All You Need to Know about Home Coffee Roasting

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Home roasting coffee is the process taking small batches of green coffee and roasting them for personal use or consumption. It was fairly common for coffee drinkers to roast their own coffee beans for home-offices and residence even in the 20th century. It was more preferred than buying pre-roasted coffee. Slowly the commercial coffee roasting companies took over and home roasting slowly faded away.

But in recent times home roasting is making a strong comeback. Home coffee roasting is cheap and it also gives a roaster more control over the characteristics and quality of the final product.

Two types of home coffee roaster machines are used by home coffee makers. Drum roaster and fluid-bed air roaster. Through this article, you will find out the pros and cons of both home coffee bean roaster, the benefits of coffee roasting at home and the advantages it provides.

What is a Home Coffee Roaster Machine?

The home coffee roaster machine comes in two types. We know them by Drum roaster and Fluid-air bed roaster. Fluid-air bed machines makes the beans float in a hot bed of air to agitate and roasts the beans. In this process the beans are being constantly mixed up. Drum machines uses the principal of a constantly rotating heated chamber. The coffee beans get roasted by the contact with the hot surface of the rotating drum and by the ambient temperature inside.

Generally fluid-air bed roasters will roast at a hotter and faster rate than the drum roasters. But on the other hand drum roaster has more capacity per roast than the fluid-air bed roasters because of the size limitation of the fan.

Home roasting coffee is the process taking small batches of green coffee and roasting them for personal use or consumption. It was fairly common for coffee drinkers to roast their own coffee beans for home-offices and residence even in the 20th century. It was more preferred than buying pre-roasted coffee. Slowly the commercial coffee roasting companies took over and home roasting slowly faded away.

But in recent times home roasting is making a strong comeback. Home coffee roasting is cheap and it also gives a roaster more control over the characteristics and quality of the final product

So, How Do You Buy the Right Home Coffee Roaster?

If you are new to coffee roasting, then a home coffee roaster machine with programmable features may seem an overwhelming thing to work with. To learn about the ins and outs of roasting a simple coffee roaster will be much more helpful. This will also help to understand the roast and coffee preference without being too confusing or intimidating. The learning curve will also be much shorter. But if you want to learn slowly and learn as you go with you roaster then you can consider a programmable coffee roaster machine home. It’s up to the user.

Another thing all home roaster should keep in mind that there no such thing as a fully automatic roaster. Some roasters are designed in that fashion but there are simply too many variables involved to get a consistent roast.

The list is long but these are the most significant once

  • Amount of bean in the roasting chamber
  • Supply fluctuations in electricity
  • Moisture content and bean density
  • Ambient conditions

It is highly recommended that you should never leave your roast unattended. Stay close to the roaster observe the beans, overprogram the cycle so that you can manually stop the process and start cooling cycle to your preference.

  • The contrast among capacity, price, and quality
  • Drum VS Fluid-Bed
  • Power Source
  • Materials

Contrast Among Capacity, Price and Quality

Capacity

Capacity of roaster varies from model to model. Fluid-bed air roaster will roast a small batch every time but if you want to roast big batch of coffee beans then drum roaster is the way to go. If you want to roast small batches of different coffee throughout the week then air roaster is suitable. But if you want to roast a big batch and be done of the week then drum roaster will be best for you

Price

Generally, an expensive roaster will give you more control. However in the lower end price range you will get basic time and temperature controls that you can adjust. As you select towards more expensive roaster you will get programmability. With programmability you will be able to save roast profiles for increased consistency. So, Fluid-bed air roasters are relatively expensive then drum toasters.

Quality

With a fluid-bed air roaster you will get better consistency and with that comes better quality roast more easily every time. Drum roasters will roast the beans inconsistently so some batch may me amazing and some with a bit lower quality. It is harder to get good quality bean every time with drum roaster.

Drum VS Fluid-Bed

There are many differences between the two main types of roasters and here are a few of the main ones that led us to prefer air roasting over drum roasting:

Estimated time to roast the coffee

To roast a batch of green coffee beans a drum roaster takes an estimated 15 to 20 minutes. It will take a fluid-bed air roaster 6 to 8 minutes to roast the same batch size of green beans. It affects the taste of the coffee. The longer it takes and subjected to temperature, more flavor and aroma will burn away from the coffee.

