Originally published on tumblr, around March 2013.

So I recently thought about roasting my own coffee beans.  I’ve always been a big fan of cooking from scratch, so naturally the idea of roasting my own beans appeals to me, and I don’t know why I didn’t think about doing it earlier. Up until now, I have been content to buy my roasted beans from one of the local small coffee chains, but it was always a pain to have to drive downtown to get them, and if I ran out in the middle of the week, then my mornings were just not the same.  Coffee drinkers will understand what I’m talking about.

There are several ways to do it, from the old-school method of roasting them on a frying pan, to fancy-dancy shiny European-made devices that cost way more than I care to pay.  Now while I didn’t try the frying pan method, I did opt for a the hot-air method, one which uses a hot air popcorn popper.

The popper model my trusty wife came home with for me is a Nostalgia brand unit.  I’m not sure where she found it, but a quick search of the internet showed that other people were using the model with some success.


The basic idea is exceedingly simple: Put green coffee beans into the bottom of the popper, turn it on, and after about 5-8 minutes, your beans are roasted.  Let them hang out for 4-24 hrs to allow some CO2 to escape, then grind and brew, or store in sealed containers.

The economics of home roasting aren’t that important to me, but the fact that I can get fresher beans AND save money is naturally appealing.  The popper cost $30, and a 1 lb bag of green beans from a local coffee place costs on average $7.00 (they do vary from about $6-$9 per lb, depending on origin).  A bag of Stumptown costs $16, but every 11th one is free, so that comes out to $14.55 a lb.  I’m saving roughly $7 /lb, so after 5 lbs, the popper will have paid for itself.
It’s a small-batch process, but it’s fun, and you can experiment with different roast strengths.  I’m enjoying the fact that my beans are now roasted only the night before.