How To Roast Coffee Beans On A Smoker (Step By Step Guide)
How to roast coffee beans on a smoker? If you are a coffee enthusiast, you know that the best way to achieve a fresh cup of joe is to have freshly roasted coffee beans. But do you know that roasting your coffee beans using a smoker makes every cup even better?
It would be best if you had unroasted green beans when smoke-roasting coffee. You should set the grill to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit with your choice of smoker chips filling at least 1/2 to 3/4 of the smoker pipe. Smoke-roast your coffee for 25 minutes or so, depending on the level of roast you desire, while stirring it occasionally.
How To Roast Coffee Beans On A Smoker
If you love the aroma of coffee enveloping your home along with some smoky scent, then you might want to consider smoking your coffee beans. But, true enough, roasting coffee beans on a smoker may seem like a foreign concept.
However, it is an excellent way of transforming your everyday brew with a historical tradition of coffee making.
Moreover, there are only three things that you need when smoking coffee:
- green coffee beans
Preparing The Beans
When roasting coffee beans on a smoker, you first need green coffee beans, not yet roasted. It would be best to use green coffee beans for the roasting process to bring out the flavor and aroma inside each bean.
Additionally, when you store coffee beans green, you can keep them for a long time without losing their quality and taste.
The Step By Step Guide
All you need to begin with the roasting process is a smoker pipe and a grill. It is ideal to use apple, cherry, pecan, or maple smoker chips to add a layer of flavor to the smoke.
Here are the steps to roasting coffee beans on a smoker:
- Take off the grids from the grill. Then, add a smoker pipe onto the sear plates placed above your burner. You need to fill at least 1/2 to 3/4 of the smoker pipe with soaked smoke chips.
- Preheat your grill to approximately 450 degrees Fahrenheit and wait until the wood chips begin smoking.
- Get a baking tray where you want to roast your coffee beans. Make sure that you are willing to sacrifice the tray as it will get dark due to the smoke. Once you have your tray, place the coffee beans in a single layer over it.
- You will need to smoke-roast the beans for about 25 minutes. Ensure that the pan roasting your beans does not directly touch the heat source. You also need to stir the coffee beans with a wooden spoon and check them every 5 minutes. It is essential to note that the beans will expand, crack, and pop as they heat up and absorb smoke.
- Make sure to stir constantly to ensure that each bean will have a similar roast color.
- Remove the beans from the grill and transfer them into a colander once they reach your desired roast color. Keep stirring the coffee beans from time to time as they cool.
- Finally, place the beans in an airtight container. Allow the coffee beans to rest for an entire day to achieve their full flavor.
Coffee Bean Roast Levels
Apart from bringing out the aroma and flavor of your coffee beans, roasting coffee beans on a smoker will also let you control their roast level. This way, you will get the right strength from each bean.
Moreover, there are four coffee roast levels:
These flavors have different degrees and characteristics.
Light roast allows you to preserve your coffee beans’ natural flavors and aromas. The specialty coffee community usually prefers this roast level as it brings out coffee’s vibrant and unique characteristics more than other roast levels.
Lightly roasted coffee beans also have a bright flavor profile.
Moreover, this roast level has a dry and non-oily texture. The beans usually reach approximately 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. With this temperature range, the coffee beans barely reach the first-crack stage.
Medium roasted coffee beans still have their natural flavors and aromas despite being darker than light roast. Yung can even further improve these flavors and aromas if you try roasting coffee beans on a smoker.
While light roast has a bright note, medium roasted coffee offers a sweet caramelization due to the longer roast time. The roast time also decreases the acidity and bright notes of the coffee beans, which you will usually find in lightly roasted beans.
Medium roasted coffee beans get roasted at temperatures between 400 and 430 degrees Fahrenheit. They are dry in texture, rarely look oily, and pass the first-crack stage of coffee beans. However, medium roasted coffee beans never fully reach the second crack stage.
At this roast level, the flavor of the roast itself masks the natural aroma and flavors of coffee beans. The result is a bold and heavy flavor profile with low acid levels.
Additionally, the dark roast has a dark brown and oily appearance. The coffee beans usually reach the temperature range of 430 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the beans reach the second crack stage.
