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Home Roasting Recommended ?

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Hi All

 

Just wondering if home roasting is recommended when still working on the home barista skills.

 

Would love to create my own blend but am worried about consistency and quality. Tried to roast almonds but always struggle with the consistency (there are always the ones which are not roasted well enough).

 

Can this be balanced with a special roasting machine/equipment?

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Hi All

 

Just wondering if home roasting is recommended when still working on the home barista skills.

 

Would love to create my own blend but am worried about consistency and quality. Tried to roast almonds but always struggle with the consistency (there are always the ones which are not roasted well enough).

 

Can this be balanced with a special roasting machine/equipment?

 

I give you my opinion: couple of years ago I kept wondering... shall I roast my own beans? I imagined myself roasting on regular basis, expecting amazing results.

 

So I bought a Gene Cafe. And the results were.... meh. The. I did the dimmer mod, hoping for Nirvana. Nah. Better, but nowhere near the professionals, despite me using the same beans. There’s a lot of trial and error and the learning curve is very steep to understand what goes on while roasting and all the differences in the beans varietals and types of processes.

 

Do I blame the roaster? Partly. You are going to get what you pay for. The Gene is an affordable, entry level machine which is capable of great results. Lack of control due to mains voltage fluctuations combined with difficulty to hear first crack and lack of bean mass temperature probe made it very difficult for me, in my honest opinion.

 

If I were to do this again I’d invest in something more advanced and which is not so sensitive to mains electricity fluctuation.

 

For me at least, I leave it to the pros.

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Telling from my experience, feel free to give it a shot after honing your barista skills!

Personal preference, I'd say. Being a tinkerer myself, I simply was so tempted to get hold of the variables in roasting after (sort of ) mastering the variables of brewing.

Obviously it would be a step down from what small batch specialty coffee roasters do for a living. At first. Here's where your steadiness comes in.

If you can convince your environment and share your roasts one day, then you'll also be able to bulk buy greens at more reasonable prices - giving you the advantage of actually saving some quid in the long run.

 

But be prepared to go a long way until you achieve palatable results. This is especially true if you've been used to decent beans before

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There's always a struggle between expectations and reality.

 

If you crave perfection I'd recommend staying away from home roasting as it can lead to frustrations. There's plenty of professional roasters to choose from while improving your sensory palate on the road to find out what kind of coffee do you actually like.

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I'd say that if the OP wants to try it the cheaper Gene is an option but may be best to buy used for less cash lost if they give up or can't make it work satisfactorily. They may find as I did that it's best to do a bit of dismantling and cleaning. It was just dust that had been sucked into the machine.

 

The first thing I did was remove the regulator that had been added and started from scratch. Might seem an odd thing to do as all do use one but if I find I need one I want to build it into the machine and removing it allowed me to find out what it did as supplied and learn something about the process as it's remodified.

 

First thing I found while scrapping 500g of beans was that I couldn't hear the cracks. It came with a very flexible length of ducting tube so replaced that with semi rigid and bought a cheapish amplifier with a mic and placed the mic at the end of the ducting which is sticking out of a window. I could hear the cracks then. Some people use a cardboard tube.

 

Then I did a roast based on info of bean temperature when certain changes occur. More success this time. Roast took a time that from various sources seems to be about right but probably a bit over done so maybe I should have set cooling sooner. That may mean turning off after fewer cracks or what ever including the regulator.

 

Thanks to fitting a new kitchen and having no where to roast at the moment things have stopped. My workshop isn't accessible either thanks to the kitchen. So have bought some bits for modification and also some green beans of a type that I do drink so know what to expect if they are well roasted. 2nd crack so might prove to be too difficult to do. They need great care to ensure little oil burns off. I have also drunk the same bean at a medium roast so trying to do that is another option.

 

I'm a little encouraged at the moment. ;) If and when I decide it wont work out I'll just sell it on. Some stick with them some don't.

 

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Profitec T64. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A, Ceado 37J. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

:pToo many filter baskets - maybe. For sale when I get round to it. Robur Elect, Ceado 37J, Ascaso i_1,Piccino

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It took me years to get very good and consistent roasts with the gene. I would recommend buying 5-10kg of the same bean and learn how to roast that one bean.

 

I spent a lot of time raging against the machine and in the end just accepted there's very little you can do to control the various stages until first crack. You can have an influence but in the end you need to just do what's best for the bean in that roaster (which might not be the best roast for the bean in general). For example a bean might be really good just before second crack but to get it there in the gene might require heating it up so quickly you scorch/burn the beans as they yellow and brown so in that case you'd be better off going slower which means your total roast time will increase if you want to hit second and you'll have a very dry roast, or it'll take so long to get through first (due to a slow start) and from first to second that you burn the flavours off. With some beans you might be able to get to second very easily so it varies...

