Beginners: Read Me


Hi, if you found your way here you’re either 1) A beginner 2) curious. Both Great things, and both those things will help you understand this roaster and how to roast on it. Life is full of beginnings, it’s exciting and a little scary but with a little time and effort you’ll feel like you’ve got the hang of it. I will try to be as through as possible but I will drop early (that was a funny pun…you’ll get it soon enough) from time to time. So feel free to ask questions about things you don’t understand. Please refrain from asking generalities. I cannot tell you if there is a god or not or if your child will grow up to be a famous swordsman with two left feet. The more specific your question the more accurately I can answer you to the best of my ability. And to others, please chim in, I hope this thread can be part of a community effort to grow and inform those of us that are new to the roasting world. Personally I try and take a very scientifically motivated approach to exploring, questioning, and understanding through trial and error. Yes this way takes time, a lot of effort and some amount of money. But if you try this approach I am sure you will come out better for it. What I won’t do is give you the answer. I am not getting paid for this, in fact it is the opposite, I genuinely want to help and thus I am writing this. In this thread I will try to describe how and the way I started and approached this roaster. And it is my hope that you list some things that helped you on your journey so that others can learn from you.

How I approached this roaster was by first and foremost reading blogs, forums, articles, journals and books by coffee ameaturs, professional and researchers. You can stop at blogs, forums and articles and produce coffee that you would happily brag about. But you have to read the information out there, understand the lingo and test your theories. A lot of information written on western vendors websites are geared towards drum roasters, that is fine, the basic concepts are the same. We are just using a different tool, granted with slightly different results but not drastic enough that a new rule book needs to be writtten.

Secondly, I suggest buying preroasted coffee from a coffee shop or online vendor that is reputable for having very good coffee. You don’t have to give up your secret Cafe du Monde with hickory stash. But you should buy really well known great tasting coffee and try to brew it to get the flavors they list. The point is 1st up your brewing game 2nd taste what coffee can be.

3rd. Learn what ‘cupping’ is. Roasting (especially) with this machine is about consistency and repeatability and having a truly consistent way to taste the coffee that limits the variables to just the coffee you are using and profile you used.,

Forth, there is a saying called “paying your tuition” and that is about the costs associated with learning something new. There are going to be a lot of times that the coffee you make is undrinkable. That is ok, if you get frustrated, take a break drink that $$preroasted coffee or hang out with tea for a bit and come back when you are ready to roast. 5. Just because a coffee didn’t come out well does not mean you should throw it away. Somebody grew, picked, processed, weighed, sold and bought those beans. Either roast those failed attempts in the oven to a dark brown and save them to season your grinder or compost them, there should be no “trash” option.

  1. Go to “cuppings” held by your local roaster (they are free), rub shoulders talk to baristas and roasters, try and shadow a roaster be a part of your local coffee community.

6.5) when roasting, take notes. The more prolific your note taking skills are the more observant you become and the easier it is to reference and learn from your previous roasts.

To be continued…

Guatemala Xinabajul - Santa Barbara (from Sweet Maria's)
What have I done wrong?

Great one @deven.patel411 (I am really sorry for atributing this to Geoff first - i responded from iphone and just, scrolled to fast … ) … please keep it coming, I will be waiting for more :slight_smile: … THANK YOU.

If I reflect my experience through your points, I would say I am feeling quite strong at 1.(though I could always read more, especialy roasting literature) 2. (Highly recommend doing so to anyone … I go through about 20 - 30kg of coffee a year at home, and only seldom I buy the same one more than twice … its great way of seeing what other roaster promote in a given origin, how they do envision that coffee) 5. ( yes please, compost at least …its a great fertilizer, and also chaff …thats great) 6. (this one I find really of a big importance for me. I am in daily contact with local roasters and baristas, in fact I am fortunate to be able to fit a 2h space to visit two places to calibrate myself with great espresso from professionals, and have like 7 - 10 different roasts a week. Being accepted in the community and discussed seriously with about coffee is a great fuel for my learning)

On the other hand I quite suck in 3 and 6.5 … will have to do something about that :smiley: Thank you for reminding me!


Sorry Deven once again, I fixed my error, when I looked here from my PC … jeez … and I always try to mention the right person … but …


It’s all good, no need for apologies here. :+1:


@asanchezmarin Try working on a profile by first making sure that the profile gets the beans to change (relatively) even and (relativley) clear color separations. Finding when first crack occurs and for how long. phases don’t happen at one instance but develop over a length of time, so note the time duration of that phase the key I think to a clear roast is having a clear profile. If first and second crack happen at the same time your going to taste 1st and 2nd at the same time. When manipulating a profile try going to a full convex and full concave profile or a + slop or a - slope see what tastes better. There is a lot of “tuition” that needs to be spent to feel comfortable. I certainly don’t feel comfortable, in control, when roasting.


Great tip Deven. Thank you!


Fantastic to see how many members of this community we have in our first week alone, very encouraging sign for how this community can become a rich hub of knowledge to help us on our journeys.

One thing we’ve learnt is that the roasting journey can take many routes, and deliver many various rewards.

IKAWA At Home is designed to make roasting coffee from home accessible and rewarding. Core to our product is the combination of the coffee roaster, the IKAWA Home app and carefully curated selection of green coffees, designed to enable great results straight off the bat, and open up a whole new set of variables to play with.

We welcome people new to roasting coffee.
Our insight is that to date, while many of us buy coffee from micro-roasteries, pay attention to the grind coarseness, brew time, water to coffee ratio, particular brew methods and even water temperature and mineral composition - many prospective home roasters have been deterred from it because they perceive it to be super complex, messy and hard to get excellent results, so we’re looking forward to a new wave of coffee enthusiasts diving in.

The roast recipes we created alongside of World Selection of green coffee is something we’re proud of. We collaborated with professional coffee experts on this, including James Bailey, World Coffee Masters Champion 2015, Freda Yuan, 2 x UK Tasters Cup Champion, Dan Fellows, UKBC Champion 2016, Edia Chodarcevic - WBC, WBrC Sensory Judge 2016-2018 and various others (post about this coming soon), so we encourage people new to roasting – or familiar with it, but new to IKAWA’s Home Coffee Roaster, to try our profiles first, and iterate from there.

Ultimately, what should you be looking for?
In my opinion, ask yourself

  • Does your coffee taste how you like it?
  • What do you like about it?
  • Which aspects of the coffee make it tasty – is it the beans natural flavours, way they’re roasted or the way you brew it? Or a combination of all three. That’s the sweetspot.
    We hope that by combining the roaster, some fantastic green coffees and roast recipes designed by experts will get you there quickly.

As a community, I’m excited about what we can all learn from each other – and as numbers of users grow, more and more people will have so much more experience to bring to the table. All opinions (and taste pallets) count!

That said, if you’re looking for ‘further reading’ we recommend Morten’s book and Rob Hoos book which really accessibly explain the science and sensory sides of coffee. And of course, we’ll be building our bank of blog posts – but for starters there’s information about Roasting for Espresso, The Stages of Coffee Roasting, Post Roast, When To Brew, and about different flavours in green coffee.

Looking forward to hearing more about your journeys!