Coffee drinkers are more knowledgeable, conscious, and informed than ever before. With more and more of us working from home, we collectively became more engaged in brewing coffee at home.
But have you ever splashed out on an expensive coffee, only to find it has gone stale a lot faster than you expected, or doesn’t taste as nice as you remembered? If you roast on-demand at home, you’ll never have to throw out stale coffee again.
We can say with confidence that the next step for discerning coffee drinkers like yourself is roasting your own coffee beans at home. How can you do it? What equipment do you need? And how can you be sure that you will get results that you like?
In this blog, we will talk about what you need to get started and highlight how the IKAWA Home Roasting System can help you do that, in a safe and enjoyable way, and with great results from your first roast.
What do you need to get started roasting coffee at home?
1: You’ll need green coffee to roast
As many ways that there are to roast and brew coffee, there are as many options for green coffee. There is a wide range of quality and variety available on the market. As someone beginning on their coffee roasting journey, it may be daunting to figure out which green coffees to choose.
Here are some of the factors that will make the most difference:
- The coffee variety
- The origin of the green coffee beans
- The processing method
There are two main species of coffee; these are Coffea arabica (generally just known as Arabica) and Coffea canephora (commonly known as Robusta).
IKAWA currently sources Arabica, but we are always watching the industry to see any exciting other species become available.
Within the Arabica species, there are a number of coffee varieties available to roast. After you have a little experience under your belt, you may learn that you prefer a certain variety over others.
You can read a little more about varieties here.
2: You’ll need a heat source (in our case, the Home Roaster)
For thousands of years, coffee was roasted over an open flame in a pan.
If you have typed ‘home coffee roasting’ into any search engine online, you will have most likely seen home roasting ‘hacks’ such as oven roasting, stovetop roasting or even popcorn machines. These methods are fine but do not yield consistent results, and comport a few risks such as smelly smoke and risk of beans catching fire.
In order to roast the entirety of your beans without burning one batch, you'll have to apply the same temperature on all the beans, while moving them around to avoid combustion.
You can use these methods but you would risk wasting quite a lot of beans before you get good results, and they might be difficult to replicate.
We developed our roaster in order to deliver consistant, replicable and safe roasts. The heat is applied following a pre-decided recipe, contained in a roast chamber with our patented cyclone technology, aided by a bean ramp.
By using our Home roaster, you can avoid a lot of smoke, risks of burning, and be able to replicate exactly the roasts recipes that you enjoyed, or modify them slightly to fit better your taste.
Choosing the best green coffee to roast at home
1: Coffee Origins
If you’re new to sourcing your own beans, you can (very) broadly split coffee producing regions into three; Africa, Asia and the Americas (Central America and South America). Each of these regions have some distinctive flavour characteristics.
Africa: Coffee from Africa tends to be described as diverse, juicy, complex, floral, sweet, bright, and lively, complex acidity.
Asia: Asian coffee is generally heavy, woody, spicy, wild, and complex, with simple and subtle acidity.
The Americas: Coffee from the Americas may be described as sweet, clean, nutty, fruity, chocolatey, and smooth acidity.
2: Processing methods
Processing, is simply how the coffee bean is removed from the fruit that it was grown in. How a coffee was processed, plays a huge factor in its flavour characteristics. We’ve gone into some depth about it in this article about processing, if you are curious to read more.
Natural Process: Sometimes called dry process, this is the oldest process. Typically, natural processed coffees have intense fruitiness and tend to have a creamy or velvety body.
This process can sometimes cause the flavours that may be described as ‘wild’ and or ‘fermented’.
Washed Process: Washed coffees tend to have a more pronounced acidity, complex and lively. They will sometimes be perceived as sour or slightly sweet and can tend to have a juicy or silky body.
The Semi-washed Process: Coffees processed using the Semi-washed method can have all the best characteristics as the washed and natural process. There are lots of variations on semi-washed coffees, and experimental process coffees tend to start with this process.
You can find more information about our green coffees and their origins, growers, and flavour characteristics in our green coffee shop.
If you need some further guidance about coffee flavours, you may find our blog 'understanding coffee flavours' a helpful resource.
Before you start roasting coffee beans at home:
Now that we have had a broad overview of how to roast your own coffee at home, using good quality green bean and a consistant heat source, here are some tips that we want to share with you:
Get yourself a notebook
Coffee is an organic product and may roast differently from day to day. You may find it helpful to write down any variables such as the weather while you were roasting, or any tasting notes from roast to roast. Keeping a record is the best way to trouble shoot and can help you learn even more about the dark art of coffee roasting.
Weigh your green beans
Yes, weigh them out. By weighing your coffee, you’ll get a consistent volume going in the roaster, and consistent results from roast to roast.
Roasting coffee at home safely
Remember that roasting coffee produces some smoke. If you decide to use a skillet, the oven or any other method in the same vein, turn on your kitchen extractor if you have one and open a window or two.
Roasting coffee involves heat, so just be sensible! Don’t leave your device unattended while roasting; let your beans cool down, as well as any surface that was in contact with heat.
Now that you have begun your coffee roasting journey, we hope to be along with you on your voyage.
With the IKAWA app and green coffees, there is room to experiment, play around, and have fun. You may discover more about what your own preferences are, as well as become more of a coffee expert yourself.
You can give friends and family the gift of freshly roasted coffee that they just can’t get anywhere else.
Remember: there is no rush to be the best or the most perfect at roasting coffee at home. But if you ever need any pointers or if you run into a hurdle, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In our next article we’ll cover Roasting Your Own Coffee Beans: From Green to Brown. Check it out.