Using a skillet or frying pan is one of the quickest and inexpensive ways to first get into roasting coffee beans at home. After all, who doesn’t have a frying pan?
Using a frying pan to roast your coffee beans is no easy feat. It’s one of the more difficult roasting processes to master, and you should be aware that there are options available that require less effort.
Nevertheless, you’ve decided you want to roast your green coffee beans, and you’re set on using a skillet or frying pan to do so.
Worst case, if using a frying pan isn’t for you, you can try other popular home roasting methods like an air fryer or a slightly modified popcorn popper.
Throughout this article, you will notice I use the terms frying pan and skillet interchangeably. This is because using either and the process is the same. You can even apply these steps to a soup pot or a wok. Basically, anything thick, metal, and conducts heat evenly, and you should be able to use these steps to roast your coffee beans.
Considerations Before Roasting Your Coffee Beans In A Cast Iron Skillet
- Unlike professional roasting methods such as drum roasting or hot air roasting, you can’t track the progress and temperature accurately. Without those gauges, you have to judge the progress of the roast by eye. Your judgment will improve over time with practice.
- As heat only comes from the bottom of the frying pan. It is crucial to stir the beans to avoid scorching and/or facing the coffee beans. These are common roasting defects that can be avoided if you know of them beforehand.
- Unless you have a strong exhaust fan, you should aim to roast your coffee beans outside. The roasting process becomes smokey very quickly and, without proper ventilation, your smoke detectors will go off.
If you read all these before you begin to roast, you are already stepping ahead of many other beginner roasters.
What You Need To Get Started
- A stove or gas/electric burner for outdoors.
- A frying pan, cast iron skillet, soup pot, or wok.
- A wooden spoon.
- A colander.
- Green coffee beans.
How To Roast Coffee Beans In A Skillet
- Place your frying pan on the stove or burner and preheat it to a medium-high setting. Ensuring the frying pan is hot before pouring the coffee beans into it will ensure you are effectively roasting the coffee beans.
- Pour the raw green coffee beans into the frying pan and begin to stir the coffee beans continuously from now until the roasting process ends. Ensuring the coffee beans are constantly moving and not staying in the same spot for more than 2 seconds will help minimize the chances of scorching the beans.
- The first crack should occur at the 5-minute mark, with the beans turning to a light brown color. Once the first crack is reached, it is now up to your discretion. You can end the roast at any point.
- If you prefer a darker roast, keep the coffee beans in the frying pan with the burner on high heat. The coffee beans will change from a light brown to a dark brown as the coffee beans reach the second crack. If you continue too far beyond the second crack, you run the risk of burning the coffee beans and turning them into charcoal.
- Once you’ve stopped the roast, it’s crucial to cool the coffee beans down as quickly as possible. You can simply pour them into a colander and stir them until they are sufficiently cooled, or you can try other methods of cooling down your coffee beans.
You’ve successfully roasted your coffee beans using a skillet or frying pan, then you can either remove that chaff (but it’s not required), allow them to degas for a couple of days, and then brew them.
Using an iron cast skillet to roast your coffee beans is one of the quickest ways to first dip your toes into the whole roasting experience. Despite it not being the easiest roasting method for beginners, it is a world of fun.
After a few attempts, you’ll begin to gain more confidence and start roasting better batches of coffee beans, allowing you to brew some of the best coffees you’ve ever had.