Author Topic: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!  (Read 10652 times)

Wadiman

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Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« on: October 21, 2014, 07:38:42 PM »
Hi all -

For those of you who must remain caffienated and are passionate about good quality coffee I suggest you give coffee roasting at home a try.

I roasted my first batch yesterday and am very pleased with the results (see pic).

Not only are they at least as good as I can buy locally, it costs around half as much and you get a great amount of personal satisfaction of course from teaching yourself a new skill.

So - get yourself a cheap popcorn maker and give it a go!

Here's a link to a great You Tube clip that gives a rundown on how to go about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR6V_mHXHnE

swiper

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 08:09:13 PM »
Nicely done! I'll bet the whole house smells wonderful.

I've been saving an old bread maker for this task, just haven't fully committed to modifying the machine yet. There are some good discussions on DIY roasting mods over at: http://coffeegeek.com/forums

Wadiman

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 08:11:51 PM »
Funnily enough - that's the bit that surprised me - the roasting aromas aren't that great.

I think it's because it takes a while after the roast for the aromatic oils to start developing.

Breadmaker sounds interesting - would allow a bigger batch I'm sure - I only produced about 60g.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 06:50:03 AM »
What's your cost for the green beans? Usually I've seen around $6/lb, and for that price I am very happy with Trader Joe's Dark made in my AeroPress.

Wadiman

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 02:02:08 PM »
I'm from Australia and paid $15/kg so the price is similar to the $6/lb.  Good to know that some costs are comparable internationally!

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 08:11:40 AM »
I've been roasting for about a year.  Started with a popcorn popper, and now am using the bread machine / heat gun method for bigger batches and because it works during our chilly winters here in Minnesota.

$6/lb is about the highest I'll pay, but only for a really special bean that I haven't tried and only occassionally. $4-5 is more typical (including shipping).  Happy Mug Coffee and Green Coffee Co-op are typically the best value.  Sweet Maria's has nice beans, but no better than these two and quite a bit more expensive.  I also check blogs/forums such as homeroasters.org, coffeegeek, homebarista, reddit/r/roasting etc for good deals that people post.

So long story short, yes you can get beans for less than $6/lb and they will be much, much higher quality than TJ's dark :)

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2014, 11:01:29 AM »
I've been planning to do this myself. I'm a home espresso drinker and while we have some really great local roasters, the bags are expensive especially given that my daily dosage of shots keeps increasing!

For those of you that are doing it, what popcorn poppers do you recommend? I understand that many of the newer ones tend to overheat and even melt. Also, any other finicky espresso drinkers out there that can recommend some good beans to start with?

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 07:45:38 AM »
For those of you that are doing it, what popcorn poppers do you recommend? I understand that many of the newer ones tend to overheat and even melt.

Basically, you just want one that has 'side vents' like this:



The West Bend Poppery II is probably the most commonly used, and also what I started on. They typically go for $20-30 on ebay, but I found mine on CL for $10 and I've since seen them at Goodwill for even less. 

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1311.R1.TR9.TRC2.A0.H0.Xwest+bend+popp&_nkw=west+bend+poppery+ii&_sacat=0
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 07:48:20 AM by so.mpls »

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 07:47:30 AM »
Also, any other finicky espresso drinkers out there that can recommend some good beans to start with?

This is a good one: http://www.happymugcoffee.com/en/espresso-blends/150-espresso-blend-2.html

fireferrets

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2014, 04:38:03 PM »
Has anyone done a side-by-side taste comparison of home-roasted and store-bought-roasted coffees?
If so, results please ^_^ / c|~|

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2014, 08:01:42 PM »
Has anyone done a side-by-side taste comparison of home-roasted and store-bought-roasted coffees?
If so, results please ^_^ / c|~|

I am wondering the same thing.   I never considered home roasting as a possibility.

Where do you get the green beans from? 

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2014, 09:49:22 AM »
Has anyone done a side-by-side taste comparison of home-roasted and store-bought-roasted coffees?
If so, results please ^_^ / c|~|

Many times. The coffee I roast at home is usually every bit as good as the fancy, single origin coffees that specialty roasters sell for $20/lb.  Always better than the 'high end' grocery store brands like 8 o'clock, TJs, Starbucks, Peets etc. 

