You may remember we like our coffee around here. Here, here, here, and here. I know, how cliche. Seattlites who like coffee. But I might even say that we out-Seattle many Seattlites. Since we last spoke about coffee we’ve added two more brewing systems to our collection. I believe we are now at seven.

Stepping further into coffee nerd-dom we’ve recently began roasting our own beans. We’re just dabbling but at this rate we’ll be Q graders in no time. Maybe not, but it’s fun to dream.

We’ve had so much fun roasting we wanted to share the process with you. Really, it’s quite simple.


We begin with a popcorn popper. That’s right. A $15 Presto air popper. I might even go as far as to say it’s the best $15 we’ve ever spent. Fresh roasted coffee AND popcorn. Two of my favorite things. Just add to that silver white winters that melt into springs and the list is complete.


Then you’ll want to order some high quality green beans. Sweet Maria’s is where we found ours (they come highly recommended). I would also recommend picking up a copy of Home Coffee Roasting by Kenneth Davids.

What’s worked for us so far is to simply fill the “butter melting cup” – the technical name for it – with green beans, pour them into the machine, plug the machine in and wait for the beans to reach our favored color. Gabe tends to prefer a lighter roast which allows you to taste more acid and fruit and I tend to like a darker roast which yields more sweet, chocolate and caramel flavors – of course this also depends on the beans we’re roasting. I typically brew espresso which likes dark roasts.

I found the roasting charts in Home Coffee Roasting to be very useful giving visual and audible cues to when to stop the roasting process. Also, often the notes on your green beans will give you the recommended roast for that particular bean.

It doesn’t always work perfectly – it is a $15 machine after all. For example, lighter beans, such as peaberries tend blow out into the bowl along with the chaff. Then there are the times when the machine is chugging a bit and the beans need a little help from the end of a wooden spoon to keep them moving so they will roast evenly. *Be very careful doing that (I’m sure it’s not recommended – in fact I know it’s not but it’s all in the name of evenly roasted coffee) as the machine gets very hot. Don’t let the spoon touch the bottom. You’ve been warned.

Once the beans reach the desired color immediately dump them out into a strainer and stir to cool quickly. We often will have a fan blowing right on them to stop the roasting as quickly as possible.

Now you have freshly roasted beans ready to brew.

When we first started roasted I had visions of the house being flooded with the glorious smell of freshly roasted coffee. In my dreams neighbors would come pounding on the door with coffee mug in hand begging us for whatever we were brewing. But instead the house often smells of burnt burlap. In fact, so do the freshly roasted beans. But after even just a couple hours of relaxing in a lightly sealed ball jar the dark, earthy and glorious aroma of my dreams takes a hold of me. Oh coffee, how I love thee.


There you have it, a basic introduction to how we roast at home.

Now please enjoy this beautiful video my talented husband put together to further illustrate the process.

Roasting Coffee from gabe on Vimeo.

A huge thank you to my dear husband and fellow coffee nerd (in fact, he out nerds me) for providing all the visuals today. He is a talent and brews a mean cup o’ joe.

One last thing. We have a NWS first with this post. A GIVEAWAY!!  Somehow in the midst of all the holiday giving we wound up having two air poppers. That’s great news for you because we want to send you one! Just simply leave a comment to enter and we’ll pick a winner Friday, February 4.

*Congratulations!!** Lindsey Cota!! You won!!! Please email me your address and I will send this popper out your way!

*Just a note: I’m not getting paid by Presto for this post. This is just something we love and would love to share with you all. I do, however, make a few pennies if you buy through my Amazon links – which is awesome, thanks!


87 Responses to “Simple home coffee roasting”

  1. alison

    Now you are really my hero!!! I LOVE me some coffee and I am so impressed that your are roasting beans, but not really surprised, you are so talented!!! I think I might have to try this one day!!

  2. Melissa

    I never thought of roasting my own coffee and it looks so easy. Gabe’s video was beautiful and you picked great music. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Rachel

    What an awesome idea! As fellow Seattleites, we also adore (which is an understatement) our daily brew. Not to mention popcorn and movies! I definitely will have to try roasting. Thanks for the opportunity!

  4. Michelle

    Also being from the PNW – I am a coffee snob. I would love to try roasting at home, I honestly didn’t know it was that easy!

  5. melanie

    this is a pretty awesome post, and timely to a discussion we’ve had around my homestead! my bf has suggested that we roast our own beans for premium freshness, but i had no idea it could be this easy! you’ve definitely inspired me. thanks!

