What beans do I use in a coffee roaster?
You must use the pure green beans which have not yet been roasted. They will be available in most coffee shops and some supermarkets or independent shops, as well as online.
There are pure, basic coffee beans available, as well as blends which are flavoured. You may see fruity blends, chocolate flavours or even floral. Where and how a bean is grown has a big impact on the flavouring, but the next stage is up to you.
Blending the beans at home gives you control over the strength of the flavour, which is great if you have very particular tastes. It also keeps the beans fresher for longer.
How do I know if the coffee beans are ready?
A lot of modern coffee bean roasters have a glass or see-through area so you can see them turning brown. The browner they go, the stronger the flavour. If yours doesn’t have one, such as if it is a small ceramic model, practice may make perfect.
You can also listen to your coffee beans. It may sound strange, but they will make different noises the further along they go in the process, just like popcorn. This is basically them dehydrating. Every bean and device will be different, but generally, if you listen out for the ‘first crack’, which comes after a series of little crackles, they will be lightly done.
A few moments longer once the crackling has disappeared results in a medium browning. The ‘second crack’ will come once the beans start to turn into a dark roast. There are other signals too, such as the smoke produced and the smells.
Your roaster may include a guide or instructions, or you may prefer to experiment with all the settings and temperatures depending on the bean you have.
Can I use a popcorn maker?
It is something you may have heard before – coffee beans can be roasted in a popcorn maker. While it is true, and many people have had a lot of success with this method, you will only get the full impact of taste with a dedicated coffee bean roaster.
Can I use the roaster for anything else?
People commonly also use their roaster for roasting peanuts, seeds and even cocoa beans as well as coffee. Make sure you follow guidelines to see if this is appropriate and won’t cause damage to the device.