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Micro-Roasting Workshop Handout

Introduction to Micro-Roasting May 25, 2008

“If everyone knew how easy it was....”

• Why to consider micro-roasting • Fresh coffee every morning • The coffee you want, when you want it • The roast you want; no more charcoal in a cup • Ability to try new, interesting, and/or seasonal coffees • The urge to experiment • Less expensive (if only marginally) • Reasons not to roast your own coffee • It can absorb a little time or a lot, depending on how much you let it • iRoast 2, setup to takedown, 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week... but add bean shopping etc. • You’re always experimenting, and sometimes experiments don’t go well • You drink your mistakes • Some determinants of flavor • Bean origin (terroir), processing, and condition • Method of extraction (drip, vacuum, press, etc.) • Degree of roast and roast profile (curve relating temperature to time of roast) • The roasting process • Drying phase—beans lose some water mass, start to smell grassy • “First crack”—steam breaks through cellulose fibers of bean (like popcorn), mid-300º range • “Second crack”—cellulose matrix of bean starts to break down, low 400º range • Fire—what happens to beans in the upper-400º range, given enough oxygen • Degrees of roast • New England: Light brown, dry, sour; reminiscent of diners • American or light: Medium light brown; the norm for the Eastern U.S. • City or medium: Beans are just clear of first crack phase of roast; highlights varietal notes • Full City: On the verge of second crack; a darker roast, patches of oil just beginning to show • Espresso: Light surface oil, bittersweet; roast character begins to dominate origin character • French: Very dark brown and shiny; burnt tones dominate • Italian: Black, shiny; redolent of charcoal, approaching actual combustion • Equipment • Anything from a cast-iron skillet to a $1,000 programmable Hot Top drum roaster • Handout lists pros and cons of major options • Some that were not mentioned: heat gun and dog bowl; skillet; oven; microwave • Anything that can add enough heat to beans could potentially work • How to obtain green coffee beans • Sweet Maria’s: $5-6/lb.+ in 1-lb. bags, bulk discount (23% off by 20-lb. bag), plus shipping • Yeah Me Too ($6-$7.50/lb.),, Luck Bros. ($6/lb.), Stauf’s (10% off) • For more information •, forums, Ken David, “Home Coffee Roasting”

Micro-Roasting Workshop Handout

Home Roasting Methods Advantages and Disadvantages Method


Popcorn popper



•Inexpensive •Quiet •Low-tech •Few things to break

•Requires skill to get even roast •Produces lots of smoke

•Inexpensive ($14.99) •Produces even roast •Easy to stop when you reach desired level of roast

•Smoke •Requires Variac or similar if you want to control temperature •Not very quiet

•Fairly quiet •Relatively inexpensive ($75) for a devoted coffee roaster •Produces even roasts •Very good starter machine

•Roasts 60g at most •No temperature control •Somewhat smoky

•13 programmable roast profiles of 5 stages each •Produces even roast •Easy to stop when you reach desired level of roast •Dryer hose attachment makes it virtually smoke-free

•Not so inexpensive ($179) •Roasts 150g at most •Loud as a banshee

•Very low smoke •Very quiet •Roasts up to 1 lb. •Very consistent roasts

•No programmable roast profiles •Small beans work poorly •Hard to stop when you reach desired level of roast •Pricey ($299)

•Infinitely adjustable roast profiles •Easy to observe roast •Moderate smoke

•Hard to stop when you reach desired level of roast •Way pricey ($495)

FreshRoast Plus 8

iRoast 2

Behmor 1600

Gene Cafe Analog

Micro-Roasting Workshop Handout



Sumatra 1

Sumatra 2

Roast Profiles for Today’s Coffees 420 400

Temperature (ºF)

380 360 340 320 300 280 260 240 220





5:00 Time

Tasting Notes from Sweet Maria’s Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley: Cup flavors are like fruit candy, like marmalade. There are tropical fruits, and sweet orange, dried strawberry and citrus flowers. Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca San Vicente: Well defined and creamy milk chocolate, zesty brightness with just a bit of lemon acidity. Sumatra Classic Mandheling, Lake Toba Region: Aggressive, woody, wetearth character... also has a sweetness, mild fruitiness, a caramel roast taste that has a creamy, chocolate dimension to it as well. The finish goes toward the bittersweet, with a pungent (peppery spice) quality emerging.





Roasting workshop handout  

Handout for May 25 Slow Food Columbus coffee roasting workshop

Roasting workshop handout  

Handout for May 25 Slow Food Columbus coffee roasting workshop