IKAWA BLOG: Roasting for Espresso 🔥



ikawa at home - espresso roast

You’ve asked, we’ve delivered. A comprehensive introduction to Roasting for Espresso on IKAWA At Home.

Read the post here: https://www.ikawacoffee.com/roasting-for-espresso/

City Roast (to all who simply don't like Light)

I might have been lucky with my first experience in using the Brazil Sitio Bela Vista recommended roast for my morning espresso… The taste was so smooth and intense, not a hint of acidity.

I wonder if @Geoff_IKAWA of anyone else have anything to say about the other (major) variables at play when extracting an espresso, like grind size, coffee weight, extraction pressure, etc… and if they should vary according to the roasting and beans in use…

My two successful experiments (luck of the beginner) were with a fine (but not the fines possible from the Baratza Preciso) grind of 18g (double) coffee and a pressure within the “espresso range” of the Breville Barista Express (which might mean 9-9.5 bar if what I read online about the machine is to be believed…).

Thanks for the great post and what an amazing resource for a neophyte home roaster as me…!



Thanks @peurostar , glad you found it helpful! You have definitely touched on the major variables and yes, they do all vary by roast and bean. We will dive deeper into these as time goes on. In the meantime, curious to see if others have some suggestions for you or similar experiences!


@peurostar, hey I can’t really help you with the pulling of espresso but I will say working your way backwards helps and don’t mess with too many variables at once. Also remember pressure and temp are related.

Thanks for that write up but I am wondering what your rest time for the beans before you pull your espresso? Have you been able to get oily beans without scourching? Do you think the beans’ even appearance was due to the temp range in the beginning or have you found you can achieve that while still using a gentler start? Lastly what beans were you using and what was your moisture loss?


Hi @deven.patel411, no one right answer here. We have had good results pulling shots the same day (usually with darker roasts) and great results resting the roasts for a couple weeks too.
The even appearance can be due to a number of factors - the beans you use (I find beans from Brazil always smooth out sooner than, say, a bean from Colombia) and how developed the roast is. If there is a more gentle start, try balancing that out with more time in the roaster and a larger development time.


Hello @Geoff_IKAWA … and thank you for very nice and informative blog posts. Hope they will come ina steady stream of nutrition for our hungry brains :smiley:

I also have to admit, that at least if I take what you describe as a practice of some average espresso user I am probably on some pretty distant extreme of sorts :)) Because I have not bought an espresso roast for making my espresso in a very long long time, I usually use filter roasts, or light roasts, and sweetness is not something I am looking for (more often then not I am actually trying to reduce it and get some more accidity out of the given coffee). The same is true about the body - very much true the light roast can be somewhat lacking in body, and I do my best to add some body without sacrificing the brightness and fruitiness, but I do not want to sacrifice them for a big body :smiley: … What I am allways looking for is some sense of ballance, in as many levels as I can (like having the taste spread around more of the mouth than concentrated somewhere) but allowing for sharp and well defined spikes of some flavours on the high end of the spectrum, being ballanced out but not muffled and muted by the low notes. And Ikawa is such a gem for this kind of experimenting …

I would like to ask - how important would you say is having a refractometer to check the TDS and know where about in the percentage ones extractions are? I think, from my many ways how I manipulate the taste of my espresso (like lower temperature, a lot lower pressure - i usually make Gesha espresso at around 6bar as my most extreme low pressure espresso - ), that I probably intentionally underextract to add slightly to the accidity. But not sure since I never measured it for TDS.


@peurostar - Hellow fellow Ikawa roaster :slight_smile: - I have to say its really hard to unswer your question in a way that would be easy to read for you. Because there is just so much of variables (depending on your tools) you can touch and play with. I will tell you what helped me the most when I found out I have hard times tuning my espresso on Rossa Air and reach to Ross for help - he did not give me any instructions like what parameter leads to what result, instead he motivated me to continue trying and observing the outcome, to develop some intuitive understanding of the tool. It took me a little more time (like 3 weeks) to get the result I wanted, but I learned so much from that process.

What I find extremely important for me, is having as many variables as possible available for change. I have multiple very high quality hand grinders, a sifter so that I can also separate a narrow band (like 400 - 600 micron range) and make espresso of it (its sooo gooood actually). I use water temperature and pressure in a very wide range to fine tune what I need (probably like 80+ to 94C and 5-12bar), I do pressure profiling by hand and find it very good though hard to master tool. And then you can manipulate a water quality, or do a flow profilation or many other crazy stuff … but first you need probably to play with all the variables you have at hand, and find out if they offer you enough lattitude to get where you would like to be with your espresso, and play behind the safe bounds and standard recomendations. Just to see what happens if … its a lot of fun, and great source for learning.


I would like to add one observation I made some time ago, and read some feedback of anybody interested to talk about this, to see how other may see it.

I have found out, that there are maybe two very well defined groups of people, when it comes to their preferences in espresso taste, and what they find satisfying and good. And it probably infuences a lot of the choices along the way, including the roast profile and bean orrigin they would pick as their favourite.

I will use a sound histogram analogy to a taste - where to the left you have the bass tone and deep flavours and to the left high pitched sounds and high and bright flavours.

So one group that I often see when talking with people about coffee would have preference for quite a smooth, filled, round spectrum, probably leaning a bit towards the bass, but mostly forming a sort of hill, which is quite smooth. A lot of body, a lot of sweetness, a lot of everthing. But without spikes … just that large sort of a blob of very nice and satisfying taste.

