Oct 10 2010

How to Roast, Process, and Enjoy Coffee at Home – visual recipe – Project Foodblog Challenge #4

The project foodblog challenge has driven me to seek out new and interesting ingredients at stores and parts of town that I had never previously visited.  This week’s challenge brought me to a wig shop in Nuremberg.  When my friend told me that I had to go to wig shop for raw coffee beans, I took a double take at her email.  So, in the spirit of trying out something new, I made my way past all the wigs and hair weave and bought some raw Ethiopian  coffee beans.

A while back I had the pleasure of watching a colleague preform an Ethiopian coffee ceremony in our community garden, and since roasting coffee is not something we take the time to do everyday, I thought it would be a fun adventure.

I have to say that I really enjoy learning something new (and I bet you do too!).  Did you know that raw coffee beans smell like a cross between freshly pulled garden weeds and a far, far off hint of ground coffee??  I also learned that the coffee smell that sends all of us flocking to the nearest café does not come about during roasting, but rather while grinding.

This was definitely a lot of fun and easy to do.  The “hardest” part was finding the raw coffee beans.  Now, let me show you how it’s done!

You will need:

  • a stove top
  • an open window or high-power exhaust fan
  • a cast iron skillet (for even heat distribution)
  • a colander
  • a strainer
  • a cooking paddle
  • raw coffee beans
  • food grade vanilla-flavored oil (optional)


If possible, place your stove top near an open window or outside because the beans will smoke a lot towards the end. In the case that you don’t have a mobile cook top, use your kitchen exhaust fan.

I live on the ground floor next to a very busy pedestrian area of town.  I had quite a few people stop and ask what I was doing and others who were interested in what I was photographing.  When I told people I was roasting coffee, it brought a smile to their face.

Heat the pan, over medium-high heat, to about 224°C (435°F).  Use an infrared thermometer for the most accurate results.

Place a ½ cup of raw beans in the skillet and roll back and forth with your cooking paddle – you will need to continuously move the beans throughout the whole process.

The beans will go through many stages of color change. The point in which you stop roasting your beans depends on what type of coffee you would like to drink. You can find a great roasting color chart here. I decided to go for Viennese.

Within the first 7 minutes the raw beans will transform roasting color/flavor from “cinnamon” to “American” to “city” style roasts. You will hear something that sounds like the crackling of a log on an open fire – this is called the first crack. Once you hear this your coffee beans will have reached the American style of roasting (see the center picture above).

The second 3 stages took 15 more minutes and I had to pump up the heat slightly to get it going. Roughly 18 minutes after the first crack you should hear the second crack. This means you have reached the Full City style of roasting (see center picture above).  When the beans themselves had a temperature of 232°C (450°F), they have reached the “Viennese” style of roasting (see picture on the far right above).

Once your coffee beans have reached the roasting style you desire, remove it to the strainer that is sitting in the colander.  Move it around with a paddle to help it cool down quickly.

Continue to stir the beans in the strainer until all the chaff has fallen out.

Once the beans have completely cooled, transfer them to a bowl and drizzle with 20.7 grams of vanilla flavored oil (3% of the weight of the roasted beans). Mix until the beans are all evenly coated with the oil. Seal in an air-tight container and let sit until you are ready to grind. *This step is optional*. You may add any other food grade flavored oil of your choice or leave the oil our completely and skip straight to the grinding.

The longer you let the beans sit before processing, the better they will taste.  I processed one portion of the roasted beans right away with no flavoring and another 3 days later.  The ones that I ground 3 days later were much less acidic and had a richer flavor.

If you don’t have a grinder – or your electricity is out – you can grind them by hand with a mortar and pestle.  Grinding  is when that delicious coffee aroma will surface.

  • First you will need to pound the coffee beans by moving the pestle up and down with strong, yet gentle, hits.
  • Then, grind the coffee by turning the pestle into the side of the mortar. You will have to continue this motion for quite a while until all the grinds are as finely ground as possible.

Because your grinds will not be the evenly ground powder of electrically ground coffee, you will need to steep the coffee for longer than usual, 20-30 minutes should do it.

If you would like to have a quicker brewing time, you will need need to grind your roasted coffee beans with an electric grinder or food processor – an electric grinder will give you the best results.  Since I don’t own one, I used a food processor with a great outcome.

