With the rise of specialty coffee, many home baristas have at least tried their hands at roasting their own coffee beans. I mean it’s cheaper, more hands-on, and can be highly satisfying.
However, I have never roasted my own coffee beans and I never intend to. This post will explain why not and why I think most people shouldn’t.
Roasting Coffee Beans
Roasting coffee beans is a surprisingly precise and technical process. The basic goal is simple; roast the dried green coffee beans so that they taste delicious when ground and combined with hot water.
But the actual process is highly involved and temperamental. You have to consider roast time, roast color, the quality of the roasting machine, batch size, and humidity just to get started. Then there is the white whale of consistency; if you somehow manage to nail it with one batch, will you actually be able to replicate it a second time?
One of the definitive books when it comes to coffee roasting is The Coffee Roasters Companion by Scott Rao. And even a quick skim quickly reveals that the roasting process is far more involved than even the gungho home barista realizes.
Basically, roasting coffee beans at home is hard.
Why I Don’t Roast my Own Coffee Beans
So while it might be a bit of fun to dip your toes into the world of coffee roasting, in my opinion, it simply isn’t worth it. Home roasting machines, while better than they were, really can’t compare with commercial roasters (this is different from say coffee grinders). It is messy, produces inconsistent results, and overall simply worse coffee for the most part.
In today’s day and age, you can get high-quality coffee beans shipped to you virtually anywhere in the world within a week of being roasted. If they were roasted by professionals they will be more consistent and far better than your home results.
Certainly, it is more expensive to buy roasted beans as opposed to green coffee beans. And maybe in the future, it will become a financial necessity for coffee lovers. But at this stage, I think it is an excellent investment of money to pay that little more to have my coffee beans roasted well so that I get a better cup of joe.
So in my opinion you lose more than you gain by roasting your own coffee beans. If you have the money to spare, and buy a better grinder or yet another brewer for the shelf, the dividends will be more in your favor and more likely to actually produce better coffee.
Over and out.