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is home roasting worth it?
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Discussions > Coffee > Home Roast > is home roasting...  
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Smclaughlin
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Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 5:44pm
Subject: is home roasting worth it?
 

I have been moving up the ranks on coffee knowledge and was wondering if any body has any suggestions  is home roasting an overall advantage in regards to $ savings ,time, quality is it worth the hassle....any advice is appreciated      ...... thanx
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Owl
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Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 8:08pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

You should read through some of the threads here. Home roasting is absolutely worth the investment. You'll never have a better cup of espresso or coffee than the one you've sweated over in your own kitchen.
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MerleApAmber
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Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 10:42pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

+1; but I'm only a couple months in. If you've the time and interest it's quite enchanting.
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oldgearhead
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Posted Sat Feb 2, 2013, 6:03am
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

I doubt if you will save much money.
1) The high grown beans I'm using this month cost 5.50 USD/pound, delivered.
2) Roasting will shrink the original 456 grams of greens to 375 grams of 'first-crack' coffee.
3) The 375 grams of coffee will mix with 260 ounces of water to make about 212 ounces of drip coffee. (some stays in the grounds)
4) That's around 26 cups of drip coffee for 21 cents each.

I built my own one-pound, heat-reclaiming, fluid-bed, roaster for a material cost of 520 USD plus several hours of labor.
It takes me 15 minutes to roast and cool one pound of green coffee plus an additional 5 minutes for bean inspection and jar filling.

The end product is well worth the effort.
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JonR10
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Posted Sat Feb 2, 2013, 6:23am
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

I find it an interesting and rewarding hobby, but it's not for everyone.  It takes some practice to produce decent results, and it takes somedevotion if you want to make anything comparable to the artisan pro roasters out there.  

But after some time and some practice, it certainly is possible to produce great results at about 1/2 the cost per pound (when compared to the artisan specialty roasts).  I spend 1.5 to 2 hours per week, usually on Saturday morning, roasting 4 to 6 pounds using my US Roaster Co. sample drum roaster (1 pound batches).  

And there's lots of online support from users' forums and of course at SweetMarias and the coop and buying club, and it can be plenty of fun to play around with different types of coffee at different roasts levels, and also blending for drip and espresso.  Plus I like being able to keep a "stash" of many different types of coffee since green coffee is good for about a year.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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BarryR
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 5:32pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

I think one is likely to save a little money. It all depends on variables like how much coffee you consume, price of beans you use, etc. but if you consume the same amount of coffee and use the same quality of beans I think you easily would save several dollar or more per lb.

Regarding the "is it worth it" question: I think if you care about the difference between high quality beans and don't mind having to keep on top of the roasting it's worth it (especially if you don't want to order fresh roasted beans for about $15/lb.

It's not high effort but it does take some effort. I have a Behmor and love the convenience and abiltiy to roast up to 14-16 oz at a time.

So, it all depends on what you want and what matters to you. My wife likes my coffee a lot, but to her it certainly wouldn't be worth it if she were the one who had to do the roasting. For me, it's a fun hobby.
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AlexKilpatrick
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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2013, 6:15pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

Be sure and check out Sweet Maria's sampler:  http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmarias/coffee/samplers/green-coffee-sampler.html?source=side

You can get 8 different kinds of coffee for $5/lb.  A neat way to experiment with a lot of different varieties.

Note that some people feel this is the absolute wrong thing to do, and that you would be better off getting 40 lbs of 1 type of coffee and trying to roast it consistently.  But I find the variety has an appealing randomness.
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dspear99ca
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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 8:35am
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

Whether or not roasting your own coffee is worth it is a purely personal decision.  There are a number of factors that contribute on an ongoing basis to my decision to roast.  I enjoy being able to keep 8 kinds of coffee in the house without worrying about it going stale... I roast small batches in a hot-air popcorn popper which takes about 15 minutes start to finish to end up with about 5 double-shots or single-serve french presses of product.  I could scale it up and in fact always seem to be considering a roaster, but for now the popcorn popper works well and my investment to date in equipment is $0.  I live in a smallish city with limited options for good coffee, roasted or otherwise, so I very much enjoy the quality of my home-roasted product.  Right now I'm enjoying a Kenya Nyeri AB Gatomboya from Sweet Maria's, roasted to Full City (last night!) and I've gotta' say, it is delicious.  One thing that got me started roasting was having a great cappucino at Caffé Artegiano in Vancouver (BC) a few months back.  They had beans for sale, and although I kind of choked at the $23 price, I bought a pound (or 400g, or whatever they were selling).  First thing I noticed when I got home was that the beans had been roasted 3 weeks previously so that by the time I finished them they were more than a month old, which got me to thinking... for $5 a pound I could buy Sweet Maria's beans, roast them myself.  I save some $$, have reliably awesome coffee beans, and also I enjoy tinkering with the roast to find the perfect brew.  Win-win-win.  YMMV
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kschendel
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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

A consideration for me is that green beans keep (much) longer than roasted.  I can keep a variety of different greens around and roast whatever appeals to us at the moment.  If we get tired of (say) an Ethiopian dry process, I can open up a bag of Central American, or Sumatra, or whatever, and roast that.  We don't go through all that much coffee compared to some folks, and if I were to attempt the same thing pro-roasted, some of it would go stale before we could use it.

You'll probably save a few dollars per pound.  If you put $900 into a Hottop it will take a long time to recoup the investment, if ever, but you'll be in control.  Of course you don't have to spend $900 on a roaster!  My sr500 roasts are not consistently as good as the very best artisan roasters, but they beat the pants off anything I can find on a grocery shelf.  Plus, I enjoy it.
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Kaffeeliebhaber
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Kaffeeliebhaber
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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2013, 6:10pm
Subject: Re: is home roasting worth it?
 

There's various reasons to roast.  I love the idea of having fresh beans anytime I want.  It's best to start small in terms of the amount of money invested until you know for sure you like doing it.  You can start with an industrial heat gun and colander...or purchase west end poppery.  I didn't find it completely necessary to splurge for a several hundred dollar roaster until I learned the basics with a poppery.
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