Slowly Sipping Coffee

Fresh Roasted Coffee: Delicious and Cost Effective!

We drink coffee, a lot of coffee, I mean it is even in our blog’s name, Slowly Sipping Coffee. All of this coffee consumption over the years has led me to trying to find a good balance between “good” coffee and “low cost” coffee. In Denver, I would go to Sunflower Market to their bulk bean bin and pay ~$6/lb which was good at the time. We’ve tried buying in bulk when we still had our Costco membership, we’ve tried the bulk bean route at the grocery store, and those worked well to cut down on costs but the best savings and flavor balance I’ve found so far is – wait for it – roasting my own coffee!!

I know right?! How would roasting your own coffee at home be cost effective and easier than just buying it at the store? Don’t you need specialized equipment, a grand knowledge of coffee roasting principles, and somewhere to buy the beans? The short answers are No, Meh, and the internet. For the longer answer, keep reading and let me explain. I tend to be a serial hobbyist, in that I pick up hobbies, I am passionate about them for a while and then they fade away and more times than not I’m left with a lot of “hobby supplies” in their wake and I didn’t want to do this with coffee roasting. I was first introduced to the concept of roasting your own coffee at my local homebrew store – a hobby that I am proud to say has stuck around for many years now. They had some green coffee beans, equipment, books on roasting and more and I saw it as nothing more than a good way to part with my money quickly. I just thought it looked so time consuming and expensive. Boy was I wrong.


Roasting Your Own Coffee is Easy


Fast forward a few years later, and my interest in coffee roasting came up again, but this time I was wanting to try it out on the cheap. That way if it didn’t pan out I didn’t invest a lot of money and end up with a lot of useless stuff. I started where any person starts their research nowadays, the internet. A quick google search of “How do I roast my own coffee beans” led me to this eye opening declaration.

“You can roast in your oven, use a skillet, re-purpose a popcorn popper or buy a fancy coffee roasting appliance. Whatever method you use, you will be on your way to drinking much better coffee. The basic process is simple: use heat to turn green unroasted coffee into brown roasted coffee.”

Sweet Maria’s had a great quick overview of the roasting process as well as specific instructions for different DIY methods. That site along with a few others I read made me realize that I can use things that I already had to roast coffee. I tried the toaster oven method first, because, well, we already own one. I took it out back and did it outside because of the “smoke” some sites had warned about. Of all the methods I’ve tried, regular oven, toaster oven, and Whirley Pop, the ovens are the smokiest – especially the regular oven. However, it just makes your house smell like fresh roasted coffee, so it’s not all bad.

Yes, they come in a burlap bag! Our toaster oven ready to try roasting some beans!

Yes, they come in a burlap bag! Our toaster oven ready to try roasting some beans!

Our toaster oven was a little underpowered for this so it took about 25+ minutes to get a decent roast and I had to turn the pans and pay close attention. This method took the most effort to get an even roast. I ultimately settled on a Whirley Pop Popcorn maker (New on Amazon for ~$25, I got mine for ~$20) and it has worked amazingly well over the last year. True to their word, and most reviews, the plastic gears did give out after about 8 months of use, but when I called the company for their lifetime replacement guarantee, they signed me up and shipped out new gears, all free of charge. I didn’t even have to be registered prior to it breaking (I really suck at staying on top of things like that).

Feel the fury of the toaster oven!!

Feel the fury of the toaster oven!!

This method takes about 15 minutes for about 1/2 – 3/4  of a lb of beans, which is plenty to get through a week or so. Plus, the stirring mechanism rotates the beans and once you get your own popper figured out, it’s by far the easiest, most consistent, and repeatable roast method I’ve tried.

Whirley Pop method results on a baking sheet. Pretty even roast!

Whirley Pop method results on a baking sheet. Pretty even roast!

