. At this stage the beans turn slightly glossy because some of the essential oils in the bean leaks out to the surface.

Italian roasted beans
When finished take the beans out and cool them as fast as possible. If I do this during winter I put them outside. Transfering them to a cool plate is also good.

Chaff Chaff
When they have cooled down you can remove as much of the chaff as possible. The chaff is parts of the inner skin on the bean. You don’t have to remove all of it, but by tossing the beans around in a colander you will get rid of most of it.

Store the beans in an air tight container. Grind only minutes before you are going to brew your coffee. Now you can enjoy the freshest coffee you have ever tasted. If you decide to make espresso you will experiense an insane amount of crema.

And yes, something like Pantone Colour 470M or 730M on the crema is an indication of a good espresso.


If you want to take it a step further these are some resources: Sweetmarias, Ongebrand, Coffeegeek

And you can support if you decide to buy the same book that I am using as my detailed guide through this link: Home Coffee Roasting

How to roast your own coffee

6 thoughts on “How to roast your own coffee

  1. And for the people that don’t know anything about the Jaguar in question it is the one that you will see as one of my top banners when the random banner function in this blog finds it interesting to show you that particular picture. It is a small model that my 3 year old son keeps calling the “Agujar”.

    For a picture of that one I need to reverse the process of making real pictures look like a fake model. I need a trick to make a model Jaguar look like a real one… 🙂

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