The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Any Coffee Roasters here?

AndyPanda's picture

Any Coffee Roasters here?

I have an old bread machine I haven't used for bread for ages.  I took it apart and wired it so the paddle is on all the time and the heater has been removed completely.  I also removed the plastic from the lid and replaced the viewing window with aluminum (it was plastic and the heat gets way too high).  I stripped the teflon off the pan and drilled a small hole for my Thermocouple probe so I can get the temp of the bean mass at the bottom of the pan.

I set up a box fan blowing out the window and set the roaster right by the fan to try and get most of the fumes outside.  I use a heatgun to provide a controlled temp and the bread machine paddle keeps the beans moving for an even roast (attempting to move the beans like a rotating drum does in a professional roaster). 

I generally roast 300-400 grams at a time.  These are the green coffee beans I'm roasting today.  Guatamalan Xinabajul 

 This is my cooling station.  It's a vacuum cleaner sucking air thru a cardboard box with a stainless colander in the box. This sucks air through the hot coffee beans and cools them very efficiently.



AndyPanda's picture

Here's a picture of the roasted beans.  The smell in the house is fantastic after roasting.

Danni3ll3's picture

I am impressed! I had no idea that unroasted beans were that pale. Not a coffee drinker here but I am curious if you find that your setup provides better tasting coffee? 

AndyPanda's picture

It took a while (and ruining a lot of coffee beans) learning how to roast them properly. But once you get the hang of it, there is some advantage to having freshly roasted coffee vs buying it at the store. Most coffee you buy at the grocery store was probably roasted a few months ago. Unroasted coffee keeps for a long time - but once you roast it, the coffee starts to stale (the oils are release when it's roasted and they start evaporating and going stale/rancid). Most of the coffee geeks think 15 days is the maximum time after roasting before the coffee is too old and the flavor seems to hit a peak around 3-5 days after roasting and then gradually goes downhill.

So by roasting at home, I can do small batches that will last a week or so and it's always fresh. And I can choose how dark to roast it and what country or varietal to purchase. Coffee from Guatamala tastes very different than coffee from Kenya etc. - but the darker the roast, the more of that difference gets roasted away. So with very dark roast coffee there isn't much difference ... when buying some exotic and expensive coffee, you need to decide the roast profile to use (to what degree you roast and the time it takes to get there) that brings out those characteristics you paid so much for without going too dark and burning those characteristics off.

Colin2's picture

I've been using a Behmor roaster for about seven years.  You can get very geeky with it: there are people who add thermocouples and work out custom roast profiles and so forth.

I endorse all of Andy's comments.  As he notes you can order a large stock of green beans every few months and roast as needed, so it's convenient as long as you have space for the roaster.  Green beans are also quite a bit cheaper than roasted ones (even accounting for moisture loss) so you make back the cost of the machine soon enough, and vendors like Sweet Maria's offer a curated variety of interesting green coffees.  The person I learned from is part of a buying club that purchases and divides 50 lb. sacks, which really gets the price down.

On the other hand, what I can produce, though tasty, is still not quite up to the standard of professional craft roasters using professional gear.  If money is no object you are best off buying from a pro who ships freshly roasted batches.


bread_to_be's picture

Air fryer with squirrel cage.

Or something similar.

You will be able to roast coffee beans and nuts evenly.

stanss's picture

I use a old Jiffy Pop popcorn popper I got at a thrift store and a small gas burner, OUTSIDE.

loydb's picture

Awesome hack. I've been roasting my own for about a decade now -- at least until a couple of months ago when my Behmor finally died. We're about to move across the country, so I'm going to hold off on replacing it until after the move.


mrgarygeorge's picture

I purchased an electric popcorn popper at a thrift store for about $7. 

I  removed the clear plastic top, add about 1/3 cup of green coffee beans into the vessel, turn it on and the forced hot air that enters the vessel through vents in the bottom where the coffee sits  causes the beans to spin around and mix while heating takes place.

After about 6 minutes or so, depending on the outside temperature and how dark i want the beans to be for that particular roast, I have a wonderful batch of coffee beans!


There are quite a few YouTube videos of this type of roasting.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

as a hot drink, made the same as coffee.  I also have such a hot air popcorn popper.  This I gotta try.

