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Author Topic: The Absolute Beginners Guide to Roasting Coffee Using Minimal Equipment  (Read 7759 times)

Bean Flying

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BOWL SPOON A HEATGUN.

This is not necessarily how to get the best out of a roasting method or really even how to roast it is as much a primer to get in and give it a go without spending much money if any.

Beg or borrow a few bits if you don't have them and give it a bash the results may just surprise you  :)

Entry level low to no cost gear:

Stainless Steel Bowl preferably high sided like the one shown, also rubberised base is good.

Sacrificial/dedicated Wooden spoon it will get blackened and pick up coffee oils. Another option is a stainless steel kitchen whisk, just watch the heat of the handle.

Kitchen Timer or better yet one as shown with a temperature probe as well Roast Monitoring

Paint Stripping gun these days available cheap from a range of sources.

Oven or welding glove, spoons, bowls and strainers get hot at 200 degrees.

Kitchen strainer or mesh sieve for cooling.

Beans - see this forum section about what and where to get some Green Beans from, don't worry to much about the range there is hundreds but if in doubt ask for an easy one to get going suppliers will know what to give you.

Before the roasting begins.

Start with 250-300g works best. To little and it's harder to roast evenly and consistantly, to much and they will escape over the sides.


Basic Gear ready to start.


Slightly high Tech, Kitchen timer with a Temperature probe just to help keep the roast in check. Not needed but worth it.


During the roast and what should happen and about when.

Generally the following times are a reasonable starting guide and ALWAYS the temperature should continue to climb throughout the roast. But as a rule of thumb 8-12 minutes to First Crack (FC) then 4-6 minutes to Second Crack (SC) or the end of the roast.

3 Minutes in and sitting around 100 degrees, colour isn't correct the beans are green to pale yellow.


5 minutes in and above 130 degrees. Starting to go from Yellow to pale brown. Moisture and a little chaff (like peanut outer husks) start floating around.


11 minutes in and post FC (Also refered to as RFC or Rolling First Crack) - the beans have given off a distinctive snapping noise along with losing a lot of any remaining chaff here. Also a little smoke starts to come off the roast. Also ease up on the heat a little at this point as they beans start to give heat back to the roast (Exothermic).


When to end the roast

This question along with the rest of the timings from above is worthy of a book or two and best discussed in its own thread. Basics are generally lighter for Brewed Coffee like Plunger or Darker for Espresso. Taken further than this roast the Beans will get to to Second Crack. Generally these are softer and may be a little hard to hear but this stage is accompanied by a fair bit of smoke and if you keep going FIRE  :o 15-16 minutes I find is a sensible "start point" to roast in. This roast for brewed coffee was pulled at 15 minutes and just on 200 degrees.


This picture is of a few escapees from the bowl and are all generally before or just on First Crack. The most righthand ones you can actually notice the cracks formed on the bean but they are lacking any real colour yet.


Cooling

This is important to finish the roast at the point you want, heat within the beans or bean mass will continue the roast unless you cool them fairly rapidly. The Sieve above or Kitchen strainer is needed and best to agitate the beans or even blow air over them in the breeze or with a fan. Lots of roasters use custom built coolers for this task.

Post Cooling and a fairly even roast in spite of taking pictures along the way. It is important to keep stirring all through the roast and not use the stirring hand to take photos.  ;)


Storage

With your first few experiments unless you have a few coffee bags saved up or have purchased some for the job do the following until you get some. Please note ALL vacuum coffee savers are a bad idea! Freezers and fridges are also a generally a bad idea! The beans while resting prior to consumption they give off CO2 gas so a sealed Jar is potentially a danger so go for a heavy weight plastic bag with a wire tie and place them in a dark cool cupboard. This while not as good as dedicated valved bags is better than an open container and not dangerous like a jar and lid.

When to use your roasted beans

Another one of those contentious issues and it varies wildly depending on bean roast level and personal taste. Start with 4 or 5 days with most and experiment but some beans may need 2 weeks+.

As I started above this is not supposed to be comprehensive or the complete doctrine (several years in and I know relatively NOTHING :) ) on roasting but just to say get in have a bash, take some notes taste refine and do it again and improve.



Bean Flying

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POPCORN POPPER Yes it really does work :o

While this might sound like a strange bit of gear to roast coffee in it is probably the easiest way of all the cheapy methods to have a bash. My Popper was under $20 of ebay and came with a 'free' bag of popcorn  :)

Not all poppers are equal, some will roast way to fast and they can be a little prone to early onset failures. There is also a heap of people who have played with poppers to extremes if you want to follow these couple of links to some OTT mods.
Insert Frankenpopper and other links.......

The popper I have runs around 6-10 minutes depending on the quantity of beans used but generally 80g works. Experiment with your standard one between 60-100g for a start. Beer is purely optional but in 30 degrees it helps find your inner roaster  8).

