The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Any Coffee Roasters here?

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Any Coffee Roasters here?

I have an old bread machine I haven't used for bread for ages.  I took it apart and wired it so the paddle is on all the time and the heater has been removed completely.  I also removed the plastic from the lid and replaced the viewing window with aluminum (it was plastic and the heat gets way too high).  I stripped the teflon off the pan and drilled a small hole for my Thermocouple probe so I can get the temp of the bean mass at the bottom of the pan.

I set up a box fan blowing out the window and set the roaster right by the fan to try and get most of the fumes outside.  I use a heatgun to provide a controlled temp and the bread machine paddle keeps the beans moving for an even roast (attempting to move the beans like a rotating drum does in a professional roaster). 

I generally roast 300-400 grams at a time.  These are the green coffee beans I'm roasting today.  Guatamalan Xinabajul 

 This is my cooling station.  It's a vacuum cleaner sucking air thru a cardboard box with a stainless colander in the box. This sucks air through the hot coffee beans and cools them very efficiently.

 

 

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Here's a picture of the roasted beans.  The smell in the house is fantastic after roasting.

Danni3ll3's picture
Danni3ll3

I am impressed! I had no idea that unroasted beans were that pale. Not a coffee drinker here but I am curious if you find that your setup provides better tasting coffee? 

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

It took a while (and ruining a lot of coffee beans) learning how to roast them properly. But once you get the hang of it, there is some advantage to having freshly roasted coffee vs buying it at the store. Most coffee you buy at the grocery store was probably roasted a few months ago. Unroasted coffee keeps for a long time - but once you roast it, the coffee starts to stale (the oils are release when it's roasted and they start evaporating and going stale/rancid). Most of the coffee geeks think 15 days is the maximum time after roasting before the coffee is too old and the flavor seems to hit a peak around 3-5 days after roasting and then gradually goes downhill.

So by roasting at home, I can do small batches that will last a week or so and it's always fresh. And I can choose how dark to roast it and what country or varietal to purchase. Coffee from Guatamala tastes very different than coffee from Kenya etc. - but the darker the roast, the more of that difference gets roasted away. So with very dark roast coffee there isn't much difference ... when buying some exotic and expensive coffee, you need to decide the roast profile to use (to what degree you roast and the time it takes to get there) that brings out those characteristics you paid so much for without going too dark and burning those characteristics off.

Colin2's picture
Colin2

I've been using a Behmor roaster for about seven years.  You can get very geeky with it: there are people who add thermocouples and work out custom roast profiles and so forth.

I endorse all of Andy's comments.  As he notes you can order a large stock of green beans every few months and roast as needed, so it's convenient as long as you have space for the roaster.  Green beans are also quite a bit cheaper than roasted ones (even accounting for moisture loss) so you make back the cost of the machine soon enough, and vendors like Sweet Maria's offer a curated variety of interesting green coffees.  The person I learned from is part of a buying club that purchases and divides 50 lb. sacks, which really gets the price down.

On the other hand, what I can produce, though tasty, is still not quite up to the standard of professional craft roasters using professional gear.  If money is no object you are best off buying from a pro who ships freshly roasted batches.

 

bread_to_be's picture
bread_to_be

Air fryer with squirrel cage.

Or something similar.

You will be able to roast coffee beans and nuts evenly.

stanss's picture
stanss

I use a old Jiffy Pop popcorn popper I got at a thrift store and a small gas burner, OUTSIDE.

loydb's picture
loydb

Awesome hack. I've been roasting my own for about a decade now -- at least until a couple of months ago when my Behmor finally died. We're about to move across the country, so I'm going to hold off on replacing it until after the move.

 

mrgarygeorge's picture
mrgarygeorge

I purchased an electric popcorn popper at a thrift store for about $7. 

I  removed the clear plastic top, add about 1/3 cup of green coffee beans into the vessel, turn it on and the forced hot air that enters the vessel through vents in the bottom where the coffee sits  causes the beans to spin around and mix while heating takes place.

After about 6 minutes or so, depending on the outside temperature and how dark i want the beans to be for that particular roast, I have a wonderful batch of coffee beans!

 

There are quite a few YouTube videos of this type of roasting.

NeilM's picture
NeilM

Been a Home Roaster for 14 months now. It was like rediscovering coffee, what a difference roast your own makes.

Using 1250W Popper.

Coffee Beans

tgrayson's picture
tgrayson

I did it for a while, but I didn't notice that the coffee is any better than I can buy. The skillset that goes into being a roaster is more than just being able to roast the beans.

The only real advantage to self-roasting is that green beans store for a long time.

NeilM's picture
NeilM

Takes practice, my first few batches were not great, just have to fine tune the roast level. Crap beans dont help either, try several varieties, Costa Rica, Dominican and Guatemalan are my favourites. Recently Bought some Kona, nice but not worth the money had to spend.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Yes!  It is a learning curve and there are a lot of nuances to it.    Not unlike baking bread.  I mean I know plenty of people who bought a bread machine and flour and yeast from the supermarket shelf and then told me it wasn't worth the effort and not any better than bread they could  buy at the store.  :)

But when you take the time to learn it really opens up a lot - you can bring out completely different flavor notes by the rate of rise of the temp as the roast progresses.  A slow ramp up to first crack vs a fast ramp up to first crack -- and then a slow vs fast finish ... those factors (and more) completely change what notes show up in the finished product.   

SlowRain's picture
SlowRain

Yes. I have a Quest M3, which I've had for almost 8 years now. Actually, I just sent it back to the factory yesterday to replace a heating element and have some other repairs and modifications done to it. It's a fun hobby, and the only one my wife acknowledges saves me money. 

My favorite beans to roast for filter coffee are wet-processed Ethiopians (Kenyans are too expensive for me), but I've had good success with some Guatemalans, too. I do a blend of African and Central American/South American for espresso.