Brownsgrounds Coffee

Hot Air Roaster

We have been roasting coffee for our personal use and for friends for many years now and really enjoy fresh coffee whenever we want it. See below for information on roasting coffee at home.

Send me a note at if you would like some roasted coffee and I will see what I can do.

Important Coffee Links
Science of Coffee Roasting
Java Coffee and Tea Co – Houston Texas
Sweet Maria’s
Coffees of the World
Green Coffee We Like To Roast

Roasting Coffee at Home

You can purchase personal coffee roasters for home use for around $200.00 but there is no need for this. We use a Presto poplite hot air popper and it roasts the coffee perfectly and only costs $19.00 new and you may even be able to find one for a few dollars at a thrift store or garage sale.

There are a lot of advantages of roasting coffee at home;
– Green Coffee beans have a very long shelf life compared to
roasted coffee, so you can roast only what you need for a
few days
– Coffee flavor peaks at 24 hours after roasting and degrades
from that point on so “Just-in-Time” roasting gives you the
freshest coffee.
– You can pick what type of green beans to roast and roast
them as light or dark as you wish to depending on your
tastes and what you feel like.
– Self roasted coffee makes for great gifts.

There are a few things to consider about roasting coffee at home,
– Beans roast at Very HIGH temperatures >400 degrees F.
– A lot of smoke is generated while roasting.
– Green Beans have Chaff that comes off when roasting.
– DO NOT roast coffee inside the house.

Roasting Coffee in a Presto popelite hot air popper.

The Presto poplite hot air popper has a center hole at the bottom of the cooking chamber. Traditionally, the use of a hot air popper where the air enters the chamber on the sides as opposed to the middle is supposed to be better but we find that this popper works great with a little attention.

What you need to roast Coffee;
– Green Coffee Beans (See Types of green Coffee).
– Presto poplite hot air popper.
– Gloves or towel to protect you hands from hot surfaces.
– Timer
– A heavy metal Sheet pan or metal colander.

Measure out about 1/2 cup of green beans (heaping cup that comes with the popper) and place them in the popper.

Replace the lid and turn on the popper. (Note: it is better if you can run the popper with out beans to warm it up first). it is best to hold the popper and gently shake it up and down to facilitate good circulation of the beans during the roasting process for even roasting. Be sure to either hold or tape the popper lid on so it does not fall off when shaking. We use a glove and hold the popper lid on the side as we shake it. The shaking is very gentle, just enough to keep the beans all moving. As they roast and lose water they will move easier on their own.

One would think that roasting coffee would smell very good but in reality the roasting process creates smoke that is not all that pleasing. In addition the Chaff is removed and blown out of the popper.

When beans roast they go through several cooking processes. Two of these processes are important indicators of the roasting state especially since a hot air popper does not have a temperature gage. At 4-5 minutes* the process called the First Crack happens and you will hear the beans actually start to Pop like popcorn and lasts 1 minute or so. Not long after this the Second Crack process happens and sounds more like the sound of Rice Crispies popping in milk. As beans roast they lose water and expand and double in size.

At the end of the First crack the coffee is at a very light roast (City) and is useable. A medium roast (Full City) occurs near the early to middle of Second crack. A dark roast (Light French) occurs at the middle of second crack and Very Dark (French roast) occurs at the end of second crack. DO NOT roast much further than this or you will risk burning the beans. You can even catch them on fire at this point. Beans roasted to the end of second crack will be slightly oily and that is normal.

When the beans are at the level you want them to be, stop the popper and remove the lid assembly from the popper being careful not to get burned. Pour the Beans out onto the metal sheet pan or into a colander and shake them around to stop the roasting process by cooling down the beans. Let them air dry for a few minutes until they are cool enough to package. Note that Coffee releases CO2 for up to 24 hours after roasting which corresponds to the peak in flavor. So it is best to roast coffee the day before you wish to use it. It is ok to use it right away, but the flavor will not be as good as if you wait.

NOTE: if you purchase a new Presto poplite hot air popper it may have a lower temperature thermostat than older version so roasting may take longer. This is something you will have to test. It is possible that it will not even reach the higher temperature you need to roast all the way to French roast. If this is the case search for methods to modify the thermostat on a Presto poplite hot air popper on the internet. A longer roasting time of 15-20 minutes may be beneficial for a better taste profile and is more in line with the roasting times of commercial roasters

Green Coffee We Like To Roast

Guatemala Antigua
Some of the world’s greatest coffee is produced in the central Highlands of Guatemala. The most famous regional marketing names are: Antigua, Coban and Huehuetenango. High quality Guatemalan coffees are produced using the wet-process and are of high acidity and medium body, with smoky, spicy and chocolate flavors. Guatemalan coffee is often marketed by grade, with the highest grade being strictly hard bean, which indicates coffees grown at 4,500 feet or above.

Sumatra Mandheling
Sumatra, in the Indonesia Archipelago, has a wonderful, heavy coffee of its own. Mandheling has a earthy aroma and low acidity, which makes its flavor full and rich. The woodsmoke-like, syrupy aftertaste would top off a heavy meal. It is highly recommended at a dark roast, but a medium roast is satisfactory.

Costa Rica Tarrazu
Tarrazu region is within the Central Valley of Costa Rica at an altitude ranging from 3900 to 5600 feet. It is a pleasing coffee with a medium to full body. The acidity is crisp and bright with a clean, sweet spiciness. Roast at “medium-dark” to bring out the wonderful flavors.

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