Finding coffee beans


I googled “Green coffee beans for roasting” and found a plethora of sites with beans available. I ended up going with a company called Smokin Beans even though you have to pay for shipping. They had reasonable prices and great product descriptions of the type of coffee, grade, acidity levels, and flavors. Plus, once you order from them, they include a code for 20% off your next order and free shipping which saves $7 plus the 20%. Not too bad at all. I stick to their Nicaraguan Jinotega beans mostly and on Amazon they are $22 per 5 lb. bag. The first order was $28.50 all total so $5.70/lb to start with which is still a reasonable price for fresh roasted coffee! With free shipping and 20% it comes in at $20 per 5 lbs or $4/lb.* Not too shabby! You can get smaller bags of beans than 5 lbs, however, the price goes up with the smaller amounts.

Fun and Fresh


The beauty is that you can roast your beans to whatever level of roast that you like, you can even experiment with different roast profiles because, well, you have 5 lbs to go through. Sometimes I like it lightly roasted and sometimes I’ll go for the medium or darker roasts. I never expected that I could get fresh roasted coffee for that cheap though. I can roast it over the weekend, on a weeknight, or whenever I run out of coffee because it only takes about 15 minutes.

The expensive fancy machines do seem to make it easier however. With them, you can set the desired roast levels, they also offer smokeless options, and they typically have a blower to remove the chaff that will come off of your coffee beans and they’re more set it and forget it type of roasting. While the popper method is a little more labor intensive, it doesn’t have a $150 – $370 start up cost.

That’s my DIY summary of coffee roasting. Fun, inexpensive and you can try different coffee varieties and roast profiles. No need to invest in any fancy equipment either, but be warned, once you roast coffee in your Whirley pop, if you get one, I wouldn’t recommend cooking popcorn in it. Unless you really like the taste of coffee popcorn.

After doing this for over a year now, this is one unexpected hobby that has stuck around.


Have you found an unexpected DIY that saves you money? Would you want to try roasting your own coffee?


* – On Amazon the price is ~$3 per 5 lb. bag cheaper, but you pay $7 for shipping. On their site you don’t pay for shipping with their loyalty code, but the cost is a bit higher, hence the higher cost per lb than it would be if you started at $22 per 5 lb bag. Go figure.

Also, I haven’t added any affiliate links here, rather just links to helpful sites that I came across when i first started getting into roasting. There are probably cheaper places to get green coffee beans, but this is one I like because they’ve been consistent and fairly priced.

32 thoughts on “Fresh Roasted Coffee: Delicious and Cost Effective!

  1. TheMoneyMine

    Oh, home made roasted coffee, that’s a cool hobby! This little 20$ popcorn machine looks like the perfect roaster, I had no idea it would be so easy and so inexpensive. Great find!
    On the DIY side, what I do these days is homemade pesto (basil from the garden). It is much cheaper than the regular store kind and it’s much more tastier.
    I also bake my own bread most weeks in a bread machine + oven. The process itself takes time, but it requires only 15min of work from my part. My wife now refuses to eat the bread from the store so I guess it’s good.
    Homemade stuff is always the best!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I was in the same boat, no clue it could be that easy and inexpensive.
      Homemade pesto sounds awesome! We don’t have much luck with growing basil outside, but before i put up the solar screens our bathroom was a perfect hothouse and the basil took off in there.

      Mrs. SSC is a big bread baker as well. It’s amazing how little time it actually makes. She’s still trying to work out how to get it more sandwich size, as currently most of the loaves turn into the equivalent of “sandwich sliders”. Still tasty though!

  2. The Green Swan

    Perfect timing on this post, since you mentioned this to me I’ve been starting to research it a bit. Good to know on the whirly pop!

    I mentioned the idea to my wife and she gave me one of those looks like I must be crazy, but she’s warming up to it. I’ll have to research a bit more before we’re ready but this post helps a lot. Thanks!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That article of yours was the catalyst to finish this one actually. :) It wasn’t until writing it that I realized I’ve been roasting coffee for over a year now, so it’s stuck around too. If you want to try it on the real cheap, I can send you about 8 oz. of green beans and if you have a toaster oven or just use the regular oven, you can try it and see what you think. Just PM me an address. :)

  3. The Money Commando

    I’ve recently made the transition from coffee dilettante to full full time coffee snob. I found two things that really enhanced my enjoyment of my coffee.

