Cast Iron & Kona Beans

green coffee beans

It was 6:30 a.m., and I hated the world. I pulled my strawberry shortcake sleeping bag over my head.  All I wanted was 5 more minutes of sleep. Instead,  I was rudely awakened by my father singing at the bottom of the stairs. It was his  morning wake-up song.  “Nothing could be finer than eating at Daddy’s Diner in the morning.” My eyes were nothing but slits as I stumbled down the stairs, shuffling  toward the kitchen. I bellied up to the table and reached for the warm cup of love.  I was six years old.

My love affair with coffee began as a child with a simple percolator pot.  During my hung over 20’s, I graduated to the drip style coffee maker and cheap pre-ground coffee. At some point, my coffee maker took a shit, and I was too broke to buy a new one.  So I resorted to boiling the ground coffee in water over the stove and pouring it through a paper towel.  I was in my 30’s when I discovered the French Press Pot, and that’s when my whole world changed. I bought specialty coffees, whole beans and a grinder. My latest craze has become roasting my own coffee beans.

It’s true. My name is Nomadic Chef,  but you can call me Chef and I am not just addicted to coffee. I’m  at the mercy of coffee.

Buying pre-roasted specialty coffees can be expensive ranging from $6.00-$20.00 per pound. I’m  working toward sliming down the cost of more expensive purchases in life.  Frugality is the new PC term for being  a cheap ass.  I did some research on roasting beans and  found a  deal on Amazon– 5lbs of coffee for $22.00.  What the hell,  that should leave me plenty of room for fuck-ups.  I read that many people have had success with roasting coffee beans in a popcorn air popper.   But what they don’t tell you is that you need an older model popcorn popper, because the newer ones have a built in sensor that shuts the heating element down when it reaches a certain temperature so that it doesn’t catch fire. It took me 6 hrs to roast my first batch of dark roast coffee with the Stir Crazy Popcorn popper. When I brewed my first batch of java it tasted like weeds.  I attempted the same method one more time with the same result. Discouraged, I decided to try out my old friend, the cast iron pan, and I’ve been roasting ever since.


Benefits of home roasting:

  • You control the roast of your beans.
  • Cost savings.
  • Guaranteed freshness.
  • Definitely the cool kid on the block.

Things you’ll need:

  • High sided cast iron pan or cast iron dutch oven.
  • Wooden spoon or high temp rubber scraper.
  • 1lb green coffee beans of your choice.


Pre heat your cast iron pan on low for about 5 minutes.

Add the 1 pound of green coffee beans to the pan spreading them out evenly with the wooden spoon.

Stir them occassionally so they roast evenly. After a few minutes the beans will begin to pop and the outer shell will shed off this is the first pop.

Continue stirring until beans become the color of your selected roast of coffee.It usually takes me about 25 to 30 minutes reach dark roast. A good rule of thumb is the save some beans from a previous roast you purchased to compare to the beans your roasting until you get the hang of it.

Once the beans are roasted dump them out on a cookie sheet, spread evenly and let cool 24 to 72 hours before grinding to allow the coffee to de-gas and be at an optimal flavor. Grinding too early can result in a metallic tasting brew.

Store your beans in an air tight container for up to 3 months.


It took  me a few trial runs before I actually achieved  the roast I enjoy. The little effort it took was well worth the satisfactin of drinking my own brew. Cost savings is another bonus. My house hold goes through about 2lbs of coffee a week at an average cost of $7.00 per lb and $56.00/month. Roasting my own the green beans cost $20.00 for 5lbs. That is a monthly overall cost of $32.00 and savings of $24.00/month.