Why I Started Roasting My Own Coffee

I am obsessed with coffee. I love the variety of beans, brews, and roasts. And of course, I love the taste. 

I’ve been drinking coffee since I was in middle school. I loved it from the first time I tried it. And of course, I always drank it black. 

From my humble beginnings as a coffee noob, I broke out the family’s twice-used coffee pot and started making coffee in the mornings. Back then, I would typically buy Starbucks beans or something else from the store. The rest of my family, who had never been coffee drinkers before, developed a taste for coffee shortly after I did. 

After drinking coffee for a few years, I stumbled across a TED Talk about coffee roasting. It taught me about how coffee loses its freshness after a week and how fresh roasted coffee tastes much better than older coffee beans. I learned that the coffee you buy in grocery stores is months or even years old. It also taught me that it’s possible to roast coffee in a pan in your own kitchen. Intrigued, I immediately went online and ordered five pounds of green coffee beans.

When the coffee arrived a few days later, I did some quick Googling on how to roast on a stove, poured some beans into a pot, and turned on the heat. To keep the beans moving, I would put the lid on the pot and toss the beans around. My first roast took about twenty minutes and looked like this:

Despite being a very dark roast and not very even, when I brewed a cup, it was the best damn cup of coffee I had ever tasted in my life. I was determined to improve, so I tried another batch, this time aiming for a lighter roast. After experimenting with a few batches, even though they were far from perfect, I knew home-roasted coffee was the only way to drink coffee from that point on.

After it became clear that roasting in the kitchen made the whole house smell like coffee smoke, I was banned by my parents from doing it at home. My grandparents were nice enough to let me roast in a building on their property, so I migrated my roasting there.

As I improved with each batch, I began roasting on a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is more difficult when it comes to regulating the heat, but it roasts coffee much more evenly than a regular pot or pan. As I practiced more, I got better at controlling the temperature, listening for the cracks, and noticing subtle color changes. 

Since my first roast, I’ve used a cast iron skillet, a baking sheet in the oven, and even in a roasting basket that spins over a stove with a hand crank. I’ve roasted all different levels of roasts, and I’ve roasted beans from all over the world. At this point, I couldn’t imagine not drinking home roasted coffee. For me, it’s the best way to drink coffee.

I created this site with the intention of showing people that it’s possible for anyone to roast coffee themselves. It doesn’t require expensive equipment, nor do you need to be an expert. It merely takes a little practice and is even cheaper than buying coffee from the store. If you’re interested in doing it yourself, be sure to check out my introduction on coffee roasting.

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