How To Make Fresh Coffee At Home

Roasting Guide

Roasting coffee beans can be done in multiple ways, from electric stove top, to gas or wood fired braai, in the oven or even in a popcorn machine. The ideal hardware is a rough finish flat based cast iron pot, as they retain their heat well and aid in shedding the skins from the beans, however any pot, pan or wok will do.

Hardware for oven roasting varies slightly as you would need something that is perforated, like a vegetable steamer (the one with the 'leaves' that fold down).

  • Whatever you do, DO NOT add any oils or spray and cook etc. to your pan. This is a dry roast.
  • Whether you are roasting in the oven, on the stove or the braai, you will need to stay close to your beans.

Stovetop or Braai roasting

The more you roast, the more queues you'll pick up. Visual queue - colour brown, audio queue - first and second crack, smell - nothing, then popcorn, then sweet caramel, then burning (even though your beans may not be at the over burnt phase.)

The simple version: Pour raw beans in pot, stir till brown.

 Ok, so the detailed roast method:

  • Turn on your stove to fairly hot / use hot coals from the braai
  • Pour beans into pot or pan of choice, and allow to heat up. Once you smell popcorn, start stirring occasionally. This could up to 3-5 minutes
  • Once you hear the first few beans reach first crack, we suggest stirring more often, however there is nothing wrong with an inconsistent roast. It actually provides a very flavoursome coffee, with the blend of dark and medium roasts in one cup.
  • Turn the heat down to medium in order to retain control, and reduce the smoke levels. (You can of course keep the heat on high as you will get a faster roast, but then stir constantly so that your beans don't burn)
  • Once you reach your colour of choice, pour your beans onto a plate, or cooling object, and allow to cool
  • Once cooled, either sift the beans to remove the husk, or take them outside and blow the husk off into the garden.
    • Now you can grind as much as you like, but keep in mind that coffee satrts to loose flavour quicker in its ground format than in beans, and, coffee is kind of like a good curry. It always tastes better the next day, so leave a little bit for another day.

To choose the colour that you want, we recommend you take some beans from your favourite brand that you traditionally use, then work toward matching that colour. After you've made your first cup of coffee that you're happy with, try roasting for a shorter or longer time and taste the difference.

First and second crack: Your beans will all crack at different times, so while it's an audio queue to listen out for, bear in mind that the fist beans 1st crack could be a minute or 2 until the last beans 1st crack.

Once you get to second crack, your bean flavour starts to deteriorate rapidly, so if you are wanting a French or Italian dark roast, be very careful a this stage.  Also, your beans can reach up to 250 degrees Celsius, so you will need to cool them down very rapidly in order not to lose more flavour even after you have taken them off the heat.

Roasting times vary depending on a few things, but in general we say about 15 minutes:

  • Flavour of the coffee required - a lighter roast will have more of a florally flavour, whereas a medium to dark roast will have more chocolate, nutty, tobacco flavours, but keep in mind the bean origin plays a big role in this flavour profile, and that once you start going past second crack, and the beans start nearing the colour black, they start to lose their origin flavour and start to taste more bitter.
  • The hardware of choice - A cast iron pot will be the fastest, but you can get some good control with a frying pan, a cast iron pot also gives your roast a bit of a smokiness that a frying pan doesn't.
  • The Heat source - a gas stove gets hotter than an electric stove, however a cast iron pot on the braai could be even faster.

 And that's the whole stove top roasting saga. It really is as easy as that!

Notes on roasting flavours

Lightly roasted beans will exhibit more of its "origin flavour" (the flavours created in the bean by its variety, the soil, altitude, and weather conditions in the location where it was grown etc). As the beans darken to a deep brown, the origin flavours of the bean are taken over by the flavours created by the roasting process itself. In darker roasts, the "roast flavour" is so dominant that it can be difficult to distinguish the origin of the beans used in the roast.

Trial and error is the best way for you to distinguish how long to roast your beans. If you like a strong coffee, a darker roast than fits your palate, however if you prefer a softer, smoother coffee (generally known as an Americana), then don’t over roast your beans. A soft brown colour will do.


  • On average, the beans lose about 18% of their weight once roasted.
  • Beans swell during the roasting process, but lose weight.
  • You require approximately 25g of green beans per 2 cups of coffee. This equates to about 10g of ground coffee per cup (depending on your brew method).
  • You will hear the beans crack a couple times during roasting. These are known as the first and second crack. They all crack at different times though, so don't base your roasting time on the cracks if you are a beginner.
  • The lighter the roasts, the more of its "original flavour" will be tasted.  As the beans darken, the less you can taste these ‘origin flavours’ and the more you start to taste the ‘roast flavour’. If roasted too much, they start to taste burnt.




