Newbie Guide to Home Roasting?


#1

Hey Guys,

Just got my home roaster few weeks ago and have totally no experience in roasting prior to this.

So far been using it with the IKAWA supplied beans hence like to find out if there are any guide on how to explore roasting beans outside of the standard ones.

Example if I am buying some green beans (eg Kenya AB or Ethiopian), how do I start? Use a standard roast profile and adjust from there or is there a library of profiles for different region to play with? Etc etc …

I know the selling point of this roaster is that it allow us to customise and change. But without experience in roasting, where do we start?


#2

It is a tough call to say where the starting point is, many approaches can all lead to good coffee. It either begins with a lot of reading or a lot of roasting, or a lot of reading and roasting but most of all patience. I guess you could not do any of that but for me my goal is coffee better than anybody else’s. You do what you want to do. But considering you bought this thing and don’t want it simply as a counter ornament, reading and trial/error experimenting is par for the course.

I and others have written some thoughts if you search through the forum, there are profiles but no library of profiles for the Home there is for the pro but unless you are familiar with when stuff happens it will be difficult to apply and they are sampling roasting. There are many caveats and prairie dog holes in roasting so I’ll try and keep this relatively brief. There is a library of resources on here as well. I recommend first searching on YouTube for “Mill City” roaster classes. Although for drum roasters it will give you the basics. Maybe after that Scott Rao’s books though I haven’t read his new one.

I basically got an oven thermometer broke it out of its casing and snuggled it at the top of the roasting chamber. Then did a series of flat temp profiles to gauge where the oven probe read in correlation to the app and where and how long at various temps the beans reached first crack and at what temp color they reached. Which enabled me to have a general familiarity where first crack happens and with trial and error, where second crack happens. This helps if things change, which happens often in roasting. I basically profile or adjust profiles by marking at what temp color changes or roast markers occur and adjust from there based on smell. Though highly recommend making sure wherever you are roasting the hot air can be evacuated via a vent or hooking up a vent or hood so the heat/smell can be evacuated as you are roasting.

Lastly never be afraid to take a break, make a cup of tea, and relax. Buy a bag of roasted coffee from a roaster, compare and contrast what you are doing to the world around you. So you can objectively taste your coffee.

And for the love of god post a picture of the profile and not just the link.


#3

A second note about how I adjust a profile, once I get the general familiarity with where the bean changes green to yellow or yellow to brown, etc I change the profile by extending or shortening the segments or altering the fan, but I try not to mess with the fan too much. In the beginning i would suggest picking a fan speed or fan profile an not adjusting it at all until you are familiar with roasting.

Secondly now I think once you have the general temp ranges it matters much more to alter each segment by the RoR aka slope vs the actual temp. Because in the last segment you can always stop the profile, by hitting the button, when you feel the roast is done.


#4

I think for me the roasting process got complicated once I see IKAWA’s profile for each of their beans. Prior to this and based on what I’ve seen from YouTube and reading up, the main focus is to just roast the bean to a set temperature eg 225 degrees. Then observed the yellowing phase as well as the first crack. Then decide when to end the roast. But after seeing the various roast profile from IKAWA, things starts to get complicated. I mean the graph can be erratic, like quick rise to max temp of 250c then down for a minute then up again to a set temperature. The problem is that there is no explanation as to why the particular profile for the specific bean. So there is no learning point here.
Not sure if I am the only person facing this. But I can see that most profiles that are from user are fairly gradual and very unlike IKAWA “style”?


#5

I wonder why IKAWA doesn’t respond and help you?

Cheers!


#6

Sure an explanation would be helpful but also limited unless you have the same exact bean. When I watch the Nordic Forum Roaster videos when they explain their profiles, it is always that they think or feel that the beans need an adjustment that is solely based on their own experiences and what they specifically wanted to get out of the bean or how they thought would get “the best” out. Most of the science on roasting is aiming for a style of roasting you may consider a French roast, which if you trying to highlight “origin” notes, then none of the Science is applicable. Even still most of the roasters on the cutting edge (I don’t think) understand the importance of green and see it only as segment to loose moisture and set up the profile for the rest of the curve. I don’t think is wrong but certainly lacks understanding of the possibilities. Which this roaster can excel at, because it has such a high power to mass ratio it can alter the heat applied on to the beans very quickly. But this comes at a sacrifice to measure bean temp. Hence why profiles may SeeM erratic but there is thought and understanding behind the reasoning you just don’t see yet. Ikawa could hold a course…but there is so much info already out there, for free, that people have generously spent there time already giving, why not capitalize on that first? A course still does not make up for all the roasting experience required to understand advanced course material. I guess it’s like anything else in life, the more you understand about the thing the better you are at it.