You can brew your coffee any way you like.  I brew mine using a French coffee press that holds 750mL (about 4 large cups or coffee).

To prepare a pot:

  • pour in 3 heaping tablespoons of your freshly roasted coffee grounds (from about 1/4 a cup of roasted whole beans)
  • top off with boiling water (up to the metal line)
  • place the lid on and let sit for 5 minutes

  • press the coffee plunger all the way down very gently
  • pour yourself a cup
  • enjoy <—- the most important part!

Some people enjoy their coffee best in the company of friends or on the go.  I enjoy mine in the silence of the morning before anyone has gotten out of bed.  How do you enjoy your coffee?

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

51 responses so far

51 Responses to “How to Roast, Process, and Enjoy Coffee at Home – visual recipe – Project Foodblog Challenge #4”

  1. bellini vallion 11 Oct 2010 at 2:23 am

    Congratulations for still being a strong contender in the contest!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Heatheron 11 Oct 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This is so fascinating!! I would definitely like to try this sometime (if I can get a hold of the beans, anyway). :)

  3. Heather @ He Cooks She Cookson 11 Oct 2010 at 4:17 pm

    This is AWESOME! We are both coffee-a-holics and hunt down new beans as often as possible. Plus I JUST love when I find something we actually have never tried! That will be remedied as soon as possible. Great job! You have my vote.

  4. Jennyon 11 Oct 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Very neat tutorial and the pictures are just lovely.

  5. Margareton 11 Oct 2010 at 4:34 pm

    What a fascinating and ingenious post! I really really enjoyed this post! It was so very unique and I know for a fact that I NEVER would have thought of doing something like this. (I must confess, I never even knew you could find raw coffee beans, didn’t even know they existed. I am now on a personal mission to find some!) I am a coffee fiend and I can’t wait to try this. Quite an inspiring post, one that deserves way more than the one vote I am allowed to give you. I would literally give you all 70 of the votes I have left, but alas, I cannot. Much luck to you!

  6. Amy (Sing For Your Supper)on 11 Oct 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Wow, I’m so impressed!! I had no idea that’s what raw coffee beans looked like! This post is wonderful- you definitely have my vote!!

  7. Jeanneon 11 Oct 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Beautiful work on this challenge! I’m only an occasional coffee drinker so I usually leave the roasting, grinding, and brewing to the experts at the coffee shop. I learned a lot about the process through your post. You’ve earned my vote!

  8. Annaliseon 11 Oct 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Fascinating! I had no idea what went in to roasting coffee. You’ve got a vote from me!

  9. Brieon 11 Oct 2010 at 6:09 pm

    heck yes, you did coffee! i fully admit i’m a coffee snob and this tutorial is perfect! and you used a french press which is the proper way to make coffee in my opinion to keep all the oils from the beans which is so important. you definitely have my vote – good luck! oh, and your place looks beautiful! :)

  10. Jacob's Kitchenon 11 Oct 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Now that is the perfect cup of coffee! Great tutorial. I have never even thought of roasting my own beans before. nicely done. I voted for you again!

    Good luck! hope to see us both in round 5! =)

  11. Mariaon 11 Oct 2010 at 7:51 pm

    It’s really great to see how this process works. And you can actually appreciate that cup of coffee even more. Good luck in the contest!

  12. Karenon 11 Oct 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Interesting what the beans look like in the raw. Great tutorial – I bet that coffee smelled SO good!

  13. myamiion 11 Oct 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you all for your inspiring comments and votes!
    For those of you looking for coffee beans, try typing “buy raw coffee beans” into Google and you will find tons of places you can order online…of course this is not as exciting as finding them in a wig shop :) , but the beans will be just as good.

    I roasted Ethiopian Mocca beans.

  14. Marie (FoodNouveau)on 11 Oct 2010 at 9:03 pm

    What an interesting twist on this challenge! I would love to try to roast my own coffee beans, I’m sure the taste must be very unique. Good luck!

  15. Gwenon 11 Oct 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I found your website by searching on the foodbuzz blog community food challenge website. I find this topic of roasting your own coffee beans very intriguing! Good luck on the voting. I have cast my vote for you based on the complexity of your topic. Thank you for the interesting read! Great photos.

