[Homeroast] THE home roaster
Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com
Wed Dec 15 15:11:08 CST 2010
It's something we have batted around for a long time. It comes up
recurrently. Honestly at one point there seemed to be almost TOO much
interest in home roasting, mostly by those who wanted to strike it
rich by inventing THE home roasting machine. But their ideas of good
features always seemed to be , well, everything I would find either
useless, or ineffective. The problem with trying to create a
reasonably priced home roaster is that it takes a skill set I don't
have. I can dream it up but I can't make it go ... then add to that
the huge problem with actually getting it manufactured right, and not
going over budget ... it's not easy. It makes me have some
appreciation for Behmor although I see it's faults. I would not want
to make an appliance to convince people who would normally not roast
their own coffee that they should. I would want to make one for those
who DO roast their own coffee, to allow them to do it better. The
Quest M3 is not really what I would have in mind, but it does have
the right feature set. And of course it is also not really a home
machine at all, not a home appliance, nothing you would ever find
among blenders and toaster ovens. One way to approach this that might
get around some legal hurdles (because a really GOOD home roaster is
probably not going to be idiot-proof, and I am sure would be
classified as a fire hazard by some agency) is to make a kit. If it
was build around some commonly available heat source, and you had to
put it together, but gave control of heat/air, manual control of
roast curves, physical sampling from the roast chamber, and cooled
outside the roast chamber in 4 min or less, that would hit most of my
targets. One disagreement I might find with other home roasters would
be batch size. I think that a 150-300 gram batch is ideal. Many are
going to want 1 lb. I think the best thing about home roasting is
freshness and variety. So I like smaller batches. But if you can
roast and cool at the same time in a machine like this, I think most
would be okay with a 1/2 lb batch.
>Thank you for your incite and wisdom that only comes from hours and hours
>doing what you do with the wonderful tools/roasters at your disposal.
>Regarding your comment,
> "Getting really good at targeting that roast degree is difficult; doing it
>in a Behmor is even harder. That (and cooling within the same space you
>roast in) are my gripes with most home roasters, and those factors make a
>difference in successful results."
>Have you had the opportunity to consult on home roaster design and
>engineering concepts with a manufacturer?
>Just seems like of all the professionals I know of you would be the first I
>would come to.
>Thank you again for so much of the roasting/targeting picture from your
>perspective and how much or little the machine matters.
>Makes me want to drag out the popper and play again and compare like you
>described, same bean different roast systems.
>On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee <
>sweetmarias at sweetmarias.com> wrote:
>> I appreciate this conversation and have been holding back from weighing in
>> here. People are entitled to their opinions, and home roasters have never
>> held back. I look at each roaster as something unique, each with ups and
>> downs. I think you can get good roasts in many of these machines. There was
>> a real change around here when I decided I could no longer roast all my
>> samples on a home roaster. The volume of samples was just too great, and I
>> needed a multi-barrel roaster that could roast and cool at the same time.
>> But I still use most all the roasters (I even have a Poppery 1 on the bench,
>> across from a vintage 3 barrel electric Probat and a 3 barrel Gothot gas
>> roaster). I do not "profile" sample roasts - it's a straight line from start
>> to finish, within a range of about 9-11 minutes, with minor adjustments in a
>> session if I find the roast times creeping up or dropping off. I use the
>> green coffee batch size to adjust the roast as well. If I roast a batch in
>> the Quest (or the Poppery 1 for that matter, or I Roast or Behmor or Hottop)
>> I don't expect it to be better or worse. I expect it to be slightly
>> different, that's all. We compare roasts regularily- I did 6 separate
>> batches of a decaf arrival in the Probat (imagine how much time it would
>> take in one behmor!) and we did a Behmor batch as well. Behmor cupped quite
>> favorably. My Probat allows me great control, as the quest m3 does, as well
>> as much greater opportunity to ruin the coffee as well. In not of this are
>> we talking about larger batch roasting, which we do a bit of in the L-12
>> Probat, and on that we use several basic adjustments to air and gas during
>> the roast. The key on the L-12 is to have it properly installed, and very
>> clean ducting because it has low air flow. I think the L-12 roasts are nice,
>> but I feel that the critical factor is what you are putting in, the coffee.
>> I can say for sure that i MIGHT like an L-12 batch of a particular Kenya,
>> but it will have a different taste profile than my sample roasts. Usually I
>> produce many sample roasts of each coffee, and if I toss one L-12 batch on
>> the table with these many sample roasts, I guarantee you I will find one of
>> the sample roasts I like better.
>> My point is this; It might seem that it's about the machine, and the
>> operator. True, it is. But you have no chance of quality without putting in
>> good ingredients, and without targeting a specific end point. With small
>> (home roast size) batches, I get many snap shots of the same coffee, and
>> several seconds difference in degree of roast is where some coffees can
>> really shift. Getting really good at targeting that roast degree is
>> difficult; doing it in a Behmor is even harder. That (and cooling within the
>> same space you roast in) are my gripes with most home roasters, and those
>> factors make a difference in successful results. To a large degree, other
>> differences are secondary. If a Behmor no longer meets your needs and a
>> Quest might, fine. That would be like me at the point I found I could not
>> possibly produce enough samples in a home roaster. A Quest is not a Behmor.
>> A Quest is not a 3 barrel Probat nor an L-12. All are tools with different
>> capabilities. It depends on what you are trying to do with them. The thing I
>> find endlessly amusing is that you can produce AMAZING coffee in an air
>> There is not one right way. If you spend 4x as much money, you can still
>> produce horrible coffee. People do it every day on $250k of roast equipment.
>> With care, and accepting some limitations, a $2 thrift store find can result
>> in great coffee.
>> Anyway, just trying to chime in with some perspective from a different
>> place... now I am going to go roast a Guatemala sample in the Behmor!
>> "Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee
>> Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
>> Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
>> phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com
>> Homeroast mailing list
>> Homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com
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"Great coffee comes from little roasters" - Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting
Thompson & Maria - http://www.sweetmarias.com
Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - info_at_sweetmarias.com
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