  6. Wendy K

    I’ve been told by my fellow coffee lovers that once you start roasting your own beans, you’ll never go back. I’ve never heard of doing it in a popcorn popper though, and I love that idea! Do you really notice a difference in the taste of your coffee? I suppose I might have to try it to find out for myself, eh?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Wendy – Freshly roasted (good quality) beans is one of the most important factors to a good cup o’ joe – doesn’t get much fresher than this. When we do buy beans we buy good stuff just roasted within the week so we don’t notice a huge difference.

  7. Melissa

    How fun! I always buy my coffee from local roasters so I can get it as fresh as possible, but it doesn’t get much better than doing it yourself. Can’t wait to try it. Got my fingers crossed to win the air popper!

  8. Laken

    I really love this post. My brother has been wanting to start roasting his own beans, so I bought him a popcorn popper but we didn’t know what to do from there. I just shared this video & post with him.. can’t wait to get started!

    Thanks, Ashley!

  9. Bunnee

    After a trip to the Big Island, my husband decided to try roasting his own beans. He started small but over the past couple years, he has moved up to a very large coffee roaster. He orders beans from a website that has a wide range of sources – Kona, Africa, South America -and he keeps meticulous records of every batch. I do nothing to help except drink it!

  10. Chez Us

    Okay, I have always wanted to learn how to roast coffee beans, was even going to pay money to learn now. Now, I am completely intrigued; I just need a pop corn popper? I am so there!!!

  11. Juliya

    Wow. This is amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing. And the video was awesome! I recently came across your blog and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for the awesome recipes and beautiful photos.

  12. Danielle

    What a cool idea! I’ve always wanted to be able to roast my own beans, but (poor college student me) hasn’t found a good excuse to invest in one yet.

  13. EmilyM

    How neat! I know a few people interested in roasting their own beans and I shared your post with them. I would love to try it sometime!

  14. Lindsey Cota

    This is so cool. I have been looking into air poppers recently so I could get back into making popcorn. I had no idea I could roast my own coffee as well! That sounds just delicious!

  15. Elizabeth

    This is dangerous. It never occurred to me to roast my own beans. Danger, danger, danger. And I thought I was a Seattleite!

  16. Elle

    Wow, I’m floored! I had no clue you could do it this way. In fact, when I clicked on the link, I was expecting to see you guys use a Whirly Pop type thing, with the pan and the handle that stirs in the pot. This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while! Also love the photos and video.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Elle – We have used a Whirly Pop as well. It works pretty good. The benefit is that you can do more coffee at one time but we also got more scorching with it than the air popper.

  17. Bre

    Both my boyfriend and I have worked at Starbucks at some point, and since then, have realized the importance of GOOD smaller coffee shops… from time to time we make a point of straying away from the “corporate” roasts and venture out to independent roasters! My love for coffee hasn’t stemmed from the addictive caffeine (I think??) but from the sheer joy that a chat over a perfectly free-poured latte in a ceramic bowl can bring. Nothing beats the culture of coffee! Thanks for this tip! We will for sure try it out!

  18. Sarah Hope

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve been itching for an air popper for a little while but just haven’t committed. Your using it to roast coffee is rather ingenious!

  19. Anne

    I would love to give this method a try with an air-popper! I’ve just been converted to the pour-over method and it would be so much fun to try roasting too…
    Great post!

  20. tracy

    oooh air poppers! my brother and i were just talking about air poppers and how he got burned by a kernel as a kid (and our parents threw it away after that happened) that was a sad because we thoroughly loved the popcorn it made. Love this post! My husband is the coffee geek of the family too. Hooray for that.

  21. cathy

    Would love to win a popcorn popper on February 4th! That would make a wonderful present for my birthday on February 5th!
    Love the site, by the way!

  22. Katie

    What a great video! I love this idea and I never thought about the possibility of using a popcorn popper! Love, love, love!

  23. Rita

    What a great idea! I love gadgets you can use for more than one thing, saves some space in my tiny kitchen.

  24. Julie

    I woke up this morning thinking I want to get an air popper. Seriously I mean it!! My daughter and I did our usual popcorn/movie night and I am trying to eat healthier but I was thinking we could do better than microwave popcorn. Anyway I woke up this morning and after my morning thoughts which I already shared I got up to read my blogs… with coffee I might add when I linked to your blog from vanilla and lace… roasting your own coffee caught my eye. Sounds like a great idea. I am always trying to make a better cup of coffee. Well I just had to give this a shot because it was too coincidental for me. Great Blog by the way. Another one to add to my feeds. I love video demos too!!

  25. Catherine

    Roasting your own coffee sounds wonderful–what’s it like in espresso form? (I assume that with seven brewing systems, an espresso machine must be lurking in there somewhere).

