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Anybody else roast their own coffee?

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chefmike

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There is one guy here who runs a commercial roastery... I can not think of who it is or the last thread I saw him in... try searching members with the word roast maybe.

I have not done it yet, too many other projects. But the smell must be amazing!
 

Brewer3401

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I started 1 1/2 years ago with a popcorn popper.

Did that for about 4 months, and my wife got me a Behmor roaster.

Will roast 1# which is nice - I roast 2x per week, 1# each.

Go to the Sweetmarias.com site - they have a lot of good info.

Once you get the hang of it, you can roast better than what you can buy - pretty much the same as when you brew beer.

Good luck and have fun.

One note: If you load up the popper, you HAVE to make sure the beans are moving when you start. They are heavier and if you don't use a wooden spoon to keep them moving, you will have a very uneven roast.
 
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Jared311

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Oh its definitely rewarding. I just brewed a batch of chocolate espresso stout using my own beans.
 
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Jared311

Jared311

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Yeah, I seem to be getting an uneven roast even when stirring like a madman with a wooden spoon. I think the popcorn maker I got might not be suitable.
 

chefmike

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why did you have to bring this up... I have been thinking about it all day aty work. Now I will have another obsession to try and explain. Must I do everything the hard way?
 

caver95

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I plug the popper in on the porch the chaf will start to smell like stale coffee after a while. I would rather that outside than in.
 

chefmike

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the wife is game... I am buying a roaster this week. I am thinking a smaller one, not the one lb job. I got a few other things that need some $$ too!
 

dontman

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That Behmor is a great entre into home roasting. It actually allows for temp profiling.

With the hot air poppers it is kind of like a turbo roaster. Very fast and hard to control. But easy. I have never done this but you can rewire the heating element and the fan so that they are on different circuits within the popper. That way the fan can go full blast but you can dial down the heat that is flowing in.

My favorite home roaster ever was the $25 Whirly pop popper. It worked fantastically and after a couple batches was very easy to manage.

GREAT HOBBY!!! (But obsession making as well. At my peak I had 600 lbs of green beans in my house, 5 different roasters, 3 grinders, and 12 different ways to brew coffee. Now I just have the $600 grinder and $1200 Espresso Machine.
 

chefmike

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Any opinion on the freshroast plus, David? We probably drink 30 to 40 oz of (liquid) coffee a day. I am trying to decide if I should drop the cash on the Behmor, modify the airpopper, or go in between.
 

summersolstice

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Any opinion on the freshroast plus, David? We probably drink 30 to 40 oz of (liquid) coffee a day. I am trying to decide if I should drop the cash on the Behmor, modify the airpopper, or go in between.

I have the Freshraost Plus. I've been roasting for 4-5 years and all but the last year or so has been with a hot air popcorn popper. The popcorn popper works great but, due to the chaff, it has to be used outdoors and it doesn't work well below 50F-55F. You have to get the kind with hot air vents along the bottom sides, not just the center of the bottom.

The Freshroast Plus is great. It has a chaff collector so that isn't a worry indoors. It will set off smoke alarms, so I use mine on my stove top with the vent hood running.

Bottom line:

The hot air popper will roast more at a time and it's inexpensive. It's temperature sensitive and must be used outdoors.

The Freshroast Plus can be used indoors but it's more expensive than a popcorn popper and the amount of coffee it roasts each time is less. However, it's convenient and will do roasts in under 5 minutes.

I've ordered coffee from a few places but I find Sweet Maria's has the best selection and shipping times are usually less than a week. They also sell different brands of roasters and accessories.
 
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Jared311

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How much does a cheapo roaster run for? I am not too successful yet with my popcorn maker.
 

chefmike

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Seems like You can do an airpopper for $25, a stove top for $30, a freshroast for $90, and Iroast for $200 and a Behmor for $300. You pay about $4-$5 a pound for green beans.

Oh, you can also do it on a rotissierie equiped grill, but I did not price that. Smoke and chaff is a concern indoors, reduced with the Behmor, but I think I would do it as above: under the vent hood or on the porch.
 
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Jared311

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I have been using the bottom center air vents and I can see why it is not suggested. I haven't had any luck finding one with side vents.

