Roasting Coffee In A Pan: A Delicious Recipe Made Simple

green coffee in a pan

For many people around the world, the new day simply cannot start without a great cup of coffee! Whether you brew your own at home or stop and buy a delicious cup on the way to work, coffee is a beverage that helps many people get through the day. Roasted coffee beans are what give every cup of coffee that unique, smokey flavor that you enjoy.

Roasting your own coffee beans at home to get the exact flavor of coffee that you like is not as difficult as you may think. Roasting coffee beans in a pan at home by following a great recipe is not only easy but offers the home connoisseur a never-ending supply of perfect coffee.

Have you ever wondered where that delicious tasting roasted coffee bean coffee at your local Starbucks came from? And why do we have to roast coffee beans? Can we drink the coffee from the beans, or do they have to be ground first before they can be used to make a delicious drink? Let’s find out.

Why Do We Roast Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans are not actual beans. They are actually the fruit of the coffee tree, known as coffee cherries, more commonly referred to as coffee beans because they resemble a traditional bean. The coffee cherries growing process takes many years, from planting the seed to waiting for it to grow big and mature enough to yield the coffee cherries.

Raw, fresh coffee beans are green and do not smell or taste anything like coffee! Raw coffee beans will produce a very acidic and bitter, undrinkable brew. The only way to turn raw green beans into delicious brown coffee beans is to roast them. By roasting the green beans, moisture is forced out of the bean, causing it to expand and dry.

Roasting the green bean releases the unique aroma and different flavors of the bean, creating between 800 to 1000 distinct aroma compounds and producing the familiar smelling coffee that we know and love.

Which Coffee Beans Can You Roast In A Pan?

Finding a reliable green bean supplier is the first step to creating fantastic coffee. Most green bean retailers can advise you on the best bean for home roasting. 

You should ask your retailer the following questions before purchasing the beans:

  • How old is the coffee bean, and when was it harvested? Buy a different bean if it was harvested longer than one year ago.
  • What roasting degree do they recommend for the bean that you have purchased.

As a beginner, you might want to buy a starter pack with a variety of green beans from different countries, which will help you to learn the differences between the beans. Once you have decided on a green bean that you enjoy, you can order batches in larger quantities. 

What Happens To The Coffee Beans During Roasting?

There are a number of stages that the coffee bean needs to go through before it can be ground down into grinds that we can use in our favorite beverages. Let’s see what happens to the bean during these stages:

  1. The drying stage. The beans remain green during the heating process but will eventually turn yellow and smell like grass! The time for the beans to turn from green to yellow is generally around 4 – 5 minutes.
  2. The browning stage. Yellow beans slowly turn light brown as the sugars react with the amino acids in the bean. Steam rises from the beans as the water evaporates. The beans will shed their skin, otherwise called the chaff, during the browning stage.
  3. The first crack. Known as the cinnamon roast, a cracking sound will be heard as the sugars caramelize and fats turn to oil. This is the beginning of the roasting process.
  4. The light or city roast stage. After the first crack is heard, the beans have reached the minimum roast level, which caters to most people’s tastes. 
  5. The city plus roast stage. Further caramelization occurs as the beans swell.
  6. The full city roast stage. A darker roast, the last step before the second crack.
  7. The second crack stage. The beans go through a second, more violent, cracking stage which produces a more intense flavor. Generally around 6 – 7 minutes into the roasting process.
  8. The dark or French roast stage. The sugars break down as much as they can, affecting the overall structure of the bean. The roasting process should end after this step to preserve the flavor of the bean.
  9. The burning stage. If the beans are still in the roasting pan at this stage, they are burning! The smoke will be thick and pungent. Toss the burnt beans into the outside trash can.
  10. The cooling stage. When you remove the beans from the heat after the preferred roasting stage, cool them down by using a fan or by pouring them into a cold colander. The chaff can be removed by transferring the roasted beans back and forth between two colanders.

Can You Roast Coffee Beans In A Pan?

Traditionally a metal pan was the best way to roast coffee beans for the perfect roast profile. These days there are many different ways to roast coffee beans, but we think the old ways are still the best and produce the best-flavored ground beans. We have researched the latest ways to roast coffee beans to create the flavors that you enjoy.

The Best Way To Roast Coffee Beans In A Pan On The Stove

Roasting coffee beans in the comfort of your own home is very popular amongst DIY coffee connoisseurs. There are many methods available, but we honestly feel the best way to roast coffee beans at home is in a pan on the stove.

Before you begin the coffee bean roasting process, make sure that you have sufficient ventilation as there will be a fair amount of smoke generated from the roasting process. Try our method of roasting coffee beans in a pan on the stove:

What equipment do you need:

  • Heatproof oven mitts
  • A pan – don’t use a non-stick pan as it will impact the flavor of the roast
  • A wire whisk, stirrer, or wooden spoon
  • A metal sieve or colander
  • A heat source – stovetop
  • Green beans

Method:

  1. Place the pan onto the stovetop plate and turn on the heat to a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius). Adjust the temperature once you have placed the beans into the pan.
  2. Pour a small batch of green beans into the hot pan.
  3. Stir the coffee beans constantly using the wire whisk, stirrer, or wooden spoon. It’s essential to keep the coffee beans moving to prevent them from burning in the pan and to achieve an even roast over all the beans. Never allow the coffee beans to rest!
  4. After 4 – 5 minutes, you should hear the first crack from the roasted coffee beans, and they should be turning a light brown color.
  5. Keep roasting and stirring for a further minute or two until you achieve the roast type that you want.
  6. The second crack should happen about 6 -7 minutes into the process.
  7. Take the pan off the heat and transfer the roasted coffee beans to the colander. Shake and allow them to cool down completely.
  8. Allow the roasted coffee beans to stand for 6 hours to de-gas, then transfer to a container. Seal and wait for 24 hours for the coffee beans to develop their full flavor.