NeilM's picture

Been a Home Roaster for 14 months now. It was like rediscovering coffee, what a difference roast your own makes.

Using 1250W Popper.

Coffee Beans

tgrayson's picture

I did it for a while, but I didn't notice that the coffee is any better than I can buy. The skillset that goes into being a roaster is more than just being able to roast the beans.

The only real advantage to self-roasting is that green beans store for a long time.

NeilM's picture

Takes practice, my first few batches were not great, just have to fine tune the roast level. Crap beans dont help either, try several varieties, Costa Rica, Dominican and Guatemalan are my favourites. Recently Bought some Kona, nice but not worth the money had to spend.

AndyPanda's picture

Yes!  It is a learning curve and there are a lot of nuances to it.    Not unlike baking bread.  I mean I know plenty of people who bought a bread machine and flour and yeast from the supermarket shelf and then told me it wasn't worth the effort and not any better than bread they could  buy at the store.  :)

But when you take the time to learn it really opens up a lot - you can bring out completely different flavor notes by the rate of rise of the temp as the roast progresses.  A slow ramp up to first crack vs a fast ramp up to first crack -- and then a slow vs fast finish ... those factors (and more) completely change what notes show up in the finished product.   

SlowRain's picture

Yes. I have a Quest M3, which I've had for almost 8 years now. Actually, I just sent it back to the factory yesterday to replace a heating element and have some other repairs and modifications done to it. It's a fun hobby, and the only one my wife acknowledges saves me money. 

My favorite beans to roast for filter coffee are wet-processed Ethiopians (Kenyans are too expensive for me), but I've had good success with some Guatemalans, too. I do a blend of African and Central American/South American for espresso. 

gary.turner's picture

Hi Andy,

Regarding the cooling station, does your setup remove the chaff, or do you winnow the roasted beans before cooling? I may try your cooling method either way, but controlling the chaff mess would be a big plus.


AndyPanda's picture

My cooling station doesn't remove chaff - it simply pulls cool air thru the hot beans and cools the beans down quickly.  

However the way my bread machine roaster works, all the chaff gets removed just by pure accident.  With the heat gun blowing down into the bread pan (where the beans are bouncing all around due to the kneading paddle spinning around) all the chaff floats up and falls down to the side of the bread pan.  After I finish the roast, I pull the bread pan and dump the hot beans into the cooling pan and there is no chaff at all (it is all down in the bottom of the bread machine underneath the bread pan)   I use the same vacuum hose I use for the cooler and easily vacuum out all the chaff from the bread machine.   

gary.turner's picture

Good to see you back.

OK, I did your cooling hack and it works a charm.  I used a dough whisk to stir the beans as they cooled and most of the chaff was drawn into the box.  Going a step further, I switched to using a skimmer* to lift and stir, which winnowed out the remaining chaff. (Do this outside, else the chaff is all over.)

Forced air cooling is definitely faster and less messy than pouring the beans back and forth between two bowls.



* Primary use is to remove bagels from boiling water or donuts from hot oil.

happycat's picture

Been roasting 7+ years. Started with a cheap corn popper, then a Quest M3. I do 1.5kg every 10 days or so.

But when I run out, sometimes I do a pan roast with a small stainless skillet (like yesterday) and it's very rich, sweet and tasty. Pan roasting is the traditional Ethiopian way... they are the birthplace of coffee.

Home roasted coffee is like home baked bread, fresh milled flour, fresh squeezed juice, fresh veg instead of canned, etc. It's more alive in flavour, more nuanced, more balanced, and always naturally sweet.

Based on my costs for green coffee (sourced from a local Ethiopian market... cheaper and fresher than other places) my roaster paid for itself in a few years. 

Roasting coffee taught me about flavour balances, something I transfered into baking.

Of course, it's also important to grind and brew it properly after :)

Colin2's picture

I've been roasting with a Behmor for 12 years.  It can do a one pound batch and it's more or less automatic.  I get beans from Sweet Maria's.  I like the variety, and they have also have decaf beans. The nice thing is green beans keep well, so you can order 40 lbs. at a time and roast as needed.  

happycat's picture

A couple shots of homeroast espresso in a bake is pretty spectacular. Made some chocolate espresso canneles a week ago. Wow... way more interesting than the stereotypical "mocha" flavour.