How to Roast Coffee Beans

Posted in  Coffee  on  October 16, 2019 by  Urban Bean Coffee Team

Freshly roasted coffee with a lovely aroma always impresses with its impeccable taste and brings great pleasure with every cup. Surely many connoisseurs of this drink thought about how the roasting process occurs and dreamed of roasting coffee beans on their own at home. For you, I was able to collect several fairly effective methods of how to roast the whole bean coffee at home and get the most out of the process.

Coffee Roast Degrees:

Coffee Roast Degrees

1) Yellowing

At the first stage, the color of the coffee slowly changes from green to greenish-yellow, then from tan to yellow.

2) Steam

Beans start to smell like grass and give off steam when the water molecules inside the bean heat up and start to get away.

3) The first crack

You will learn that the process advances when you hear something called the “first crack” stage. The crisp sound is similar to the sound of popcorn popping. As soon as you hear this sound, the real firing process has begun. Water completely leaves the beans through steam. The caramelization of the sugar content begins, and deep-frozen oils are redistributed but remain inside the bean at this stage. This is when the whole structure of the coffee bean begins to change and collapse.

4) Fresh Roast Phase

After the first crack, coffee is considered roasted. Any additional roasting beyond the scope of this depends on your taste on the degree of roasting you choose and when you stop the process. This phase is also called Cinnamon Roast, New England Roast or Light City Roast. Take the phase of the first crack as a reference point then consider what you see and hear which are crucial factors in determining what degree of roasting you are at.

5) Caramelization of sugar

The first step is finished and the beans have darkened a bit. This is called American Roast or Fried Breakfast. The coffee component expands and darkens until caramelization is completed (about 50% complete).

Many people believe that coffee will be full at this point, but that does not mean that you cannot continue. It is already considered roasted, but some people prefer to go to the next level, continuing to roast and allowing more sugar to be caramelized.

6) Second crack

The beginning of the second stage of the crack is often called a full bitter city, afternoon hot or Viennese hot. The second crack sound is sometimes different from the first, and experienced roasters use a trained ear to measure the level of roast due to the unique sound it produces. The acidity level begins to decline, and the unique characteristics of the beans become pronounced.

7) Darkening roast

The bean gets darker and darker as the firing continues, all the sugars are completely caramelized, the smoke is intense and many beans begin to break into pieces. This stage is called French, Italian roasting or dark roasting.

8) The carbonation phase

This is the stage at which coffee can be consumed in most cultures, although the industry sometimes calls it Spanish roasting. If the roast has reached this stage, it’s too late to do anything with coffee because it has been burned and turns to charcoal. You can even use pieces to write on some surfaces, just like chalk. Coffee in this phase is completely carbonized, which means that a quarter of it is already just ash. From now on, you risk a fire if the roasting continues.

How to Roast Coffee Beans – Getting Started

Buying Green Beans

It all starts with beans, which are technically seeds. After roasting, fresh green beans become lighter by several shades. After they are roasted, they completely transform, turning into beautiful and attractive shades of brown.

Great coffee is all about consistency. Choose beans that are uniform in size and color: this provides a consistent roast and taste. Obtaining these two elements — the right colors and sizes — is very important to avoid producing coffee with an inconsistent and unfavorable taste.


This is where the magic happens. Choose one of the following five methods and follow our guide to producing the freshest and tastiest beans you’ve ever had!

How to roast coffee beans in a Frying pan

What you need to prepare:

  • gas (electric) stove;
  • cast-aluminum or cast-iron frying pan (stewpan) without non-stick coating;
  • whisk for whipping or wooden spatulas (for stirring beans);
  • stopwatch;
  • a clean, dry metal pan in which the beans will cool. It is highly desirable to have a kitchen scale.

Why is this necessary:

Gas stove

Unprincipledly, you will roast coffee on a gas or electric stove. But I will give examples for a gas stove – I have no other stoves. By the way, you can read about the positive experience of roasting beans in a convection oven.


It is very important to observe several rules. The pan should be clean inside, with no deposits, and no adhering fat. Yes, you have to clean the dirt on the metal itself. Ideally, for coffee, it is necessary to have a separate frying pan in which, apart from coffee, nothing should be roasted.

Finding an aluminum frying pan or a stewpan without a non-stick coating is not easy, so you can use a frying pan with a non-stick, washed inside to the condition “like new”. But even in a well-washed pan, the smell of previously prepared dishes may remain. To get rid of extraneous odors, boil water in a pan with detergent for 5-10 minutes and rinse thoroughly. During the roasting process, a lid is not needed.

Shovels or whisk for mixing

Stirring the beans is a very important part of the roasting process and the most difficult. The purpose of mixing is to turn the beans so that they are evenly roasted on each side. Therefore, you can mix coffee with any object that will allow you to turn beans as intensively as possible, for example, with a whisk for whipping.