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Catherine – Oh yes. I have a very beautiful Rancillio Silvia espresso machine. I adore her. Her name is Silvia.
      If the beans are for espresso I just prefer they be a darker roast.

  26. honeybeeluvsjackfruit

    Very innovative! I love coffee too, am often disappointed at coffee shops (did find one local gem that roasts its own beans though!) but havent tried roasting my own at home. Great idea with the popper 🙂
    The video was nicely done… and love the song.

  27. Adam

    I first have to thank you for bringing joy to my wife everyday. She comes home from work explaining the new recipe, goal, or experiment with so much joy and excitement that it always blows me away. I always tell her that you two are the same person, just separated by a lot of land in between (we live in MA). We have always had a passion for experimenting with local produce and learning new ways to create everyday necessities (i.e. coffee). We started with a CSA (learning to cook with root vegetables was difficult at first) and then recently by making our own beer and have always hoped to roast our own coffee beans. We love your blog and are so thankful for your inspiration!

  28. Tony Della Ripa

    COFFEE!!! I love it, I can’t wait to roast it, grind it, drop some hot water on it, and drink it!

  29. Kelly

    I have to tell you that the Cold Brew Coffee method you blogged a while back is in my constant summer rotation and this may be joining it!!!

  30. Hannah

    I had no idea that you could roast coffee in an air popper…I figured it was this incredibly complicated process and now I’m completely intrigued…

  31. caryn

    i too thought coffee roasting was an art better left to very large roasters in facilities i dared not enter… i want to try this at home now! i bet it’s awfully fun to be your neighbors and smell all of the homemade goodness coming from within those walls. thanks for the inspiration!

  32. Eva

    I just took a little class on home roasting, and I’m soooo excited to give it a try! For now I’ll be using my cast iron skillet, practicing with peaberries (recommended for cast iron because they roll around and aid in the stirring/even roasting process, I guess?), but I’d love to get an air popper. It’s on my list, along with a burr grinder to properly grind my home-roasted coffee. Ironic that the burr grinder is way more expensive than the proposed roasting appliance!

  33. Julia

    Wow! That is so neat that you can roast coffee beans using a popcorn popper! I’ve always been tempted to buy green beans and try roasting them myself, but have never taken the plunge.

  34. Max

    Inspired by this post I just ordered 3lbs of green from Sweet Maria’s and am now searching out a popcorn popper. Very excited. I’ll let you know how my adventures in home roasting unfold…

  35. Rick

    I would recommend a Toastmaster 6203 or a West Bend Poppery with the side vents. You lose a lot of coffee with the Presto. Some people use a glass chamber from a lamp to contain the jumping coffee.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Rick – Thanks for that recommendation. We are thinking about getting a different machine as we have noticed a lot of waste. This was one recommended in some books but it’s good to hear other thoughts.

  36. Max

    Hey guys, to update: I ended up finding a Presto Poplite (looks to be at least a cousin, if not sibling, of your little popper) and have roasted up a few batches thus far. Seems to be coming along nicely, although I am a bit curious about the quick roast (running somewhere around 3 min, which seems to be a few minutes faster than that suggested by Sweet Maria’s). Have you had similar results for such short roasts? The beans also tend to have a bit of an uncharacteristic funky tang to them (I smell and taste a lot of coffee at work), although this could very well be a trait of the beans themselves. I bought an Ethiopia Limu, a Guatemala Finca San Diego Buena Vista (Bourbon) and a Brazil Bahia Chapada Diamantina – a pretty widely varied sample. At this point, I am pretty happy to chalk the still-totally-drinkable-and-enjoyable-home-roasted-coffee-experience up to just having started my home roasting career, having faith that things will get better as I hone my methods.

    I would love to ask, however, if you have any advice on ways to keep the roasting beans from jumping out of the popper and perhaps a word or two on batch sizes. Alright, this is turning rambly. Happy roasting team!

  37. Gabe

    Hey Max,
    I have similarly experienced the short (3 min) roasting times. Usually my first batch is about 3-4 mins and the consecutive batches are even a bit shorter (as the machine is hot!). I keep wanting to roast outside where the temp. right now is about 20-30º cooler. I think having a much cooler ambient temp. would prolong the roast time.
    I also have tilted my machine back about 15-20º so less beans jump out and it seems to give a more even roast. This has helped with that funky taste, a lot of which I chalked up to a quick and more uneven roast. I hope this helps.
    You might check out the forums at or
    good luck

  38. Jess

    Very nice. Roasting coffebeans in a simple pan does it too. But needs continously stirring the beans for an even roast…


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