How Long Does It Take to Roast Coffee Beans?

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 13 June 2020

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How Long Does It Take to Roast Coffee Beans?

It’s safe to say that most people would enjoy a fresh cup of coffee from the local coffee joint. Yet, these places tend to be a little hard on the wallet when you’re going several times per week. Roasting your own coffee is a great way to cut costs and time!

So, how long does it take to roast coffee beans? It takes anywhere between five and 10 minutes to preheat the stove and the stove-top popcorn maker. It’s another five minutes to reach a light roast and an additional five minutes for a medium roast. Slightly longer will give you a nice dark roast instead. In total, it takes less than 20 minutes.

If you’re worried about how long it takes to roast coffee beans, it’s probably because you’re looking into how to roast coffee beans at home. So, let’s walk you through the entire process from buying the green beans to officially brewing them!

How do I roast coffee beans at home?

Though the best way to roast coffee beans is with an actual coffee roaster, these products will run you several thousand dollars into debt. So, what you’re going to need instead is access to a stove and a stove-top popcorn maker.

You’re going to have to buy several pounds of green coffee beans from your local coffee shop and get the popcorn maker going. It’s as easy as preheating the stove, keeping the coffee beans moving as they’re roasting, and then allowing them to cool.

Buying the Unroasted Beans

To get the whole process started, you’re going to need to buy some unroasted green coffee beans (also known as raw coffee beans). You might luck out and be able to find some at local coffee retailers like Dunkin’ or Starbucks, but you’re most likely going to have to turn to online wholesalers instead.

As much as five pounds (or more) of raw coffee beans sounds like a lot, remember that they do lose a little bit of their weight once they’re fully roasted. So, it’s better to buy more than you think you need than not have enough.

The Roasting Process

Now that you’ve got your unroasted coffee beans, it’s time to make sure that you have a popcorn maker that works on the stove-top. Take a look at the popcorn maker’s suggestions for how much popcorn to add at a time, which is the same amount of coffee beans you’ll be adding.

Now, here’s a step-by-step guide of what you need to do.

  1. Turn the stove on to a low or medium heat setting (be careful not to set it too high, as this will burn the coffee beans!).
  2. Check to see that the popcorn maker is at least 400 degrees and then begin adding coffee beans (it should be about five to 10 minutes).
  3. Continuously crank the handle and make sure the coffee beans are constantly in motion (this is to make sure you’re roasting them evenly).
  4. Wait until you hear the first “crack” about five minutes in, which shows that your coffee beans are “lightly” roasted.
  5. (Optional) Continue until there’s a second crack about 10 minutes in, which is about a medium roast level.
  6. Pour the beans into a container or lay them out on a baking sheet and allow them about 12 hours to cool properly.

It might sound a little complicated right now, but you’ll get used to the process and be able to tell just how roasted your coffee beans are by the sounds and the smells. Make sure you’re paying attention to the cracking sounds to help you to figure out the coffee beans’ current roast level!

What temperature do you use to roast coffee beans?

The actual temperature you’re using to roast your coffee beans at home depends on which roast level you’re aiming for. As you might assume, the higher the temperature, the more roasted the coffee beans will be! As the coffee beans warm-up, they slowly become more roasted.

How Long Does It Take to Roast Coffee Beans?

If you’re a newbie when it comes to roasting your own coffee beans, don’t worry! We’re about to go over the temperatures you should be using to roast your coffee beans based on how roasted you want them to be.

The Roast Levels

The first thing you’re going to need to do is set the popcorn maker to a temperature of 400 degrees before you start pouring in your green coffee beans. Also, ensure that the stove is set to a low or medium heat setting to make sure the heat works its way into the beans rather than just roasting the surface.

While you’ll be keeping the stove burner setting the way it is, the internal temperature of the coffee beans will determine just how roasted they really are. So, here are some guidelines when it comes to times and temperatures for each roast level.

  • Light Roast. These usually cook within five minutes (or when you hear the first “cracking” sound). This usually happens when the beans reach a temperature of about 350 to 400 degrees (175°C – 205°C). Light roast beans are usually light brown and dry.
  • Medium Roast. These usually cook within ten minutes (though your best bet is to listen for the second “cracking” sound). This usually happens when the beans reach a temperature of about 410 to 430 degrees (210°C – 220°C).
  • Dark Roast. These usually only take slightly longer than medium roasts. However, be careful that you’re not actually burning the coffee beans during this process. This roast is usually achieved when the temperature reaches at least 440 degrees (225°C).

Knowing the temperatures you want the coffee beans to reach can be helpful for a successful first roast, but it does require the use of a thermometer and consistent monitoring. Your best bet is to be hypervigilant and listen for the “cracking” sounds that happen at each roast level.

So, how long?

To get the popcorn maker on the stove-top, set it to a low or medium heat setting, and then warm it up to 400 degrees (205°C), you’re looking at about five to 10 minutes (depending on your popcorn maker and your stove).

After pouring in the coffee beans and allowing them to heat until they “crack” for the first time, you’ll be about five minutes into the actual roasting process.

For a medium roast, you’ll need to let the coffee beans roast for up to another five minutes more, or until you hear the second audible crack.

So, in all, you should have a single batch of your coffee beans completely roasted to your liking in a span of fewer than 15 minutes, though we’ll add an extra few minutes for preparation and cleanup.

20 minutes should be an upper limit.

If you’re actually taking into account the amount of time it’ll be from the time the beans are roasted and able to cool and finally be used to brew a hot cup of joe, you’re going to have to add an extra 12 hours to the schedule.


Roasting your coffee beans at home is a great way to guarantee yourself a fresh cup of coffee that you put a little bit of your own elbow grease into. The amount of time that it takes to roast coffee beans really depends on how roasted you want the beans to be. Here’s a guide.

  1. Preheating the popcorn maker and stove: About 5 minutes
  2. Achieving “light” roasting: About 5 minutes
  3. Reaching “medium” roasting: About 5 minutes
  4. TOTAL TIME: About 15-20 minutes
  5. If you include the time it takes to cool the coffee beans down after roasting, add an extra 12 hours!


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