Can You Roast Coffee Beans in a Smoker? You Bet!


So you have found yourself doting over two tried and true loves – your smoker and your favorite coffee roast. Then you begin to think about how those two loves could be woven together. What if you could smoke your morning brew in your beloved smoker? Dynamite, right? 

Can you Roast Coffee Beans in a Smoker? You bet! If you have a stand-alone smoker, simply set the temperature to its highest setting, set your coffee beans on a tray in a single layer, insert once the internal temperature has peaked, and let roast for 15-25 mins. Stir the beans every 6-10 mins, pull from your smoker, let cool, grind, and enjoy!

Smoking coffee beans may seem like a foreign concept, but all things that can be done with smoke should be done. If you can believe it, you can achieve it! Smoking coffee beans simply takes a little imagination and a bit of innovation to transform your morning, midday, or nightly brew into something infused with flavors from the past and present – incorporating historic tradition with twenty-first-century tastes. 

How to Roast Coffee Beans in a Smoker? 

Now that you have decided to mingle two of your passions, how exactly do you go about orchestrating such an event? It seems odd, strange even, to consider roasting coffee beans. What is so fantastic about this adventure though is that brilliance comes from taking chances, and here you are doing such a thing! It is not as whacky as it sounds, as the process is relatively simple with striking results. 

  1. Heat Up Your Smoker

To roast your coffee beans you need to first, heat up your smoker. Now, this depends on the model that you own, so consult your owners manual, but you want to typically heat your smoker to its highest setting. That temperature can range from 350 to 450 degrees, but be sure that your smoker is properly heated and ready to get those coffee beans cracking – a first, second, or third crack that is! 

To elaborate more on the cracking process, coffee beans can either achieve a first, second, or third crack, depending on how darkly roasted you want your beans. This crack is not observed through the eyes, however, as many would anticipate, but is noted through sound. That is why it is important to tend to your coffee beans every five or so minutes so that you can pick up the sounds of the cracks as they come to ensure that you do not over-smoke your beans.

  1. Place the Coffee Beans on a Single-Layer Tray

After you have heated your smoker and it has reached the desired temperature, take your green coffee beans and lay them out on a single layer on a tray. You want to make sure to start with green coffee beans to ensure that you can reach your own personal desired level of intensity within your bean. If the coffee bean has already been roasted, smoking the bean will not add to the flavor due to the coffee bean being previously cooked. 

  1. Insert the Coffee Beans Into the Smoker

When your coffee beans have been laid flat, insert them into the smoker. Once they have been there for six to ten minutes, go back and stir them around to ensure a more even smoke. It is also important to note that when you stir your coffee beans around, you want to get in and out of your smoker as quickly as possible. Once you open the door of any smoker, internal heat is released. 

By releasing this internal heat, the temperature within the smoker drops and you no longer retain the high heat that was once present before opening the door. Now, do not go slinging around those precious coffee beans, but be brief and efficient. When you have your coffee beans stirred, continue this process until you have reached your desired crack. 

  1. Remove the Coffee Beans When they are Cracked

After you have reached either the first, second, or third crack of your liking, remove the coffee beans. This should take around twenty-five minutes. Once you have removed the coffee beans, be sure to let those bad boys aerate and sit for at least ten hours. To be a bit more technical, to aerate your coffee beans means to let any excess and unnecessary CO2 escape from the beans. 

If there is too much CO2 in the beans and they are bagged too early, you run the risk of  running the flavor of your beans, as the gas build-up can make for a more acidic and stale taste due to the permeation of the gases into the bean. Once the bean batch has rested long enough, you can pack them up and store them for future use. 

  1. Store the Coffee Beans

When ready to store, be sure to put them in a container that is tightly sealed to prevent them from going stale and in an area that is dark and cool. If you set them out in too much natural light, the exposure can take away the flavor and this goes just the same for setting them in areas of more intense heat. Care for your coffee beans as you do for most other shelved foods and you will be sipping the perfect cup of joe! 

How to Grind Coffee Beans 

Now that you have finally completed the smoking of your coffee beans you have to figure out a way to get them from bean to cup. There they are, your perfect creation sitting in your pantry shelves, waiting to become something great – something that will leave jaws dropped and friends begging for their next cup. As you likely know, all this takes is a simple grind. What you may not know, however, is that grinding coffee beans can take a few different forms. 

For grinding coffee beans, there are a few different grind types 

  1. Extra Coarse 
  2. Coarse 
  3. Medium 
  4. Fine 
  5. Extra Fine 
  6. Turkish Grind 

All of these different grinds produce different types of flavors, aromas, and levels of smoothness, which can help you achieve the cup of coffee of your liking when paired with your own roasted coffee beans. What you need in order to grind the coffee itself is a coffee grinder. Lucky for you, an entire world exists for the grinding of coffee and literally thousands of machines exist to get the type of grind you are looking to achieve. 

No matter your budget, there is a coffee grinder for you. Now, if you are wanting to get a different grind with different batches of coffee beans, you may have to splurge for something a bit more expensive that hosts the settings you need in order to achieve those various grinds. Still, it should be no problem no matter the budget to find something sufficient. 

If you are in a pinch or do not want to invest in a coffee grinder just yet, opt to use a blender or food processor. More than likely you have one of these appliances in your house and they can get the job done. Keep in mind, especially with a blender, the grind will be one that is a bit more coarse. This does not mean that your coffee will not come out with exceptional flavor, but it may be a bit different than your originally desired when it comes to flavor. 

Extra-Course and Coarse Grinds

For extra coarse and coarse grinds you want to use a machine that can essentially squeeze the coffee out of the beans due to the large size of the grinds. Typically, this grind level is the size of very small pebbles. Because of that size, it is best that they are put into something like a french press or a percolator to achieve maximum flavor. And who does not like using a french press? You can feel as if you are sitting at a coffee shop in Europe every single day. 

Medium Grinds

For medium grinds, the grind itself resembles that of coarse salt. With a medium grind, you can look for something like an auto-drip maker. This may sound like a foreign machine, but it is just your run-of-the-mill everyday coffee maker. You can get these at nearly any corner store, drug store, department store, and even gas station in America. The options are endless! 

Fine Grinds

For fine grinds, the grinds look like fine table salt or even sugar granules. Fine grinds do fantastic in stovetop espresso pots if you are wanting to brew in a very original way. They also do great in auto-drip makers, but be sure that the auto-drip maker has a cone-shaped filter. If the grind is extra fine, an espresso machine is your best bet. Even better, this coffee can be made quickly and drunk just the same if you are in need of a fast pick-me-up.

Turkish Grinds

Last but not least, you have your Turkish grind. This type of grind really looks rather luxurious and feels just the same. It mimics the appearance of baby powder and has a very soft and almost buttery feel. This type of grind does not require any sort of brewer whatsoever though. To use Turkish coffee grinds, you need to follow Turkish coffee recipes which typically involve the adding of grinds to boiling water with other additions for flavor. 

Conclusion

You see, smoking your own coffee can be easily made a reality and is something that can put a fun twist on your everyday roast. To make your coffee even more suited to your taste, experiment with different grinds to find the aroma, flavor, and smoothness that fits the bill for you. The possibilities are endless when it comes to smoking, so venture into the unknown and create the next best coffee! 

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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