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How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home with a Heat Gun

Although she was wearing a helmet, my daughter suffered a concussion falling off her snowboard. Here's how she kept busy during recovery.

easy-coffee-roasting

Let Us Show You How to Roast Coffee Beans

Our freshly roasted coffee beans provide us a perfect espresso or latte every day. The flavours come alive and the rich, dark color makes the coffee look nicer. To a coffee lover, there is nothing quite like it.

The thrill starts about half way through the process as the earthy, nutty aroma is released. The nutty, earthy flavor tempts my taste buds long before I will get a sample. But that's okay, we never allow ourselves to run out.

To be honest, roasting our own coffee beans with a heat gun is much easier than we ever imagined; it saves money while providing better flavor. Once you learn this simple method of how to roast coffee beans, you wont want it any other way.

We have studied several home coffee roasting methods and believe this to be the best. It is quick, easy and our total investment was under $20. After a few trials, we have perfected the technique using only a kitchen pot and a heat gun. This page will show you step by step photos of how we roast coffee beans at home. We also added a few video clips so you can hear the sounds the coffee makes at the various stages.

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Coffee Beans Start Out Green

There are many different varieties of coffee beans from many different countries. Our criteria is Fairtrade as it protects the grower and our planet. It is not a brand, but rather a way of doing business. For more information check out: Fairtrade Labelling Organization International

Our current favorites come from East Timor, Sumatra or Guatemalan because they a have rich, non-bitter flavor. Trying out different beans is a great way to determine your favorites.

Step 1: Measuring the Coffee Beans

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We generally roast about 200 grams (1 ¼ cups) of the green coffee beans at a time which yields us with about 6 delicious double shot espressos or lattes.

Place the green coffee beans into a stainless steel pot or bowl.

Common Kitchen Items (and a heat gun) Are All You Will Need

The tools of the trade are quite simple. For this method of coffee roasting, all you will need are:

1. Heat Gun (best with 2 heat settings) - see just below for our favorite option.

2. Stainless Steel Saucepan

3. Baking Pan (used for cooling)

4. Oven Mitt

5. Wooden Spoon

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Step 2: Find a Spot Outdoors

Roasting beans makes a mess as the light outer layer escapes the beans and scatters all around. We prefer to do this outdoors.

Please Note: The pot will get very hot during the roasting process. You will want to find a spot to place the pot where its bottom won't burn anything. Stones, bricks, concrete or the grill on your BBQ work well.

We use two large stones in a gravel garden.

Step 3: Stir and Heat

Now you are ready to begin roasting coffee beans.

Be sure to have your oven mitt on and spoon in hand. Turn the heat gun to high and hold it approximately 2-3 inches from the beans at a slight angle. Stir the beans vigorously and continuously with the wooden spoon, while moving the heat gun back and forth over the beans. Do not stop moving the gun or the beans will char and burn.

We added this video so you can see the speed to stir and the proximity of the heat to the beans.

Watch the Color Change from Green to Delicious in 10 - 15 Minutes

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Here you can see the color transition the beans will go through as you roast. They start out green in photo #1 and we roast to med-dark in photo #6

Once the beans begin to turn color, as in photo #2, it is time to reduce the heat gun to its lower heat setting. As all heat guns behave differently, you may have to adjust this.

The two videos below allow you to hear the cracking of the beans. The first crack will take place in photo #5, while the second crack is heard when the beans reach the color of photo #6.

First Crack Sounds

As the beans get closer to being done, they go through a first crack. The beans are actually expanding, and they make a sharp cracking sound as water escapes in the form of steam.

Keep stirring and heating through this process. We only stopped heating for the 2 second video, so you could better hear the sound.

Second Crack

The beans will continue to heat and sugars will caramelize, oils will evolve, and a more muted second crack can be heard. This sound indicates you are almost done for a medium to dark roast.

Again, keep stirring and heating through this process. We only stopped heating for the 2 second video, so you could better hear the sound.


If you want a medium dark roast, like photo #6 above, stop the heating while second crack is in progress.

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Finally, Cool Down Your Beans Quickly

Immediately after turning off the heat gun, pour beans into a cooling tray. We use a flat baking pan with edges so the beans can spread out, but not fall of the edges. This prevents the heat from concentrating. The beans will continue to roast themselves and overcook as long as they are hot.

