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How to Get Started Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans (and Why It’s Worth It)

For home roaster Mary Hunt, the process of home coffee roasting began 15 years ago when a friend took up the hobby to cut the cost of quality coffee by at least half. To start, you need an older model air popcorn popper, two metal mesh colanders, an oven mitt, an airtight container, and 1/2 cup green (raw) coffee beans.

Step 1: Measure out 1/2 cup green coffee beans and pour them into the air popper, resulting in 2 to 3 ounces of roasted coffee beans. Turn on the air popper and place the bowl in front of the machine to catch the chaff. As the machine gets hotter, the beans will begin to turn brown and make a cracking sound. At the first crack, you will have reached a “city roast,” which is typically a light roast. The longer you let the beans roast from this point on, the darker the roast will be.

Step 2: Turn off the air popper quickly and pour the beans out of the popper into one of the colanders. Carefully, the beans and the popper will be very hot. It is important to air cool the beans quickly so the roasting process ceases. Pour the beans into one colander, shake them around, and then pour them into a second colander. Continue to toss the beans from one colander until they are just warm to the touch.

Step 5: Place the beans in a container with a tight-fitting lid, but do not apply the lid at this time. Freshly roasted beans must be allowed to “de-gas” for at least two hours, up to overnight, to achieve their full coffee flavor. If you grind and brew beans immediately upon roasting, you would be disappointed. The beans are not ready to be ground and brewed until they have rested for at least a few hours, to allow them to develop to their peak of flavor.

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