Stovetop Coffee Roasting in a Cast Iron Pan (or Wok)

Roasting coffee can be as easy as using a skillet or a wok, and a wooden spoon. It’s fun and challenging!

Stovetop Coffee Roasting in a Cast Iron Pan

Other types of pans might be good too if they have very good heat distribution but generally aluminum or stainless steel (without some special bottom) are not ideal.

An induction burner might be quite good for pan roasting; I have not yet tried it. This is NOT how I normally roast coffee at home, since it is nearly impossible to avoid scorching coffee completely.

But patience pays off, and these roasts here cupped very well! -Tom

5 Responses

  1. I roast your coffee outside on my gas grill. My method has evolved over time. I use large cast iron pan. My son gave me a grill pizza stand. I use the bottom portion to get the pan off the grill, this allows the pan to warm more evenly. I warm the grill and pan to about 400-500 degrees. I measure out 12 oz of beans; if I use more the beans roast unevenly. I start a timer and put put the beans evenly in the pan. Every 2 minutes or so I stir the beans, they tend to roast more quickly around the edges. Roasting takes 15-20 minutes depending on the roast and weather; they roast best when the ambient temperature is 50-70. I winnow the chaff, best on a breezy day. Let rest 48 hours, then COFFEE. Disadvantage: winter makes roasting weather dependent. Advantage: don’t have to air out the kitchen.

    1. That pizza stand sounds like a great addition. My issue is trying to get even roasting initially and the direct flame-to-cast-iron contact isn’t ideal in this case. Also sounds like using the outdoor grill means you get more heat from the environment all around the pan and not only from the pan itself- I mean you close the grill to preheat ? And close it some during the roasting?

  2. I have been roasting with a hammered steel wok on a propane coleman stove. I end up with fairly even roasts but I would have quite a few scorchies if my flame was too hot. When I roast with the lower flame it would take 30 min. of constant stirring to struggle to get to first crack.
    I have recently added a heat gun to the process to heat the beans from the top as well as the bottom. It also serves as a chaff removal device as it blows it away during the roast. Being able to keep the heat on the beans from the top and bottom has produced a more uniform roast and has reduced the roast time dramatically. Definitely a messy and smokey process, but the challenge has been worth it and produced some great and not so great results in the learning process. I have now decided to invest in a Behmore 2600AB+ but will always keep the wok in reserve.

  3. Do you season the cast iron when you use a cast iron wok/skillet exclusively for coffee roasting? I’m afraid that the oil would affect the taste of the coffee.

    1. I don’t think seasoning is necessary … I also don’t think it would do much harm provided it was cleaned of any surface oils before roasting. But yeah, I agree if there was oil in the pan on the surface, that would impact the coffee roast flavor…

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