My Ikawa experience so far - roasting washed Ethiopians


#1

I bought my Ikawa Home roaster a few months ago. I was drawn to the simple design, and to the controllability. When a profile is developed, you can repeat this time after time. I have roasted on Diedrich 3 kg roaster, Giesen 6 kg roaster, Probat sample roaster (which I still have), repeating roasts on these roasters was not always easy when the weather, air-temperature, winter, summer is messing with you.

Developing profiles on the Ikawa home roaster is not a walk in the park when used to the drum-roaster approach. So it took some time to find the dymamics in the Ikawa, and how the coffee responded to adjustments. In the beginning I tried some “known” profiles from this forum as a start, but I did not get the results I wanted. I usually ended up with flat overroasted coffee. I love coffee from Ethiopia, especially the floral washed types, so that is where I started. I like my coffee juicy, transparent, floral, fruity and clean. I want to drink my coffee the days after roasting, I dont store coffee for weeks to bring out the best of it. My everyday life needs coffee to taste good from the day after roasting. But how to produce this on an Ikawa? On this forum it is not written much about washed floral coffees, but I found many profiles for natural coffees.

What I have found, is that 1st crack is much less agressive on the Ikawa, compared to the Probat sample roaster and other drum roasters. It may be because its harder to hear 1st crack on the Ikawa. I also end the roasts earlier in the 1st crack than before, now it is 30-60 seconds into 1st crack. I have sneaked in a thin thermocouple-wire thorough the top lid to confirm that the bean-temperature is increasing through the dev-phase, although the Ikawa profile is decreasing in temperature. I have developed 2 profiles for 2 different Ethiopians. The roasts looks very similar. The profiles has a little temperatur-difference, but the biggest difference is in the fan-settings. The Konga profile was more flat until i adjusted the fan. The fan is almost too high on the Konga, the beans moves a bit fast, but it brings the coffee to a lighter roast-degree that I needed. The Bensa Asefa coffee were more heat-resistant than the Konga. The fan is really a great tool for adjusting a profile. More fan = lighter roast. Throug the drying stage it might take out more moisture, a thing to have in mind.

Here is my two roasts that create juicy, floral coffee. The bean-size is 14+/15. The coffees are both sourced by Sweetmarias.com. They produce good acidic and floral coffee, they are both very light roasts. So if you want your coffee city+ and darker it might not be for you. I might tweak the profiles further if I want something adjusted, you never know. Its so easy to do small adjustments on the Ikawa, I know that the Ikawa is in the future for me;-)

'Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Konga ’ freshly roasted by @ikawahome, here’s the recipe https://share.ikawa.support/profile_home/?CAESECg4aaCjG0iqn0lR5fTaxH0aHEV0aGlvcGlhIFlpcmdhIENoZWZmZSBLb25nYSAiBQgAEPQDIgYIpgIQuwkiBgjLCBCQESIGCJMQEKgTIgYIphUQnBMiBgilGBCNEyoFCAAQywEqBgilGBCzATABOgYIkyMQxwFCJgocZ0Z0cGpVY2RDUlhvS2RVaFVDeGJhMjZEYUk0MhIAGgAiACgA

‘Ethiopia Bensa Asefa Qonqana’ freshly roasted by @ikawahome, here’s the recipe https://share.ikawa.support/profile_home/?CAESECWhKVr67kEuqKcqlWqyResaHEV0aGlvcGlhIEJlbnNhIEFzZWZhIFFvbnFhbmEiBQgAEPQDIgYIpgIQuwkiBgjLCBCQESIGCJMQEK8TIgYIphUQphMiBgiFGRCfEyoFCAAQwAEqBgiFGRCeATABOgYI8yMQxwFCJgocZ0Z0cGpVY2RDUlhvS2RVaFVDeGJhMjZEYUk0MhIAGgAiACgA

I hope these roasts might work for other washed Ethiopians. I will use these profiles for testing new Ethiopian washed coffees, and tweak the profiles from there.

But one negative thing about Ikawa must be said. I think when you spend this much money on a roaster, the Ikawa team should give us a better software/app. Why they left out the possibilty to mark out drying stage, 1st crack and more, beats me.


