In this block every week I am answering 3 of the most popular questions about specialty coffee.
This week the question will be ALL ABOUT ROASTING COFFEE – and I’m gonna enter the topic of home coffee roasting, answering most popular questions.
(Follow the category “common questions” for the previous posts, where we talked about arabica and robusta, caffeine, coffee tree and others)
How do you roast coffee at home?
Roasting coffee at home is fun, challenging and will teach you a lot about coffee itself and bring together with other coffee enthusiast – but it is important to mention that the results, generally speaking, in terms of taste, will never be the same in terms of quality of roast comparing to professional roasting, simply because of the equipment.
Nevertheless the equipment for home coffee roasters has been a growing segment of the market the last couple of years. Depending on your budget and your conditions (are you planning to roast in the apartment, house, garage, etc), you can get various machines. They differ, the same as professional ones, by the heat source and its position (gas, electric burner, mainly hot air), the bed/drum construction (drum roaster, fluid bed etc), having or not having a possibility to connect it with a software.
How long does it take to roast coffee?
The roasting time depends on many factors, but the first one, determining all the following ones, is the type of the roaster used. Huge fluid bed commercial roasters, drum roasters of different types, roasters that take advantage of air re-circulation – all of them have different roasting times. So coffee can be roasted in 3 minutes or in 30 minutes, depending on the machine and the system used – and also on the amount of coffee roasted.
The shop roasters that you may see in the coffee shops usually do the job in 10-15 minutes for one batch of coffee.
What are the best coffee roasters for home?
I’ll give you here various types and styles of roasters, some better than others
Nuvo Eco – a nice way to start roasting your own coffee – or you can use a good ceramic Ibrik for that – low budget starting point
Fresh Roast SR540 – the next step after using popcorn popper, fluid bed hot air roaster
GeneCafe – super popular, but pretty limited, electrical heat source, not much control, hard to cool the beans, needs an additional device – good for roasting nuts though
Ikawa – small batches, hot air, a possibility to save the profiles, no gas needed, portable, popular
Kaldi – a big grown up roaster, but … very small
Huky 500T – a big grown up roaster, but in a miniature, need to wait some time for it to be delivered (Taiwan)
Aillio Bullet R1 – a big grown up roaster, but in a miniature
Cormorant CR600 – a big grown up roaster, but in a miniature
Is it worth roasting your own coffee?
Yes and no.
Yes, because you’ll learn plenty about the coffee itself, and you’ll taste really bad roasts.
And no, because without the proper (expensive) equipment (not only coffee roaster, but all other devices that help you understand your green beans better) you will never roast your coffee better than your local roaster.
If you are still into experimenting, I would suggest buying some green beans from your local coffee roaster (if it is possible) – alongside with the same beans roasted. And then compare your results with the professional roast, in a coffee cupping preferably, of course. It is a great way to learn!