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Welcome to Pan Roasting Coffee!
Dedicated to the Passion, Tradition and Romance of Coffee Roasting.

Impatient? Just want to roast now? Click Here: How to Pan Roast Coffee

"For a traditionalist coffee roasting is an art in the old sense of the word: a hands on experience unfolding again and again in the arena of memory and the senses." --Kenneth Davids; Home Coffee Roasting: The Romance and Revival

In the beginning...

Well maybe not quite that long ago however for over 600 years coffee has been roasted in a pan like vessel over hot coals or fire. It is believed that coffee was first roasted in earthenware pots however others speculate that pan roasting coffee more closely followed the advent of iron working skills. Nonetheless pan-roasting coffee was definitely the original method for roasting coffee and today is still carried out in some parts of the world. As a matter of fact modern roasting devices and even the term roasting are derived from early coffee roasting practices and equipment.

Picture Copyright Ginny Pruitt, Kenneth Davids (c) 1996;
Home Coffee Roasting: The Romance and Revival
Revised, Updated Edition
pg. 40

Early coffee roasting pans were a basin like pan with a very long handle (probably a couple of feet long) so that the pan with the coffee in it could be set over the hot coals while the person roasting the coffee could sit farther back from the heat. Another common roasting tool would have been a long iron or wooden utensil to stir or agitate the beans. Nonetheless the very earliest sessions of coffee roasting were a simple task of rolling or stirring beans in a hot pan over red hot coals or a small fire. Given its 600 plus year history, pan roasting coffee is very easy and with a little practice has the ability to immerse you, the roaster, in a ritual filled with tradition and rich history.

That was then, this is now...

Today there are countless methods and machines available to you to roast coffee from consumer available devices manufactured strictly for roasting coffee to homemade contraptions made by coffee hobbyists. Home coffee roasting is gaining popularity as people learn that truly good coffee does not come from a can or pouch off the super store's shelf.

So given all the options, why pan roast?

The Freshest Coffee Around...

Unless you have a neighborhood roaster who roasts every few days or want to mail order beans every couple of weeks home roasting is the only way to be sure you have truly fresh coffee. Freshness is everything when it comes to coffee. Once roasted coffee begins to degrade at an alarming rate becoming noticeably stale in one week and completely stale in less than two. What was a delicate array of berry, milk chocolate and nut like flavors a few days out of the roasting pan will become a dull, lifeless, bland cup of coffee in only a matter of several days!

It's Easy...

Pan roasting coffee is simple to do and almost everyone already has the few tools needed to begin right now (I use a $12 cast iron pan)! The only real trick to pan roasting is to find a heat setting that is hot enough to roast the beans quick enough without "baking" them while not so hot that the beans scorch. Follow the guidelines on the page linked below entitled How to Pan Roast Coffee.

The Romance...

An amazing romance surrounds the drink we call coffee. From plant to cup every stage of coffee has such a rich history and unique place among global traditions. Pan roasting coffee has the ability to transport you to the old ways of coffee roasting of days long ago. What today is considered an obscure hobby was once a daily chore for children in 18th to early 19th century European kitchens as well as part of an elaborate ritual carried out by Arabian coffee drinkers hundreds of years before that.

You Really Can Do It...

With a little practice you really can do it! The fresh coffee in your cup with it's deep rich flavor and aura of aroma will be a fantastic reward for the time spent, not to mention that in around a half hour you can roast enough coffee for a week! You can also take pride in the fact that you roasted coffee in the same manner carried out for hundreds of years and who knows this may become a wonderful new hobby that you will enjoy for a lifetime!

What does pan roasted coffee taste like?

Depending on how much you roast at one time coffee that is successfully pan roasted can have a smooth body and a deep complexity in flavors kind of like drum roasted coffee or it can have the flavor of fluid bed air roasters that accentuate acidity (tang, or brightness) with slightly less body.

Pan roasting does have a few draw backs though. First since the beans are not covered during the roasting process the beans tend to under roast (this can be avoided by not using too many beans). In other words the outside of the bean roasts farther then the insides of the bean. A good test for this is to hold some of the ground coffee next to the whole bean coffee. If the ground coffee is lighter in color then the roast did not fully develop. Using higher heat to compensate will promote scorching of the outer surface of the beans.

That aside though pan roasting can yield some truly fresh great tasting coffee. Once you find that you'll never go back to the super market pre-ground canned coffee!

How do I get started pan roasting coffee?

Simple, click on the "How to Pan Roast Coffee" link below. Also visit the other linked pages for more information on coffee and home coffee roasting, including the other methods of home coffee roasting!

How to Pan Roast Coffee
Coffee Resources

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