[Homeroast] Neo-Roaster

melizbarb at aol.com melizbarb at aol.com
Tue Mar 2 13:04:34 CST 2010

I am very much enjoying being part of this list, and have learned a lot from all your posts. I have been home rosting for a couple of years now and was inspired by talking to the owner of Prescott Coffee Roasters in Prescott AZ, and watching him roast in an old sage green roaster in his shop. It occurred to me that I could do this at home, and thus began my coffee journey. I have used a FreshRoast, which I have found quirky and charming and not at all consistent, but will still use it in a pinch. Some of my best roasts have come from a LaCreuset enameled dutch oven and an outside gas burner. I was cruising the Salvation Army, and found a 3 quart stainless steel pan with radiating 1/4 inch holes all over the bottom, sitting right next to a heat diffuser, and figured it was a suggestion from the Coffee Gods to try another way to roast. So I bought them for $2.00 and have been experimenting with that system with pretty doggone good results, using a gas or propane burner, outdoors. It's very adjustable heat wise, as I can just lift the pan a bit and it cools down quickly. I have had some fine and even roasts with this method.
I love to cook and am sort of an anachronist, in that I really get involved in the processes and learning the smell and feel of different substances as they cook. I like to be able to do the whole thing from start to finish by hand. Bread smells a certain way when it's done, and fudge boils a certain way when it's done, and steaks have a certain resillience to a finger poke when done just right. So I have not roasted with a thermometer or even gauged the time much, as I have found it's largely the greatest variable. So in using my SA system I have to stir it, gauge the roasting constantly and be really involved in the process. I find that the beans get a silky feel and slide around the spoon as they approach first crack and even moreso when they approach Full City.  My nose has learned how the smell of the beans changes as they roast. I have experimented with different methods of cooling the beans, from a spritz of water, to a sprinkling of fresh snow. I have cupped fresh roasted coffee and let it age for 24-48 hours +. Mostly I have worked with SOs, but am starting to blend differing origin coffees and SOs roasted to different doneness. As with most really worthy endevors, I have learned, the more I learn, the less I know, but, I am having such a wonderful time with the process!!!!
It has been great to read all your posts and had a great influence on what I am doing up here on the mountain with my roasting. Thank you all so much, and I hope to see you someday soon at one of the competitions!
May the Coffee Gods be with you,

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