The Easiest Way to Roast Your Own Coffee and Spend Less

I remember the first time I roasted my own coffee. It was at my friends house and he had just picked up the Behmor 1600 Plus. I walked into his shed to see him fiddling with something that looked like a microwave, but to my surprise there was a metal drum inside tossing around some coffee beans over a heated coil. After a few minutes we ejected the piping hot coffee beans. Watching the beans turn from green to brown, the aromas, and the anticipation of drinking fresh roasted coffee that we roasted ourselves was euphoric. At that moment I was hooked.

Home coffee roasting has taken off over the last decade, especially in the last few years, and for good reasons. It can be a whole lot cheaper than buying roasted coffee, especially when you can have fresh coffee, roasted in the same place it is brewed and enjoyed, your own kitchen. For me, after that experience in my friend’s backyard shed, coffee roasting became a hobby. The perk of home roasting is that there is a wealth of information on the web about how to roast coffee at home, with various methods to suit any budget. While there is seemingly a never-ending tunnel of knowledge, experiments, and theories about how to roast the best coffee, it can also be a simple, tranquil experience roasting the next batch for the coming week.

Getting started is not that difficult as it might seem, and the cost to entry fits a wide range of budgets. In fact, many people save money roasting their own coffee. Let’s look at a few ways to get started.


The first method is using a cast iron skillet. You might have one of these already which would be a perk. They are easily accessible. If you are looking to buy one, besides visiting Walmart, Amazon carries a wide selection, this one being a crowd favorite. Woks have also been known to work well due to their ability in retaining high temperatures needed to roast coffee. Flat bottom woks also work well as an option for electric stoves.

Roasting on a cast iron skillet or wok takes some arm strength though as in order to not scorch the beans a consistent shaking and stirring is required. Some home roasters have even used a thermocouple in order to monitor bean temperature throughout the roast, although, that is not a necessity.

The best way to learn is by simply doing it. To start, adequately heat your skillet or wok and throw some coffee on there. The final temperature of the beans needs to be between 400-440 depending on if you want a light or dark roast, and aim for completing the roast in 15 minutes or less. A half pound of unroasted coffee is not very expensive. You can even start out with a lesser quality coffee for the first few attempts. While the best way to learn how to roast coffee is by trial and error, I have laid out a few of my home roasting tips in another article. Make sure to use your oven vent fan on full while roasting as it can get smoky. Let it rest overnight and it’s ready to be brewed and enjoyed in the morning.

Small tip: This method is better suited for dark roast lovers.


I have observed a cult following of home roasters who swear by the results of using a popcorn popper. While there is a learning curve on how to roast coffee well, roasters have mastered the art of roasting coffee in a popcorn popper. There is plenty of information to be found in online forums or websites that sell green coffee like Sweet Marias and others. Popcorn poppers tend to roast small batches very quickly. Expect roast times to be around 3-5 minutes.

For either of these methods, I would make sure you have a colander nearby. Once those beans are dumped, a quick cooling will help seal flavors and catch coffee chaff that can fly around at the end of the roast.


The two methods mentioned above are low cost options to get started. In the case you are serious about home roasting, I would suggest checking out the Fresh Roast SR540. While these options might set you back $200-$400, the satisfaction of roasting delicious coffee yourself is more than worth it for many. Also, if you’re into drinking specialty coffee at $15-20 a bag, over the course of a year you will likely have saved money in the process.

While these are common entry-level home roasting machines, there are many others to choose from as well. We hope this has been helpful, leave a comment with questions, or even share your own experience with home roasting.

READ MORE: How to Make Better Coffee at Home: Tips for Every Budget

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