dorkroast Senior Member Joined: 3 Oct 2012 Posts: 78 Location: CA Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic Grinder: Mazzer Mini Roaster: Popcorn Pumper
Posted Thu Nov 8, 2012, 8:32pm Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
I'm fairly new to roasting but I'll give you what I learned right away: You can roast beans at home that are better than coffee you will buy at your local market with really no skill at all.
I started with my $4 Popcorn Pumper and a bit of reading and roasted some Columbian beans the first night that were great. A little over roasted for what I prefer now, but better than the bag of Peet's that I had bought earlier in the week from the market.
The problem with roasting on the cheap as that you have no control over the heat or speed of roast, and ending the roast can be a bit of a guessing game.
Obviously, there is no roast profiling going on when using a popcorn popper- at least in the unmodified form.
The benefits that I've seen from commercial roasters is the ability to stretch the roasts out, the ability to evenly roast the beans, the ability to roast larger amounts per batch, and the ability to repeat results consistently.
I've never roasted what I'd consider to be a "bad" batch of beans. However, I don't get the same product every time. I try to remain consistent, but sometimes the beans don't seem to want to cooperate.
If you can get a cheap roaster, or ever a cast iron skillet, and try it out you can see if it gets you interested. Always easy to cough up money for a professional roaster later. I think this may actually be an addiction as I was looking/groping a roaster today at a local store. (It may have come home with me if my wife hadn't been giving me the evil eye)
Posted Fri Nov 9, 2012, 8:36am Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
I used to live in Cambridge, UK for 7 years of uni, and then in Oxford. I used to use hasbean.co.uk for both green and roasted coffee (and still do when visiting family), and others are available - see the UK subforum or do some googling. The prices aren't any different to in-store or mail order prices here (e.g. £9 for 500g roasted from Hasbean compares very well with the typical $16 for 12oz-1lb here)
I also used to roast my own in UK though - I got an air popcorn popper from a Comet store - it was the display model and missing several components that I didn't need, so it cost me £2. I also got greens from hasbean, and followed the instructions from Sweet Marias. At the more expensive end, the Gene-Cafe roaster is available in a 230V version from e.g. http://www.pennineteaandcoffee.co.uk/ or the iRoast from http://www.greencoffeeltd.co.uk/asp/coffeeroaster.asp I think there's a 230V version of the Behmor, but I can't find it in stock anywhere.
Posted Fri Nov 9, 2012, 10:00am Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
There are a lot of options for roasting-something for every budget. An air popper is a great place to start. It's inexpensive, modifiable, and reasonable durable. If you need bigger batches, I'd look into either a heat gun or one of the DIY roasters (Convection oven with popcorn stirrer, drum for gas grill, etc.)
I used a heat gun for a long time but now I use a Behmor. I traded control for convenience. A down side to roasting appliances is they are designed to work within a certain voltage envelope. If your voltage doesn't match the assumptions of the designer, you need to find workarounds due to limited control over roast times.
I'd still recommend an air popper to start. A few weeks roasting experience will help you figure out if and where to go from there.
smasha Senior Member Joined: 19 Feb 2012 Posts: 32 Location: Cambridge Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sat Nov 10, 2012, 12:41am Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
So using a grinder analogy what is the equivalent of a blade grinder, cheap burr grind, rancillio rocky an mazzer sj?
Also what temperature range is required? What temperature accuracy? Is it like setting an oven and then roasting or does the temperature need to go over a range? How long does roasting typically take? And what sort of power output does an roaster need to be able to roast 250 grams at once?
Posted Sat Nov 10, 2012, 9:00am Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
I don't think that analogy really works. What you gain by spending money tends to be more throughput than quality. Entry level roasters and air poppers tend to roast small batches (75-150g). A heat gun can do 500g for about the same investment.
Finishing temperature is in the 400-450F range (204-232C) depending on how dark you go. Time varies with mass.
I recommend reading this article from Sweet Maria's. There is also more information here.
nboro Senior Member Joined: 11 Nov 2012 Posts: 1 Location: Kansas City Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Nov 11, 2012, 9:34am Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
I don't think you need to spend a lot to get good home roasted coffee. I use an air roaster and a toaster oven. Together I spent less than $75 to get two different kinds of roasting methods. Each have their advantages and I think it's up to the end user to decide which they prefer. I found myself using my toaster oven more. It doesn't quite roast evenly throughout the entire batch, so there is some variance in final roast of each bean. I think it lends itself to a more unique flavor with certain beans.
Posted Sun Nov 11, 2012, 5:10pm Subject: Re: roasting: where to start
Nice choice. :)
For info and for green SweetMarias is probably the best place anywhere to get good green beans. There is a Canadian seller that ships international. They have a huge selection and good prices. :) Green Beanery They also sell wholesale.
If you’re looking for an easy reference for roasting by sight and sound I swear by Wiki. I use it to this day. I can get a consistent roast with my Behmor 1600 just by consulting wiki on my cell while roasting and watching the bean color and cracks.
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