The heating conditions in an air fryer differ from what traditional fryers offer. So it isn’t surprising that air fryers are growing in popularity. Air fryers do not heat to very high temperatures. And they ensure that heat evenly spreads to all sides of whatever is being fried.
As a coffee lover, the advantages of getting an air fryer go beyond the reasons stated above. Air fryers do more than just fry. They can roast coffee beans, too.
Why you should give air fryers a try over your usual roaster?
Air fryers typically roast coffee beans pretty fast. The roasting process is also straightforward, and you don’t have to worry about smoke filling your kitchen during the roasting process.
This article focuses on how to roast coffee beans in an air fryer in 6 easy steps. In between, we tell you how to figure out when the coffee beans are well roasted and much more.
How to Roast Coffee Beans in an Air Fryer in 6 Easy Steps
Preheat the Air Fryer
The first step in roasting coffee beans in an air fryer is to preheat the air fryer. Most times, people do not preheat the air fryer for various food items. However, with coffee beans, you must preheat.
The roasted coffee beans may come out soggy or stale if you do not preheat the air fryer. You probably don’t need anyone to tell you that stale beans are not desirable.
To preheat your air fryer, set the temperature to between 210-450 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4 minutes. The higher the temperature, the better. If your air fryer does not have temperature markings, set it to ‘High’ for 2 to 4 minutes.
Place the Fresh Coffee Beans in the Air Fryer
Depending on the size of your air fryer, you might be able to place up to 4 cups of coffee beans in the air fryer basket at once. However, be careful not to overload the air fryer.
When placing coffee beans in the air fryer, do not try to pile the beans in layers. No matter how much space you have in there, coffee beans should be arranged in a single layer. So, if you can only place 1 cup of coffee beans in a single layer, do it. It may be tedious, but you will enjoy the output better.
Of course, if ventilation is compromised, heating in an air fryer is compromised – this makes the air fryer useless.
When ventilation is hampered in an air fryer, the circulation of heated air becomes uneven. Consequently, your coffee beans will be roasted unevenly. Then, you will end up with some light roasts, medium roasts, and dark roasts, all in the same batch.
Combining different types of roasts when brewing coffee is not ideal. So, you definitely want to ensure that all the coffee beans roast with the same consistency.
Roast the Coffee Beans to Your Desired Roast Level
Once the coffee beans are inside the preheated air fryer, roast them to the level of roast you want. The ideal roasting temperature for coffee beans is around 350 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. So, ensure the air fryer falls within this range during the process.
Roasting time largely depends on temperature and the type of roast you want. Light roasts have the shortest roasting time, while dark roasts have the longest and medium roasts fall in between.
While roasting your coffee beans, ensure you take note of the time it takes you to achieve each type of roast. The recorded times will guide you in your subsequent roasts.
If you are aiming to get a light roast, listen for the first bean to crack. The first crack sound is pretty audible and clear. So, you won’t have to strain your ears to hear it.
If you are roasting at around 450° F, you should hear the first crack after 5 to 8 minutes. But at slightly lower temperatures, it may come after 9 minutes. Once you hear the first crack, your coffee beans are lightly roasted, and you can remove them from the air fryer.
For a medium roast, wait a bit after the first crack, but not too long. If you wait too long after the first crack, a light roast can quickly turn to a dark roast, and you will miss out on a medium roast.
The first crack lasts for around 60 to 90 seconds. Then about 1 to 2 minutes after, you should hear the second crack. So, immediately the first crack stops, check to see that the beans have turned maple brown. Once you have confirmed the color change, get the coffee beans out immediately. If you wait, you may end up with a dark roast.
If you want a dark roast, wait for the second crack. The second crack may not be as audible as the first. So, look for a color change, too.
As expected, dark roasts are colored deep-brown. So, when your coffee beans become deep-brown and oily, you have your dark roast. It may take around 11-13 minutes to get a dark roast at 450° F.
Roast the Other Batches of Coffee Beans
If your air fryer cannot roast all the coffee beans at once, you may have to repeat the roasting process with multiple batches.
The subsequent batches should be relatively uncomplicated if you noted the roasting time for the first few batches.
Let the Coffee Beans Lose Gas
Once you are done roasting each batch of coffee beans, you must let them degas.
As coffee beans are roasted, some of the compounds within them are converted to CO2. However, most of the CO2 formed builds up within the beans.
Leaving CO2 inside coffee beans is undesirable because CO2 can ruin their flavor. Therefore, you must let all the CO2 go before proceeding to the next stage.
Degassing coffee beans is not complicated at all. All you have to do is set the beans out on a cold surface. Then lay them in a single layer and let the gas diffuse as they cool.
When the coffee beans are cool, you may transfer them to a safe space. However, in the new spot, you should still let them sit out to further degas. Leaving the beans to air out for up to 24 hours helps them lose most of the CO2.
Store the Beans Properly
Once you are done roasting and degassing your coffee beans, the next step is storing them.
Store the Beans Whole
The best way to store roasted coffee beans is in their unground form. If you grind your roasted beans before storing them, they will lose flavor and freshness faster.
Containers and Storage Area
Roasted coffee beans should be stored in airtight containers. The containers should then be placed in a relatively cool, dark spot. Placing the containers in warm areas exposed to light will accelerate staleness.
You can store the beans in a transparent container or a non-transparent container. The beans should be fine if the containers are placed in a spot that is cool and dark.
When choosing between transparent and non-transparent containers, transparent containers are preferred. With them, you can visually monitor the quality of the beans and detect when they start to spoil.
Store in Unit Quantities
For an even more prolonged shelf-life, store the coffee beans in smaller unit quantities. This way, you will not have to open the same container repeatedly.
The more you open the coffee bean container, the more you expose them to air. The more air the beans are exposed to, the higher the chances of spoilage by oxidation.
Pros and Cons of Roasting Coffee Beans With an Air Fryer
- Roasting coffee beans with an air fryer is pretty straightforward. Preheat the air fryer, lay a single layer of coffee beans in the air fryer, roast the beans, and store. While you may not get the perfect roast at the start, subsequent attempts will get you close to what you want.
- Air fryers are smokeless.
- It is pretty fast. In about 8-15 minutes, you get your roasted coffee beans.
- On average, air fryers are not as expensive as most coffee roasters.
- Air fryers are pretty portable and convenient.
- At the start, the coffee beans may roast unevenly. If it is your first time, you should work with smaller quantities of beans. Then as you get better, increase the amount of beans you work with.
- Coffee roasters are smoky, so they produce roasted coffee beans that come with a roasting aroma. Air fryers, on the other hand, are smokeless. So, their roasted coffee beans may not give off the usual heady aroma during roasting.