Monday, January 5, 2009

Roasting Coffee Beans with a Popcorn Popper

I have a strange love for doing things at home that normal people just buy from the store. Exhibit A: homemade mozzarella cheese. Exhibit B: homemade deer jerky. And now Exhibit C: home roasted coffee. The beans on the left are the Columbian Supremo beans I received for my birthday. I'm not sure of their cost because they were a gift, but green beans are typically about half the price of roasted ones. A few months ago, I read this article on Lifehacker which pointed me at this series of Flickr photos. It looked pretty easy, and I already own a hot air popcorn popper (which I consider to be the only way to make popcorn - never burnt, never greasy).

This morning, I dug out the popper and aimed it at my sink. I poured in beans up to the popcorn fill line, cranked it up, let it do it's thing for about 7 min (6 min= light roast, 8 min = very dark roast). Then I poured them into a bowl and chilled them in the porch for a few minutes (a fridge or freezer is fine for those of you not in the arctic).

Verdict: delicious. Not a trace of bitterness. A very fine cup of coffee. The roasting process did make a little smoke, but no more than my blackened salmon. I hit the "ignore" button on my smoke detector, though, to avoid that issue. There wasn't a lot of chaff, and it all stayed in the sink. It really was a 10-minute, less than $5 experiment that was well worth it.

If you don't have a hot air popper, there are other alternatives in the Lifehacker link, but they're more involved. Like shaking a frying pan for 15 minutes. I really think investing in a used air popper (if you can find one) is the way to go. Mine was $5 at a garage sale almost 10 years ago. The things last forever... and also make popcorn, in addition to roasting coffee. Part of me now wonders if you can toast nuts in there. I hate stirring those things.


  1. how cool! I am sharing this with my husband as he's in charge of the coffee in our house!

  2. Just one more reason why I need to get an air popper. I can only imagine that your house smelled amazing!

  3. WOW, I totally want to do this. *bookmarking this for later because I am seriously addicted to coffee, and like you, I enjoy making things like this at home just because I can*

  4. Very cool! I just might have to try this! Thanks for sharing!