Into the refrigerator they go!





Now That You Have Learned How to Roast Coffee Beans - Are you going to give it a try?

Our Favorite Book About Coffee

After the Roast

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The roasting process will increase the volume of the beans while decreasing their weight. Typical weight loss is 12 - 20%. Without a scale this would go unnoticed.

Once cooled, store your beans in a glass jar in the refrigerator. They say they are best if used in the first week. Ours have never lasted longer than this, so we can't verify that anything happens to the flavor.

© 2009 Rhonda Albom

Are You Going to Give Coffee Roasting a Try? - All comments and questions welcome

Cheryl Meril from San Francisco, CA USA on September 20, 2016:

Thanks for the info. I noted you recently updated the heat gun recommendation you don't have in the video. The 700 and 1,000 degrees seems a little high. First crack is in the upper 400 degrees. Can you explain why these high temps are okay? I've watched other vids and the gun actually touches the beans by the way, seems a little risky.

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on August 19, 2013:

Hmm perhaps a little bit too outdoorish for me :)

othellos on June 14, 2013:

Very interesting lens. As a coffee person I learned a lot from your lens. Thanks a lot:=)

mwiener on January 30, 2013:

I'm interested in the heat gun. I will check amazon and local online store for htis.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on December 30, 2012:

Wishing you a year of many new blessings starting with this one! Happy New Year!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on August 05, 2012:

In celebration of Friendship Day 2012, I am returning to some of my favorite lenses for fun, sharing and renewed blessings :) Friends Still Make it All Worthwhile!

toddmason69 on July 08, 2012:

Try it with cacao beans!

ChrisShaefer on March 20, 2012:

That is totally awesome and I love they way you build the lens. Very SWEET!

nolteq lm on September 15, 2011:

great lens. I like coffee too!

Dorian Bodnariuc from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on July 22, 2011:

Wow, amazing. Not only that you roast them yourself but you do it with a heat-gun. Excellent how to!

bogusroy on May 10, 2011:

And I thought I have seen everything...well done

anonymous on March 07, 2011:

What an awesome site. Thanks

simplegirl lm on February 12, 2011:

OMG.....who knew you could accomplish this with a heat gun! One more reason for me to buy a heat gun! I am going to try this!

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on February 05, 2011:

@anonymous: Thanks for catching this. It is always amazing that I can proofread more than once and still see what I think it should say, rather than what is there.

anonymous on February 05, 2011:

I think at the top of the page you wanted to say "You WON'T want them any other way".

WriterBuzz on September 30, 2010:

I just found your lens. I like it a lot. Thanks for building it. Gave you a thumbs up.

WriterBuzz on September 30, 2010:

Very nice lens. Thanks. I gave you a thumbs up, because it's a nice lens.

WriterBuzz on September 30, 2010:

Very nice lens. Thanks. I gave you a thumbs up, because it's a nice lens.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN, USA on September 15, 2010:

Wow! That is fascinating! I admire your "pioneer spirit" to roast them yourself.

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on April 07, 2010:

I love coffee and I didn't know you could roast your own beans. I bet it tastes delicious. Lensrolling to my souvenir coffee mugs. :)

Jeanette from Australia on March 28, 2010:

Like Ecolicious, I don't like coffee (except coffee cake) but I love the look of this lens. Nice job.

Beth Webster-Duerr from Henrietta, New York on March 25, 2010:

We have a commercial coffee roaster in our general area, and somehow the vague, but similar smell, of of burnt toast is AWESOME! Well done and very informative. Thanks!

Canela Ajena from Houston on March 24, 2010:

I love this lens and I don't even like coffee. This is so visually appealing I almost want to drink coffee. Kudos on the fairtrade tip. Very well put together. Blessing

Kiwisoutback from Massachusetts on March 23, 2010:

This must smell incredible. A fresh pot of coffee smells good to me, I can't imagine what this smells like (and tastes like). Off to brew a pot right now!

anonymous on March 22, 2010:

@jbarnhart41: I agree with you that this is a very informative information on coffee. I have no idea that coffee can be roasted right at your own home. I am a coffee drinker for a long time and I feel very happy to read various information about coffee. Some websites like http://www.oncoffeemakers.com really help a lot. Great post!