The Best Way To Roast Coffee Beans In A Pan Over An Open Fire

If you are an adventurous outdoor type, why not roast your favorite coffee beans in a pan over the campfire? Try this method:

What equipment do you need:

  • A sturdy camping pan 
  • A wooden spoon or stick
  • A heat source – campfire
  • Green beans

Method:

  1. Start a campfire using wood or charcoal.
  2. Pour a small batch of green beans into the camping pan.
  3. Hold the pan over the fire – safety first, always wear fireproof gloves when working over an open fire.
  4. Shake the pan constantly to keep the coffee beans from sticking. Never allow the beans to rest, and don’t let them get too hot, or they will scorch!
  5. Don’t put the pan down if you need to add more wood to the fire – the heat under the pan must remain constant for the coffee beans to roast evenly.
  6. After 4 – 5 minutes, you should hear the first crack from the roasted coffee beans, and they should be turning a light brown color.
  7. Keep roasting the coffee beans until you hear the second crack, then remove the pan from the heat. The coffee beans should be a dark brown color.
  8. Splash cold water over the bottom of the pan to cool the pan and the roasted coffee beans down. Don’t place the pan into a bowl of water; it needs to cool down gradually for the flavors of the roasted coffee beans to develop.
  9. After the roasted coffee beans have cooled down, crush them with a stick and brew your coffee!

Do Coffee Beans Have Different Roasting Times?

Roasting coffee beans means applying heat to the bean until it turns brown or dark brown. By properly controlling the heat, you can avoid under-cooking or burning the beans to produce the perfect bean for the perfect mug of coffee!

Roughly, it takes about ten minutes to roast a smaller batch of coffee beans and about 16 minutes for a larger batch. The roasting time depends on the type of roast that you are trying to achieve and the batch size of the beans. The actual process is not too tricky, so you can become an expert roaster after roasting your first few batches of coffee beans.

What Are The Degrees Of Coffee Roasting?

Once the green beans have gone through the roasting, toasting, and cooking process, they are now ready for the grinding process, which turns the bean into the coffee that we drink. Flavors are determined by how long the coffee bean is roasted and the internal temperature of the bean. Once roasted, they are categorized by their color – light, medium, or dark roasts. 

1. Light Roasts

The perfect light roast is achieved by roasting the coffee bean to an internal temperature of between 356 – 401 degrees Fahrenheit (180 – 205 degrees Celsius). Lightly roasted beans are a light brown color when roasted correctly. This roast type is denser as it has more moisture inside the bean due to the shorter cooking time.

A light roast is produced after the first crack. The coffee bean should be removed from the heat to prevent further roasting and to highlight the unique characteristics of this roast type.

Lightly roasted coffee is the flavor of choice for most people throughout the world and is known by names like Cinnamon, New England Roast, and Half-City. This kind of roast is a brighter brew with a light body and higher acidity than the darker roasts.

2. Medium Roasts

To produce a medium roast, the coffee bean should roast at temperatures of between 437 – 446 degrees Fahrenheit (225 – 230 degrees Celsius). As the name suggests, medium roasted coffee beans are light brown in color, roasted to provide a balanced flavor between the light and dark roasts.

A medium roast is achieved as the beans approach the second crack. Patches of oil appear on the bean as the flavors begin to develop, creating the perfect balance of flavors between acidity and sweetness. The bean can be removed from the heat before the second crack to create the perfect medium roast.

You might know this roast type as an American, Regular, or City Roast coffee.

3. Dark Roasts

Dark roasts, so named because they are a very dark brown once roasted, stay in the roasting pan much longer than the lighter roasts at temperatures of between 460 – 482 degrees Fahrenheit (237 – 250 degrees Celsius).

A dark roast is essentially continuing the roasting process of the bean to develop the flavors further. This roast profile is less dense than the other two and has a lower acidity level. Oil rises to the surface producing a thicker bean with a deeper texture. 

To achieve a dark roast, the bean must be removed straight after the second crack. If it is left to roast for longer than the second crack, it will burn and should be discarded.

This roast type is used for coffee flavors like French, Espresso, Turkish, and Italian coffees.

Did you know – The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is not determined by how the beans are roasted but by the amount of ground coffee in the cup!

How Do You Store Coffee After Roasting?

Fresh coffee beans need to be left alone for at least 24 hours after roasting before they can be ground. If you are not going to grind them right away, you can pour them into clean mason jars or Ziploc bags for storing in the cupboard.

Make sure that you remove all the air from the jar or the bag before you seal them as oxygen causes the flavor to deteriorate. They will last for a few weeks on the shelf.

If you have too many roasted coffee beans, you can safely freeze them for later use. Pour into a ziplock bag or an airtight container, remove the air, seal, and freeze for up to six months. The roasted coffee beans will retain their flavor and will taste great the next time you use them!

Conclusion

Roasting coffee beans at home can become a rewarding, full-time hobby! Once you have found a good supplier of green coffee beans, you can begin experimenting with roasting beans precisely to your taste. Creating your own unique flavors and aromas means that you will always enjoy a great cup of coffee!

There are many creative ways to roast coffee beans to create the perfect grind. Do the research and try experimenting with some of the other methods or stick to our tested stovetop method. Once you have perfected the art of roasting coffee beans to your taste, experiment a bit further by adding different flavors to enhance the taste.

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.

Recent Posts