Can You Roast Coffee Beans In an Air Fryer?

Air fryers are becoming an increasingly common sight in kitchens. If you are looking for a device to roast coffee at home, an air fryer might be your solution.

Perhaps you received green coffee beans or want to take your coffee game to another level by roasting coffee yourself. Read on to learn how to roast coffee beans in an air fryer!

Why roast coffee beans at home?

But why should you roast coffee beans at home with an air fryer — or any other method? You’ve always brewed a delicious cup with beans you bought at a store, so why bother?

Convenience has its value. But as a coffee lover, you know that going the extra mile can get you a much more satisfying drink. So what are the benefits of roasting fresh beans?

Coffee quality

After roasting, coffee immediately begins to go stale. Contact with air and light affects its quality, and the roasted beans lose the intense aroma and flavor.

You can slow this process down with proper storage, but in the end, it’s inevitable. Coffee beans you buy at the store may be months old, with little aroma and flavor.

When you roast beans at home, you can adjust the amount based on your coffee consumption habits. This way, you will always enjoy perfectly fresh coffee.

Control of roast level

The ability to fine-tune the roast level is another advantage of home-roasting coffee. This level of control is a dream come true for demanding coffee lovers.

Coffee brands often roast their beans to predetermined roast levels. It may be that the flavor and aroma you like best are just between two common roast levels, and large brands can’t cater to your taste. When you roast coffee yourself, you can make it as light or as dark as you want.

Additionally, the roast level affects the beans’ caffeine concentration. Controlling the roasting process lets you get the kick you need from your brew.

different roast levels of coffee beans

Cost savings

Buying green coffee beans is a budget-conscious coffee drinker’s choice. Fresh green coffee is only about half the price of roasted coffee.

Although coffee prices go up and down depending on where you buy your coffee and the general markets, fresh coffee beans cost about $1-3 per pound. Now compare that to the average price of a pound of ground coffee in the supermarket, which swings back and forth between $4 and $6, and it costs at least double that if you buy specialty coffee.

Personal satisfaction

Roasting, grinding, and brewing coffee with your hands can make drinking your coffee particularly satisfying. At the same time, you will learn more about coffee and everything that goes into preparing it.

On the way to becoming a real coffee expert, you might even discover that being a coffee roaster has been your dream profession all along.

woman smelling freshly roasted coffee beans

Pros and cons of roasting coffee in an air fryer

An air fryer can make roasting coffee beans a breeze, but it’s not a bulletproof solution. Air fryers have advantages and disadvantages, which may not be ideal for every type of coffee.

Pros of air fryer-roasted coffee

  • Consistent results. Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food you place in the air fryer basket. With practice, your beans will roast evenly, and you’ll get reliable, good results.
  • Ease of use. The roasting process is straightforward when using the air fryer method. It is no different from roasting your favorite food in it.
  • Convenience. When using an air fryer, you can get a batch of freshly roasted beans in around 10 minutes. Air fryers are also easy to clean, which makes them even more convenient.
  • Low cost. A high-quality air fryer costs about $150, while home coffee roasters can cost several hundred dollars. Since an air fryer can cook other foods, you can get plenty of use out of it daily.
  • No smoke. Unlike many other roasting methods, coffee beans in an air fryer produce no smoke (unless you burn your beans). You won’t have to worry about ventilation and making your home smell like smoke.

roasted and unroasted coffee beans in canvas sack

Cons of air fryer-roasted coffee

  • Not great for dark roasts. Achieving a light or a medium roast is easy with an air fryer, but it can struggle to produce dark roasts, no matter how long you fry the beans in the machine. It can be done with some air fryers, but if you prefer a darker roast, you might consider other roasting methods.
  • Big machine. An air fryer isn’t a tiny appliance and can take up a lot of counter and storage space. Of course, if you already have an air fryer, this probably won’t be an issue for you.
  • Less aroma. Although air fryers keep your apartment smoke-free, you’ll likely lose some of the intense aromas that professional roasting can reveal in coffee. Although the coffee can (and probably will) taste fine, it may be a deal-breaking difference for demanding coffee lovers.
  • Needs experimenting. Roasting beans in the air fryer takes some practice. You may have to go through a few different bean varieties to find one that suits your tastes, so be prepared to experiment and spend some money on various beans.

air fryer in the kitchen

How to roast coffee beans in an air fryer

So, you are ready to start roasting. But what exactly do you need to do to roast coffee beans in an air fryer?

It’s quite easy to air-fry coffee beans, but there are some important details you should know before your try to roast beans for the first time.

What temperature do you need for air-frying coffee beans?

The right roasting temperature is vital for getting perfectly roasted coffee beans. Set your air fryer to the highest temperature that it can operate at.

The recommended temperature range for roasting coffee beans is between 370-540°F (190-280°C). Unfortunately, the maximum temperature of most home air fryers is around 450°F (232°C).

The beans roast just fine at 450°F, but it’s also the reason you may not be able to get the darkest roasts from an air fryer.

How long does it take to roast coffee?