  16. Therese @ artisttaon 11 Oct 2010 at 9:47 pm

    How cool. I never realized you can roast your own coffee beans. I will have to give this a try sometime. Great post. You have my vote!

  17. The Cilantropiston 11 Oct 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I loved this! Such an interesting and informative post, and so great that you tackled something complex and unique. Definitely got my vote!

  18. Margaret Murphy Trippon 11 Oct 2010 at 11:18 pm

    Hey! That was cool and made me seriously crave a cup of java!!! Very original and the photos were very good and helpful. (VOTE!) Good luck!

  19. Meganon 11 Oct 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I love it! There are a lot of amazing coffee roasters in town so I’ve never considered roasting my own, but this is a very interesting post. Great way to do the challenge. Good luck!

  20. Jun Belenon 12 Oct 2010 at 1:14 am

    WOW! I’ve been wanting to roast my own coffee… I’m bookmarking this post! Well done. Great photographs!! Best of luck in PFB!

  21. Danielle@Runs With Spatulason 12 Oct 2010 at 3:16 am

    What a fun post! Way to pick such a unique tutorial and great pics! Good luck in round 4!

  22. Stay-At-Home-Chefon 12 Oct 2010 at 3:34 am

    What a wonderful post – I love your idea of the coffee theme! I too enjoy my coffee alone in the mornings before the rest of the family are awake. I even have a special mug I made that I use for this special, quiet time. I swear it makes the coffee taste even better ;) Good luck and hope to join you in the next round!

  23. Cateon 12 Oct 2010 at 4:05 am

    I never even considered roasting my own coffee beans! I’m kind of scared I’ll burn mine to a crisp, but I might just have to give it a try

  24. Sueson 12 Oct 2010 at 5:34 am

    This is awesome and so, so informative! I wanted to include coffee in our brunch post… But then I realized, I didn’t know how to make the best coffee! Definitely following this post in the near future :)

  25. Daydreamer Dessertson 12 Oct 2010 at 5:56 am

    Being a huge coffee lover there’s no way I wouldn’t vote for you! Well, that and the fact that you did a great job putting it together. ;)

  26. Allisonon 12 Oct 2010 at 6:25 am

    I love this, thank you for posting it! I can almost smell the coffee. :-)
    You have my vote!

  27. Emily @ Foodie/Nutritioniston 12 Oct 2010 at 6:26 am

    WOW, I am so impressed! You are so cool for doing this! I can just imagine how amazing that coffee must have tasted.

    I really want to roast my own coffee now, and I’m disappointed/kind of surprised that raw coffee beans are so hard to come by! I’ll have to see if there’s anywhere I can buy them nearby…

  28. elaon 12 Oct 2010 at 7:32 am

    i can smell the coffee from here! love your post.

  29. sophiaon 12 Oct 2010 at 8:47 am

    Oh man!! This is certainly one of a kind…I’m not human without my daily cup of coffee, so I very much appreciated this inside view onto roasting it myself!

  30. Tiny Urban Kitchenon 12 Oct 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Fantastic! I had heard of people roasting their own coffee by using a popcorn popper, but this way looks a lot better since I don’t have to buy another piece of equipment. Great job!

  31. Tara @ Smells Like Homeon 12 Oct 2010 at 4:40 pm

    while i had never considered roasting my own coffee beans at home, i love the tutorial you’ve done to show how easy this is. i foolishly skipped my morning coffee and now i’m dying for some! hope to see you in Round 5 – you’ve got my vote!

  32. Whit @ Amuse Boucheon 12 Oct 2010 at 5:14 pm

    this is a really valuable skill, and I am quite impressed! awesome job!


  33. Crystal's Cozy Kitchenon 12 Oct 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Great tutorial, even though I don’t drink coffee I would know how to make it now ;) . I sent a little red heart your way – Good luck!

  34. Brandie @ Home Cooking Memorieson 12 Oct 2010 at 8:29 pm

    WOW! This was such a learning experience for me! I’m not sure if I will ever actually do this, but you totally have my interest. Lots of great details, very easy to understand, and the right amount of photos. You’ve got one of my votes – best wishes in the challenge.

