We always talk about using freshly roasted beans as an integral part of brewing a delicious cup of coffee.
While it’s possible to find coffee beans that are relatively fresh most of the time, you can imagine how great your coffee would turn out if you had access to beans that were roasted right before you decided to brew your coffee.
Unfortunately, this remains a dream for most coffee lovers as you would either have to live right next to a roastery or roast your own coffee beans to be able to brew with coffee beans that are straight out of the roaster.
Considering that coffee roasting equipment is quite expensive and requires additional space, it’s not exactly feasible to buy one for a lot of people.
That being said, there is a common household item that operates quite similarly to a coffee roaster, an air fryer. Air fryers quickly rose to popularity with how easy they make it to cook certain foods healthily, such as french fries that we all love.
If you watched your air fryer before, you might have noticed the similarity between it and a coffee roasting machine. So, can you roast coffee beans in an air fryer?
Yes, you can indeed roast coffee beans in an air fryer. While the roast level is limited by the maximum temperature your air fryer can provide, most air fryers will allow you to roast your coffee beans to at least city roast or full city roast.
Roasting Coffee Beans in an Air Fryer
Now, it’s time to talk about how you can use your air fryer to roast your coffee beans optimally.
Since roasting is a manual process where you are in control of when to stop it, it’s quite easy for things to go not as intended if you aren’t careful. We recommend standing next to your air fryer for the roasting process to ensure that everything is in order, especially if it’s your first time.
That being said, the feeling when you successfully roast your own coffee beans for the first time is delightful.
If your air fryer has a temperature setting, start by setting the temperature to a number where it would match the roast level you’re looking to obtain.
Turn your air fryer on, but don’t add the coffee beans just yet, as you will be letting your air fryer preheat for a few minutes. Air fryers heat up pretty quickly compared to ovens, so this process shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes most of the time.
While preheating is not common practice for using your air fryer, it’s an important step when it comes to roasting coffee beans to ensure that your coffee beans are being heated at a consistent temperature for the entirety of the roasting process.
Placing Your Coffee Beans Inside
Now that your air fryer is heated and ready to go, it’s time to place your coffee beans in the basket.
As the space that is available in an air fryer basket can be different depending on the model, we can’t tell you the exact amount of beans you should be roasting.
The primary thing you should be looking for when you’re placing your coffee beans is that there is enough space available for air to circulate, meaning that you shouldn’t stuff your basket with coffee beans to the top.
While the shape of an air fryer basket also shows a difference depending on the air fryer you have, a good rule of thumb is to spread your coffee beans in a way where they would form a double layer at most. What this means is that there shouldn’t be more than two coffee beans stacking on top of each other at any point of the basket.
Time To Roast
Since we are done with all the preparation, we can get down to the exciting part now.
Simply place the basket in the air fryer, and start the roasting process. At this point, you should decide the roast level you’re going for, as you will be manually stopping the process when the desired level is reached.
Since we can’t tell you definitive timings where certain roast levels would be achieved, it’s up to you to follow the signs and understand how far into the roasting process you are.
The first sign is the first crack, which happens when coffee beans reach an internal temperature of 385 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, coffee beans are considered to be lightly roasted. If you want light roast coffee beans, you can stop the roasting process at this point.
From this point on, the only sign you will be seeing is the change in color up until the second crack, which is why it’s important to be extra careful if you are looking to achieve a medium roast. As a rule of thumb, stopping the process when your coffee beans turn to a fully brown color will put you somewhere close to a city roast level.
Finally, you will hear the second crack, which marks the beginning of dark roast levels. Stopping the roasting process at this point will provide you with a full city roast level, and continuing will take you to Vienna, French, and Italian roasts, respectively.
That being said, depending on the temperature your air fryer can supply, your beans will be stuck at a certain roast level where they don’t get darker as time goes on.
Cooling Down & Storage
With the roasting process over, it’s time to let your coffee beans cool down.
Simply take your coffee beans out of the basket, and lay them on a flat surface where they will form a single layer.
Allowing the beans to stay outside for a while causes them to undergo a process called degassing, where carbon dioxide that is formed in the coffee beans during the roasting process starts escaping.
While a certain level of carbon dioxide is good for your coffee, beans that haven’t been properly degassed can cause your coffee to taste worse. As a rule of thumb, you can let your beans rest for a day or two before storing them.
Even though grinding your beans will cause the degassing process to become faster, we highly recommend against it as your coffee will go stale incredibly quickly after grinding. The best practice is to grind to brew and always store coffee in whole bean form.
Transfer your beans to an airtight container, and store the container in a cool and dark place. To ensure that your beans stay as fresh as possible, make sure that they don’t come into contact with sunlight for extended periods.
Is Roasting Your Own Coffee Worth It?
We feel that roasting your coffee is completely worth it for a multitude of reasons.
The first and most obvious reason is freshness. Fresh coffee is king, and roasting your own coffee is the simplest way of obtaining it. We promise that you will instantly notice the difference between the coffee you roasted yourself and a pack of coffee that has been roasted a week ago.
The second reason is control. You can simply buy a batch of unroasted beans and make several small batches of coffee beans that are roasted to different levels. This opens up room for experimentation and may even end up with you discovering a roast level that is your new favorite.
Lastly, roasting your own coffee with an air fryer is extremely simple, so there is nothing you stand to lose. The amount of time you will actively be partaking in the process won’t exceed 15 minutes at most.
Worst case scenario, you lose out on a few coffee beans and 15 minutes of your time.
On the other hand, in the best-case scenario, you get to drink a cup of coffee that is brewed with the freshest coffee beans possible.
Are Unroasted Coffee Beans Cheaper?
For the most part, you will find that unroasted coffee beans are cheaper than roasted coffee beans due to the effort and time that goes into roasting coffee beans.
If you decide to regularly roast your coffee beans at home instead of buying roasted coffee beans, you will notice that you are saving a significant amount of money in the long run.
Who would have thought that roasting coffee beans at home with an air fryer would be so simple, right?
Considering that most people shy away from roasting their coffee due to coffee roasting equipment being expensive, and rightly so, we feel like being able to roast coffee beans with an air fryer is quite refreshing.
While there is a certain level of mastery attached to the coffee roasting process, nothing beats a batch of freshly roasted coffee beans at the end of the day.
Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!