It's pretty hard to get bad results once you get the hang of it. It's not like brewing beer or wine where there are multiple variables at play. Roasting coffee is literally just heating the bean to 400-440 degrees, and then cooling it down.  That's really all there is to it.

Where do you get the green beans from?

happymugcoffee.com is my go to for high quality + low price. A lot of people say they are able to buy greens from roasters near them for $2-4 lb and eliminate shipping costs, but when I asked a place by me I got a blank stare and felt really stupid.  Haven't yet worked up the courage to try another place.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2014, 03:08:09 PM »
Really neat.  Can you recommend a reasonably priced thing to start roasting in?  Is the popcorn maker the standard do-it-yourselfer approach?

I might try this soon.

beaster

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2014, 05:51:57 AM »
Yummmm. My sister used to live above a coffee shop that did their own roasting and agree - does not smell the best when in process!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2014, 08:32:26 AM »
Really neat.  Can you recommend a reasonably priced thing to start roasting in?  Is the popcorn maker the standard do-it-yourselfer approach?

I might try this soon.

A popcorn popper is definitely the best way to start.  You can get a good feel for the process, and the smaller batch sizes are great because if you flub a batch, you're only out a buck or so. I'd still be using the popper method if I lived in a warmer climate, but the things just can't get hot enough when it's 0 degrees outside.

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2014, 09:51:20 PM »
Really neat.  Can you recommend a reasonably priced thing to start roasting in?  Is the popcorn maker the standard do-it-yourselfer approach?

I might try this soon.

A popcorn popper is definitely the best way to start.  You can get a good feel for the process, and the smaller batch sizes are great because if you flub a batch, you're only out a buck or so. I'd still be using the popper method if I lived in a warmer climate, but the things just can't get hot enough when it's 0 degrees outside.

Good info.  What do you recommend using instead of a popcorn maker?

Wadiman

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2014, 12:14:16 AM »
Has anyone done a side-by-side taste comparison of home-roasted and store-bought-roasted coffees?
If so, results please ^_^ / c|~|

My home roasted version is better than all the roasted beans I have purchased - not that there's any chance of bias!!!

Seriously, i am very happy with the results and there's endless hours of amusement and tweaking ahead of me to come up with my own preferred blend by combining different beans and roasting durations.

One key thing i have found with the popcorn maker method is that i get better results when roasting smaller quantities.  I started off with 1/2 cup green bean batches and now do 1/3 cup.

Looks like I have a few fans at work - perhaps this may turn into a side-gig!

BattlaP

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2014, 02:31:03 AM »
It's pretty hard to get bad results once you get the hang of it. It's not like brewing beer or wine where there are multiple variables at play. Roasting coffee is literally just heating the bean to 400-440 degrees, and then cooling it down.  That's really all there is to it.

A day to learn, a lifetime to master. There are many different elements within a single coffee that can be brought out in different ways by a skilled roaster. Blending coffees adds more possibilities, and lighter/darker roasts combined with different brewing methods can give you totally different coffees out of the same beans.

You can undoubtedly get great results with low-tech methods and minimal experience, which is something to love about the bean, but there is always more to learn.

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2014, 09:35:25 AM »
Good info.  What do you recommend using instead of a popcorn maker?

The method I use now is a modified bread machine and a heat gun.  It's nice because it can handle up to a pound of coffee at a time, and it works in sub zero temperatures. It takes some work to get it up and running as there aren't as many resources or 'how-to's' online, but the setup only cost $30 and works as well as the $300+ commer

A day to learn, a lifetime to master. There are many different elements within a single coffee that can be brought out in different ways by a skilled roaster. Blending coffees adds more possibilities, and lighter/darker roasts combined with different brewing methods can give you totally different coffees out of the same beans.

You can undoubtedly get great results with low-tech methods and minimal experience, which is something to love about the bean, but there is always more to learn.

Absolutely.  Don't want to scare anyone off by going down roasting curve, flavor profile, or extraction rate rabbit holes, though.  Those are topics for the hopelessly addicted :)

TheThirstyStag

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2014, 12:27:07 PM »
Good info.  What do you recommend using instead of a popcorn maker?

The method I use now is a modified bread machine and a heat gun.  It's nice because it can handle up to a pound of coffee at a time, and it works in sub zero temperatures. It takes some work to get it up and running as there aren't as many resources or 'how-to's' online, but the setup only cost $30 and works as well as the $300+ commer


That's really awesome.  Could you share the details of how to do this?  I have a 1000w heat gun already.  What kind of modification do you make to your bread maker?

