Roast Your Own Coffee Beans

By Mindy Keegan

Have you ever thought about roasting your own coffee beans? It is a very simple process and will save you money. Raw coffee beans are much cheaper than roasted. Best yet, it does not take much to get started. Here’s what you’ll need.

  1. A Whirley Pop popcorn maker. This will run you about $20. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond. FYI, once you roast coffee in it, you will not want to use it for popcorn. In other words, if you have a Whirley Pop that you use for popcorn, get another one specifically for coffee.
  2. A thermometer. You will need a kitchen thermometer that goes up to at least 400 degrees.
  3. Two large mesh strainers. You can get by with one and just swirl the coffee around after it is roasted but I highly recommend using two. It will cool the coffee faster and help to get rid of the chaff.
  4. Raw coffee beans. I ordered mine online from Sweet Maria’s. If you can find them locally, even better!
  5. A way to roast the beans outside. Roasting produces a lot of smoke so doing it inside the house is not an option. I use the side burner on my gas grill. An electric burner or a fire pit would work as well.

Step 1: Drill a small hole in the top of the Whirley Pop to place the thermometer in. Preheat your Whirley pop over medium low heat until it reaches 200 degrees.

Step 2: I like to roast a half pound of beans at a time. Do not roast more than one pound at a time.  Pour the raw beans in. Immediately begin to crank the handle. Stir the beans constantly and steadily. To ensure an even roast, this is very important. Never let the beans just sit on the bottom. Stir, Stir, Stir! The lid should be down most of the time to keep the temperature up. Periodically open the lid to check the color of the beans. You don’t want your temperature to get above 400 degrees. Mine typically hovers around 350 degrees.

Step 3: Keep stirring and listen. The beans will start to crack. When you hear the first bean crack, turn your temperature down to low. Keep stirring! Check your beans often to insure you do not over roast them. Keep stirring and roasting until the beans are the desired color. You can roast as light or as dark as you want. The roasting will take about 15 minuets. As I mentioned earlier, roasting produces a lot of smoke. This is normal.

Step 4: Step away from the burner or fire and pour the roasted beans into a strainer. Pour the beans back and forth from strainer to strainer. You want to cool the beans quickly. This process also removes the chaff. It is a bit messy so I like to do it in the grass. Do this for 10 minutes. After the beans are mostly cool, pour them onto a plate or in a bowl and let them sit to finish cooling.

Step 5: When the beans are completely cool, pour them into an air tight container. I like to use a mason jar. Wait two days before enjoying them.  When you open that container for the first time you will get the most heavenly whiff of coffee! It is so satisfying!

Start with this simple method. If you enjoyed it and want to learn more, there are many online resources to help you learn advanced techniques! Coffee roasting can be as simple or as technical as you choose it to be.

Leave me a comment and let me know how your roasting goes!
Happy Roasting!

Mindy Keegan is a wife, mother, writer, researcher, and business owner.  She is the co creator of KeWe Workshop.


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