How Do You Make Smoked Coffee?
Roasting coffee beans on a smoker involves using green coffee beans. But if you do not have any coffee beans, you can still enjoy the taste of smoke-roasted coffee using your ground coffee at home. Even better, the process of smoking ground coffee is relatively easy.
- Get your grill and two to three charcoal briquets. Preheat the briquets, pile them on one side of your grill, and then add your favorite smoker chips on the other side.
- Place a quarter cup of ground coffee on a heat-resistant dish like a ramekin. Then, put the container on the main grate, opposite the side where you added the briquets.
- Cover the grill, making sure that the vent is placed directly over your coffee.
- Allow the ground coffee to smoke for two hours but make sure to stir it from time to time.
- Once done with the smoking process, place the coffee into a grinder and turn it into a fine powder.
- Lastly, put your smoked coffee grounds in an airtight container. You can either brew it right away or wait for five days to one week for an enhanced flavor.
What Temperature Do You Roast Coffee Beans?
The roast level of your coffee beans is one of the most critical factors that affect the taste of your brew. Unroasted green coffee beans have a fresh and grassy scent.
Unfortunately, unroasted beans also do not have a taste. But if you try roasting coffee beans on a smoker, the heat and smoke transform them into an aromatic and flavorful coffee.
Additionally, other factors determine how your coffee will taste. For instance, the coffee variety and origin will give the coffee beans different flavor notes. Similarly, the temperature at which you roast your beans will determine the lightness or strength of your brew’s taste.
Coffee Roast Profile
The roast profile of coffee depends on the temperature and roasting time. The widely used method of determining the roast level of the beans is through visually classifying the color. For example, when you are roasting coffee beans on a smoker, their color changes from yellow to dark shades of brown.
Moreover, the final roasting stages prompt the oil to appear on the surface of the coffee beans. However, it is essential to note that the visual assessment is not accurate enough. For this reason, you must know the temperature at which you need to roast your coffee.
|Coffee Bean Roast Degrees||Temperature|
|Light Roast||If you want the lightest possible roast, commonly known as the cinnamon roast, you must set your temperature between 350 to 386 degrees Fahrenheit. New England Roast, another light roast level, can be achieved at a temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.|
|Medium Roast||The medium roast has two sublevels – American roast and city roast. You can achieve the American roast at a temperature of 410 degrees Fahrenheit. The coffee beans reach the first crack stage at this temperature and have a sweet taste and full body acidic notes. City roast happens at 430 degrees Fahrenheit. This type of roast has a balanced flavor and noticeable acidity.|
|Dark Roast||Full city roast means roasting coffee beans on a smoker at about 437 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature lets the beans reach the start of the second crack, giving the beans a prominent roast character. At 446 degrees Fahrenheit, the Vienna roast achieves a moderately dark brown color with light surface oil. It has a bittersweet caramel flavor without any acidity. French roast has a dark brown color. At 464 degrees Fahrenheit, the beans have a slight acidity and are shiny with oil. They also have a bittersweet, caramel taste. Italian roast is achievable at a temperature of approximately 473 degrees Fahrenheit. The color of the beans is nearly black and shiny with the surface oil. They also have a distinct burnt tone with almost no acidity.|
Is It Better To Slow Roast Coffee Beans?
As mentioned, time is an essential factor when roasting coffee beans on a smoker. The reason is that this element allows the roast profile of your beans to develop.
However, some roast masters incorporate extreme temperatures when roasting their coffee. This high heat is usually 10 to 14 minutes short roast time. This way, they can increase their coffee production. But the downside is that it affects the taste of the brew.
So, is it better to slow roast coffee?
The Slow Roasting Process
Every coffee bean has approximately 700 flavor compounds and sugars that only come out when exposed to heat. Roasting coffee beans for a long time at lower temperatures lets these flavors develop more thoroughly. The process also highlights and suppresses various flavor compounds and caramelizes the natural sugars present in each bean.
For this reason, slow roasting your coffee beans is better than exposing them to extreme temperatures.
The result is a balanced, sweet, and smooth brew. Even better, slow roasting coffee beans reduces acidity, making it an excellent choice for people who have acid reflux.
What Do You Need To Roast Your Own Coffee Beans?
