How I roast my own coffee from the back of my truck

Most people don’t realize how easy it is – a batch of coffee only takes 10-15 minutes to roast!

– Mason Strehl, Full Time #VanLife Photographer and Writer

Here’s 6 reasons to roast your own

Coffee roasting used to be widespread, and many households would roast their own on a regular basis. With the rise of modern conveniences, most people will buy stale, pre-ground coffee from the store. There are quite a few benefits to taking the old-fashioned route and roasting your own. Lets face it, no matter what method you brew your coffee, it will only taste as good as the beans you start with. To truly get the best cup of morning joe to pair with your mountain views, roasting it yourself is a good option – It’ll give you full control over freshness and flavor, so you’re satisfied with every cup.

You pick your beans

Roasting your own coffee gives you total freedom in sourcing where your beans come from. Is fair-trade coffee your thing? You can make sure your beans are sourced responsibly. Do you like dark roasts? Theres a bean for that. Single origin or blend? You decide. Coffee beans come from all over the world, and the region they’re from can have a major impact on flavor. South American coffees are generally classic – most American coffee companies source their coffee from this region, so you’ve almost certainly tried one. They are best roasted as medium to dark roasts. African coffees are generally exotic – light and tropical tasting, often with fruity undertones. These are often used in artisan coffees, and are mostly roasted as a light or medium roast. Asian coffees are generally earthy and full bodied, and tend to make good espresso roasts. 

2. Control your roast

When roasting your own coffee, you can control taste by adjusting how dark each roast is, based on the amount of time it’s roasted. Deciding which roast you want gives you full control of the flavors so you can lock down the exact roast that gets you going in the morning. Caffeine content is a pretty important piece, so take note that lighter roasts generally have more. 

  • Light roasts – these beans are usually light brown in color. This type of roast is well suited exotic coffees, as it will bring forward tropical or fruity tones. These beans will appear dry, and will not have any surface oil. 
  • Medium roasts – these are medium brown in color. This type of roast is well suited for general purpose use or espressos. These beans will also appear dry without surface oil. 
  • Dark Roasts – these beans are nearly black in color. This type of roast is picked for a distinct, smoky, intense flavor. These beans will have a heavy surface oil. 
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3. Freshest coffee on the block

No matter where you get your coffee, it can be weeks or even months between when it was roasted and when it hits your tastebuds. Nobody likes a stale tasting cup of coffee, and roasting your own beans makes sure you get the absolute freshest coffee available. You’ll still want to wait a little bit however – when coffee is roasted it forms CO2 gas inside the beans that out-gases during the few days following roasting. Coffee is at it’s peak flavor approximately 3 days after its roasted.

Specialty coffee these days can run you $10-$15 easily. Single origin, sustainably traded, and organic coffees will inflate all of those prices even more. Roasting your own coffee is incredibly cost effective. Green coffee beans can be bought for about $5-$8 a pound depending on how fancy you want it. That just about cuts the cost in half, and you’re able to enjoy the best coffee for a much lower price. Sometimes just a little elbow grease can save you big money. 

5. Healthier for you!

When you work hard for something, you’ll value it much more, and use it more sparingly. So roasting your own beans is a great way to moderate coffee and caffeine intake. You’ll be more mindful of the amount you drink, and you’ll savor every sip that much more. In addition, fresh coffee has good antioxidants that begin to deteriorate soon after roasting. The sooner you drink it, the more of these good health benefits you’ll take advantage of. 

6. It’s quick and easy

Roasting coffee is easier than you’d think! Once you have your beans (you can source them from suppliers such as sweetmarias.com) you can have an aromatic, fresh, and delicious batch of coffee in 15 minutes. There is almost no equipment needed aside from a frying pan and a stove with good ventilation, although you can get pretty fancy and precise with home roasting too. It’s as easy as you want to make it, but also allows for better coffee as your roasting skills improve. 

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There’s nothing wrong with how you get your coffee now. If you love the taste of it, keep on doing your thing. But there are pretty cool options out there if you want to take coffee into your own hands. You can get delicious, high-quality coffee for a smart price, and pick up a new impressive hobby along the way. Not to mention you’ll be the talk of your friend group after they taste your delicious new roast. Get after it and get caffeinated!

About the Author: Mason Strehl

Explore Mason’s Work: http://masonstrehl.com/

Growing up in Alaska taught me one main thing –  weather can’t get in the way of getting out and having a good time. It may be -40F and well past sunset, but somebody needs to break out those snowshoes and make some tracks. It may be pouring rain and gusting wind at 20mph, but there probably won’t be a better time to get that canoe out on the river for a paddle. When the weather is rough its the best time to get out and get lost for a bit – it makes for more exciting adventure, and memories that last a lifetime. I’ve lived for pushing the bar and getting to beautiful places. Through all that, a camera is at my side to capture the beauty and share it.