You Can Roast Coffee In Your Kamado Joe

I have always been enamored with how to roast coffee, yet I never ever thought about roasting coffee in my Kamado Joe.

That was until I recently came across a picture of someone roasting coffee in their Kamado Joe smoker. I thought to myself, “Self, you can do this!”

So after a little more reading and poking around on The Google, I found out that roasting coffee is a simple, yet somewhat scientific process. Yet if you don’t pay attention, you can go from a medium roast to a dark roast to burnt coffee beans.

Equipment To Roast Coffee

In order to roast coffee in your Kamado Joe, you will need the following equipment:

  • JoeTisserie Rotisserie – If you don’t have a JoeTisserie, you are surely missing out. See my review below.
  • Coffee tumbler – I bought the MAYMII coffee roasting tumbler off of Walmart’s website. Can be found on Amazon too.
  • Fresh green coffee beans – I bought my fresh green coffee beans for Sweet Maria’s. This is a great source for coffee roasting.
  • Clean burning charcoal – You will want to use clean burning charcoal so it doesn’t give your coffee a smoked taste. And DO NOT use any smoking woods for your coffee. I used Wicked Charcoal’s Weekend Warrior Blend for my first tumble.

Setting Up Your Kamado Joe To Roast Coffee

The first thing you will want to do is clean out all of your old charcoal in your Kamado Joe. The reason being is that you may still have some old remnants of smoking wood. Smoking woods, plus roasting coffee, equals a smoky mouthful of coffee – which trust me, isn’t a great taste.

After you clean out your old charcoal, I recommend you clean out the ash from as well. Personally, I love using my Pit Hawg from Dustless Tools. The Pit Hawg does a quick picker upper of all of your ash within your smoker or barbecue.

Once you have a clean pit, add clean burning charcoal. What I mean by clean burning charcoal is one that doesn’t impart much of a “woodsy” taste on your meat. You know what I’m talking about. There are certain lump charcoals that when I use them I can immediately taste oak, hickory or even mesquite without even adding any smoking woods.

So for coffee you definitely want to have a clean burning charcoal. For my first attempt to roast coffee I used Wicked Charcoal’s Weekend Warrior Blend. Another charcoal I would recommend that is clean burning is Fogo Charcoal’s Super Premium Blend or Quebracho. And if you’d like to save 10% on your first order of Fogo Charcoal click here.

Fire Up Your Kamado Joe

Light up your charcoal with your preferred method and you will want to the dome temperature up to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to make sure your dome temperature reads in between 425 to 500 degrees, but not more than 500 degrees. If you go over 500 degrees on your dome temperature you are at risk for quickly cooking your beans versus roasting your beans.

Next place the divide and conquer system in to your Kamado Joe with the “X” grate at the lowest setting. This is also the grate you would use for your wok. Then place the two heat deflectors on to the “X” grate, but you will want to leave about a one inch gap directly in the middle. The reason for this is to give a concentrated blast of hot air directly over the middle of the coffee tumbler.

Place your JoeTisserie steel ring in the Kamado Joe. I recommend that you then place the coffee tumbler on to the spit rod, but do not place into the JoeTisserie until after the dome temperature reaches 450 degrees.

Time To Roast Coffee

Now that you have attached your coffee roasting tumbler on your spit rod, add your desired fresh, green coffee beans into the tumbler and close the tumbler latch. For my first roast, I used a mix of Brazilian, Guatemalan and Colombian beans.

Attach the spit rod to the motor, close the lid of the Kamado Joe and turn on the motor. This is where the tricky part begins: listening for the first cracks of the coffee beans. Make sure you keep your lid closed so your temperature doesn’t fluctuate.

If the temperature on your dome is between 425 and 500 degrees, you should hear the first crack of the coffee beans at around 17 to 23 minutes. According to Sweet Maria’s the first crack is “an audible cracking sound as the real roasting starts to occur: sugars begin to caramelize, bound-up water escapes, the structure of the bean breaks down and oils migrate from their little pockets outward.”

At the first crack, the roasting process is considered to be a medium roast and done. If you want a darker roast, you will want to wait for the second crack, which is a more audible and violent crack than the first. The second crack can often occur any where from 30 seconds to 90 seconds after the first crack, so don’t wander away during this process.

Furthermore, although the JoeTisserie performed like a champion for roasting coffee, it has also been suggested that a variable speed motor might make the coffee roasting process more enjoyable.

Finishing Your Coffee Roast

Depending on your level of roast desired, you will want to remove your now roasted coffee beans from the JoeTisserie and quickly move them to a cooling process. The reason you want to begin cooling your coffee beans is to stop the internal roasting process of the beans.

There are a variety of ways to cool your beans. I have seen folks recommend putting the beans into a colander or on drying racks with small holes. Either way, it is a good idea to have a fan at hand to speed up the bean cooling process.

For me, I took one of my frogmats and placed in on to a pizza pan. I then attached a portable fan to my pan and cooled my coffee beans. I am glad I did this outside because when you roast coffee, there is a chaff on the outside of the coffee bean. Depending on the size of the holes on the tumbler, sometimes the chaff will fall out of the tumbler and burn away. Other times, like in my case, there will still be a fair amount of chaff still in your tumbler.

Brewing Your Roast Coffee

Once you have cooled your coffee beans you do not be tempted to drink your coffee. You will want to let your coffee beans de-gas for about 48 hours before you begin to brew your coffee.

Now I will admit, I didn’t wait. Once cooled down I immediately put my coffee into a grinder and made a french press pot of coffee. And I have to tell you, it was spectacular. Very smooth, but just a little too light for my dark roasting pleasure.

So last night, after 48 hours of de-gassing, I ground up some coffee beans and made a cup of coffee. Unlike my first cup 48 hours before, my newly roasted coffee had developed a richer and more complex flavor, taking on the subtle-ness of the coffee beans. And this cup of coffee was even smoother than before, almost a velvety touch to the back of my palate.

Lastly, you will only one want to make enough coffee to last you about two weeks. For some, that might be about one pound of roasting. Make sure you either store your coffee in an airtight container or better yet order a one-way valve coffee bag and place in your coffee in the freezer just like me.

So there you have it. Now you know that you can roast coffee in your Kamado Joe.