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2014, 08:42:09 AM »
Good info.  What do you recommend using instead of a popcorn maker?

The method I use now is a modified bread machine and a heat gun.  It's nice because it can handle up to a pound of coffee at a time, and it works in sub zero temperatures. It takes some work to get it up and running as there aren't as many resources or 'how-to's' online, but the setup only cost $30 and works as well as the $300+ commer


That's really awesome.  Could you share the details of how to do this?  I have a 1000w heat gun already.  What kind of modification do you make to your bread maker?

Sure thing!  Basically, all you need is a bread machine that:

a) doesn't have a hole in the bottom of the bread chamber
b) doesn't have any plastic or rubber parts in the bread chamber, and
c) has a paddle that will stir the beans constantly. 

C is the only one that you can't easily pick out ahead of time just by looking. You might get lucky and find one that has a programmed setting to stir constantly (a lot of people find a 'knead' setting that just spins the paddle), but if not you'll need to do some re-wiring.  I bought my machine at Goodwill and it turned out it didn't have setting to constantly stir, so I just followed the advice on this thread: http://www.homeroasters.org/php/forum/viewthread.php?thread_id=528, and it worked out great.  Probably took a half hour to do the modification.

After you have a working bread machine, you just dump the beans into the bread chamber, get them moving, and point the heat gun at them.  You can go by sight/smell (dump them out when they are done cracking and start to smoke) or you can buy an infared tempature gun for $10-15 and go by temperature, which is easier. It takes 10-15 minutes to roast.

I can post pictures some pictures the next time I roast if anyone is interested.

megaschnauzer

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2014, 12:15:20 PM »
i just ordered some beans. now to build a roaster. i can't wait. it's going to be a long, fidgety, sleepless winter!

FLBiker

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2014, 08:38:55 AM »
I've been saving an old bread maker for this task, just haven't fully committed to modifying the machine yet. There are some good discussions on DIY roasting mods over at: http://coffeegeek.com/forums

Very interesting!  I recently picked up a "new" breadmachine at a yardsale ($5) so I might be able to talk my wife into giving me the old one.

Thanks!

jba302

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2014, 08:13:08 AM »
Also, any other finicky espresso drinkers out there that can recommend some good beans to start with?

This is a good one: http://www.happymugcoffee.com/en/espresso-blends/150-espresso-blend-2.html

I just paid $14/pound for Redline (for espresso), seeing this I feel like a schmuck. It is clearly time to buy a popper. I live in MN as well but we have a pretty strong kitchen hood vent, definitely going to give this a go.

the lorax

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2014, 09:14:31 PM »
Hi, I'm in New Zealand and am a keen coffee drinker. I own an espresso machine and buy pre ground coffee. I've heard lots of stories about people roasting their own beans, but what puts me off is the cost of a decent grinder. $30 for a popcorn maker is cheap but if a good grinder will set you back a further $200 to $300 is this still considered a cheap option? I'm keen to hear how you guys are grinding your beans and whether you use an espresso machine or a plunger etc for your coffee.
Thanks

megaschnauzer

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2014, 09:49:21 AM »
i roasted a quick batch the other day. i used a heat gun, a chrome wok and a metal spoon. it took all of 10 minutes. i wouldn't say it was great but it was drinkable and i could certainly improve upon it. kinda fun.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2014, 12:48:40 PM »
Hi, I'm in New Zealand and am a keen coffee drinker. I own an espresso machine and buy pre ground coffee. I've heard lots of stories about people roasting their own beans, but what puts me off is the cost of a decent grinder. $30 for a popcorn maker is cheap but if a good grinder will set you back a further $200 to $300 is this still considered a cheap option? I'm keen to hear how you guys are grinding your beans and whether you use an espresso machine or a plunger etc for your coffee.
Thanks

Yes, a good grinder is essential for good espresso. But, if you're currently satisfied with pre-ground [makes the sign of the cross and spits on the ground], you'll probably notice an improvement with even a decent grinder. To save some money, consider either a used grinder or a hand grinder. The drawback of the latter is that you'll have to spin the hell out of them for espresso. But, some people swear that they get good results from them. Hario makes a number of cheap ones. The king daddy of espresso hand grinders, the OE Pharos can be had for $240, but they're nearly impossible to get ahold of as they are hand built a few at a time (it's what I have). But, they can compete with $2K electric grinders like Compak and it will last forever.