#2

This is an interesting and convincing reading, since you obviously have a lot of experience in roasting.
Unfortunately, you are not on my track with the level of roast that you are occupied with and perhaps even on methods of preparing coffee, but I’ll cross fingers that you change your mind and as you said tweak a bit and play for the other side of the moon. Which means going darker, longer and more suitable for espresso. Let’s say just knocking at the door of the 2C :slight_smile:
I have Ikawa for a while, but still shooting in the dark. I am completely with you when pointing out negatives of the software/app. My only experience, before I bought Ikawa was roasting with a heat gun and I had a probe installed and could easily read bean temperature and according to the temperature reading I could decide what to do, which part to shorten, which lengthen. I would know if the bean temperature is rising or dropping. And now, I don’t know any of that, only the temperature of the chamber, but for me that is shooting in the dark. Ikawa knows exactly what’s going on, but me, hm.
Some are saying that you can determine the phase by colour or smell. Yeah, right. I should at least have the amount of experience that you have in roasting that I can do that, everything else to me is mere gossiping. You said that you put a probe inside, don’t you loose temperature like that, or is everything stable if you do that?
I can’t say that I had a better coffee when I was roasting with the heat gun, but I could definitely say that I was able to manipulate the result better. I must say that I’ve tried all the profiles and I didn’t find anything spectacular. I roasted enough origins, but never had tastes that people here describe. Only a bit of citrus in Guatemala or Brazil, but I applaud to all that have so much success, unfortunately, I don’t.
So I would ask you, do you have any suggestions on how to know what’s going on with the real temperature, the one inside the beans? Is there anything, besides colour and smell :slight_smile: that I can follow, and without the probe installed? Any advice?
Thank you in advance and looking forward to your future profiles, which I hope you will share.

p.s. Not to be misunderstood, I am not completely without results, my beans smell wonderfully. I found that for me, the best results are 10 days or more after roasting, even 21 day is great. But as I said nothing spectacular as other people here mentioned.

Cheers!


#3

I am trying the 'Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Konga ’ recipe on some Sweet Maria’s Ethiopia Sidama Damo. I would like more recipe choices to try for City to City + but it seems I can’t work out how to figure out the options in the app that will do light roasts. I’m not ready to create my own yet, need the help from more experienced folks. Everything so far has been darkish and that works fine with the espresso but with filter I would like more light options.

Thanks—


#4

It’s a real life struggle that we all share so don’t worry.

The “real” temperature is just as much of an illusion as a probe in the bean mass of a drum roaster. If we could get an IR probe that would be nice but still will be not very real and still not mitigate the inevitable until a new profile can be made. All that to say I’ve seen consistently enough that marking green/yellow/brown/1st and 2nd crack by the input temp profile we see on the app is consistent enough. To base and create profiles from. What would be nice about an IR or general insight (that I have not found a good workaround for) is when the beans crash and flick.

Have you tried just dropping the beans earlier?

I used to use my phone flashlight but now I have a lamp I can see the beans as they change color.

As far as being a better coffee roaster, the roaster is usually the most knowledgeable person about all things coffee, from brewing to sourcing all of it effects how to roast the coffee. The more I have read and researched the easier roasting has become for me, at least.


#5

I am experimenting with a new profile, I have given it a little bit more heat in the beginning, and I aim for approx. 5.30 total roast time. The profile have a total time of 6 minutes, but I use first crack to know when to drop. Usally around 5:20-5:40 (first crack around 4:45), but this can change from different coffees of course. Its very easy to overroast with this profile because it gives alot of heat into first crack. WhiIe writing this I am brewing a Ethiopia Bensa Asefa Qonqana, it has a roast time of 5:40 and quite overroasted for my taste, a little low on acidity, maybe 10 seconds shorter roast will bring out more of its origin. Or maybe flattening out the temperatur going into first crack will help? This is what makes the Ikawa so unique, you can tweak heat, fan, roast time and check out what it tastes like. I have tried this profile with several coffees with promising results, maybe it will give you a good starting point for the Damo-coffee. Let me know what you think! Heres the profile Im testing these days;-)

