Air fryers are a modern convenience that has changed the dynamic of cooking at home. You can fry pork chops to perfection, whip up a batch of french fries as crispy as your favorite drive-through, and crisp the best potatoes. However, can an air fryer be used to roast coffee beans?
With all the things an air fryer can do, it is no surprise that it is even able to roast coffee beans. Simply preheat the fryer to 450° Fahrenheit, put a single layer of beans into the basket, and roast until the beans have reached your desired color. Check intermittently to avoid burning.
An air fryer is capable of many things, but roasting coffee beans is one of its more impressive tricks. Although this method may be unconventional, it is a great method for those of you who do not want to fool with an oven or are simply looking to roast with minimal effort. Continue reading to discover the step-by-step process for roasting coffee beans in an air fryer and what to do once the roasting is all said and done.
How to Roast Coffee Beans in an Air Fryer
This method of roasting coffee beans (in an air fryer) is great because many people already have an air fryer in their home, unlike a coffee roaster. This fact alone is one of the biggest draws to roasting your coffee beans at home – you already have the equipment and there is no need to purchase a separate appliance. Much less, you do not have to find the space in your precious kitchen storage for said appliance.
That being said, there is a method to roasting your coffee beans in the air fryer, albeit a quite simple one. If you are planning on doing so, be sure to follow these steps:
1. Preheat the Air Fryer
For many foods, preheating your air fryer is not an essential step. However, when it comes to roasting your coffee beans, this is one of the most important things you can do. The first step of roasting involves heating your beans so they are perfectly prepped for the following steps of roasting to ensue.
When the beans absorb heat, this helps to start the Maillard reaction which is key to the roast level of your beans. If you were to place your beans in an air fryer that was not preheated, the heating process could be delayed which could cause your beans to stale and when it comes to stale beans, there are few things worse. Therefore, take the extra few minutes to get your air fryer good and hot (around 450°F), and once done, you can start with the roasting process.
2. Place Your Coffee Beans in a Single Layer
The basket of an air fryer is a decent size. If you have a standard model, you are likely able to 3-4 pork chops in it at a time and can very easily fry a bag of french fries. With all this space, it might be tempting to pour as many beans that can fit into the basket so that you can have one roasting session and be done.
As quick and easy as that may sound, this is not the way you should go about roasting your coffee beans. Piling on the coffee beans is a sure way to ruin this batch- and in this case, it would be a user error rather than the fault of the device.
One of the most important aspects of roasting beans evenly is proper ventilation around every single bean. This means that if you were to crowd the beans on top of one another that you could end up with a very uneven roast. Some coffee beans may turn only to a light roast, some may be in the middle with a medium roast, and some may end up roasting to a darker roast classification. This inconsistency is not ideal for any brew.
To keep your coffee beans from roasting unevenly in the air fryer, layer each batch in a single layer. That means no stacking and no overfilling. This may make the process more tedious, but it will ensure that each bean gets a constant flow of air around it helping each and every one to roast evenly.
3. Roast Coffee Beans to Your Preferred Roast Level
The method behind roasting either a light, medium, or dark roast coffee is to catch the beans before the right crack. For a light roast coffee, you want to allow just enough time for that first crack to take place. Once this has happened, you can remove your beans.
At such a high temperature, this should be anywhere from 5-7 minutes. The first crack will be one that is audible and you should hear clearly. This can even add to the excitement of roasting your coffee beans- especially for those of you who are new to the process (or who are simply amused by life’s simple pleasures).
Now, if you are looking to roast a medium bean, this roast will occur after the first crack. You will notice that the bean turns colors and deepens to a more maple brown color. Be quick with a medium roast though.
After the first crack, it can come on fast and there is only a bit of room before the bean begins to transform into a dark roast. This roast type then occurs after the first crack, but before the second crack. Check your beans intermittently to see their state.
For a dark roast bean, you will have to add a bit more time to the roasting process. This can take anywhere from 12-15 minutes, but the second crack must always take place in order for it to be considered a dark roast. This crack will not be as audible, so watch for the color of your beans to change to a deep brown and to begin to look oily. If you see that oil is present on the surface, you have accomplished a dark roast!
4. Allow Beans to De-Gas
After you have the roast that you prefer (light, medium, or dark), mark how long it took and continue on with as many batches as you need for all of your fresh-ground coffee needs. However, this is not where your journey ends.
As with other methods of roasting, your coffee beans still need time to de-gas after they have gone through the roasting process. This process is one that allows built-up CO2 to escape from the beans. For coffee beans, CO2 is an issue because it negatively affects the flavor of your beans.
To allow this process to take place, all you need to do is set out your coffee beans in a single layer and allow them to cool. Once they are cooled, if you have space available, it is best to let them sit out for a full 24 hours to ensure that as much CO2 has escaped as possible. When they are degassed properly, you can then move on to storing your air-fried coffee beans.
4. Properly Store Your Air-Fried Beans
Now that you are at the end of your roasting and degassing ventures, it is time to store your freshly roasted air-fried coffee beans. At this point, some of you may be inclined to go straight to grinding and then store the ground coffee beans.
However, if you want to ensure maximum flavor and freshness, resist grinding and storing, but instead, opt to store coffee beans whole. This allows the least amount of air to permeate the beans which means the most freshness. In this manner, you will be able to prolong the shelf life of your air fryer roasted coffee beans- a perk for you and your budget.
Taking your whole coffee beans, you want to store them in an airtight container in an area that is dark and relatively cool. Avoid keeping them in direct sunlight, in warm spaces, or in a container that is transparent as light and heat can cause them to stale at a faster rate.
If possible, you also want to store them in containers that will be only big enough for how much you plan to grind at once. The less you open the container, the less oxidation will occur.
Some people prefer to store their coffee beans in tightly sealed mason jars- a common option that is acceptable only as long as the jars are placed in a darker, cooler environment. Still, a non-transparent option is always preferred to avoid the risk.
Proper storage is just as important of a step as any of the rest of the preparatory steps in air frying your coffee beans. With this, you can take on any Monday with your fresh cup of Joe.