If there is no whisk, you can use wooden spatulas. During roasting, the pan becomes very hot, also warming your hands. In order not to burn yourself, I recommend choosing spatulas with long handles. By the way, to interfere with the beans with the necessary intensity, it will be more convenient to use two spatulas at once, as Andrei Laube does in his video. New ones are needed and the cheapest ones from the nearest supermarket will do.

I liked to stir the coffee with a whisk rather than spoons or spatulas. You do not need to turn beans over by shaking the pan: raising the pan from the stove, you interfere with the heat.


There is a stopwatch on almost any cell phone. The exact time of roasting will be determined by the stopwatch.

Bean cooling pan

Roasted beans must immediately be poured onto a cold baking sheet. A new pan is good in that it quickly takes part in the heat and on it, you can distribute the beans in a thin layer so that they cool faster. If there is no baking sheet, any clean metal dishes will work for you to pour and distribute your roasted beans in a thin layer.


1) Measure 150 or 200 grams of green coffee on the scales. Prepare a baking sheet to cool the beans.

I highly recommend, especially the first few times, to roast the beans in small batches of 150 or 200 grams of green coffee. For large volumes, the roasting process may vary.

During the roasting process, coffee grows in volume and loses weight. With light roasting, the coffee loses at least 13% of its weight, depending on the variety, humidity, etc. That is, 150 grams of greens turn into 130 grams of lightly roasted coffee, and 200 grams of greens turn into 174 grams of roasted coffee.

If you spoil the roast, then throwing away 150 grams of coffee is not as sad as throwing a pound or a kilogram.

Roasted beans must immediately be poured onto a baking sheet and begin to cool. There will be no time to search for a baking sheet: prepare it in advance. I’ll tell you more about cooling down below.

2) Turn on the middle burner on the gas stove, reduce the fire so that it burns at half the power. Preheat an empty pan for 10-15 seconds, pour green beans into it, turn on the stopwatch and immediately begin mixing the beans.

The roasting time will be from 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the strength of the fire.

If the fire is stronger, then you can control it faster. But the chance of getting smoky-tasting coffee by the end of the roast is increased. If you roast on a very low fire, then you can get an unroasted (albeit darkened) coffee of a nasty grassy taste.

It is not necessary to warm up the empty pan for a long time since the chance of getting an uneven frying or smoky taste greatly increases.

3) Intensively mix coffee. No bean should lie in its place for more than one second. Carefully watch the beans. Take a look at the stopwatch at the moment when the beans start to crack (not one at a time, but at once with the whole bunch). Remember this time.

The more you mix the beans, the more evenly the roast will be. I remind you again: you cannot stop for a second. Pay attention to the beans at the edge of the pan. As I wrote above, the purpose of intense mixing is to turn the beans over, not just drive them around in the pan. Each bean must be uniformly heated on each side.

Closer to 5-9 minutes (depending on the strength of the fire), the beans begin to make a crackle. When the beans begin to crack not one at a time, but at the same time (like popcorn, only a little quieter) – this is the beginning of the first crack. From this moment, the development of beans begins and continues until the end of roasting.

4) Intensively stir the beans, looking at the stopwatch. Remove the pan from the heat at such a time that the development time of the beans (from the beginning of the first crack to the end of the roasting) is 20-25% of the total roasting time. After removing the pan from the heat, immediately pour the beans into a baking sheet and begin to cool.

As I wrote above, the development of beans should be 20-25% of the time of roasting. That is, if the first crack occurred 7 minutes 30 seconds after the start of roasting, then at 9.30-10 minutes after the start of roasting, you can remove the pan. If the first crack started 9 minutes after the start of the roasting, then stop the roasting after 3 minutes (the total roasting time is 12 minutes).

If everything turns out as it should, the intensity of the cod by the end of the roasting is significantly reduced, the beans crack one at a time, and not all at once, as in the middle of the crack.

Pour the beans onto a clean, dry metal baking sheet and begin to cool.

In a small professional roaster that quickly and evenly heats the bean, the development time can be reduced to 10-15%, especially for a small amount of coffee at 150 grams. According to experience, when roasting in a pan, the development will still be 20-25%.

The fact is that the pan is distinguished by the openness of the structure and heats beans less evenly. If Scott Rao offers to stretch the crack in time so that the beans do not reach the crack at the same time (this will reduce the temperature of the beans), then in the pan this problem does not exist, because the beans already reach the crack a little at different times. While all or almost all beans crack their first crack, it will take 20-25% of the time.

