Burning Questions On Home Coffee Roasting
Have you ever wondered how those rich, aromatic coffee beans find their way from farm to cup? If you’re a coffee lover like us, you might have even considered roasting your own beans at home. We’re here to tell you that it’s not as hard as it looks. With a little time and effort, you can roast it yourself and enjoy a cup of fresh, homemade coffee any time of the day.
Roasting coffee at home is a great way to have fresh, flavorful coffee. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying pre-roasted beans and you have more control over the flavor. But roasting your own beans can be tricky. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about roasting coffee beans at home, from choosing the right beans to roasting them to perfection. Here are some of the questions you may have before roasting your coffee at home.
How To Pick The Right Beans For Roasting?
Picking your beans is one of the most important things to consider before roasting coffee at home. While you can roast any bean, some are better suited to your palate than others. Picking your beans based on origin is an effective way to find coffee that suits your taste. Every region in the world has something unique to offer, and there are some that better match your preferences. Sometimes you’ll find coffees that are completely different from the others within the same country, city, or estate. This happens because of differences in varietal, elevation, and processing methods.
African coffees are generally floral or fruits with notes of citrus and berries. The higher acidity results in a refreshing cup of coffee with a light body. The technique, processing method, and varietal differ from region to region resulting in wildly different flavors. Here’s a great place to start if you’re curious about African coffees.
American coffees are either from Central or South America. Central American coffees are characterized by nutty & chocolatey flavors with notes of toffee and brown sugar. South American coffees have chocolate and mild fruit notes with a varying spectrum of body and texture. Click here to try some of our coffees from the Americas.
The origin of coffee in Asia is somewhat enigmatic. Regardless, Asian coffee is responsible for a huge chunk of the world’s coffee supply. Asian coffees are known for their undertones of chocolate & fruit. To taste these Asian coffees for yourself, click here.
With information about the different origins, you’re much better equipped to make a decision regarding your next green coffee. If you’d like to accelerate the process and get expert-curated coffee recommendations, take our coffee quiz.
Which varietal is best for home coffee roasting?
There’s no real science to claim that one varietal is better than the other. These are all different coffee plants and have unique characteristics that make each one special. There are four major varietals; Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. Arabica is considered the first coffee varietal. It’s responsible for over 60% of the world’s coffee supply chain. It can sometimes prove difficult to work with but the resulting cup is usually smooth and not very bitter, which makes it worthwhile. Robusta, named after its robust flavor profile, is the second most popular varietal out there. They’re generally more resilient and can thrive even in harsh environments.
Liberica & Excelsa are related. For many years, Excelsa was believed to be its own varietal but it was later established as a variant of liberica. Both of them are relatively hard to find. If you come across them, give them a chance.
How to store your coffee?
Coffee storage takes on two forms, one for raw coffee and one for roasted. With home roasting on the upward trend, there’s a need for awareness of proper storage. While large quantities of green coffee are especially prone to spoilage based on the conditions, smaller amounts need attention too. Storing it the correct way helps maintain freshness and quality.
Green coffee should ideally be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. The environment should be neutral and not in proximity to strong ingredients & odors. Humidity is the enemy, and it’s best to avoid storing your green coffee close to any water sources. It’s also a good measure to acquire your green coffee from brands that use high-quality packaging. This ensures that your coffee will be protected by an impervious layer during transit and storage.
You’ve now roasted your coffee, and are looking for a way to store the roasted bunch. Some of the same rules for storing green coffee also apply here. Oxygen, humidity, heat, and sunlight are your coffee’s worthy adversaries. To preserve the flavors for as long as possible, store your coffee in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature. If you’re using a transparent container, make sure you store it in a dark place away from light. It’s best to invest in storage containers with airtight seals.
Green coffee is hygroscopic, which makes it sensitive to moisture in the air. Once exposed, there’s nothing that can bring it back to its original state. Some of the freshness will be lost. By making sure you store your coffee properly, you can guarantee that your green beans stay fresh, and ensure that you’re getting the best possible experience each time.
How do you choose a roaster?
Once you’ve chosen your beans, it’s time to start roasting! Roasting coffee at home is often considered the ultimate way to personalize coffee. Roasting coffee ranks really high while talking about what affects the flavor of your cup. Some reasons to consider home coffee roasting are freshness, price, supporting coffee farmers, and impact on the environment. Buying roasted coffee comes with a caveat; flavor dissipation. Green coffee can stay fresh for up to a year but roasted coffee only lasts for 10 days.
We recommend starting with a light roast if you’re new to roasting coffee beans at home and once the beans are roasted, let them cool completely before grinding and brewing.
