【HOW TO】Roasting Coffee Over a Campfire

In recent years, outdoor coffee enthusiasts have been pursuing the ultimate experience in "hand-drip coffee." They grind their own beans, roast them, and even roast the beans themselves! The highlight of camping coffee roasting lies in watching the beans transition from light to dark, bursting like popcorn, both audibly and visually appealing! Of course, the lingering aroma of coffee permeates the mountains and fields.

For coffee roasting at camp, one essential tool stands out:  UNIFLAME stainless steel coffee roaster. It is simple to use yet offering a somewhat professional touch.  Local outdoor coffee enthusiast Ric, who has roamed through Hong Kong and various mountain ranges worldwide, will show us his outdoor coffee roasting techniques!




Owner Profile of "Mountain Coffee"

Ric, due to his work, often finds himself amidst mountains, and it's through this work that he get started with pour-over coffee. He's passionate about hiking, camping, and coffee. Combining these interests, he makes it a ritual to bring along his complete personal coffee kit on every hiking or camping trip, brewing wherever he goes. From the peaks of Hong Kong initially to later destinations like Mount Yari in Japan, Qilai Mountain in Taiwan, and even the Everest Base Camp in Tibet... pour-over coffee has become an essential part of Ric's adventures.

Why Roast Beans

After a hiking trip in Japan, Ric's journey into campfire roasting was ignited by a hand-cranked bean roaster he bought at an outdoor gear store.

One of his most unforgettable experiences was spending three days and two nights with friends at the Ngong Ping campsite, engaging in Christmas camping and bean roasting activities.

Being able to share coffee with friends, spreading the aroma throughout the campsite, is the greatest joy of outdoor coffee roasting.





Roasting Tools and Coffee Beans

Typically, during a two-day-one-night camping trip, there's ample time to indulge in coffee roasting. When it comes to outdoor coffee roasting tools, Ric recommends the lightweight and durable stainless steel coffee bean roaster. Among them, UNIFLAME Bonfire roaster has foldable handles, making it convenient to carry.


Benefits of Charcoal Roasted Coffee

Regarding the heat source, it's recommended to use charcoal. Ric often uses the DOD foldable BBQ stove, which concentrates the heat source, resulting in ideal heating for the coffee beans.

"Charcoal roasted coffee" - just hearing the name evokes the aroma. Roasting coffee beans over charcoal is said to bring out the aroma of the beans the best. Ric believes the advantages of charcoal lie in its stable and gentle heat, and the sight of the charcoal fire emanating from the stove is incredibly soothing.

As for the coffee beans, every time around 200g is sufficient, depending on the number of people enjoying the freshly roasted beans on the spot. In terms of bean selection, Ric's experience suggests that charcoal roasting is more suitable for producing medium to dark roast coffee beans.


Autumn and winter are the golden seasons for Ric's camping bean roasting. Charcoal can first be used to cook clay pot rice. When the charcoal turns red after transitioning from a high flame, you can start roasting the beans by adding new charcoal. Typically, roasting 50g of beans over charcoal in the wild takes about 10-12 minutes.


Camping sites,  mainly designated camping areas within country parks. Currently, there are many paid camping sites with relatively complete facilities.


The roasting of coffee beans is divided into 8 stages, from light roast to dark roast, which is universally recognized. Generally, the roast level is judged based on time, temperature, bean color, and the sound of cracking, with the crackling sound being the most important indicator.

Whether to roast light or dark depends on personal taste. If you prefer a fruity flavor with less bitterness, you can roast to a light to medium level.

As roasting begins, with the rise in temperature, chemical changes occur in the components of the beans, and carbon dioxide gas inside the beans is released. When the pressure increases further, the carbon dioxide gas explodes.

So, coffee roasting is a training in distinguishing sounds and colors.

Got the basic knowledge?


Step 1. Place an appropriate amount of coffee beans into the Coffee roaster. The capacity of the UNIFLAME bonfire roaster is 50g per batch.

Step 2. Place the roaster on the stove and light a small fire.

UNIFLAME Bonfire Roaster


STEP 3. Lift the roaster and, holding it about 5-10cm high away from the flame, use a long wooden stick to flip the coffee beans.


During the hand-cranking process, make sure the net does not come into contact with the flame.

STEP 4. After approximately 5 minutes, the temperature of the beans will exceed 100°C, and internal moisture will begin to evaporate and the beans will start to color. If you continue shaking, the "first crack" will begin, and the color will deepen further. When the cracking sounds are nearing completion, remove from the heat to achieve a "MEDIUM ROAST" coffee.


If you continue roasting, the color of the beans will deepen further, and there will be a slight amount of smoke, indicating that you are about to enter the "second crack" phase, known as "HIGH ROAST". When the second crack occurs, it enters the "CITY ROAST" stage.

If you continue roasting beyond this point, the coffee beans will easily scorch, so handle with care; it's more secure for novice roasters to stop at this stage.

STEP 5. After confirming the desired roast level, pour the coffee beans into a sieve, then rapidly cool them with a handheld fan to lower the temperature. Otherwise, the residual heat within the beans will continue to roast them, affecting the flavor.

UNIFLAME Bonfire Roaster



The Key to Successful Roasting

The success of coffee bean roasting primarily depends on whether the beans' moisture has been sufficiently evaporated, allowing them to expand fully. Visual cues such as uniform color, the presence of expected wrinkles, and absence of scorching are all criteria for judgment.

Ric's Tips for Outdoor Coffee Roasting:

  1. Environmental protection should be a priority. When roasting beans, always use heat-resistant mats and charcoal stoves. Ideally, set up the charcoal stove on a dedicated barbecue stove.

Before roasting, it's advisable to "sort the beans" by removing defective ones and selecting beans of similar size.

  1. In terms of weather humidity, dry weather is more suitable.

Additionally, windy conditions significantly impact the process; wind disperses the heat from the charcoal, making it difficult to concentrate, thereby prolonging the roasting time and affecting the roasting outcome.


Coffee beans - SOLOBITO


[$468 Coffee Roasting Starter Kit] UNIFLAME Bonfire roaster x 200g Green Beans x Kono Tissue Paper