Conventional Coffee bean roasts at around 200-240C at around 11-19mins to ensure Maillard reaction in the beans to create the familiar taste of coffee we all know today.

Could we instead roast the coffee at around 160C where Maillard reaction and caramelization happens, however over longer periods of time say 35-50mins to ensure even browning throughout the beans and also develop a "cleaner/clearer" uniform taste.

Is there any desirable effects or flavor profile that it will miss out due to the lower temperature?

  • 1
    Try it and let us know how it tastes.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jul 26, 2020 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


I have had no success at low temperature roasting, I have gone through a number of hacked popcorn popper coffee roasters. This requires some tweaking to get the temperature high enough to get a good roast. As a result, I have wasted a few pounds of beans on “low’n’slow” roasts. If you leave the beans in long enough, they will turn dark. But they never develop robust coffee flavor.

A green bean has no flavor. Lots of caffeine, but no flavor. It is the roasting process which converts bean constituents into yummy coffee-flavored chemicals.

The Maillard Reaction is a specific reaction between amino acids (building blocks of protein) and reducing sugars. It produces specific chemicals like 3-deoxyhexosulose. These products do not provide coffee flavors. Which is good because otherwise your bread and French fries would taste like coffee.

If you roast beans at Maillard temperatures, you will have brown beans that taste like dark toast. But we don’t drink coffee because it tastes like toast. We drink it because it tastes like coffee.

I have given up on popcorn popper roasters. They don’t stand up to proper coffee roasting temperatures. I have switched to a BBQ rotisserie basket. With an eye on the thermometer, it does a very good job and leaves the stinky smoke outside.

  • You say “Which is good because otherwise your bread and French fries would taste like coffee.” as if that's a bad thing. Commented May 31, 2022 at 12:54
  • This has been the opposite of my experience. My popcorn roasters did batches in 5 to 6 minutes. I ended up using spacers and sifters to get that time up to 7 to 8 minutes. My Genecafe does "proper" roasts in like 13-15 minutes (and much more evenly). Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 20:19

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