The other group (which I think to be a part of) would be one that likes very well defined spikes of taste, being able to cleanly taste what every origin and farm and variety and processing may bring out. It may sometimes be somewhat harsh or unballanced, it may take some time to wrap ones head around, because its and intuitive reaction to unknown anything to reject it, but when one gets past that rejection point and looks at the taste as it is, it might not be a comfortable taste, but still quite interesting one :smiley: (I had one such experience with Honduran espresso today … a taste I have not yet tasted was present, very interesting experience for me)

I think that its quite a good thing to know, where ones preferences are, because it requires completely different approach to all parts that meet in the cup.
My approach is to get as much precision in every step to keep those spikes cleanly defined, so only single origins, no blending, and having the best tools for the job of precision in extraction. While the other view would ask for blendind, and probably reducing those spikes and filling the space between them to get that roundness and fullness…

What do you think? And where are your preferences? Do you enjoy even those strange and uncomfortable tastes? :smiley:


Hi @pavel, it sounds like you’re more of a “professional amateur” barista! Congrats, it’s a lot of work to become that aware and in control with espresso. Because you are so aware of the details, and already controlling as many as possible, I would say that it could be helpful. The refractometer is a great tool. Giving a number to an extraction is very helpful, but only if you can control the variables (and know the variables) that make the extraction. Because you’re in control of those, I would say it would be helpful!


Thank you very much. Well I am conteplating getting one for quite a long time, its not a cheap piece of equipment. I am a bit affraid of necessary filtering of the espresso, seems complicated to me, but probably I will have to just get used to the process.

I am thinking of myself as amateur, simply because thats very exact and literal, i love making coffee and love learning more about it. Thats also why I pledged for Ikawa home - i thought it will give me a different angle of view and a special insight into this part of the process ;))
Have been in close contact with local roasters and baristas for some time too, that also helps to learn quickly (and entertains them with my unusual equipment sometimes :D)

There is still a part of the process i have not touched and I would like to… And that is growing the plants and processing the coffee on the farm … keep my fingers crossed that it might happen soon :smiley:


@pavel to say that I am impressed by your responses is an understatement… I should add a few levels below the neophyte I thought I was, if you are an amateur barista… :slight_smile:

Thanks for the reply and you are surely right… I guess it is easy to fall into the trap of “give me the solution”, while in reality the real beauty of having all the tools (different single origin beans, a roaster, a grinder and the espresso machine) is to play and experiment to find your own favorite mix (which differs across people and probably across periods/moods/etc… too).

Not sure I would reach the level of details and accuracy you seem to have grasped, but definitely I will play around and enjoy the process as much as (hopefully) the result…


@peurostar for everyone there is something different they are looking to get out of the process. I believe coffee roasting should be fun and should satisfy something you are looking for. No right answers here, and no correct styles. Glad to hear you’re possibly feeling some inspiration to experiment!


@peurostar , well … I am very happy if you get inspired with my responses, but please, its not good to make this sort of “level” stuff … I think its a good practice to consider myself a novice and beginner at any point, thus knowing there is a lot that I do not know, and being hungry to learn and surprised and having this - eyes of beginner. From this point of view, we should be both beginners right? And, to give you some more motivation, my journey through the specialty coffee is just 5 - 6 years long, before that I did not even drink it. So … its just a lot of love and dedication, and will to experiment and learn.

Enjoy your journey and your coffee, thats the best way to go … :smiley:

(btw … could not respond sooner - I did hit the limit of posts for a 1st day :slight_smile: felt itchy all those 15 hours I had to wait :smiley: ))


I read your article on roasting for Espresso beans. In your blog you show a Espresso Roast Profile 1 and 2. How do I get these profiles on my App. I click on the link below the profiles and it takes me to download the Ikawa Home app which I already have. It is the latest and does now show the profiles. Any suggestions?


Thats strange, it should say that it will try to open it in your app, not installing your app again.
Are you IOS or Androind?


Hi @douglas9! My first thought is that maybe you’re clicking on them using your computer? You will need to click the links from your phone (the same one that you use the app on). If you are using your phone, are you on Android or iOS?


@pavel and @Geoff_IKAWA I definitely agree that everyone can find their own treasure in the experience of coffee preparation (and almost any other “journey” for that matter…). And no worries, I only feel inspired, not at all intimidated or “downgraded” by reading of some very detailed and rich posts…

My comment on being a neophyte was only a way to give credit where credit is due… After all, if I got interested in flavouring coffee (and chocolate…) is thanks to the movement created by specialty coffee shops and coffee “connoisseurs” like you guys…

So, thanks again and please keep the inspiration and knowledge flowing… :wink:


Exactly … its a pretty intensive “journey” :slight_smile:

Btw … did you say you produce chocolate? That is something I would love to start with, as soon as I buy a melanger :slight_smile: … (my plan is to start from unroasted beans, and make it fresh for us in very small quiatities) … so if you are ahead on that one, I would be happy if you could shine some light in front of me :smiley: … (though probably not here … :D)


Yeah, that was part of my problem, did not completely read the whole text saw the link for the IOS store and kind of stoped there, my bad. I did then try it on my iPhone and after a few tries was successful. I’ve noticed that IOS can be a bit picky when it comes to links, sometimes will have to select two or three times before it works and other times the link never works. All good now and eager to try the Espresso Roast profile. I had been using Andino Especial for the 10 minute roast time.

I tried 8 different espresso blends and bought a 20 lb bag of Sweet Marias Liquid Amber Espresso from https://www.sweetmarias.com/product/sweet-marias-liquid-amber-espresso-blend-3092

Waaaay too expensive to purchase from IKAWA especially shipping so I get it from Sweet Marias here in the USA.

Thanks for your help.


So Vienna roast, with 5 unnamed washed beans + some monsooned & robusta.
That’s a very particular kind of taste