Home Coffee Roasting – A How-To



When times get tough, we all start to move back to the basics.  We do those little things that we used to pay others for.  Sometimes we even have a good time while we do it!  For the first post in the “Recession” series we are going to dive right in and discuss not only brewing your own coffee, but also roasting your own green coffee beans.  Doing both steps at home can save you lots of money and create the best cup of coffee you have ever tasted!  Because of all the information involved in our Recession series, we will divide the segment into “Process” and “Economics.”

Part 1A:  Roasting Process

The process of roasting and brewing your own coffee is actually relatively simple.  People are always amazed when I tell them I roast my own coffee (and usually I try not to burst that bubble) but here is the secret:  Roasting coffee is easy, cheap, fun, and easy.  Did I mention easy twice?  Start to finish usually takes me about twenty minutes, and it requires no special equipment.  Sure you can spend $200 or more on a roaster, but I will tell you about the cheap and easy way I have been roasting coffee for months.

This clip will show you everything you need to know, but you should read the “How-To” after the jump!


Read the “How-To” after the jump!


Equipment you need:

  • Stove top
  • Large skillet with a top (or what I use, which is one large skillet and a second slightly smaller skillet to act as a cover to the first)
  •  Oven thermometer (costing about $5 from any kitchen or hardware store)
  • Mesh or other strainer
  • 1/2 lb of Green coffee beans



  1. Put oven thermometer in the skillet and cover on stove top
  2. Heat and stabilize the skillet (thermometer) to ~425 F
    1. The temperature will depend on your preference, you can play around with this, but I like to start at 425 F, decrease, and then increase over time.
  3. Remove thermometer
  4. Pour in enough beans to cover the skillet about 1 bean thick (usually about 1/2 a pound)
  5. Re-cover and allow to heat
  6. Agitate the beans over the stove top
    1. I usually do this by holding the cover on the skillet and shaking in rhythm
    2. This is very important so the beans roast evenly and do not burn.  You can let the skillet sit on the stove for short periods, but must continue to agitate over the heat
  7. After 5-10 minutes (depending on temperature) the beans will start to pop like popcorn.  This is known as “first crack.
    1. You will start to notice chaff coming off the beans
  8. Any time after first crack the beans can be considered done.  Depending on the bean, I like to wait until the beans have popped furiously, and a few beans have started to get a dark oily look (that same look that 100% of the beans in your local coffee shop’s hoppers have)
  9. Pour the roasted beans into the strainer and agitate immediately
    1. This is important to stop the roast as quickly as possible.  The beans are hot enough they will continue to roast until they have cooled, and we want to stop that.  The beans are cool enough once they are touchable
    2. I like to do this part of the process on my balcony, because the wind outside helps the chaff fly off
  10. Put the beans in a bag – Ideally something to allow the CO2 to release from the beans over the next 12-24hrs, a paper or ziplock bag works great.
  11. 12+hrs later grind and enjoy
    1. It is important to wait at least 12hrs from roasting for the best brew
    2. Try to enjoy within the week!

As always please leave any questions in the “comments” or at contact@manhattanroasts.com.

2 comments to Home Coffee Roasting – A How-To

  • Andreas

    I love coffee but have never heard of people doing this. What a cool way to appreciate coffee!

    Do you have any recommendations about where to buy green coffee online, and what to look for in a seller/quality of beans?

    Great tutorial! I look forward to reading/watching more!

  • I’ve never heard of roasting your own beans, but I am very interested in trying it. I’ve started making my own dog treats and dog food to save money, and can’t wait to try making my own coffee as well!

    Also, as we all try to lessen our Carbon Footprint, I was wondering if you know of anywhere to purchase pesticide-free, or organic green coffee beans?

    I look forward to learning more about coffee!

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