Of course, in a frying pan, the development can be 15%, if you unscrew the gas, not at the recommended 50% capacity, but 80-90%. But then problems are possible: by the time when, on high heat, part of the beans already has time to overheat, the other part will only reach the crack. It will be half normal, half smoky. Why is that? There are not many beans, they lie in a pan with a thin layer (2-3 beans high). One bean can burn, and the second can be green nearby. This problem is partly solved by more active mixing.

5) Cool the beans. They should reach room temperature in 2-3 minutes.

It is very important to cool the coffee beans as quickly as possible. The fact is that after roasting, they become porous, have poor thermal conductivity and, generally speaking, are very hot. Hot enough to cook a little on their heat. And they can burn. To prevent this from happening, be sure to pour the beans from a hot pan onto a cold metal pan. In the cold season, you can cool this pan by the open window, stirring the beans or pouring them from one pan to another.

Note that after roasting, a large amount of husk is separated from the best coffee beans. It does not affect the taste of coffee, but if you decide to cool the beans with a cold blow dryer, you will have to thoroughly clean the kitchen.

6) Check the result.

Pack the bean in a paper bag and close tightly, releasing all the air from the bag.

Here are four signs that suggest that you succeeded:

  • Coffee has lost 13% of its original weight.
  • Beans can be broken with your hands. It can be seen on the fault that the inside and outside of the beans are uniforms in color. Also, the color of ground coffee does not differ from the color of beans. By the way, if you could not break the bean with your hands, then try to break another one. There might be especially strong beans that you can’t break with your bare hands.
  • Chew on the bean. The taste of the bean should not be bitter, should not have a burnt or smoky flavor.
  • The beans have the same roasting color.

How to roast coffee beans in the oven

Another popular method of roasting home-made coffee at home is using your oven, but be careful: you will need ventilation, as it will become smoky!

NOTE: if your oven is pretty erratic, do not use it. The floor will scatter around you, leaving you with a huge shabby mess for cleaning.

What do you need?

  • Green Coffee Bean;
  • Perforated oven tray (regular trays also work);
  • Oven;
  • Colander x 2 (metal);
  • Heat resistant mitts;
  • Sealed storage container.


1) Preheat the oven to 500F: turn it to 11. The temperature will be different for different beans and different ovens. Start with 500F and experiment up and down from here to find what works for you.

2) Open everything except the oven door: everything will become smoky. Maximize ventilation.

3) Spread the beans over the perforated tray: only one layer deep. Do not stack them! A perforated tray will give better results. Just make sure the tray you use prevents the beans from slipping between the holes. Beans expand during frying and get stuck in any holes large enough to accommodate green beans.

No perforated tray? Try your luck with a regular oven tray and place a sheet of baking paper under the beans. Give them a shake once or twice during roasting.

4) Place on a tray on the middle shelf: the middle of the oven provides the most constant temperature

5) Listen to the first “crack” after 5-7 minutes: your beans are slightly roasted. Continued roasting after this will eventually lead to burning if it goes for too long.

6) Listen to the second crack: the beans are now medium roasted. Most people, including us, will wait approximately 60 seconds after this second crack before removing the beans from the oven.

7) Transfer to a colander. Stir and shake: cool them as soon as possible. Do this in the sink or outside to avoid the inevitable mess. Wear heat resistant gloves all the time.

8) Leave the beans open for 12 hours to ventilate CO2.

Microwave roasting

After many years of roasting peanuts in a microwave, and then lightly roasting in them a wok, I decided to use the same method for roasting coffee beans.

I had some wonderful coffee brews in Indonesia, where the beans were roasted in a wok, so I wanted to find a simple system that worked here without the extravagant, laborious methods that the Indonesians used.

So, how to roast coffee beans in the microwave?


  • Pyrex coated bowl;
  • 250 g of green coffee in beans;
  • wok with lid (no oil required);
  • powerful exhaust fan;
  • preferably a gas stove.


1) In a microwave (it is assumed that the microwave oven is 1.2 kW) at full capacity) put the beans in a covered bowl, set the timer to 5 minutes and start.

2) You can remove the bowl and stir after 4 minutes and, if necessary, increase the time until the first signs of roasted beans appear; for example, any slightly brown bean is an indicator.

3) Make sure the stove fan is on. When the end of the microwaving time is approaching, heat the wok at a low level (I use the largest burner).

4) Pour the beans into the wok, stir several times, cover for 1 minute, stir and so on until the beans pass through the first crack and some become dark, others light brown – it will take about 5-10 minutes.

5) Try not to uncover the wok except when stirring.

6) Before the beans are fully cooked, remove from heat and remove the husk by tilting the wok back and forth.


Even when the fan is on, an alarm will sound and the house will become completely smoky: you must have a really good exhaust fan or prepare your burners outside.

Resist the temptation to raise the stove too high, as this will burn some beans and leave others moist.