https://share.ikawa.support/profile_home/?CAESEGFHYswox07RlOro92MIGVAaFkV0aGlvcGlhIHN0YXJ0IHByb2ZpbGUiBQgAEPQDIgYI1QMQ8A8iBgjrBRDgDSIGCMcIEOMNIgYI0RAQphMiBgj+FBCvEyIGCIccEMUTKgUIABDBASoGCIccELYBMAE6BgjPIRDFAUImChxnRnRwalVjZENSWG9LZFVoVUN4YmEyNkRhSTQyEgAaACIAKAA=


#6

I really never is 100% satisfied with my coffe, always small changes to try when tasting coffee, maybe that is the curse we all have to live with! :wink:

I think a good starting point when learning a new roaster is to know how the coffee you roast should taste like. Thats why I started with Etihiopian coffee. This is the coffee I usually drink, and know what a floral Ethiopian should taste like in general. I also roast on a Probat Sample roaster and can compare this with the Ikawa. Its fair to say that I have more good roasts on the probat still, but hope the Ikawa will be up there soon.

I have attended some roasting-courses when I started to roast, one of them was with Morten Munchow from Denmark. And I must dissapoint everyone, there is no hidden secret in roasting, its roasting tasting roasting tasting, tweaking roasting tasting. Understanding the the different stages, and knowing how adjustments affect the roast is of course an advantage when developing profiles.
I havent met one experienced roaster that roasts purely from smelling the roast. Of course its easy to smell when drying phase is finished and browning begins, and you can smell when 1st crack is getting closer, but I dont drop the coffee from smell. I drop the coffee from listening and feeling the momentum into first crack, and the length of first crack. When I feel Im close to something, I roast the coffee with different development times, narrowing it down. If the coffee then is a bit astringent, I may increase the drying time, or the time from yellow to first crack.

About dark roasts Im not the man to ask, I roast quite light and really dont have the experience to advise you on that. But if the coffee is tasteless and dull, it is most likely overroasted. You can either shorten time before first crack, or/and shorten time after first crack. Or you can decrease the heat through and after first crack. Its try and error.

A good advice is also to check out the Ikawa-pro profiles. The temperatur is different, but you can use info on fan and roast times, I studied those before trying my first roasts.


#7

Thank you for suggestions. Everything you said is actually familiar. I am not able to make a lot of batches so it is a bit slower process for me, I don’t do roast after roast after roast, but that’s fine with me. I enjoy the whole process which includes roaster-grinder-espresso machine.
I can say I am pretty happy with the roaster, I got everything I wished for. I can roast without smoke :wink:
It would be amazing that we all share same interests in levels of roasting and green beans that we use, but that is kind of utopia :slight_smile:
And IKAWA is not much of a help. They are more oriented on selling stuff rather then helping users who already invested in their business, by buying the machine.
Next season, and that is probably before next summer, I will buy some Ethiopian Yirga again and try your roasts.

I have a suggestion.
Since this forum doesn’t have it, we should definitely create a separate thread which could be called “coffee only” or whatever.
So, that could be a place where users (us) would write what origins of coffee we buy and roast. And that place shouldn’t be opened for discussion, it should only be a database with coffee other people roast. It could also be helpful to mention where they bought the coffee, what methods are they using to make coffee, whether it’s an espresso, V60, Aeropress, etc. Perhaps it would be interesting to write a city, state or continent where they are from.
But that’s it. That would be really beneficial.

I don’t know how many people are registered in this community, but I think that there are a lot more members than those who show interest to talk about roasting. Personally, I’ve been reading for a while, but I never post anything because I couldn’t find anything similar to my interests. But this kind of a thread could be interesting for everyone. In that database of different origins of coffee it would be so much easier to find where to intervene if needed. Without any need for discussion.

Any suggestions for the name of that thread?

Cheers!

p.s. Sometimes too much information and data can lead to failure rather than success.


#8

#9

I’ve seen those articles already, thanks.