A cup of coffee will only be as good as the beans that it came from in the first place. So, no matter how intricate a shop’s roasting process is, if the coffee beans have been sitting on the shelf for weeks, they are already past their prime.
As a result, your cup of joe will not be as tasty as the ones that come from freshly roasted beans. For this reason, you need to start roasting your coffee beans at home. You will only need a few materials, so the process will not be complicated.
Moreover, there are three significant ways to roast coffee beans by yourself:
- roasting coffee beans on a smoker
- using a countertop roaster
- roasting coffee beans in the oven
What You Need When Roasting Coffee Beans On A Smoker
1. Unroasted green coffee beans
It would be best to use raw beans because they have subtle flavor characteristics that you can develop through the roasting process.
2. A grill
Instead of using an oven or a roaster, what you need is a grill. This way, you will be able to add a smoky flavor to your coffee beans. You can also use a gas grill when roasting coffee beans on a smoker.
3. Smoker wood chips
As mentioned, smoke adds a flavor to your coffee beans. For this reason, you need to use smoker chips, such as apple, pecan, and maple, as they can add a layer of distinct flavor to your final product.
3. An iron skillet or baking pan
The pan you choose depends on how many coffee beans you want to roast on your smoker. The reason is that you need to scatter your coffee on the pan in a single layer.
If you are roasting only a small amount of coffee beans, use an iron skillet. On the other hand, you will need a baking tray if you are roasting many coffee beans.
In addition, you will need a wooden spoon to stir the coffee beans.
4. A colander and an airtight container
After roasting coffee beans on a smoker, you need to put them on a colander to let them cool. Once the beans reach room temperature, you need an airtight container to store them.
Roasting Coffee Beans On A Countertop Roaster
You only need unroasted coffee beans and a coffee roaster machine for this process. This machine has two types: an air roaster and a drum roaster.
An air roaster works by roasting the beans using a direct heat source. It pushes hot air through the roasting chamber, allowing air to touch the beans directly. However, an air roaster will only let you roast a small batch of coffee beans, usually suitable for only one to two people.
On the other hand, a drum roaster utilizes indirect heat to roast the beans. Such is similar to roasting coffee beans on a smoker, where the heat source does not touch the beans directly.
The drum roaster applies heat outside a metal chamber. The coffee beans then get roasted as they contact the heated chamber until you reach the desired roast level.
When roasting coffee beans on a countertop roaster, the only things you will need are:
- unroasted coffee beans
- coffee roaster machine
- the airtight container where you will put the beans after roasting them
Roasting Coffee Beans In An Oven
Roasting coffee beans in an oven does not need a lot of materials. You only need
- green coffee beans
- any oven
- cookie sheet
- wooden spoon for stirring
Roasting coffee beans on a smoker and roasting them in an oven have different methods. To help you with the process, below is a step-by-step guide.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Get your cookie sheet and coffee beans. Spread the beans on a single layer onto the cookie sheet. You can either spread them using a wooden spoon or shake the cookie sheet side to side.
- Place the cookie sheet inside the oven, making sure to put it on the middle rack. Please note that you need to monitor the beans to ensure an even color for them. You can also take the cookie sheet out of the oven from time to time and stir them if you need to.
However, it is essential to note that you need to work fast when stirring the coffee beans to ensure that the oven will not lose too much heat.
- After about four to six minutes, you will hear the first crack of the beans, which is similar to the popping sound of popcorn. At this point, you need to watch the beans until they reach your desired roast level.
- Once you finish roasting your coffee beans, please place them in a heat-resistant bowl and allow them to cool. Once they have cooled down, please place them in an airtight container for storage.
Start Roasting Coffee Beans On A Smoker At Home
Roasting coffee beans at home is the best way to achieve a fresh cup of joe every day. But if you want a new method and touch to your coffee, you need to start roasting coffee beans on a smoker.
The smoke adds a layer of flavor to each coffee bean, making your brew taste better. The time the coffee beans roast also helps develop their natural flavors. As a result, there is a sweet caramelization of the beans’ natural sugars.
Additionally, smoke-roasting coffee beans let you control their roast level. This way, you can reach the level of acidity and strength that you want for your coffee.