How to Roast Coffee Beans

June 15, 2020 • 4 min read

How to Roast Coffee Beans

Nothing is fresher than roasted coffee beans that you just roasted yourself! That’s right! You don’t have to purchase pre-roasted beans. Instead, you can bring the smell of that fresh brew into your home like never before by roasting coffee beans yourself. Find out everything you need on how to roast coffee beans at home for the most delicious cup of Joe.

Why Roast Coffee?

Well, long story short, if you didn’t, it would be undrinkable. Coffee beans actually go through many changes before they make their way into your cup. First, the outer layer, pulp, and inner layer of skin are all removed. What’s left is a pinto bean that needs to be dried. Without roasting, the taste is very bitter and acidic.

Once the beans are roasted, the true aromas of the coffee bean really come through. The bitterness and acidity are melted away, and therein lies the delectable aroma you’re used to when brewing a cup of coffee.

Most beans are already roasted. But, you can buy unroasted beans so that you can complete this part yourself and really enjoy that freshness firsthand.

How to Roast Coffee Beans

Learning how to roast your own coffee isn’t nearly as difficult as you may be thinking. In fact, roasting coffee beans at home is pretty simple. Plus, it’s a surefire way to end up with the freshest brew you can imagine. Here are some basic tips to roasting coffee that you’ll want to know before getting started:

  • Beans will go from green to yellow to steaming while they roast. The longer they roast, the darker your roast will be.
  • Beans cannot exceed an internal temperature of 482 F; otherwise, they will burn.
  • Coffee beans can be roasted in a roasting machine, stovetop popcorn machine, or a hot air popcorn popper.
  • Allow coffee beans to cool for 12 hours before storing them.
  • Determine what type of roast you prefer (light, medium, or dark roast) and make sure the beans reach the proper temperature and color for each.
  • Burnt beans will smell awful pretty fast, so keep an eye on your roasting beans.
  • Beans must remain in motion at all times to prevent them from getting burned while they dry out during the roasting process.
  • You must start with unroasted beans to complete this process.

Stages of Coffee Roasting

There are 10 stages in coffee roasting to be aware of before you get started:

  1. Green: raw
  2. Yellow: releasing gas and starting to roast
  3. Steam: as they cook, there will be steam emitted from the beans.
  4. First Crack: this is called a cinnamon roast.
  5. City Roast: the minimum roast most people enjoy.
  6. City Plus Roast: common roast.
  7. Full City Roast: medium roast.
  8. Full City Plus Roast: medium-dark roast.
  9. French Roast: dark roast.
  10. Burnt: a terrible smell will be emitted.


Light Roast Coffee Beans

Light roast coffee beans are heated to an internal temperature of around 360 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is usually right after the first crack.

Medium Roast Coffee Beans

Known also as City and City Plus Roast, medium roast beans must reach an internal temperature of 410 to 428 degrees Fahrenheit.

Medium-Dark Roast

This is also known as Full City Plus Roast, which usually happens around the second crack. The beans must reach an internal temperature of 437 to 446 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve medium roast.

Dark Roast

This rich roast heats beans to an internal temperature of no more than 482 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a fine line between dark roast and burnt, so pay close attention while your beans are roasting.

Home Coffee Roasting Options

There are three different appliances you can use to achieve roasted coffee beans at home. Here is a look at them:

  • Coffee Roasting Machine: This is the simplest method. The manual of your roasting machine should tell you the exact quantity and settings to use to ensure optimal roasting.
  • Stovetop Popcorn Popper: Preheat until a laser thermometer reads 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add the beans and turn the crank continuously so that the beans are in constant motion. Watch as they change from green to varying shades. Remove from heat when the desired color (roast) is reached, and place onto a baking sheet for cooling.
  • Hot Air Popcorn Popper: Preheat for 30 seconds, and then add the beans. Watch closely as the beans change stages and remove from heat as soon as your optimal stage is reached. A complete roast should not take more than five minutes, so watch carefully. Never leave the popper unattended. Remove the beans when done and place them onto the baking sheet to cool thoroughly.

Home Coffee Roasters

As home coffee roasters are the simplest way to achieve perfectly roasted coffee beans at home, it may be worthwhile to invest in one. They also ensure you won’t burn or over-roast your coffee beans.

Removing the Chaff

As your coffee beans are roasting, they will shed layers of skin, known as the chaff. Place your beans into a colander as soon as you are done roasting them. Dump them from one colander into a second one and then back again. Repeat this over and over until most of the chaff is gone.

Don’t worry if a little is left behind. It won’t alter the taste of your coffee if it isn’t very much. Discard the excess chaff and place the beans on the baking sheet to fully cool before using or storing them.

The Bottom Line

Roasting coffee beans is an art. To achieve maximum flavor, you want to start with a dry, green bean and watch it closely as it roasts to perfection. Timing is everything when it comes to roasting your own coffee beans. You also want to make sure you allow the beans to cool properly before storing them. This ensures all gas has evaporated, and the beans will be preserved properly.

Store your freshly roasted coffee beans in an airtight container and enjoy the aroma of your fresh brew every single time you brew a cup.

Share this article

Other Blog Posts



On May 16th, 2020, LAFD was Dispatched to a Structure Fire that injured 12 of the Firefighters from LAFD’s Station 9 - Skid Row, thankfully,...

Read More

How to Become a Firefighter

How to Become a Firefighter

Desire first and foremost. Without a burning desire to become a firefighter, one is highly unlikely to achieve it. On average, it takes someone 5...

Read More