Home Roasting Chaff Question


New member
Mar 29, 2005
DFW, Texas
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Okay, I have this issue with the fact that I am not King Midas, and everything I touch does not always turn to gold. However, I'm willing to admit this momentarily in order to get some help.

I know this isn't the best way to be doing things, but living paycheck to paycheck, it's my only current option. I am home roasting with a popcorn popper. I've used a few different kinds/brands/styles, and each time I have the same issue... chaff is left on my beans in the crack, and won't come out. Consequently, when ground, it looks like sawdust fell into the coffee.

It tastes great, that's not the issue. I just am interested in giving some home roasted coffee to family (as gifts, to test out for me, etc) and want it to at least look how it's supposed to.

The chaff issue happens no matter how light or dark I roast, it's pretty consistent. And it's easy enough to remove from the outer part of the bean, but the problem I'm having is when it's stuck in the crack, if that makes any sense. I can take some pictures tonight if that will help.

Thanks in advance - maybe with your help I can feel a little more like Midas next time I roast. :)
Turn your family and friends onto decaf! :D
Not only does the coffee look better, but your kitchen will not have chaff everywhere.

Seriously, I have a giant stainless steel colander, that I put in my freezer about 5 minutes before I preheat my Whirley pop. When the coffee is almost roasted, I pull my colander out of the freezer, dump the beans in it, and run outside. I shake the colander vigorously until most of the chaff is knocked off the coffee. My biggest problem is the coffee is not roasted evenly. It tastes OK, but it is too ugly to give away as gifts!!
The center stripe of "chaff" in the roasted bean is the normal "silver skin" of the green seed that remains after roasting. It is 100% coffee and normal...do not worry about it. It is more evident on lighter roasts and in coffee that is "air cooled" versus "water quenched". Dark roast styles, staling (or age), decaffeination, and some commercial grinding and packaging systems minimize the appearance, but it is normally still present in all roasted coffee. The chaff is trapped in the filter during brew processes, anyway.
I toss my roasted beans into a metal sphagettie strainer and go nuts with a wooden spoon (over the sink!). It gets the majority of the skins off but I find its near impossible to clean out the crack of every bean. I highly doubt any one will be offended by it, thats what makes it home roast ;)