    First, I started grinding my own coffee each money instead of buying reground coffee. I liken this to the difference between freshly ground pepper vs. pre-ground pepper. There’s really no comparison between the depth of flavor you get with freshly ground coffee.

    The second change was switching to using a French Press instead of a drop coffee maker. I think this makes less of a difference than using freshly ground coffee, but it think the coffee tastes “fuller” when I use a French Press.

    That all leads to the big question – does roasting your own beans lead to better tasting coffee, or is this purely a way to reduce costs for good coffee?

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree, grinding my own coffee has been a staple for over a decade now, and I’ve been using a french press for the last 5 years. I recently switched back to a drip coffee maker now that I’m rolling out at 5:40am and just use the convenience of the drip maker for the to go cup I take.

      The roasting beans was purely a curiosity at first, but it does make a difference in coffee flavor. It reminds me of all grain brewing versus using pre-made malt syrup. You can taste the difference, but it’s hard to describe – more of a fresh brighter flavor? It depends on the bean and roast level too. I find the Nicaraguan beans taste better to me at a moderate roast, but the Ethiopian beans I tried were better more lightly roasted.
      It was just a bonus that it also is pretty cheap for fresh roasted whole beans.

      If you’re interested, I can send you a small’ish ~8oz size of Ethiopian beans and you can try it out. I found that brand was a bit more acidic for me as I drink lower acid coffee now. It’s got a good flavor, but just a bit more acidity than I like. Go figure. Just PM me your address if you’re interested and I can mail you some beans to try out. The oven method works alright, it just gets a little smoky…

  4. Edifi

    Man, this sounds like a perfect next thing to try. We’re diy throughout the kitchen: cider, roasted nuts, Indian food, bbq hummus, yoghurt (and skyr, yum!), nut milks, thai tea. Yoghurt is a good one cause it’s a springboard into other fermented sauces and foods. Definitely appreciate the lack of affiliate links, too!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yeah I had no idea it wasn’t expensive or time consuming. :) It’s definitely fun.

      I can understand affiliate links, but those sites were jsut the couple that I went to that were useful and had lots of helpful things or I use them and they are efficient and easy to use. There could be cheaper places, but since I use them, hey why not put a link? Haha

    2. Mr. SSC

      Seriously, it’s pretty inexpensive start up cost, and can be pretty cheap for whole bean and fresh roasted later on. It at least rivals the grocery store bulk bean price, so hey, there’s that.

      Also, if you want to try a sample of beans, I ahve some Ethiopian beans I could send you. Just PM me an address if you’re interested and i can mail out about 6-8 oz of those beans. Then you could try it and see if you’d want to do it more often.

  5. Julie@ChooseBetterLife

    I’m one of the genetic freaks who don’t like coffee or tea–my whole family experiences them as way too bitter.
    I’m not sure if this is good or bad. It keeps my teeth whiter and makes me less likely to rely on caffeine (that is, since I quit drinking Diet Coke by the gallon), and Starbucks holds absolutely zero appeal for me. However, people enjoy their coffee so much sometimes I feel like I want to join the club!

    1. Mr. SSC

      I just read an article about genetics being related to coffee drinking, and caffeine consumption in general, so there is an actual genetic marker that makes someone more predisposed to drinking coffee, tea, caffeine drinks. :)

  6. Ms. Montana

    Shoot me might have to try this! Mr. Mt has taken up all sorts of hobbies during our year long sabbatical. We both love learning new skills and finding fun hobbies that either grow our net worth or save some cash. This might fit the bill! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Mr. SSC

      This is an interesting new hobby and has a lot of room for experimentation with different roast profiles and flavors. I mean, if you have the time and already drink cofeee, then why not spend 15 minutes every other week roasting some beans too? :)

  7. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    “You can roast in your oven, use a skillet, re-purpose a popcorn popper . . .” This is news to me. I considered home roasting & grinding of coffee to be a pricey luxury for the rich or the coffee aficionado. The popcorn popper method is the most surprising to me : )

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah I think the art of manliness link (if you google how do I roast my own coffee) had a brief history of roasting and how almost everyone used to roast their own coffee. Even in the civil war, they’d just use their cast iron skillets and stir the beans over the campfire to roast them.

