Coffee beans are grown inside the coffee cherry - the fruit of the coffee tree. They are harvested from their cherries as green beans and will therefore only turn brown once they have been through a roasting process. If you are looking to custom roast your own beans then you will therefore buy them as unroasted green beans.
One of the big advantages of doing this is that green coffee beans are cheaper to buy in most cases than ready roasted beans and you can buy them in bulk if you like - so you can save a lot of money especially if you like to buy expensive types of coffee. And, you can ensure optimum freshness this way as you'll be roasting your coffee only when you need it.
The fact is that most people used to roast their own beans at home not so many years ago but it's not so common nowadays - despite the advantages. The roasting coffee beans process basically dries out the bean and makes it slightly bigger and, of course, it turns it brown. How dark a brown you get will depend on the type of roast that is done - the longer the roast, the darker the final coffee bean.
There are various ways of roasting coffee beans. The most common types at the moment include:
Roasting beans on a stove using either a pan or a stove-top popcorn popperThis method is quick and won't necessarily cost you anything as you may well have the necessary equipment in your kitchen already. But, it does take a lot of practice to get this kind of roasting option right and you'll need to make sure that you watch and stir your beans all the time so they don't burn. This method can also be a little smokey!
Roasting beans in the ovenThis method is easier for many people than stove-top roasting as you can leave the beans to roast on their own. You may need to buy a special roasting tray with holes in it for this type of process as you need to make sure that as much air as possible is circulated round the beans.
Roasting beans in a coffee roasterThis is probably the easiest way to get consistent results quickly and simply as the electric roasting machine does all the work for you. There are various kinds of roasters available to buy including fluid air-bed machines and drum roasters. The big disadvantage here is in the cost - you'll obviously need to buy a machine to roast beans this way but this will save you time, error and effort.
One of the great things about roasting your own beans - however you decide to do it - is that you can decide as and when you like exactly how light or dark your roast will be on any given day. The quality of a roast is defined by the
Also see whole bean roasters .