To find an  inexpensive electric grinder, you might be able to pick up a used Gaggia MDF for around a $100 (US). Lelit makes good grinders that can be found used for under $200 used. Baratza may also be an option. They have an online refurbished shop. The nerds on home-barista.com and coffeegeek.com can provide more options. They also have buy/sell forums. Speaking of, wholelattelove.com often has refurbished items as well. I've heard of people picking up used Mazzers from out of business coffee shops for under $200, which would be a steal for those. You could use it and later sell it for what you bought for it. They are tanks and last forever, but it would be overkill if you're not at that level of obsessiveness.

jba302

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2014, 02:18:10 PM »
I have a baratza vario. It's nice but I wouldn't buy it again. In hindsight I would have gone with a pharos. Although in further review, I would have gone with a moka pot and a zassenhaus instead of an HX machine and the vario.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2014, 08:06:53 AM »
I have a baratza vario. It's nice but I wouldn't buy it again. In hindsight I would have gone with a pharos. Although in further review, I would have gone with a moka pot and a zassenhaus instead of an HX machine and the vario.

The Moka pot and Zassenhaus combo is probably the ideal Mustachian option. Low expense, yet high quality. I happily used the Moka pot for years. Speaking of, I need to try the Moka with my Pharos grind. Hmmm. Time for more data collection.

As an FYI if you're considering it, the Pharos is a bit awkward ergonomically and it's messy in its unmodified form. However, if you can get past that, it is an amazing grinder. I couldn't believe how different my first dialed in shots from it were. I thought that I was making good stuff before, but apparently not.

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2014, 10:26:56 AM »
i roasted a quick batch the other day. i used a heat gun, a chrome wok and a metal spoon. it took all of 10 minutes. i wouldn't say it was great but it was drinkable and i could certainly improve upon it. kinda fun.

Nice work schnauzer!

so.mpls

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #30 on: December 03, 2014, 10:28:31 AM »
Also, any other finicky espresso drinkers out there that can recommend some good beans to start with?

This is a good one: http://www.happymugcoffee.com/en/espresso-blends/150-espresso-blend-2.html

I just paid $14/pound for Redline (for espresso), seeing this I feel like a schmuck. It is clearly time to buy a popper. I live in MN as well but we have a pretty strong kitchen hood vent, definitely going to give this a go.

The sad thing is that $14/pound isn't even that bad.  Back in my pre-MMM days I spent that much every week and a half on a 12 oz bag.

megaschnauzer

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #31 on: December 03, 2014, 11:34:10 AM »
thanks.
sort of on topic; what is a good half n half substitute? i've developed a milk allergy so no more nice rich milk in my coffee. powdered creamer sucks. rice milk and coconut milk are not much better. black coffee is a little harsh for me.

Wadiman

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2014, 06:46:38 PM »
Hi, I'm in New Zealand and am a keen coffee drinker. I own an espresso machine and buy pre ground coffee. I've heard lots of stories about people roasting their own beans, but what puts me off is the cost of a decent grinder. $30 for a popcorn maker is cheap but if a good grinder will set you back a further $200 to $300 is this still considered a cheap option? I'm keen to hear how you guys are grinding your beans and whether you use an espresso machine or a plunger etc for your coffee.
Thanks

Hi there - you may want to check out Trade Me for good used units - I'm sure that there would be folk there who want to sell their current grinder units to upgrade.

jba302

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Re: Roasted my first batch of coffee beans!
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2014, 07:45:00 AM »
yea I've seen some wicked high prices. My taste buds aren't that good. I just need "non-bad" coffee lol.

thanks.
sort of on topic; what is a good half n half substitute? i've developed a milk allergy so no more nice rich milk in my coffee. powdered creamer sucks. rice milk and coconut milk are not much better. black coffee is a little harsh for me.

Is it protein or sugar based? Heavy cream might work in either case, simply because the reactive components are going to be smaller than normal milk-

https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/generic/cream-heavy-fluid

vs

https://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/usda/milk-(whole-milk)

Otherwise an alternate animal might be an option. Sheeps milk or goats milk. If not, then... probably screwed. Maybe you can do a bulletproof coffee strategy and use ghee. Blech.