      I haven’t tried the air popper method, but that whirley pop works great for about 8 oz batch, and their customer service can’t be beat.

  8. Mrs. PIE

    More serial hobbies, I love it! And I can see this one getting added to my list right now! Mr. PIE joked the other day (as I was talking about optimal bean grinding) that I should roast my own. We both laughed having no idea that it was actually something we could do. I’m dying to try this out!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, I also thought it was just expensive and complex but it turns out that it used to be that everyone had to roast their own beans. Plus, the green beans are as cheap or cheaper than already roasted ones at the store, so double bonus there. :)

      If you want a bean sample, just PM me with an address and I can send over enough to try ~6-8 oz or so. It is kind of fun.

    1. Mr. SSC

      It is a fun hobby and easy start up costs. :) Mrs. SSC does the cold brew and it works well for her. Now not as often, but it is a smoother way to make coffee.

  9. Mrs Groovy

    Who knew? I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years it’s this easy. When Mr. Groovy eventually builds his pizza oven, I wonder if that would work well. I’m bookmarking this, for sure. Thanks!

    1. Mr. SSC

      A pizza oven sounds like fun too! I’ve tinkered with the idea of making a drum roaster that would work on my grill similar to a rotissery style crank, but it seems a bit overcomplicated. This is the only time I wish my grill had a side burner so I could just roast outside, but beyond this one application, I’ve never wanted a side burner. :)

      Lots of ways to skin a cat, or roast coffee so I’m sure you could adapt the pizza oven. I’d be curious if the smoke would end up making it smell more like coffee than pizzaa eventually though. My popcorn popper can’t be used for anything else now except coffee because of the oils and “roastiness” of the coffee smell. I’d read the same can happen with toaster ovens, if they’re used habitually. Mine hasn’t developed a smell in the 3x I used it, but I could see how that could happen.

  10. ZJ Thorne

    I used to live with a family who did this with a big ole coffee roaster in the backyard. It was delicious, but stinky. I didn’t know that there were cheaper ways to make this a reality.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It can definitely stink up the house, if you don’t like the smell of roasted coffee. :) I like it, but it can be a strong smell especially if you try for a stronger darker roast.

      Yeah after a little research, I found some cheaper ways to get it done.

  11. Finance Solver

    This is the most novel DIY project I’ve ever heard of! I haven’t roasted my own coffee (I’m not a big coffee drinker either, one cup will make me stay up all night..) but a great read for people who make the occasional trips to Starbucks and paying a premium for a commodity item.

  12. Dividends Down Under

    I love that you’ve named yourselves after coffee and you are experts on it, very impressive :)

    I can’t say that we’re amazing at any particular hobby that helps us, not yet anyway. We’ve built some IKEA furniture before lol.


    1. Mr. SSC

      Hey, IKEA furniture is nothing to scoff at. Those pictorial directions and allen wrench assembly options test and break my patience every time. :)

      The coffee name did come around because it is a big part of our lives. We thought, “If only we had more time to slowly sip coffee…” Ahhh, like right now as I’m typing this reply, and just sipping coffee while the kids are literally bouncing around and playing. :)

  13. nicoleandmaggie

    My DH got an attachment to modify a rotisserie chicken thing for our grill that he uses to roast coffee beans. It’s somewhat better than the oven (I can’t tell the difference, but he can.)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s another way to go too, and it looks like a larger version of the smaller expensive countertop roasters. It’s amazing how many ways there are to roast coffee beans when you start looking into it. When asked if I can tell the difference about fresh roasted versus regular store boght beans, it depends on which I’ve been drinking more of. If more roasted coffee, I think, “Meh, it’s good, but I don’t know if I can tell.” Then when I’ve been drinking more store bought and have some fresh roasted I think, “Oh yeah, there’s totally a difference.” :)

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