Home roasting is just good fun. There are dozens of ways to roast and we’ve tried a few of them. We’ve tried the hot air method, which works well for small batches. We’ve used a stove-top popcorn popper with a wooden crank handle. And We’ve seen several drum roasters in action. But our favorite way to roast is the cast iron pan method.
Here are the basics: Put your seasoned, dry pan on a medium-high flame. add your coffee and stir with a flat-ended wooden spatula or whisk. Or, you can use the pan-shaking method. (I recommend about 1.5 cups of green coffee in a No. 7 pan. Larger pans are harder to keep stirring without scorching the beans and smaller pans don’t yield as much for your efforts.) You’ll want to cool the beans as soon as they reach your desired doneness.
This method produces a good amount of smoke, so make sure you have a good fume hood. or are roasting outside (a great reason to buy a grill with a side burner).
And don’t worry if all of your beans are not exactly the same level of roast at first (see one of our earlier roasts above — rest assured, the coffee made from these beans was delicious!). Perfecting your technique is half the fun.
What kind of pan should you use? Well, we could write another full website on cast iron pans. The best ones are the old ones you might find in junk shops, antiques malls or flea markets. Look for pans that say Wagner or Griswold on the bottom. And then google, how to re-season an old cast iron pan. You can thank us later.
Here’s a great video from the folks at Sweet Maria’s explaining the process.