It may pay to remove your fire alarms (if any) from the cooking area, as they will drive you crazy.


The recommended cooking temperature in the wok is 480F. I used an infrared laser temperature reader that showed only 300F but the beans were cooked more than enough. Once the cooking method has been completed, temperature measurement does not matter.

How to roast coffee beans ‘popcorn’ style

Before modern inventions, coffee roasters and popcorn were made by people roasting it on a stove. You will need a roasting pan, which, in essence, is a pan with a lid that you can easily mix.

What you need:

  • A Whirley Pop Stove Popcorn Popper;
  • Outdoor burner (gas or electric);
  • Bean coffee roast;
  • Laser thermometer (optional);
  • Baking sheet;
  • Airtight container.


1) Go to your favorite local coffee shop and select some unroasted green coffee beans. Feel free to ask for recommendations on how dark beans should be roasted. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to find out for yourself, experiment and learn how to cook to your taste.

With the beans you have purchased, remove the picnic table and set up your burner, popper and baking sheet. Preheat Whirley Pop until it reaches approximately 400F. A laser thermometer is the best way to measure temperature, but simply preheating for 5-10 minutes should result in the correct temperature.

2) As soon as the temperature is hit, add raw beans and start turning the knob. You want these beans to move all the time, to roast evenly, so roll back from start to finish with an even rhythm. Remember, this is a labor of love.

When you crank, the heat will bring the beans through the roasting stages. You will see how coffee beans become beautiful, fragrant granules of deliciousness. Pay attention, because the difference between perfectly roasted and completely spoiled is only a few minutes.

3) As the beans are roasted, they will go through several stages. You will see how they go from raw to chopped and brewed, and decide exactly how well done you want them to be. It is important to pay attention to the process – to control the taste of your coffee, to learn how to control the process and (most importantly) to keep the beans from burning.

4) Once you have reached the roast of your choice, place the beans on a baking sheet. Shake the sheet and let the beans cool in the breeze of nature, sending aromas into a now jealous neighbor’s yard. Depending on how hot they are, you will be ready for storage soon.

5) Once the beans are good and cool, store them in a quality airtight container. Mason jars are the best option, as they create an almost perfect environment. If roasted to City roast or darker, we recommend giving the beans 12 hours to cool so that the gases dissipate before storage.

All that remains to be done after this is to grind, brew and enjoy. In less than 20 minutes from start to finish, you get fantastic home-made coffee.

How to roast coffee beans in a roasting machine

Today you can buy several different types of roasters that take care of your coffee roasting process. These machines work just like popcorn, using fast-moving hot air to roast beans and keep them moving while they are roasted.

This is by far the easiest method of all, as the roaster handles most of the hard work for you.


1) Put the right amount of coffee in the roaster. Check your manual to determine the correct amount.
2) Close the roaster and turn it on.
3) Let the coffee roast until the desired color is reached. Remember, the longer you roast coffee, the darker and stronger it will become.
4) Pour the coffee into a colander and stir until it is warm.
5) Store coffee in a room at room temperature, away from the sun.

Should You Roast Your Coffee At Home?

Should You Roast Your Coffee At Home

The answer is yes.

This is not just an exciting and rewarding experience, but it is the only way to guarantee the freshest and most delicious beans, ensuring that you always drink the roast that you prefer: light, medium or dark – the choice is yours.

With almost zero barriers to entry, you can start roasting with what you already have, or make a few small purchases to get started. And now you know how to roast coffee beans without leaving your home.

Want to know which roast is best for each cooking method? Check out this article here.

Buying pre-roasted beans is still a good option. But with a little time and effort, you can start drinking the best coffee you have ever had!

Moreover, home-roasted coffee will be the perfect gift for your friends who love coffee, and for your family if they like coffee just like you do.


So, we looked at how to roast green coffee beans at home without much effort. Do not be discouraged if the first time (as well as the second and third) does not work out a quality roast. This business requires considerable experience that comes with practice. Perhaps it will take you more than a kilogram of green beans before you can get the perfect roast, revealing all the taste of this noble drink.

About the Author

Urban Bean Coffee Team

Coffee is part of the lives of everyone on the Urban Bean Coffee team. We are a group of professional baristas, coffee bean roasters, and coffee machine repairers. Coffee has connected us, and together we strive to provide the best information to our readers. Our responsibility is to provide advice on any and all coffee-related issues. And we know that to do this we must be experts in this field. The coffee consumption culture has changed dramatically over several centuries. New brewing methods, bean quality control methods, roasting methods, and much more have appeared. We are sure that coffee will change further, and we want to be involved in changing it for the better.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences in roasting coffee beans. Indeed it was very helpful. The next stage I am considering is to the grinding of the roasted beans. Would you share your experiences.

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