The coffee bean roasting process with an air fryer is quite fast. Depending on the amount of beans and the roast level, most air fryers will roast coffee in 10-15 minutes.

You shouldn’t grind the beans as soon as they come out of the air fryer. Roasted coffee beans must degas before your grind them, which will take about 24 hours. Excess CO2 will negatively affect the coffee taste, so you must be patient.

roasted coffee beans in aw plate next to a cup of coffee

How to tell if the coffee is roasted enough?

So you have your beans roasting in the air fryer. But how can you tell when they are ready? There are two ways to do this — by listening to the cracking sound or by checking their color.

Bean color

Hot air gradually turns the coffee beans from green to dark brown. By looking at the color, you can tell when they are roasted to your taste.

Judging the color isn’t an exact science, but this handy list can help you determine when you’ve reached your desired roast level.

  1. Green to light brown. The beans are still raw and not ready for use.
  2. Light brown to medium brown. A light roast level. No oil is on the coffee beans’ surface, and the color resembles milk chocolate. Depending on the bean variety, you can expect more complex, fruity, and sweet-flavored coffee with a light body.
  3. Medium brown to dark brown. A medium roast level. You may start noticing some oil on the beans. This roast level is the best for a well-rounded and complex flavor. It is also the most versatile, as you can use medium roast to make pour-over coffee and espresso.
  4. Dark brown. A medium-dark roast level. The beans will be oily and deep brown. The acidity in the coffee begins to disappear, and darker, stronger flavors start to overpower brighter ones.
  5. Dark brown to almost black. A very dark roast level also called espresso or French roast. The coffee beans will be shiny and have dark chocolate color. Many people prefer extra dark roast for espresso, but if you don’t have an espresso machine, you can try making pour-over espresso with it. Coffee made with the extra dark roast beans will have less acidity and an intense bittersweet flavor. When roasting coffee beans this dark, be very careful to avoid burning them. If this happens, your coffee will taste bitter and too strong.

Cracking sound

Don’t panic if you hear loud popping or cracking while roasting your coffee beans in an air fryer basket. It’s perfectly normal for coffee beans to crack twice during roasting as moisture escapes from them. It’s a great indicator of when your beans are ready.

Roasting times may vary depending on your air fryer, but the first crack generally occurs after 8-10 minutes. At this point, you can expect a light roast. Wait about a minute more, and they’ll have reached a medium roast.

The second crack occurs roughly 1-2 minutes after the first. The coffee beans will be a medium-dark roast.

Keep cooking them a minute or two more to produce a dark roast.

light and dark roast coffee beans close up

Step-by-step process of roasting coffee beans in an air fryer

Roasting coffee beans in an air fryer is pretty easy. Follow these instructions to achieve your desired roast level.

  1. Prepare the coffee beans. Weigh your beans so you can start roasting them as soon as your fryer is ready.
  2. Preheat the air fryer. It’s vital to preheat the air fryer before the beans go in.
  3. Put the beans in the air fryer. Spread them in a single layer to keep them from roasting unevenly. An uneven roast will only give you bad coffee. If you can’t fit all your beans in the fryer at once, roast them in smaller batches.
  4. Let the beans roast. Allow your air fryer to roast the beans properly without stirring or disturbing them. Keep an eye on the clock, check for the desired color, and listen to the first and second cracks. Once your beans are ready, note the time to achieve the same results with every batch.
  5. Degas the beans. Spread the freshly roasted beans on a cool surface and stir them a few times. Let them air out for 24 hours. This will remove any remaining moisture and CO2 from the roasted beans.
  6. Grind and store the coffee beans. If you won’t be grinding the roasted coffee beans at once, the best way to store them is in a completely airtight container. Contact with air will eventually make them stale.

Roasting coffee beans in an air fryer

4 other DIY home roasting methods

Using an air fryer is a great method to home roast coffee, but it’s not the only one. Here are a few alternative ways to prepare your green beans for a perfect cup of coffee.

1. Home coffee roaster

Using a purpose-built roaster is easier than preparing your beans in an air fryer. These machines are made from scratch to roast your beans to get you the best results and a strong aroma with little effort. Their downside is that they are expensive, rather big, and have little purpose outside of coffee roasting.

2. Frying pan

A cast iron pan can produce a nice dark roast. Just pour the beans onto a dry pan and roast them over high heat on your stove. Remember to stir the coffee beans often to ensure they roast evenly and won’t turn into charcoal.

dark roasted coffee beans in cast iron pan

3. Oven

An oven is another convenient way to roast coffee beans without buying special equipment. Regular ovens ensure steady heat distribution and can reach a high temperature to roast your beans evenly. Just be aware that there will be a lot of smoke from the oven during the roasting process.

4. Popcorn machine

A traditional, heated-air popcorn popper is a quick and easy method to roast coffee. These kinds of devices can be quite pricey, though. Also, remember that a regular cheap popcorn maker will not reach the high temperature needed to roast coffee.

If you like drinking meticulously prepared coffee, roasting your coffee beans is a fantastic idea. Roasting coffee in an air fryer gives you full control of the process. Start experimenting with your air fryer to find which roast pleases your taste buds the most!

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