All blade grinders are basically the same. The blades effectively chop at the beans, add heat and the particles are inconsistent in size. A finer grind is achieved by leaving the grinder running a little longer. Blade grinders are minimally acceptable for medium to coarse uses. They achieve an acceptable grind for drip, pour-over and press brewing, but not for Espresso or Turkish.

Blade grinders are also known to break easily, and to rust. The combination of the heat and the rust can cause the flavour of your beans to change substantially. Due to the chopping motion, less flavour is extracted from the bean. All round, this is not the best way to grind your beans, but it is affordable.


Burr coffee grinders come as electric or manual models. The consistency comes from a moving blade set at a defined distance from a stationary blade so the beans are ground to a certain size before passing to the collection chamber. The blades are either conical or flat.

When evaluating an electric burr grinder, look for a strong durable motor. The flat burrs run at a higher RPM and, therefore are louder and add more heat.

Conical and flat burrs are either metal or ceramic. Metal burrs still run the risk of getting hot and changing the flavour of your coffee so ceramic blades are definitely highly recommended. Conical blades generally are good through the smallest of the coarse settings. Flat burrs can take care of all grinds. Most burr grinders also allow you to set your grind size specifically to your brew method.


coffee grind courseness by brewing machine type
A coarse grind will produce weak coffee unless more is used and it is brewed for longer. A fine grind will produce a stronger coffee and does not require to be brewed for long (more suited for coffee machines using pressure).

*The following affects the strength of your coffee: Ground bean coarseness, volume of ground coffee used, and duration of brewing time.

When grinding, always make sure the grind level is correct for the brewing method used:
  • Coarse for French Press
  • Medium for Percolator / Drip Filter
  • Fine for Espresso Machine




Coffees produced around the world can have a variety of flavours; there are, however, some general characteristics for different regions. For mild coffees, focus on Central American or Island coffees. For espresso, try an espresso blend or use Brazil or even Ethiopia as single origin espresso.

For darker roasts and coffees with lots of body, try out Indonesian or Brazilian coffees; these tend to have more body, less acidity and take a dark roast well.

For bright, flavourful coffees, try Kenyan coffees which tend to be more acidic, more citrus, or Ethiopian coffees which can be fruity or bittersweet chocolate.
For a bold, flavoursome coffee, try Guatemala which tends to have a nutty, chocolaty, spicy and fruity flavour, all at once.



Beans from Brazil are often medium to full body, low acidity, milk chocolate and fruity.


Colombia beans are medium bodied, medium acidity, fruity and nutty.


Our roasted Ethiopian beans have a fruity aroma, with notes of berries and stone fruit, and are winy with a silky acidity. This is a full body roast.


RYO Coffee's Nicaragua coffee beans have a mild acidity with flavours like vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, pear, and caramel. It’s exceptionally smooth and tasty.


This strictly hard bean is grown at altitudes of 4 500 meters or higher. Guatemalan coffee beans is a medium- to full-bodied coffee in the cup, often with depth and complexity in taste, almost spicy and chocolaty to the tongue.

Coffees of Guatemala Antigua combine aroma notes of spice, flowers, smoke and occasionally chocolate with acidity ranging from gently bright to severely powerful. It creates a vibrant cup of coffee with a unique smoky finish.


Our own blend of RYO Coffee is made up of a combination of 3 beans: Brazil, Guatemala and Ethiopia.


Organic beans are beans that have been produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides. When roasted, they are smooth, with a slight acidity and balanced flavour.



Green beans can last for many years. As with most products, fresh is best, but raw coffee beans have been found in tombs and yielded amazing coffee, apparently. They should not however sweat, so should not be kept in an overly cold place, nor a very hot place.

You should also try not to leave them on cold cement floors as they could get too cold, and will draw in the surrounding flavours. The general rule of thumb is that if it's an environment you would be comfortable sitting on, then it’s good enough for your beans too.

Extending the shelf life of roasted coffee relies on maintaining an optimum environment to protect it from exposure to heat, oxygen, and light.


Un-ground roasted coffee beans can be stored in an airtight container at standard room temperature. The ideal spot is in your cupboard. The fridge is not ideal as there is too much risk of moisture, and there is honestly NO proof that it extends the life of your coffee.

If you choose to freeze it, then ensure you vacuum pack the lot, and only take them out once. Again, there is no proof that this extends the flavour of coffee so personally we find it an unnecessary process.

Alternatively, they can also be kept in resealable zip lock packaging which keeps flavours and freshness for longer. Whole beans can be stored for between 7 – 21 days (depending on the quality of the beans as well as the origin).


Ground coffee deteriorates faster than roasted beans because of the greater surface area exposed to oxygen .Once ground, you can keep your coffee in an airtight container, The coffee is at best 30 minutes after grinding, but can be stored for up to between 7 – 10 days, provided the container isn’t opened daily.