Roasting Coffee at Home: Good or Bad?

Half a century back, when coffee was not available as easily as it is in the present times, it was a routine exercise to roast coffee beans at home. With the sudden boom in the coffee industry, this practice took a back seat. We live in the age of instant coffee and the very idea of roasting coffee beans at home seems exhausting to us.


However, roasting coffee at home has its own advantages. Here is a list of a few reasons that should convince you to roast coffee at home, once in a while:

Advantages of Roasting Coffee at Home

Roasting coffee at home takes you closer to the natural flavor of coffee.

Coffee beans roasted at home have a remarkably different flavor and aroma. The coffee that is so easily available in the market today does not stand anywhere close to what coffee tastes naturally. The obvious reason is that to meet the growing demands of coffee, industries resort to the cheapest and quickest methods to produce the maximum amount of coffee. As a result what you get is usually a chemically washed, hybrid variety of some good and some cheap coffee beans.

Roasting Coffee at home eliminates these odds to a great extent. Especially if you can manage to get raw ‘organic’ coffee beans.

You will discover a range of unique flavors by roasting you own coffee.

The simple old logic that things done by hand somehow taste much better than the commercially produced ones applies here as well. If you have ever tried roasting coffee at home, you will know that a range of different flavors can be produced by varying temperature and time. This is any day better than that cup of coffee you have daily which tastes the same every single time.

Roasting coffee is an art which lets you experiment and produce different flavors, that you never knew existed. In less than 20 minutes, you can have varieties of coffee roasts, from yellow to light brown to dark brown and even black!

Roasting Coffee at Home is Pocket-Friendly

Roasting Coffee at home is not just good for your health but also your pocket. The raw green beans required for roasting cost at least 50-70 % less than the roasted ones. Also the raw beans can be preserved for a period of about 3 to 4 months without the fear of losing the aroma and the freshness of the green beans. This is a lot more than the roasted beans that tend to become stale quickly and need to be consumed within 15-20 days of roasting.

How to Roast Coffee at Home?

Heat and Time are the two most important factors that need to be taken care of when roasting coffee. The temperature at which you roast you coffee largely determines the flavor, aroma and texture of your beans. How quickly the beans are brought to this temperature and where exactly decide you to bring the process of roasting to an end are equally significant factors. The entire process of roasting coffee beans takes place within a span of 50 degrees, when the internal temperature of your beans is somewhere between 200 to 250 degrees.

You can opt for any one of these methods, depending on your convenience and the availability of equipments at you home:

Oven Roasting

You can use either a gas or an electric oven while roasting coffee at home. You need to spread out the beans on a perforated baking tray in a single layer. Since the beans cannot be stirred in between, the beans at the edges of the tray come out darker than those at the center. Therefore, it is almost impossible to get consistently roasted beans.


  • Roasts are way too uneven.
  • Difficult to keep a check on the progress.
  • The chaff and smoke produced might ruin your oven.

Stove-Top Roasting

This is the most economical method of roasting coffee beans at home. You can use any open top cookware from a cast-iron skillet to a frying pan or a wok and are required to stir the beans constantly to roast them evenly.

However the results it produces for the amount of efforts and care you put in during and after the process can be disappointing.


  • This is the most inconvenient of all methods. It is way too messy and produces roasts of poor quality.

Home Roasters

Designed professionally, these produce the best results, with minimal efforts from your part and can work with a greater amount of beans than any of the other methods.


  • Apart from the monetary investment in the equipment that is required, anywhere from $150-$1000, this method has no cons.

Air Poppers

The air-poppers used to make pop corns can also be used to roast coffee at home. These give better results than stove or oven roasting and produce less smoke in comparison. In about ten minutes your beans shall be ready without requiring you to keep a close check on the progress.


  • The amount of coffee beans that can be roasted is fairly small, only about half a cup at a time.
  • Some of the poopers that are designed with a mesh at the bottom might even catch fire!
  • The need to cool the popper from time to time needs patience.

A Few Tips to keep in mind when roasting coffee at home:

The temperature at which you are advised to roast your coffee beans, most of the times refers to the internal temperature of you beans, the temperature at which chemical reactions take place inside the beans. This means that the apparatus you are going to use must be taken to a temperature above the internal temperature.

Once roasted, the way you store the beans is equally important. You need to keep the freshly roasted beans in a container for 6-8 hours after cooling. Make sure the container is not an airtight one in order to let the carbon dioxide gas pass through.

If you are not planning to use the beans immediately, it is advisable that you keep them stored in a freezer.

Another quick piece of advice:

Roasting Coffee at home might sound a lot of fun. However, it is difficult to get through the process, at least for the first few times, without having your beans charred and your kitchen filled with smoke! The major issues are to first, find a place fit for the smoky, messy affair and second, to regulate the temperature in order to end up with your favorite flavor (something that you will find out only after a day or two). Moreover, roasting is an art that needs expertise which comes with experience.

Going about roasting coffee beans at home using devices other than the ones designed specifically for the purpose, such as heavy-duty skillets, grills, air popcorn poppers, toasters, etc. can be disappointing. Therefore, it is advisable that you invest in a good Home Roaster if you are planning to revive and continue the tradition of roasting coffee beans at home. These appliances are a small – scale version of the professional roasters and come in both air roaster and drum roaster style. They are easily available for $150 or more and will make things a lot easier for you.


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