Most important bits are spoon 'handle' for a little agitation while starting, popper and the sieve for cooling. Timer is more of a check as you have fairly limited control over the roast.



Inside the popper chamber. The vents visible are important as airflow is used to circulate the beans and prevents scorching the lower ones and leaving the uncooked ones on top.



80g of beans approximately 1/2 a cup by volume if you don't have scales. Side note not all beans are the same size and do vary in density this also plays a factor in perfecting the roast down the track.



The airflow as mentioned above will keep the beans going, I find that until the beans start to swell and get to FC a little additional stirring helps a lot to keep the beans in motion. Another technique I have seen used is to hold the popper on a bit of an angle initially to help the movement of beans.



Slight colour change before FC from Green to Pale Yellow, notice the volume change between the photo above. By this stage the beans have reduced in density to circulate by themselves.



Nearly at SC (second crack) beans have further increased in volume and colour is approaching what you would typically recognise as Roasted Coffee.


Finished and cooled. You will notice I have circled up two beans in particular these are actually 'defects'. Depending on the beans there is a myriad of different defects that occur in Green and Roasted Coffees but these are worthy of another entire book. Quakers, splits, chips, hollows (the circled ones), scorching, tipping ...... Its a long list. Best thing to do is sip it and see.


If your roasting with this method is under say 4 or 5 minutes then it is less than ideal so time to look at modding your popper a little  ;D

The key thing to me is roasting is fun and a learning thing whatever method you use, there are no right and wrong answers it is part science part technique and a lot of practice and refinement.

Koffee Kosmo

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This roasting method was taught to me by my grandmother
I have used it on many occasions and have made a couple of streamlined changes

Roasting equipment needed

1 X Gas Hob ( I use the Wok type on my BBQ )
1 X  2 Lt pot with long handle ( Cast Iron is best or Stainless Steel with thick base)
1 X Wire Whisk for stirring/agitating
1 X Hairdryer   

Roast Method

You should start at half heat increasing as the roast progresses,
Use a whisk to stir continually without stopping at a steady but comfortable pace
A whisk not only helps to agitate thoroughly & evenly, it also helps to strip away the husk

Stir in both directions left and changing to the right
When you see the beans going yellow (about 4-5 minutes) the husk should be starting to peel off the beans
Take pan off the heat (don
Bezzera Strega Lever: BNZ MD74 conical grinder
Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster: 5 Hand grinders:
Web site - www.koffeekosmo.com
Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

Bean Flying

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ZERO plans to add Corettos, modded poppers etc to here it is old school simple and dirt cheap, open a new thread and discuss them  8)

Want to get more heavily into temperature profiling or roast timing then also best to discuss separately but if your after general guidance and a place to start then ask away.

Last place keeper post here but will remove it most likely.

Topic is open so get into your roasting and have fun.  8)

C-man

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This roasting method was taught to me by my grandmother
I have used it on many occasions and have made a couple of streamlined changes

Roasting equipment needed

1 X Gas Hob ( I use the Wok type on my BBQ )
1 X  2 Lt pot with long handle ( Cast Iron is best or Stainless Steel with thick base)
1 X Wire Whisk for stirring/agitating
1 X Hairdryer   

Roast Method

You should start at half heat increasing as the roast progresses,
Use a whisk to stir continually without stopping at a steady but comfortable pace
A whisk not only helps to agitate thoroughly & evenly, it also helps to strip away the husk

Stir in both directions left and changing to the right
When you see the beans going yellow (about 4-5 minutes) the husk should be starting to peel off the beans
Take pan off the heat (don
Rancillio S24  HG one bench grinder Rosco mini- Hand grinder,  Presso,  modded popper

Koffee Kosmo

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How much beans are we talking here?



I have regularly roasted 400 to 500 grams with a high rate of success

KK
Bezzera Strega Lever: BNZ MD74 conical grinder
Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster: 5 Hand grinders:
Web site - www.koffeekosmo.com
Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

askthe coffeeguy

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POPCORN POPPER Yes it really does work :o

While this might sound like a strange bit of gear to roast coffee in it is probably the easiest way of all the cheapy methods to have a bash. My Popper was under $20 of ebay and came with a 'free' bag of popcorn  :)

Not all poppers are equal, some will roast way to fast and they can be a little prone to early onset failures. There is also a heap of people who have played with poppers to extremes if you want to follow these couple of links to some OTT mods.
Insert Frankenpopper and other links.......

The popper I have runs around 6-10 minutes depending on the quantity of beans used but generally 80g works. Experiment with your standard one between 60-100g for a start. Beer is purely optional but in 30 degrees it helps find your inner roaster  8).

Most important bits are spoon 'handle' for a little agitation while starting, popper and the sieve for cooling. Timer is more of a check as you have fairly limited control over the roast.