 

Bottom line is you can get good roasts from the Gene, and my best compare well to what I buy from roasters, but you have to accept what is best for that bean in that roaster which can be frustrating and can take a lot of practice to gain an understanding of how the different profiles change the flavours you get in the cup.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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Hi All

 

Just wondering if home roasting is recommended when still working on the home barista skills.

 

Would love to create my own blend but am worried about consistency and quality. Tried to roast almonds but always struggle with the consistency (there are always the ones which are not roasted well enough).

 

Can this be balanced with a special roasting machine/equipment?

 

Of course, if nothing else it's fun, will increase your knowledge of coffee, make you appreciate the work of online roasters. Ultimately you can produce some good roasts, but not for all types of green bean. It make even lead you onto the path of a larger 1kg roaster where you can do excellent roasts and even use it as a home roaster selling it on after 10 years either for what you paid for it or a little more. In fact as a home roaster you wouldn't even have to strip it for cleaning in 10 years and it would still look brand new having only roasted perhaps 500-2000kg (assuming you roast for friends as well).


ACS Vesuvius DBPP, Izzo Duetto DB, Minima DB, Lelit Bianca Prototype DB (paddle flow control) BTC Machines: Roasters: Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster, other failed roasters: Grinders: Ceado E92, Niche US and UK: 145kg assorted greens: My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/

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I'd say give It a go, buy secondhand and If your not happy with the results sell It on and not loose too much money. I was more than happy roasting on the Gene.


Londinium I / Monolith Conical / Macap MC4 / Cormorant CR600 Roaster

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Cleaning. I think I'm the 3rd owner of my Gene. It sucks air in, heats it up and blows it out. There is a dust filter of sorts so as would be expected it had collected some fluff and dust. It's not difficult to clean as there are dismantling video / instructions about.

 

The chaff collector had also distorted a bit and the inside of it wasn't clean so I corrected the fit of the lid and dismantled and cleaned the actual chaff collector parts.

 

Both areas can restrict air flow through the machine.

 

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Profitec T64. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A, Ceado 37J. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

:pToo many filter baskets - maybe. For sale when I get round to it. Robur Elect, Ceado 37J, Ascaso i_1,Piccino

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To me the choice to roast or not was a no brainer. The majority of commercial "Artisan roasters" roast too lightly for my taste. I don't like burnt beans but I do like them to have completed first crack in around 11-13 minutes. The number of posts on this forum from newbies disappointed with the results they get are normally down to badly roasted beans.

 

My son continues to buy coffee from commercial roasters and regularly brings a sample he is unhappy with for me a try. Some of these are outrageously under roasted, probably not even part way through 1st crack, while others plainly roasted at low temperatures for too long. Any coffee advertised as tasting like some citrus fruit should be avoided like the plague.

 

I have used a Gene for many years and find getting a good tasting roast very easy. I would hate to go back to trusting the most influential part of the coffee making process to some one else.

Edited by NickR

Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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That's a gross generalization since most UK roasters are actually on the medium side of things and you'd struggle to find lighter roasts. If you buy filter roasted coffee and try to extract it on a traditional espresso setup, I'd say you're setting up yourself for failure.

 

Gene is a just cheap machine with poor control and variable results. There's a reason why most people who care about their beans, avoid it.

 

And there's another why artisanal roasters don't roast dark: there's no point in taking a high quality specialty bean that far. The results will simply nullify whatever makes that bean special.

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There are a lot of variables in producing and enjoying espresso. I think the OP is wise to suggest that the might be best off honing his barista and tasting skills before taking on roasting. How is he to know whether a roast is to his satisfaction if he has no confidence in his extraction skills or even his taste in coffee?


Londinium 1, Monolith Flat, Pharos, Lido 3, Chemex, Gene Café, Atago Barista

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That's a gross generalization since most UK roasters are actually on the medium side of things and you'd struggle to find lighter roasts. If you buy filter roasted coffee and try to extract it on a traditional espresso setup, I'd say you're setting up yourself for failure.

 

Gene is a just cheap machine with poor control and variable results. There's a reason why most people who care about their beans, avoid it.

 

And there's another why artisanal roasters don't roast dark: there's no point in taking a high quality specialty bean that far. The results will simply nullify whatever makes that bean special.

 

That really is a generalisation. The poster might be referring to skin deep roasting, unevenness and etc. Dark roasts - well some beans need it to achieve the characteristic they are supposed to have..Darker roasts do have their problems as well - so easy to overdo and burn. The results are pretty obvious when 2nd crack is involved so easiest answer don't offer it.

