Roast your own coffee beans

Green, unroasted coffee beans
Green, unroasted coffee beans

If you’re a coffee aficionado, you may have thought at some point about roasting your own coffee beans. This means you’ll be able to enjoy the freshest possible cup of coffee, but it does involve some effort. As modern commercial roasting and packaging methods are so good, most people stick to buying commercially-prepared beans. If you’d like to try roasting your own, however, you can do so using very basic equipment – just don’t expect your first attempts to be up to a commercial standard!

You can roast coffee beans at home in a home roasting machine, but these can be a substantial investment. You can also use a popcorn maker, or, simplest and cheapest of all, a pan or skillet with a lid. Using a pan is the most uncertain method, as it’s easy to scorch the beans or have them cook unevenly, but it’s also a great way to try home roasting cheaply. Use small quantities of beans, and roast as needed.

Turn on the hob, and heat the empty pan for a few minutes before adding a double handful of green coffee beans. Put the lid on, and start shaking the pan to keep the beans turning and help stop them burning. After around five minutes, you should start to hear the coffee beans cracking – take the lid off, and check the colour. The length of time you roast the beans will define how strong the resulting coffee is, and it should take you about 18 – 20 minutes to reach the right degree of browning. Take the beans off the heat when they’re still a couple of shades aware from the required colour, as they’ll continue to cook for a little while when cooling.

Pour the beans into a colander, and shake them to cool. When completely cool, store in an airtight container ready to be ground as needed.