In the article Roast Your Own, I showed you how easy it is to home roast coffee using a popcorn popper, but I didn’t mention the popper roaster’s nemesis: Old Man Winter.
Cold winds and bitter temperatures have a negative impact on outdoor roasting in a popper. Coffee roasting requires a high temperature and when the cold winds start whipping around the machine, the coffee beans are cooled. The lower the roast temperature, the longer the roast will take. There are many good aspects of slow roasted coffee, but cold temperatures can be deadly to your roasting efforts. Simply put: if the roast gets too cold and takes too long the final result will be unpalatable coffee.
Should we give up on home roasting during the winter? Should we deprive ourselves of fresh home roasted coffee? NO! My goal was to devise a method to fight off the cold temperatures and to roast great-tasting coffee. For this article I had a fellow roaster in San Diego, California roast the exact same type of coffee bean as I roasted in Columbus, Ohio. Could I get the same roasting times in a sub-freezing environment as I could on a sunny day in California?