Inside the popper chamber. The vents visible are important as airflow is used to circulate the beans and prevents scorching the lower ones and leaving the uncooked ones on top.



80g of beans approximately 1/2 a cup by volume if you don't have scales. Side note not all beans are the same size and do vary in density this also plays a factor in perfecting the roast down the track.



The airflow as mentioned above will keep the beans going, I find that until the beans start to swell and get to FC a little additional stirring helps a lot to keep the beans in motion. Another technique I have seen used is to hold the popper on a bit of an angle initially to help the movement of beans.



Slight colour change before FC from Green to Pale Yellow, notice the volume change between the photo above. By this stage the beans have reduced in density to circulate by themselves.



Nearly at SC (second crack) beans have further increased in volume and colour is approaching what you would typically recognise as Roasted Coffee.


Finished and cooled. You will notice I have circled up two beans in particular these are actually 'defects'. Depending on the beans there is a myriad of different defects that occur in Green and Roasted Coffees but these are worthy of another entire book. Quakers, splits, chips, hollows (the circled ones), scorching, tipping ...... Its a long list. Best thing to do is sip it and see.


If your roasting with this method is under say 4 or 5 minutes then it is less than ideal so time to look at modding your popper a little  ;D

The key thing to me is roasting is fun and a learning thing whatever method you use, there are no right and wrong answers it is part science part technique and a lot of practice and refinement.

my popper gets great results in 4 to 6 minutes and the roast is remarkably even - have to say its a great little device especially if you're in need of a quick coffee fix or to sample a fresh batch of green beans!

"The crema which dissipates is not the lasting crema..."

old boy brewer

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I have been roasting beans for more than 12 years using a popper(s) that I pick up for $5.00 at the Thrift outlets.  I read that some claim it is cheaper roasting your own beans.  However; My retailer charges the same amount of money for the green beans "by weight" as he charges for the roasted beans that he sells.  Seeing that there is a weight loss of approximately 40% - 50%, it appears that the cost of the green beans are then almost double than if I had purchased the roasted beans. Does anyone else find this or are they actually getting their green beans cheaper?
"The whole world knew that it was impossible except for the fool who went ahead and did it anyway"  Marcel Pagnol

ActionJoeJackson

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G'day old boy,

If you pay the same for green as roasted then, yes green is more expensive.  I tend to buy my green beans in bulk online and that keeps the postage costs low.  Green beans keep fairly well from what I understand, and I certainly haven't noticed a significant quality change when I'm at the end of my supply.  I tend to buy about 10kg at a time and that lasts me about half a year or so.  I've used Coffee Compass and Bella Barista in the UK, though I know there are lots of others out there.  I suspect there might be another thread for where to get your beans though.

Cheers
Joe

askthe coffeeguy

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in most cases green beans should cost significantly less that roasted so it pays to shop around and if you're not adverse to shopping online there are plenty of good options there

I roast with a variety of different equipment and on the cheap but effective side Ive got a bread maker which I got from an opportunity shop for $10 which I ripped the lid off, plus a heat gun which I got from a hardware store for $20 and the agitator arm in the breadmaker keeps the beans moving nicely - it also produces a very even profile quite quickly, and i just dump the finished beans in a basket and cool down with an old hair dryer on the cooling cycle - crude but effective 

I also have a wet and dry vacuum cleaner which I keep on reverse cycle to blow compressed air to keep my coffee equipment in good dust and coffee particle free working order and this also works remarkably well at cooling down the beans I can get them to room temperature in less than two minutes!

But for most roasts I use a couple of behmor plus devices which give me a combined roasting capacity of 1kg which is plenty for me!

best,

pat
"The crema which dissipates is not the lasting crema..."

Koffee Kosmo

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The weight loss from green bean weight to roasted weight is closer to 15% to 20% depending on the depth of roast

KK
Bezzera Strega Lever: BNZ MD74 conical grinder
Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster: 5 Hand grinders:
Web site - www.koffeekosmo.com
Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

mycuppa

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The important thing to keep in mind is that if a retailer sells both green and roasted beans then they have commercial interests to preserve. In other words you can completely ignore what price they are selling the green coffees for as its contrived and not representative of the broader market.

As per KK's note above, yields are dependent upon roasting method, initial moisture measurement of the raw coffee and roast depth.

Most commercial roasters achieve aroun 14 to 16 %. There are other real losses as well, quality control samples, wastage/spills, etc that add another couple of percentage points.


Simon

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Hmm.. yeah I'm my experience greens are usually aLOT cheaper than roasted beans... You're essentially paying extra for the roaster's hard work/labour and time, and not to mention all the varieties of beans they have to roast and to get the profile just right for each type! But green is the raw product and would make sense to be cheaper
Profitec Pro 500, Rancilio Rocky Doser Grinder, 58.5mm Pullman Tamper, V60, Aeropress, Plunger, Behmor 1600

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