  35. Fiona at Life on Nanchang Luon 13 Oct 2010 at 1:35 am

    I don’t know a foodie who doesn’t love coffee, so this was a great choice, and your photos are gorgeous – love the view from your kitchen window!
    Best of luck, and fingers crossed for both of us. Voted!

  36. Daily Spudon 13 Oct 2010 at 1:41 am

    Coffee is something that I’ve been learning a lot about lately. I’ve never roasted my own beans but would love to give it a try sometime. If you can lay your hands on one, a burr-type grinder is recommended for an even grind (I have a little hand grinder that does the job). It’s also interesting to try different brew styles – drip filter vs. french press – I was amazed at the different results from the same beans and also how grind, brew time and temperature affected results. It’s an endlessly fascinating topic!

  37. Katrinaon 13 Oct 2010 at 3:07 am

    How interesting!! I love coffee but I’ve never roasted my own beans. Excellent post! You have my vote :-)

  38. Jimon 13 Oct 2010 at 5:03 am

    What a nice post!

    Barley has been a popular coffee substitute in several eras – I will try roasting barley after I have mastered your technique for coffee beans.

  39. Marandaon 13 Oct 2010 at 5:36 am

    Oh I loved everything about this post! I drink coffee anytime…all the time. Yum! But I can see the draw in drinking it in the hush before everyone wakes up. Fabulous post!!! I voted for you!

  40. Adelinaon 13 Oct 2010 at 6:43 am

    Growing up, I remember my grandparents roasting and grinding coffee every morning. Thanks for your post… it reminded me the smell of fresh coffee and how I miss sitting on my grandmas lap and dipping my toast in her coffee.

  41. Rajanion 13 Oct 2010 at 6:52 am

    great great tutorial, really loved your post.

  42. Kristaon 14 Oct 2010 at 3:50 am

    WOW!!! What a great post! I have never roasted my own coffee beans (and quite frankly, probably never will) but it’s really interesting to see happen! I love my coffee early just after all the kids have gone to school and it is finally quiet in the house…or at least I assume that I would love that. I’ll let you know in 4 years.

  43. myamiion 14 Oct 2010 at 11:32 am

    Hi Krista,
    I soo know what you’re talking about! I have little ones at home too.

    Many cheers,

  44. momgatewayon 15 Oct 2010 at 6:13 am

    You make it sound so easy…I want to try roasting my coffee beans too!

  45. Saraon 15 Oct 2010 at 11:16 pm

    What a wonderful choice. Good luck!

  46. Marcyon 18 Oct 2010 at 1:26 am

    Thank you for inspiring me! I just bought my first pound of green bean coffee!

  47. myamiion 18 Oct 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Awesome! Please let me know how it comes out for you!

  48. [...] have to say that I’ve learned quite a bit from my Project Foodblog experience: -Step-by-step pictorial blog posts get the attention of more readers – probably because they are more helpful -Taking time to [...]

  49. Karenon 29 Mar 2011 at 1:37 am

    I cannot believe this. I went to my local convenience market (in Boston) owned by an Ethiopian family. I have been going there for 20 years. I finally asked about the bushel of coffee beans near the cash register. They told they were raw Ethiopian beans and to roast them myself! The owner said his mother only roasts her beans. He told me what to do and I decided to try it. Tonight as I was roasting them, I thought I might see if anyone else had done it and for how long. I was so pleased to see this posting and know that someone in Germany had also been curious and willing to try something new. I am lucky, the raw beans are only 3 blocks away from me! The beans are roasted and I will wait 3 days before grinding them per your recommendation. Thanks for this information. Starbucks eat your heart out!

  50. myamiion 30 Mar 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Karen,
    I’d love to know how your coffee comes out! My brother-in-law works at a coffee shop that buys beans from a local company that roasts them by what farm they come from. He told me that it’s even better when they sit for 7 days. I’ll have to try this next time I have guests over.


  51. Robinon 13 Apr 2011 at 6:54 am

    Very nice article! It is nice to see people experimenting with the roasting process. Just shows it doesn’t have to be a fancy machine and that there is more than one way to get fresh roasted coffee beans.
    Great photos and great presentation!

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