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A few times in my posts I mention my husband’s fresh roasted coffee. A few of you asked how he does it. This is the post for you! Since he is the Coffee Master in our house, I let him write this post. Enjoy it!

**Before you get the skinny from the Roasting King, do me a big favor an “Like” my Facebook page so I can get my personalized URL…thanks a ton!**

Since Anna and I were married, I was always the coffee drinker.  Anna thought it was gross, bitter stuff! {But that all has changed and now she will admit I have turned her into a coffee snob! If the coffee ain’t good, she ain’t drinkin’ it!}

In 2007 {or thereabouts} I wanted to try roasting my own coffee. The idea to roast my own coffee was born out of a fruitless search to find super-bargain gourmet roasted coffee online. What I found was the home roasting niche. Green coffee (i.e. unroasted) was abundantly available online and the average cost of gourmet green coffee was about half the price of roasted gourmet coffee. WAIT! Buy green coffee and always have super fresh roasted coffee for HALF the price?! I was sold. However, not being the kind (after marrying my wife) to run out and spend a few hundred bucks on something so non-essential, I asked for a coffee roaster for Father’s Day. So, on Father’s Day in 2007 Anna bought me my first coffee roaster. The first roaster was a small contraption that looked like this:

Since I was the only one who drank coffee in the house, it was perfect. I would purchase the green coffee beans and then roast up a small batch when I needed it. This machine lasted me a few years until I started sharing the coffee with others and as gifts. As I began roasting more batches, this little machine couldn’t keep up.
The next machine we purchased was this one (Behmor 1600):

It is bigger than the first machine and holds a lot more beans. I roast the beans outside because the strong roasting smoke is overwhelming in a small room – especially if you’re doing a dark roast (the darker the roast the greater the smoke).

I buy my fresh green coffee beans from Coffee Bean Corral. They are a family-owned shop in Mississippi owned by Terry and Judy Richards and they are AWESOME! There is quite a selection, so when I first started out I tried out several types of beans until we discovered what we liked the most. Notice the “we” there…Anna started liking coffee when it was home roasted. {grin} Sooo, when you get your beans they look like this:

After they arrive {very quickly} and you open the box, you find your beans in a burlap sack (for coffee orders over 3 pounds). Here’s the beauty about green coffee beans: they stay fresh in that sack for months! No more tossing out half-full bags of roasted coffee that didn’t get brewed before going stale! Roast only what you’ll brew in a week or so and you’ll ALWAYS have the freshest coffee! We buy larger sizes now since we share our roasted goodness with the people we love. And, even if we don’t roast it all, the green coffee doesn’t go bad anyway. This is a 10 lb bag and it will last us about 4 or 5 months.
I measure out about a 1/2 to 3/4 pound of beans and put them in the roaster basket that rotates during the roast. I used to have my roasting time down to a science, but when you first start out you may have to play around with it to figure out how dark of a roast you like. Truthfully, when coffee roasts, you’ll hear ‘cracking’ sounds. Specifically, coffee will ‘crack’ at two different times during the roast. Nowadays, I really don’t go by time anymore, I go by cracks.  I typically roast until the 2nd ‘crack’ begins (depending on the bean I am roasting). The one below is a Columbian and was roasted just into the 2nd crack.
You can roast coffee a lot of different ways. You really don’t need a fancy roaster (although this way is the easiest and most reliable for people new at roasting coffee). Coffee can be roasted in an old-fashioned hot air popcorn popper, or over an open flame in a wire basket, or even in an oven. The only two things coffee really needs to roast is heat (a lot of it – 350 to 425 degrees) and movement (frequent, preferably constant). Also, coffee roasting produces smoke as the beans turn brown so you’ll want plenty of ventilation wherever you roast. Coffee also sheds its chaff when it roasts. Chaff is a flaky shell that falls off as the beans expand while roasting (notice how the roasted beans look bigger in the pic above?). If you want to give home roasting a try without the fancy roaster, has great tips on how to get started with these other roasting methods. Their prices are competitive and their service is out of this world!

Bottom line, roasting your own coffee WILL turn you into a coffee snob because no one will have fresher coffee than the batch you just roasted. It’s cheaper (by far) than buying “Char”bucks every day {that’s what us home-roasters call that fancy coffee store coffee that is almost always over-roasted}. And if you’re a one coffee-drinker household, your days of stale coffee are now gone!

Are any of you home roasters? If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!