#7

Well, I am roasting the beans that is provided with the package and using the profile that is provided as well. But I cannot make sense of it.

Example, most of Ikawa standard profile starts with a quick rise (sometimes followed by a sharp fall) and then rise again until the end. While the profiles that are shared by other users here feature a gradual upward rising curve. Just an explanation of what is going on will perhaps point us in the right direction?

I’ve read Scott Rao’s book and the information provided is general although useful. Just not sure how much these “guidelines” relate to the roast profile here.

One thing I noticed is that all the profiles provided for the 6 bags of beans provided (filter or espresso) creates a rather dark roast. Not second crack dark but not the medium roast that I usually buy from cafes locally. Anyone else facing this as well? I thought at least the filter roast should be between light to medium light roast?


#8

If you check out the threads from the beginning, the library labeled ‘Fruit for Thought’, in previous threads we talk about “the spike” this is just considered to be a faster charge than those profiles that gradually move up. So if you check out those backlogged threads there is plenty of explanation and discussions.

I think asking for an explanation is giving us more credit than we deserve, lol. For instance if I taste a coffee and I think it’s underdeveloped, there are a dizzying number of ways I can add more heat but understanding what can without messing up the other factors is based on learning. Whether you read it, watch it or roast it, you still have to take the time to get accustomed to the medium you are working in. Maybe start here :man_shrugging: Trying to Break-down Profiling, Different types of Profies, and Troubleshooting

I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but these basic things have already been written about, talked about, here and other places you just have to take the time to explore.


#9

I’m surprised that you find the Ikawa profiles “rather dark”. I know these terms are relative to everyone’s personal experience, but I also measure my roasts with a Tonino light meter and they are usually quite light by that measure too.


#10

I’m surprised that they are darker too.

Example left is based on a recommended roast profile found in this forum while right is the Guatemala IKAWA filter profile. Only the Ethiopian Ayehu filter profile is lighter so far. Meaning all my beans turned out similar to the one on the right. While colour is subjective, I trust wee can agree this is somewhat on the dark side.


#11

Hi Deven,

I’m sorry that my questions made you feel that way. I hope that I am not appearing like I am waiting to be spoon-fed those information. Rather it’s due to my lack of understanding in this craft that is causing me to not know where to start. This plus the fact that the number of home roasters are not many from where I am. Thanks for the link. I will see what I can glean from it.


#12

I appreciate it, I think your best bet where to start are those Mill City videos https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLu8VqVhnMNSgPuDBPajMH18zOzieMXJJg, even though it’s for drum, pretty much the only info on roasting is for drum roasters but the basic principles are the same just a different heat source and roasting mechanism.

Color is just one aspect to the development of the bean, at the end of the day what really matters is what does it taste like, which one tastes more developed? Like cooking/roasting nuts, fruits or caramel…insights can also be gleaned from other culinary aspects and applied to coffee. And like bread making, the basics are easy to understand but applying it is easier said than done, hope this helps.


#13

I don’t know much about the filter roasts. I was talking about the Ikawa espresso profiles on the bags. In fact there are a number of generic Ikawa espresso profiles here and there that are reasonably dark.


#14

Sorry, late to the party.

This is still pretty much my approach and have been working well for me (note I am so focused on Espresso I often forget that other people use different brew methods :D):

I have spent the past 3 years learning how to dial in and make espresso, so went I wanted to start roasting I wanted a method that matched the empirical approach to dialling in that had helped me get to grips with pulling good shots. The Rob Hoos approach nailed that for me, combined with his pro recipe it was a great starting point for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have my fair share of WTF moments, where I make an adjustment expecting outcome A and I get Z. But mostly it gives me a framework for understating flavour.

I am at a point now where I am really trying to explore the marriage of my grinder, machine and roast. Lots of fun :slight_smile:


#15

Thanks for the reply.

I’m trying out the profile that you are using and will update on the results.


#16

@adrianangcw
And so, what were your results?