More consistent temperature is provided by air roster to all of the beans in a batch

It is called a fluid-bed air roaster for a reason; much more fluidity is allowed for the movement of the beans during the roasting process which gives a more consistent roasting.

The beans get stirred by a mechanical arm while sitting in the drum in a drum toaster. The heat comes from either directly from the bottom or from the middle or from top of the batch of beans, so the beans reach their optimum temperature at different times. The result is an inconsistent roast. The roast can be uneven and some beans can get more heat and get scorched. This method has less control over the process.

Drum Roasters trap and burn coffee bean chaff

The chaff that comes with the coffee beans stays with the beans thought out the whole roasting bean process in a drum roaster. During the roasting process they burn and may cause a burning flavor, in dark roasting that even more of a possibility.

This doesn’t happen in an air roaster. The chaffs gets collected and deposited into the chaff collector as it comes off of the beans, so it doesn’t get burned and damage the flavor.

Air Roasting is easy to control and duplicate

In air roasting the roaster has exact control over each batch of coffee beans. The beans are roasted “to temperature” in air roasting, whereas it get roasted “to color” in a drum roaster. Color matching is not exact science, it’s more subjective. But in air roasting a batch of beans are roasted precisely in the same temperature, so the roaster get batches of coffee that is consistent in color, flavor and aroma. Duplicating a batch accurately is easier in an air roaster. In drum roasting the roaster needs to be reliant on experience and the batches are not easy to replicate.

Power Source

The green coffee beans tumble around in a heated environment in a drum roaster. The drums heat source comes from LPG, natural gas, electricity or from wood. So drum roasters have more flexibility about power source. Homeowners have more choice about how they want to power up their drum machine.

Fluid-Bed air roasters run on electricity. There is not much choice to make for the homeowner. There is only one power source.

Electricity

  • Heavy and slow to heat
  • Making adjustments are less intuitive
  • Expensive
  • Consistent roasting
  • More control

Gas

  • Cheaper than electricity
  • Faster heating
  • Making adjustment are more intuitive
  • Less control over roasting
  • Inconsistent roasting

Materials

It is widely believed that drum roaster are made of cast iron but it is completely wrong. They are actually mill finished welded steel and many drums identified as stainless are actually sophisticated and expensive alloys with very high thermal conductivity and very low expansion characteristics very much more akin to cast than not. The construction may vary slightly among manufacturers but to get intended results drum roast are made with these materials.

Once You Bought and Used

Roasting coffee beans can be messy. There is chaff that will fly all over and even sometimes beans fall out of the chambers. Drum toaster are messier but fluid bed air roasters are easy to lean because most roaster has chaff collection system.

Once you boughtThere will also be smoke and containing smoke is always hard. Some roaster comes with built in smoke reduction system which makes it possible to roast indoors. Keep in mind that roasting a darker batch of coffee will generate more smoke.

Some Steps to Follow After a Roast

  • Remove and empty the chaff tray.
  • Allow the roaster to cool, remove the front cover and check for chaff in and below the roasting drum.
  • Examine the main filter and replace as necessary (around every 35-45 roasts)
  • Remove the drum and clean the roast chamber of stray chaff and bean particles.
  • Remove the main filter and using an appropriate air source to blow out the roaster to remove as much stray chaff as possible.
  • Examine the blades of the fan and clean as necessary. A microfiber rag and multi-purpose cleaner will work well for this.
  • Advanced cleaning can be accomplished by removing the roast chamber inner wall and clean the rear wall of the roast chamber. Pay particular attention to the temperature sensor.

Once you bought_2

Conclusion

These are loads of benefits for roasting your own coffee. There are economic benefits, flavor wise benefits and also you will get variety of options and choices. Firstly the cost, Roasted coffee is far more expensive then the green beans. A pound of green beans cost around $6-$8 dollar but the roasted ones will cost you upward of $12-$15 dollars. Also you can get really rare coffees for $100 per pound, which the baristas will charge for $20 dollars per cup.

Then there is the matter of freshness. If you buy green coffee beans then you will most likely to buy current or recent past harvest produce. It will definitely taste better than the roasted coffee that’s been sitting on the shelf for as long as two years.

Home roasting will also give you access to a wide selection of green beans and this ability for customization is one of the most attractive sides of this hobby.

You can buy beans that are award winning or buy from orchards that are known for their distinctive taste. You can easily get these beans from numerous importers and distributors. Home coffee roasters can purchase beans from specific orchard, region, harvest year or countries of their choice.

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