CoffeeNate.com Episode #7: Home Roasting Series #1 | Popcorn Popper

Welcome back once again to CoffeeNate.com! I’m glad that you’ve stopped by to check out this week’s adventure. In this episode, I demonstrate how you can roast coffee at home using a hot air popcorn popper! That’s right; you can achieve an excellent roast with only using an air-popper. There are a few tips to help you succeed, and I explain step by step in the video. You will notice the quality of the video is varied as there are so many renovations going on in my house, it is difficult to shoot in a consistent area. The wrap-up portion of the video was filmed in my bathroom…no walls, floor, or fixtures, but my bathroom nevertheless. 😉 I look like I’m in a ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade horror flick.

DISCLAIMER: In this tutorial I am using an appliance for other than it’s original intended purpose. Although I have yet to hear of any mishaps from this method, I must emphasize that if you choose to follow this guide that you are doing so solely at your risk.

With that crap out of the way we can get down to business 🙂 The degree to which you choose to roast the coffee beans is known as a roast profile. Coffee beans evolve physically as well as chemically during the roasting process. I encourage you to try different types of roasts and various types of beans. Don’t confuse the length of roasting time with how ‘strong’ your coffee is. The strength of coffee is determined by the quantity of coffee used in the brewing process, not how long it was roasted. You can make a strong cup of Cinnamon roast coffee…if you wanted to. Here is a breakdown of progression of the roast;

  • Light City or Cinnamon Roast – This occurs just as the bean begins to change colors, and is taken from the shade of the color. At this point, the coffee is hardly drinkable with little to no body and a sour taste.
  • City Roast -This is when the inside of the bean begins to transform, and the sugars start to break down. There is a release of moisture through the split in the center of the bean when this occurs there is an audible pop sound. This sounds like crackling twigs on a campfire. At this stage, the coffee is a light brown color.
  • Full City – As the roasting process continues, the oils inside of the bean begin to break down, and the sugars are caramelized. This is when you can hear a second crack, which is a higher pitched snap. The bean is now a darker brown color, but the oils are still contained inside of the bean. The origin flavors can still be identified at this stage. If you continue further into the process, you will be unable to taste the origin traits, and all of the flavor will be attributed to the roasting process.
  • Vienna or Light French – The roast progresses quickly after the Full City stage. As the beans are in the midst of the second crack they have now reached Full City+ or Vienna roast stage. This is a dark roast, but the bean only displays a small amount of the precious oils on the surface of the bean.
  • French Roast – As the second crack finishes this is the French roast stage. The oils inside of the bean have emerged, and the sugars are completely broken down. The surface of the beans is shimmering with a brilliant oily sheen. There is a greater amount of smoke at this stage as the oils are exposed to the heat source. If you roast past this stage, you will be drinking what we know as charcoal! lol Mmmmmm.

There are a couple subtle tips that you should keep in mind when doing this yourself…

  • Keep a close watch and listen as you roast. Be sure that the beans are getting equally exposed to the air vents. It is less maintenance if you use a little fewer beans as they will move about more freely.
  • Roast multiple batches back to back. This ensures a healthy supply with only one cleanup! The fresh beans keep their optimal flavor up to 15 days so don’t worry about them getting stale.
  • If you want a good tasting cup of coffee, DO NOT use your fresh roasted beans until you age them for at least four days. Believe me; you don’t want to waste the time that you have invested only to drink a cup of sour coffee.

Remember to get your questions and comments in for the next show! I will mention you during the show, and you will be entered into the FREE coffee contest. This week’s winner will be announced on Monday via video comment. If you haven’t ordered your green beans to roast along with me, be sure to get your order in soon. You’ll find a large selection of green coffee beans here . See you next week when we roast via skillet, yummy! 🙂

Nate

Nate is a special kind of coffee lover. He began drinking the same swill that most others do, but thought there must be something better out there. Sure enough, he was right, even more so than he ever dreamed possible. He soon found his way into the specialty coffee industry, and was tasting exceptional coffees from dozens of roasters from around the country. He is now committed to teaching others how they can appreciate coffee, and how they can make the best coffee in town and save money at the same time! Cheers c[_]

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  • nate_s

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  • Mike

    The first thing I noticed was the fire extinguisher. I may have to try this out sooner! It looks like fun. You made the roasting look so simple, I think I'll have to look for a popcorn popper soon. I learned a lot in this video, while you were demonstrating the roasting, but also while you were answering that question. Thanks.

  • Mike

    The first thing I noticed was the fire extinguisher. I may have to try this out sooner! It looks like fun.

    You made the roasting look so simple, I think I'll have to look for a popcorn popper soon.

    I learned a lot in this video, while you were demonstrating the roasting, but also while you were answering that question. Thanks.

    • Yeah Mike, I learned a lot too! It is really easy to roast in a popper. The only apparent drawback is that you can only roast a little at a time. I roasted enough today to last about a week. It's pretty dummy-proof though, just don't jump the gun like I did and try to drink it too early. I don't think 'Green Coffee' will be trendy drink! Thanks again for dropping by!

  • nate_s

    Yeah Mike, I learned a lot too! It is really easy to roast in a popper. The only apparent drawback is that you can only roast a little at a time. I roasted enough today to last about a week. It's pretty dummy-proof though, just don't jump the gun like I did and try to drink it too early. I don't think 'Green Coffee' will be trendy drink! Thanks again for dropping by!

  • nate_s

    Be sure your airpopper is getting hot enough. I recommend doing this activity outdoors, but make sure it is a warm day above (60 degrees). I attempted to roast on a cool day and my results were not good at all, I couldn't get the roast to progress further than first crack. I've heard that placing a cardboard box over the airpopper will assist in holding in the heat. I had fun with the skillet method too, it was extremely easy to roast and the chaff took care of itself. I'm drinking some great Sumatran that I roasted myself. It is a cheaper way to get fresh, high quality coffee.

  • Be sure your airpopper is getting hot enough. I recommend doing this activity outdoors, but make sure it is a warm day above (60 degrees). I attempted to roast on a cool day and my results were not good at all, I couldn't get the roast to progress further than first crack. I've heard that placing a cardboard box over the airpopper will assist in holding in the heat. I had fun with the skillet method too, it was extremely easy to roast and the chaff took care of itself. I'm drinking some great Sumatran that I roasted myself. It is a cheaper way to get fresh, high quality coffee.