Roasting for the First Time – The Process and Results

I recently learned that coffee roasting at home is accessible, but I didn’t realize it would merely require a trip to a thrift store and a shipment from Sweet Maria’s. It’s incredible. I found a West Bend Poppery 1 from my local Goodwill for $8 – a little pricey relative to most stores which sell […]
✍ Written by: Garrett Oden
📅 Published: March 31, 2014
🗃 Filed under: PERSONAL

West Bend Poppery 1 I recently learned that coffee roasting at home is accessible, but I didn’t realize it would merely require a trip to a thrift store and a shipment from Sweet Maria’s. It’s incredible. I found a West Bend Poppery 1 from my local Goodwill for $8 – a little pricey relative to most stores which sell them for less than $5. I then purchased the 4lb sampler from Sweet Marias and read up on popcorn popper roasting.

It’s not all that complicated really. You apply heat to green coffee beans. Wha-la! Well there’s actually more to it than that if you want your coffee to have any sort of flavor, but that’s the basic gist of it. I admit to being a roasting noob. I know next to nothing about the roasting process. However, I intend to learn and grow. That’s all there is to do.

Here are some of the notes I took from roasting.

Sumatra Grade 1 Mandeheling – Sweet Marias

First Roast

  • 30s Preheat – This should have been longer, I think. Much longer.
  • 100g In, 86g Out
  • First Crack: Around 3:00.
  • Roaster off: 4:00
  • Cooling: Colander by 4:15, shook till 7:45.

2014-03-23 18.54.30

Second Roast

  • Already hot from the previous roast.
  • 100g In, 84g Out
  • First Crack: Around 2:35 – This batch definitely cracked earlier than the first.
  • Roaster off: 3:35
  • Cooling: Colander by 3:40, shook till 7:45.

2014-03-23 19.13.06The roasting information is all good and dandy, but the real measure of quality is always taste.

Cupping

I am no pro at cupping, which was evident by my first cupping experience, but I am slowly getting better and discerning tastes and flavors. It’s fun to cup coffees from others, but everything changes when you are the roaster. I felt accomplished to begin with, before I even knew if the coffees were drinkable. And I still feel accomplished.

2014-03-25 20.18.22The two other coffee cuppers and I went through a very informal and relaxing coffee cupping process that lasted about fifteen minutes. After dozens of slurps of perplexed expressions, we were finally ready to reveal our thoughts. Here are some of the notes that were taken and opinions that were expressed. Keep in mind, we kept things fairly basic.

First Roast

Aroma: grape, floral

Flavor: grape (2 votes) , floral (2 votes), citrus, apple, wheat

Conclusion: This batch wasn’t disgusting, but the acidity was overwhelming. Still, very bright flavors are present and the beans remain somewhat drinkable.

Second Roast

Aroma: spice (2 votes)

Flavor: apple, grape (2 votes), herb, dried fruit, tomato, nougat, spice

Conclusion: This batch was much more balanced and drinkable. The acidity was tame and the flavors were present. All three of us were very pleased drinking these beans.

What I Learned

I was really pleased with the way these beans came out – both of them. Neither is perfect, or even close, but they were much better than any pre-ground grocery beans I’ve ever tasted – and that was on my first try! The future looks bright.

From here I would like to play with a few variables to hone in my roasting skills with the Poppery 1. I’ll probably start by using an extension cord to reduce the wattage. This particular popcorn popper is notorious for getting too hot, too fast. 3:30 is much too quick for a solid roast. The further I’m able to extend that time to more precise I am able to be.

I may play around with stirring the beans while they’re roasting too. I don’t know much about that, but have seen it recommended several times for popcorn poppers. Lastly, I will invest in a thermometer so that I can further understand the entire roasting process. This will also enable increased precision.

Garrett Oden

Garrett Oden

Coffee Industry Writer

Welcome, fellow coffee lover! 👋

The entire purpose of this blog is to empower you to explore the wonderful world of coffee. There’s much to learn and experience, so get to reading!

Recent Articles

You May Also Like… 

Summer Barista Sins: 5 Mistakes I Made As A New Barista

Summer Barista Sins: 5 Mistakes I Made As A New Barista

Having been a barista at Yellow House Coffee now for close to ten weeks, I've committed my share of barista sins. Though most were fairly innocent and understandable for a half-trained barista, some of them were just downright stupid. For your enjoyment and my future...

A Third Crack at Home Roasting

A Third Crack at Home Roasting

I'm determined to be able to produce consistently enjoyable coffee using my home roaster, a West Bend Poppery. I didn't have great success with my first attempt, but the results were satisfying, because, of course, it was only my first attempt. Round 2 wasn't all that...

My First Week As A Barista At Yellow House Coffee

My First Week As A Barista At Yellow House Coffee

As many of you saw on Twitter (follow me!), I recently was given a job at a local coffee shop, Yellow House Coffee. The shop isn't grand in size, but the quality of the coffee and the community make up for that in a heartbeat. Yellow House opened almost a year ago in...

0 Comments