My biggest problem I have been having is that I can't hear the second crack very well. Do you use a thermometer or have some method that produces consistent results?
 

summersolstice

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Sometimes the second crack is very slight. With the hot air popper I use it's not subtle at all and is very distinctive. With my Fresh Roast I have to listen closely. Generally the first crack is very noticeable and you hear slower and louder "pops", or cracks. The second crack is quieter and faster, sort of like Rice Crispies. If you have trouble hearing the second crack, watch for color changes. IMO, once the beans turn shiny (oily), they're overdone. Some people like certain beans this way but only just shiny and not any more than that or they're burned. Another thing to look for is smoke. When the beans just start to smoke, they're done.
 

nostalgia

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We had the Freshroar...I mean FreshRoast+ for a while. It worked, but is quite loud and tough to get consistent results. My wife recently upgraded us to the Gene Cafe. It's terribly fun to watch :) Besides that, it's quiet (read: you can actually hear second crack), very consistent and you can monitor the temperatures.

With just a little practice, she's been roasting coffee that tastes better than anything I've purchased, including Intelligentsia's espresso blends, which I really like.

We're experimenting with making our own espresso blends now.

-Joe
 

flyangler18

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I'm a heat gun/dog bowl roaster myself. Minimal equipment outlay, and far better control compared to a hot-air popper.
 

dontman

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Sometimes the second crack is very slight. With the hot air popper I use it's not subtle at all and is very distinctive. With my Fresh Roast I have to listen closely. Generally the first crack is very noticeable and you hear slower and louder "pops", or cracks. The second crack is quieter and faster, sort of like Rice Crispies. If you have trouble hearing the second crack, watch for color changes. IMO, once the beans turn shiny (oily), they're overdone. Some people like certain beans this way but only just shiny and not any more than that or they're burned. Another thing to look for is smoke. When the beans just start to smoke, they're done.
If beans turn shiny in the roaster they are way beyond done and into char burnt. Even Starbucks darkest roasts don't get oily shiny until a week or more out of the roaster. The oils are not even released until there has been a violent rupturing of the cell walls within the beans. Once a coffee beans oils have been pushed to the surface the shelf life of that bean may be measured in hours as opposed to days because that oil will go rancid fast. Also there is then nothing to contain the volatile aromatics of the coffee so the coffee will lose any specific character that it had in those oils. The only thing left is roastiness. A flavor that many people have come to accept as the sign of good coffee in this country.

Give me a nice Single Origin City roast anyday. You can actually taste the flavor of the specific bean you are drinking.

For auction tasting we actually roast at what we have come to call Ethiopian style. It is lighter than the lightest City and is often pulled from the roaster mid first crack. This is definitely an acquired taste but it is an excellent way to judge auction lots. It often tastes like grass tea with some dirt thrown in. But you also taste all of the things you see mentioned in bean descriptions such as at Sweet Marias.

In case you can't tell I am a crusader for roasters going with lighter roasts these days. I believe the American palate is ready for such a thing. I love light roasts because they celebrate the bean.
 

chefmike

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I think I am deciding between the iRoast and the Behmor... I am trying to drum up some roasting business to offset the coast of the behmor... friends etc in town.

It may work. I am trying a friends iRoast soon to see hwo that goes. I am pretty excited to try a lighter roast. I imagine this will be like brewing beer in how I started tasting a world of different nuances in the flavor of the end product.
 

Saccharomyces

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summersolstice

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For auction tasting we actually roast at what we have come to call Ethiopian style. It is lighter than the lightest City and is often pulled from the roaster mid first crack. This is definitely an acquired taste but it is an excellent way to judge auction lots. It often tastes like grass tea with some dirt thrown in. But you also taste all of the things you see mentioned in bean descriptions such as at Sweet Marias.

In case you can't tell I am a crusader for roasters going with lighter roasts these days. I believe the American palate is ready for such a thing. I love light roasts because they celebrate the bean.
I prefer almost all my roasts to be in the Full City to Full City+ range. IMO, most of the lighter roasts have a grassy taste. I don't like darker roasts at all. As you say, they taste burned.
 

flyangler18

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Hey flyangler18, could you explain what you mean by this?
Eric beat me to it, Jared! It's really easy to do - and by slowly ramping up the temps, you get a deeper roast profile that you can with the hot air popper, IMO.

Jason
 
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