 

The first thing many do with the small Gene is add more control. Maybe they do on the large one as well. The only way some one can find out if the results are any good is by obtaining some beans they like from some one who reckons they can use it well or buy one and have a go themselves - that I suspect will involve some dedication and a lot of trial and error that may even need more of that according to the state of a particular batch of beans.

 

In my experience the best fresh roasters make most use if their experience of the machine they use and use of the sampler. That takes skill and the time to achieve it. Other types might buy a machine that comes with various profiles that will give perfect results with all beans shoved into it. ;) Somehow I have doubts about that. Maybe best stick to beans where that does work out. Even people like Illy check the colouration of every bean they roast and they have good reason to achieve consistency otherwise they might waste tonnes of beans.

 

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Profitec T64. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A, Ceado 37J. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

:pToo many filter baskets - maybe. For sale when I get round to it. Robur Elect, Ceado 37J, Ascaso i_1,Piccino

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A generalisation would've been me saying every home roaster with a gene is like a home cook with some magic pot that thinks he can do a better job than a chef.

 

There are plenty commercial/industrial/traditional roasteries that cater for the dark side so I don't see what's the point in buying less dark beans and complaining they're not dark enough. An uniformed customer always pays more.

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That's a gross generalization since most UK roasters are actually on the medium side of things and you'd struggle to find lighter roasts. If you buy filter roasted coffee and try to extract it on a traditional espresso setup, I'd say you're setting up yourself for failure.

 

Gene is a just cheap machine with poor control and variable results. There's a reason why most people who care about their beans, avoid it.

 

And there's another why artisanal roasters don't roast dark: there's no point in taking a high quality specialty bean that far. The results will simply nullify whatever makes that bean special.

 

Hi Dev, I'm assuming that you are responding to my post (not clear). However, I would agree that coffee roasted for filter is not suitable for use in an espresso machine, I dont roast dark, as I said but I like first crack to have finished. I wouldnt say its a struggle to find lighter roasts, some of the biggest names roast ludicrously lightly and do not specify whether the beans are for filter or espresso use.

 

I would certainly agree that the controls of the gene cafe leave a lot to be desired. However you are utterly and hopelessly wrong to say "Gene is a just cheap machine with poor control and variable results" With the element manually controlled the Gene produces magnificent results, repeatedly and with ease. I will admit that you shouldn't have to modify a £400 machine, it really is about time the manufactures came up with something more modern.


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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Now I get it, your results are magnificent while professional roasters have no idea what they're doing.

 

I guess that's the cue for me, enough internet today.

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Who are all these light roasters?

 

I am with Davec on this. Give it a go!

 

I really enjoyed roasting and ended up with consistency with the HotTop and the Behmor. I knew mine and the machines' limitations and found I was fairly competent with Brazil, ElSalvador and Kenya beans. It’s a really interesting process all round and I think the main reason I don’t bother these days is because there are so many more fabulous roasters about than there used who do a far better job of it than I could ever hope for!


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni with NickNak single hole steam wand tip  / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical, MAX Flat on order  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / coffee bar towel logo embroiderer to the hoi polloi  / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely and understanding husband 

 

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Now I get it, your results are magnificent while professional roasters have no idea what they're doing.

 

I guess that's the cue for me, enough internet today.

 

It's a bit unfair to say that home roasters cannot produce a decent roast that is to their taste. I also don't think anyone said or even implied this?

 

your results are magnificent while professional roasters have no idea what they're doing.

 

for some coffee is a hobby as well and home roasting is part of the interest for them...as is the London Coffee festival. I like roasting, but I have no interest in the London Coffee festival. Just because your view of home roasting is quite negative, it doesn't mean that others should not enjoy it and possibly get some decent results whilst having fun.


ACS Vesuvius DBPP, Izzo Duetto DB, Minima DB, Lelit Bianca Prototype DB (paddle flow control) BTC Machines: Roasters: Amazon Dalian 1kg Drum Roaster, other failed roasters: Grinders: Ceado E92, Niche US and UK: 145kg assorted greens: My reviews at https://coffeeequipmentreviews.wordpress.com/

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Home roasting is a great way to build knowledge about coffee both flavour and coffee preparation. If you like a challenge, and experimentation, then it can be very rewarding. But, be prepared for a fair amount of frustration, disappointment, and above all - don't be tempted to see it as an exercise in money saving! Sure, some greens will work out cheaper, but to push yourself you will soon be wanting to spend more on specialty coffee. You will also make mistakes and will end up throwing away the worst of your roasts (at least with the Gene the batch sizes are relatively small). Actually, have you settled on getting a Gene cafe? There are other alternatives, depending on budget.