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on March 18, 2010:

This certainly looks easy enough! I'd be willing to try it, but I'm not a coffee drinker. I bet it really smells good though. Great lens!

jbarnhart41 on March 18, 2010:

I probably drink more coffee than anyone you will ever meet. I didn't even know I could do this at home. Excellent lens and great instructions! Blessed :)

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on March 18, 2010:

Wonderful lens. Love all the step-by-step instructions.

lakern26 lm on March 18, 2010:

Fantastic lens, Rhonda! Love your pics and videos :-) I'm a big coffee drinker, but I get mine the old-fashioned way, straight from a can of Maxwell House. I'm sure it doesn't taste nearly as good as yours!

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on March 18, 2010:

Awesome! This is something I have never tried before and I love, no, I need my coffee. The idea of saving money really appeals to me too! Most Excellent Lens! Angel Blessed and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks.

hlkljgk from Western Mass on March 18, 2010:

you make it look so easy!

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on March 18, 2010:

Very well-crafted 5 star page for coffee lovers. A+

Leanne Chesser on March 18, 2010:

Fantastic! This is an excellent description of easy coffee roasting at home. Blessed!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on March 18, 2010:

Wow, excellent and well documented. The short videos with the sound are just perfect. Very good information! (Too bad I'm not a coffee drinker, I guess.)

Sara Duggan from California on January 14, 2010:

Fantastic lens -- I like the Feature Creep on this lens. :)

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on December 12, 2009:

wow, I can't wait to try this as a caffeine addict. Great job!

John Parr from Montreal on November 04, 2009:

Great lens, lensrolled and rated. 5 stars!

strayspay on November 04, 2009:

Excellent lens Rhonda! Five stars.

KimGiancaterino on November 03, 2009:

Thanks for demystifying coffee bean roasting! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

partyjulie on October 28, 2009:

Very Interesting Lens! 5*

AlisonMeacham on October 27, 2009:

I had no idea this was how you did this! What a brilliant lens - Angel Blessings to you

seashell2 on October 27, 2009:

Great lens, lots of useful information. My husband and I are big coffee fans! Just having my second cup of starbucks now! :-) Lensrolling to my All about Coffee lens!

Cheryl Kohan from England on October 17, 2009:

This is just great and I think I'll try it...will have to wait until a warm day, though - lol! I have a heat gun that I've used for embossing craft projects...could probably use that, I think.

eclecticeducati1 on October 06, 2009:

Neat idea. Thanks for sharing. Wonderful lens.

raegal75 on October 05, 2009:

Very informative - thanks!

Christene-S on October 02, 2009:

Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

Rhonda Albom (author) from New Zealand on October 02, 2009:

[in reply to Ramkitten] I open a down wind window when Jeff is roasting and the yummy smell travels into the house.

Deb Kingsbury from Flagstaff, Arizona on October 02, 2009:

This is so well done! I know my husband will want to try this. Too bad it's too messy for indoors, because I'd love to have the house smell like roasted coffee for a while. We go to a local roasters and, though I'm not a coffee drinker, I sure love the aroma.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on September 12, 2009:

Oh me! I think I can actually smell your fresh roasted coffee. I would love to around when you do this to enjoy the aroma. Great lens.

puzzlerpaige on September 06, 2009:

I've been trying to make it over to this lens for weeks! Finally got here and so glad. Now Rhonda, you make this look easy. I'm wondering if I could do it too. Hubby uses heat guns at work everyday and has a few of them. The one thing I don't have is the beans. I'll be thinking about this you can believe that. I bet the smell is incredible!

Robin S from USA on August 02, 2009:

Interesting!

Michey LM on July 29, 2009:

Hi! This is very useful for 2 trasons:

1) if you buy green coffee beans you can keep it as long as you wish

2) when you rost them - you always have fresh coffee which smel great and is rich

Thanks a lot, I think I still have some green from Jamaica, I'll try using your method.

regards

Michey

Marelisa on July 28, 2009:

How interesting, I had no idea you could roast coffee beans with a hand-held heat gun. I live in Panama and we have great coffee here, but a lot of the coffee in the grocery store has been sitting around for months and has lost most of its flavor. I defnitely want to start roasting my own coffee.

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