Coffee Roast

An attempt to roast coffee with a popcorn popper.
A demonstration page for the development of Stacks …
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To Start

What you will need to roast your own coffee:
  1. Green coffee beans
  2. Electric popcorn popper
  3. Metal sifter or screen
  4. Wooden spoon, or wooden chopstick, or wooden skewer
  5. Outdoor work area
  6. The will to try, and the strength to handle failure
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Find a work area outdoors where the smoke you will produce will not be an issue for you or your neighbors, and where you won’t mind doing a little sweeping later on to clean up your chaff. Then …
  1. Plug in your popcorn popper to warm it up
  2. Measure about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of green beans
  3. When the popper has been running for a few minutes pour in the beans
  4. Stir with the wooden spoon to get them spinning (or carefully lift the popcorn popper and swirl it slightly)
  5. The beans will darken over the course of several minutes - watch and stir only if necessary
  6. Cover the popper with the metal sifter so you don’t lose any jumpers
  7. As the beans roast, listen for the first crack …

The First Few Minutes

In this video the beans have been roasting for just a few minutes. Listen for the beginnings of the first crack, and note the chaff. There is a bit of smoke at this point, but it picks up!

First Crack

The beans have now been roasting for about five minutes. Listen as the first crack takes place when moisture is being released from the beans. You won’t need to stir much as the popper does the work for you.

First to Second Crack

The beans have now been roasting for more than five minutes. The beans are darker now and the first crack is still under way. Note how the beans have expanded and now take up more room in the roaster.

Second Crack

The beans have now been roasting for more than seven minutes. The beans are much darker and the second crack where oils are released is under way. At this point you will watch carefully for the darkening color and turn off the popper when you judge the beans are right for you.
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Finishing Up

Once the beans have finished darkening after the second crack …
  1. Turn off the popper
  2. Empty the hot beans into the metal sifter, over a metal cooking sheet
  3. Gently shake the beans in the sifter to float away loose bits, and cool off
  4. Dump the beans onto the cooking sheet to continue cooling off
My experience has been that it will take several tries to get something you will like. You should experiment with the duration of the roast to get a milder or stronger flavor. I have found that roasting for too long will result in coffee with a charred flavor, so don’t go crazy!