 

When I started out home roasting I concentrated on just two or three coffees (for me it was Colombian Supremo, Costa Rica Tarrazu, and a coffee from Papua New Guinea ) and learned how to get the perfect roast from each of them, and also to experiment a little with blending (perfect in the sense that I personally enjoyed the results). Then I branched out and experimented with other origins, processing methods, etc to expand both my roasting skills and my palate. Some were successful (a Brazilian pulped natural), while others not so much (struggled with a Rawandan). But at the end of the day its about being challenged, experimenting, and above all having fun! As soon as it becomes a tedium then its time to move on to something else.

 

To help you in the roasting journey, the internet is a wonderful resource with blogs, facebook groups, you-tube clips (some better than others) and of course, support from other roasters on this forum.

 

Oh - and just to finish, IMHO I dont think you necessarily need to develop barista skills before branching into home roasting. They can be quite complimentary as you can see the relationship between the variables that have gone into your roast, the variables for extraction, and ultimately, and perhaps most importantly - the impact on taste.

 

Wishing you all the best in whatever you decide.


Espresso:Rocket Cellini Evo, La Pavoni Europiccola , Grinder: Eureka Mignon,Ceado e37s Roaster: Dalian Amazon

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It's a bit unfair to say that home roasters cannot produce a decent roast that is to their taste. I also don't think anyone said or even implied this?

 

 

 

for some coffee is a hobby as well and home roasting is part of the interest for them...as is the London Coffee festival. I like roasting, but I have no interest in the London Coffee festival. Just because your view of home roasting is quite negative, it doesn't mean that others should not enjoy it and possibly get some decent results whilst having fun.

He didn't use the word decent, he said magnificent.

 

Since I'm also home roasting I know pretty well the struggles of getting a good light roast. To dismiss professionals simply because they don't burn the beans the way you like it, is unfair.

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Who said anything about "burning the beans"?


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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How about you name so names that "roast ludicrously lightly and do not specify whether the beans are for filter or espresso use".

 

I've actually tried most of the bigger, well known UK roasters and found them quite on the darker side of medium.

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How about you name so names that "roast ludicrously lightly and do not specify whether the beans are for filter or espresso use".

 

I've actually tried most of the bigger, well known UK roasters and found them quite on the darker side of medium.

 

Define what you are trying to achieve by light roasts and "darker side of medium". https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/using-sight-to-determine-degree-of-roast/


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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I had exactly the same experience with the Gene. I found the roasts very dull. I gave up home roasting for years, until recently, when I decided to go back to basics and I bought the little Nuvo ceramic roaster. This little thing has given me more enjoyment and better roasts than I could ever achieve in the Gene. Just as importantly you're really in touch with the sounds and smells of the roast and you can make very quick changes as you're literally cooking on gas!

 

Just for a bit more fun I bought the ever popular Severin popcorn popper for £15. A very impressive popper for coffee. For some added geekiness I drilled a hole for an iCelcius BBQ temperature probe. This is connected to my iPad and records real time temperatures in the Roastmaster app. Not really necessary but it does allow me to see the effect of changes such as changing bean quantities, taking the lid on and off at certain times of the roast etc. Small changes can make quite dramatic changes on air poppers.

 

I never had a problem hearing cracks in the Gene. It's a very good machine in terms of being hassle free and the design is very modular allowing you to replace parts easily. I still buy coffee from professional roasters as well.

 

I give you my opinion: couple of years ago I kept wondering... shall I roast my own beans? I imagined myself roasting on regular basis, expecting amazing results.

 

So I bought a Gene Cafe. And the results were.... meh. The. I did the dimmer mod, hoping for Nirvana. Nah. Better, but nowhere near the professionals, despite me using the same beans. There’s a lot of trial and error and the learning curve is very steep to understand what goes on while roasting and all the differences in the beans varietals and types of processes.

 

Do I blame the roaster? Partly. You are going to get what you pay for. The Gene is an affordable, entry level machine which is capable of great results. Lack of control due to mains voltage fluctuations combined with difficulty to hear first crack and lack of bean mass temperature probe made it very difficult for me, in my honest opinion.

 

If I were to do this again I’d invest in something more advanced and which is not so sensitive to mains electricity fluctuation.

 

For me at least, I leave it to the pros.

Edited by chipbutty

Nuvo Eco ceramic roaster | OE Lido 2 hand grinder | Hario V60 | Hario TCA-3 Syphon | Impress Brewer | BonaVita Immersion Brewer | NotNeutral Gino Dripper

 

My Flickr Photostream

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How about you name so names that "roast ludicrously lightly and do not specify whether the beans are for filter or espresso use".

 

I've actually tried most of the bigger, well known UK roasters and found them quite on the darker side of medium.

 

What is the point in naming them when you have already said you have tried thier products and found them on the darker side of medium? We have very different ideas of what constitutes a medium roast. Lets leave it at that.


Londinium 1, Pharos, Ceado e37s, Gene Cafe, Aerobie

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