Newbie Guide to Home Roasting?


Why don’t you try asking about specifically what you don’t understand on here? Have you explored this forum yet? There is some basic information that if you can’t understand watching the Mill City videos from the beginning, like “what is baked flavor” you might try buying a Roast Defect Kit from a local roastery or someone online. A simple google search will pull up a few names. James Hoffman just hosted the largest ever group/online cupping, hopefully there may be another. For me the info and access is easy because of the internet, there are blogs, podcasts, forums, books. All I can suggest is post questions, get out there and explore and drink up the information that is out there already.


I remember James Hoffman saying that you should only buy an espresso machine if you want a new hobby; pulling a great shot is a complex process that takes patience and a willingness to learn.

By this reasoning, you should only buy a home roaster if you want an obsession. Learning to roast is much more complex than making expresso. It has taken me 2 years to develop my espresso making skills to a point that I can dial in for flavour. I have no idea how long it will take me to get as good at home roasting.

Ultimately, the roaster is just a mirror that reflects your knowledge of the process, so when I don’t like what I taste, then that is most likely on me, not the machine.

If you are using some of the standard IKAWA beans, we don’t need to ship our roasted beans around the world. We can share profiles, and all taste the same results; It’s the great thing about this machine and the community. Whether or not anyone else would enjoy the same flavour as me is a different questions. But fortunately I am not roasting for anyone else :wink:

If you are using my profile for espresso I can offer very specific advice on how to modulate flavour based on what you are seeing and tasting based on my {limited) experience.

As Deven said. We are a community of enthusiasts who like to share what we are learning with other enthusiasts. So will always help where we can, but we can only show you the doors.
Get on the bus and enjoy the journey.


Okay I have a specific request for help here.

Lately I’m roasting the following two beans so please help me to troubleshoot.

  1. Ethiopia guji Mesina washed - using various roast profile, it smells nice. Taste flowery. However slightly diluted. Appear underdeveloped. Anyway to improve.

  2. Kenya Yarra AB - due to the side of beans being smaller,it gets dark easily despite the various profile that I’ve tried. However the taste is very mild and diluted. I think under developed too. Any suggestion on this.

Appreciate anyone can share prosit profile for the above 2 beans.


Have you tried my washed ethiopian profile (or others) which one was best or gave you flavor notes regardless of good or bad? What did the cup taste like? What were the color markers and segments? When was first crack and how was it (loud/soft, single/many)? How long was first and did you go into second? Were the tasting notes on the grainy/acidic side or caramel/burnt?

Also how did you taste them? If you having trouble tasting coffee in general, like the flavor notes on the roasted bag. Than buy roasted coffee by famous roasters and tweak and refine how you taste coffee, the water you use, the precision of the equipment and what you are capable of…a roasters hardest working tool is not the machine but the spoon and bowl, cup, taste, rinse, repeat. If you don’t have a good flavor lexicon, than you should make teas of herbs and fruits etc (look at the SCA flavor wheel) and start memorizing flavors so when you are past the medium (eg wine/whiskey/coffee/etc) you can recognize the other flavor notes.


Hi. Not sure profile you referring to?
So far I’ve used hambela Hassan, base profile 250 and some IKAWA Ethiopia profile and marshal Etheo 1fan80%.

Can’t say which I favour more but they all give a floral smell and taste upfront but lack any distinct taste after that. So pretty dilute and not distinctive.

1st crack on marshal etheo is from 7:50 mins. It’s floral and i would say leaning towards light acidic.

Don’t think it’s a taste issue cos I’ve enjoyed several of the beans roasted by the local stores. They are mostly fruity like and has distinct note to it. My cousin who brews the coffee I gave said the same thing i.e. not much distinct note to it. Also they are not cheap beans just to take away another possibility.


I wouldn’t imagine any of us using beans below 65-68pt coffee, though if someone does and gets great coffee they like, more power to you.

Another thing to emphasis is the weight loss in a batch, in the 10-12%range I would get what you described (though I would not recommend using a dry processed profile for a washed coffee), the 13-15% is what I think most speciality coffee really hits at, though that is also my opinion. Also I aim roast for immediate consumption like they do in Ethiopia/African countries, and usually find a great roast dies after 3 days and I have not yet
tried to hold onto a coffee like that too see what it’s like is 7,15 or 21 day mark. But I have also had great roasts start smelling after 3 days rest…It’s just too good so I drink it real fast. Not to say all my coffee is good, because when I find something I make a note and then move on, since I have a lot of ideas I want to test. Anyways…I don’t think anyone here would say to simply let a profile roast all the way through, but to stop/drop the beans into “cool down” mode when you like. I determine this by smelling near the vent (please be smart about it) emphasis on near, the air is very hot and I don’t recommend inhaling any roasters exhaust ;):wink: but if you were the gently smell neat the exhaust right before 1C is about to occur and a sniff starting-during 1C, when I smell berries or chocolate(a little to far) then I initiate the cool down mode for the Marshal Etheo profile its in the 5-15s range after the first pop of first crack. If you are close (floral tastes) you can move then fan to 86-86\73, where the second fan point is just before yellow starts. I like to use fan as a polishing step for the profile, where the heat input is the main driver of the roast. But you are roasting wet processed coffees, I cannot stress the importance of knowing the distinctions of the bean you are going to roast, the chemicals in the bean will be similar but the amount of moisture, bean structure etc will change how the bean interact with the heat.

