How to Roast Coffee Beans in a Popcorn Popper

Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013

Home roasting is all the rage these days. Coffee aficionados are shelling out big bucks for fancy schmancy equipment to make their perfect cup of coffee, prepared just the way they like it from green bean to cup. But, who wants to spend that kind of money on a Coffee Bean Roaster? Not me, that’s for darn sure.

I knew home coffee roasting was something that I wanted to try but, I had no intention of buying any expensive equipment.  Actually, make that I had no intention of buying any equipment period.  I have learned that there is always an alternative and I was determined to find one. Google here I come.

Eureka, I was right…did you know that you can use a popcorn popper to roast coffee beans?  Who would have thought?! But, does this process produce a good cup of coffee? Let’s put my popcorn popper and newly purchased green coffee beans to the test!

Everything I have read on using a popcorn popper to roast coffee points to an air popper, however, I chose to first try my experiment with my Stir Crazy popper simply because I don’t follow directions well.

green coffee beans

I used about a quarter cup of beans, estimating that would produce about 2 cups of coffee and my estimates were correct.

green coffee beans in measuring cup

This part is complicated, you better get a pen…pour the beans into the popcorn popper and turn it on.  I will wait while you write that down….

The popper will start to work its magic spinning and heating the beans slowly but surely.  I did video record this to share with you but, you would be bored to tears so let’s go with a picture instead.

roasting green coffee beans in popcorn popper

One thing I noticed right away is that the beans were not roasting evenly.  As you can see some are dark, others are light or even still green! I am guessing that this would not have happened with the air popper.

I let the roasting process continue for approximately 10 minutes. Legend has it you should hear one crack when the beans are ready for a light roast and a second crack when they are ready for a dark roast.  I did not experience this phenomenon so I decided to go by color. Eventually I saw a nice brown color start to appear on most of the beans.

green coffee bean before and after

It was finally time to grind and enjoy my VERY freshly roasted coffee!

When I set out to try roasting I imagined amazing aromas wafting through my house.  Instead, I smelled almost a hay like, earthy sort of smell… until I ground the beans and there was that heavenly scent I had been waiting for. The color of the ground coffee was also very much unexpected. With orange hues and a dryness about it, it did not look like any coffee that I was used to!

home roasted and ground coffee in french press

I prepared one cup in my French Press and anxiously awaited the results.

home roasted coffee light roast

Again, the color was odd however, it tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. There was an earthy taste and feel perhaps amplified by preparing it in my French Press.  I would qualify my cup as a light roast but the body was so nice and thick.  It was smooth and hit that coffee spot (my fellow coffee addicts know exactly what I mean!).

Could I tell the difference between my home roasted coffee and store-bought orKeurig Kcups? Absolutely.

Was it “better”? Not really, just different.

Was it fun? Of course!

Would I do this everyday for fresh roasted coffee? Not in a million years.

Maybe I am just lazy but, I love the convenience of my Keurig.  Despite the fun I am having with exploring other brewing techniques, I always go back to old faithful.  Maybe if I didn’t have a job, kids, house and a dog I might have the time to roast every bean to perfection, grind them to just the right consistency and use the most state of the art brewing method. Even then I am pretty sure I would use my time on other things.

Not to mention that the quality and consistency of my Kcup coffee is always spot on. There is no relying on human error to screw it up (and I am good at that!). Every cup, every single time is quick and delicious!

If you would like to try home roasting we recommend these products:

20oz French Press Coffee Maker

U-Roast-Em Green Coffee Beans, Rwandan Bourbon Green Coffee Beans

West Bend 82416 Air Crazy 4 Quart Corn Popper

Hamilton Beach 80365 Custom Grind Hands-Free Coffee Grinder, Platinum

Topics: All about coffee

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