To roast coffee, two basic elements are required. A heat source and agitation. With these two in check, it’s possible to roast coffee. Among the many ways to roast coffee at home, there are some that are laborious and inconsistent. These methods fall short because of an uneven heat source or lack of agitation. Stovetop roasting suffers from the former and oven roasting suffers from the latter. Missing one of these two essential processes creates an uneven roasted bean.
Another option for roasting coffee is a hot air popper/popcorn popper. It results in an acceptable end result. They’re typically used for small quantities and tend to produce a relatively even roast under some circumstances. The key is to use no more than 3-4 ounces at a time. But at the end of the day, you don’t get much control over your roast.
The best option for home coffee roasting are dedicated roasters with custom roast profiles. Depending on the home roaster you pick, some included features could be temperature control, automation, smoke reduction, and airflow regulation with custom settings. The first thing to define is your budget and then prioritize the other key requirements like batch size, custom profile design, smokeless, and amount of counter space to name a few. The Bunafr Smart Home Coffee Roaster comes equipped with all the aforementioned and more. Get yours here to unlock the experience of drinking hyper-fresh coffee at home.
Roast coffee exactly to your liking with the push of a button. Our patent-pending technology is fully automated to create the perfect roast for your palate. With real-time control and our app, you can create custom profiles, connect with coffee lovers in the community, and manage your favorite coffees.
How to Read a Roast Profile?
You’ve heard of a “roast profile” before. As coffee is roasted from its raw form, each roast stage extracts a new flavor from the bean. Light and dark roast profiles taste different because of the different chemical reactions and aromatics that are released during the process. The extracted flavor components influence the acidity, aftertaste, and body of the coffee. Each stage of the roast process is characterized as a roast profile.
During the first step of the roasting, raw coffee begins to lose its signature green color and starts to turn a shade of yellow. As the moisture within the bean starts to dissipate, the flavors begin to intensify. This process is called ‘Yellowing’. Another key reaction for the development of roasted coffee flavor is Maillard. It’s a unique flavor that’s caused by the interaction of amino acids and sugars. Some popular dishes that benefit from this reaction are cookies, toasted marshmallows, and pan-fried dumplings. Along with the Maillard reaction, caramelization happens too. As the sugars in your coffee caramelize, the bean turns a light shade of brown.
Before the light roasted stage, the first crack happens. It’s like nature’s alarm that tells you when the bean is almost ready for consumption. We’ve now created a light roast bean with a crisp acidity and bright flavors. It’s the best way to enjoy the origin characteristics of a coffee. Then, we get to the medium roasted stage right before the second crack. The bean still has some origin flavors accompanied by new flavors from the roast process. The caramelization of sugars lends sweetness to your cup.
The dark roasted bean comes next. During this stage, barely any origin flavors remain. Dark roast profiles emphasize nutty, chocolatey, and caramel flavors. Coffee beans from certain regions do really well with this treatment. At our marketplace, your green coffee will be accompanied by an ideal roast profile.
What are some common mistakes to avoid while roasting?
Even the most rudimentary home roaster serves you a cup that’s miles ahead of the grocery store’s pre-roasted coffee. Having the right appliances gives you more control over your roast, but with control comes the possibility of errors. Here are some of the common ones.
Under-roasting or over-roasting:
Under-roasted coffee is light in color and usually has an herb-like flavor profile. Over-roasted coffee is dark, brittle, and tastes bitter. Neither one is desirable. It’s easy to spot once you know what to look for.
Scorching your beans:
This happens when your bean is subjected to extremely high temperatures during the roast. High heat can burn the outside of the bean while the inside remains raw. It can be avoided by keeping an eye on temperatures.
Not pre-heating your equipment:
While your home roasting setup may be impeccable, fluctuating temperatures can still plague the roast. Depending on where you live, the placement of your roaster, and the time of year, there’s a difference in ambient temperature. Always remember to preheat your equipment.
Baking your beans:
This happens when the temperature drops during the roast. When your beans get baked, the complex flavors get destroyed before they have the chance to fully develop. Baking too can be avoided by keeping an eye on the temperature during the roast.
Not letting your beans rest:
It’s very tempting to indulge in fresh-roasted coffee immediately. But coffee releases CO2 after being roasted and waiting a day or two improves the experience.
These are some of the most common mistakes people make while roasting coffee at home. To read more about them and understand how to avoid them, this is our recommended reading. By keeping these concerns at bay, you’ll be enjoying fresh-roasted coffee with zero complaints.
It’s important to remember that the best way to enjoy a cup of coffee is to bring out the natural flavors of the bean through home coffee roasting. At the end of the day, your cup will be far superior to pre-roasted grocery store coffee. That’s why we believe in making home coffee roasting as easy as possible while ensuring you have as much control as you’d like. To achieve the same, we developed the Bunafr Home Coffee Roaster. It bypasses all guesswork and helps you bring your perfect cup to life every morning. Get yours here.