The profile at the end used to be my sample roast profile, but nowadays I’m not really using it but it gets to first and second and the beans look good lol.

This is my usual go to for wet processed ethiopians atm, if you type into the search bar here on the forum, “washed ethiopian” you should find other profiles/threads that can help.

‘ME+H3 Hc360’ freshly roasted by @deven.patel411, here’s the recipe


Usually I will get 43g after roasting 50g. So weight loss is is about 14%? Does it mean temperature is too high?

I consume my coffee usually between 1 days up till 2 weeks and in most of my cases, the flavor usually peaks around 4-7 days. Some beans (generally Ethiopian) smells nicer than others (like Kenya or Guat), though it may be my roasting issue.

I am not quite sure if I get your advice above. Are you saying that regardless of what profile that you are using, you will drop the beans once you have achieve the smell that you like? I don’t think I am that astute to smell chocolate or berries in the roast. Can you please explain the whole fan part? I don’t quite get it.

Also I am getting a batch of Colombia Jairo Arcila soon, so appreciate if you can share a roast profile for me as a starting point as I do not have much experience with Colombia beans.

Thanks in advance.


I cannot say this with 100% confidence, the weight loss is dependent on the profile dropping/cooling the beans early will have a slight maybe 0.5% difference. Since most of the weight loss its taken out in the green and made available for use in the yellow phase of roasting, the nature of a convective roaster, changing the fan or dropping at a lower temperature will not alter the moisture more than 0.5% imo from my somewhat limited observations. Which in this case is what you want, simply dropping the beans earlier can get you in the 13-13.5% where I like to drop my dry processed Ethiopians.

Temperature will mainly effect the bean structure (how hard or brittle) and color/melanoidin of the bean. The physical smooth/wrinkle of the outside is based on ROR of the segments.

It is more important for moisture loss to alter the ROR of a segment during a roast than the actual temp.

The only time to be careful about the where the temps are, is during the beginning and end of the profile. When real extremes can cause defects like tipping or internal charring in the beans. For example in the Hassan U3 profile by jboutte (apologies if that’s wrong) for my roasting environment (humid Florida) going up in the initial charge of the profile gives me burnt notes, but in my profile for immediate use I move almost 100F in 30ish seconds without a defect because it’s in the middle of yellow.

It’s a profile issue, I’m going to rely on the experience of others and say, the only way to create uniformity in roasting such drastically different beans like a Kenya, Guat and Eth with the same profile is to roast them to the degree in which they all taste the same ie coffee flavor, well past their individual “origin” flavor that we pay big bones for. Now the caveat is if you have the same bean variety grown in different places aka varietals, at the same altitude, same everything I would say you can use the same profile so basically that is impossible.
Edit: also caveat, if you roast different beans (kenya, brazil, guat) but they taste good with the same profile then roasting them individually with the same profile is also possible but those who say this are roasting with a drum. On the Ikawa I’ve roasted different origins with the same profile but they were all the same processed (dry processed aka natural) and yield similar blueberry notes, this has happened for me with a Burundi and Nicaraguan with he Marshal Etheo profile, I think @stephen.pickering21 has also noticed this(?) with African beans though I don’t know if it was specifically for naturals.

Lets say I blindfold you and walk you past a chocolate factory, would you be able to tell there is chocolate nearby…or a coffee shop? Making the teas of specific things can help strengthen the association/connection in your mind. Making you more sensitive. However the smells and tastes should be obvious (in an ideal roast), again blindfolded, if you ate a piece mango or banana can you tell the difference between the flavors. I call the roast well done when the flavors really pop out of the cup, sure 99% are ok/drinkable but when a profile hits well it is sensational.

Fan: “-” = flat fan, " \ " = decreasing fan, “/” = increasing fan. So the three points of the fan profile are 86,86,73 so 86 flat to 86 then decreasing to 73.


I forgot to mention, no I don’t have any Columbian profiles that I can remember but again search on the forum and I’m sure someone has posted something.

Also when starting put making new profiles, I have spent a lot of time in the longer side of profiles and suggest trying to make shorter 4-6min profiles as I will now be focusing on doing the same.