Let’s face it; a big part of the enjoyment of coffee is its smell. Coffee drinkers can hardly imagine life without the aroma emanating from that freshly brewed pot first thing in the morning.
For some extremists, the next question is whether they can take that concept and actually roast their beans at home, rather than buying the roasted beans at the store and only brewing them.
There are many considerations in this question, but with some research, one can find evidence that home-roasting has taken place for centuries already. What, then, are the considerations when thinking about roasting coffee beans at home?
Well, first of all, roasting creates byproducts, not just aroma. There is some particulate matter produced, as well as some gases. Therefore a firm understanding of the process is mandatory before one embarks on this journey of love and anticipation.
One must also understand the goals of home-roasting. What are you trying to achieve? The reasons for home-roasting are many, but the process can be ticklish, and some work will be required on your part before you heat up the stove.
For some, you may just want more control over the flavor of your coffee. Remember that the longer you roast beans, the more they will taste like the roast, and the less they will taste like the beans themselves.
That means that if you buy exclusive beans like Kona from Hawaii or Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans, you’ll want to make sure to roast to a lighter roast, as they will taste like the region. Darker roasts take on the flavor of the roast and can become bitter and unrecognizable if only slightly over-roasted.
Therefore, and understanding of the roast as it relates to flavor is essential. The lighter the roast, the more recognizable the bean’s origin will be, and the darker the roast, the more “roasted” they will taste, masking the beans’ origins.
The grades of coffee roasting are Unroasted, or green, light, cinnamon, medium, high, city, full city, Italian, and French.
At light roasting, the beans are roasted until the beans “pop” or “crack.” This is called the first crack. Most mass-market coffee roasters stop at this point. Beyond that, the beans go from dry to shiny, to very oily. At French roast, the beans begin to smoke, and the sugars begin to carbonize, and the taste is that sharp, bitter taste and the inherent flavors of the bean are lost.
So, yes, you can roast your coffee beans at home with some care and attention.