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Why do you home roast?

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  • Why do you home roast?

    To save money? cos pre-roasted aint fresh enough for you? For me, theres a heap more variety available in green than roasted, and since I dont go through enormous quantities of the stuff it makes sense to keep it as green and roast it as required. The economic argument was good to start with and I guess it holds true but its not the main reason for me now Im starting to appreciate the variety and the different flavours with different rest times etc. I suppose its also just coming to understand another part of the process a bit better.

    Im actually finding the process of roasting quite relaxing - theres not much else you can do except sit down, watch the beans tumble, listen for snap, crackle and pop and (if youre like me) record the temperature points at each minute - its quite a mesmerising experience in some ways, the constant movement of the beans, the constant hum of the drum motor and the regular tinkle of the beans. While the kids are asleep on a Saturday my wife will sometimes sit with me out on the back verandah reading while I roast and just chat as we wish. A nice change from rushing around with hectic schedules!

    How about you?

  • #2
    Re: Why do you home roast?

    I started out of curiosity and a spare popcorn machine sitting in the cupboard, a CS starter pack and say no more....Corretto roaster, multitudes of green beans to choose from.
    I enjoy being able to create my own blends and so roasts and enjoy them at different stages after they have been roasted. The quality of the beans that Andy offers to us is amazing, I have so many beans I love I couldnt really say my all-time favourite as it changes all the time.
    I love getting out in the garage (my haven) and savouring the aromas and smoke from roasting beans, my wife left her washing hanging in there last week and the sheets had a rather nutty smell to them!!
    Economy of home roasting is also a consideration--but freshness and uniqueness are number one factor for me.


    • #3
      Re: Why do you home roast?

      Interesting question.

      Why do I do it? Theres so much good brown stuff around - if you know where to look . So why do I spend so much time and money turning green beans brown?

      Honestly, I started because I was curious to see if I could do it.

      But I got hooked. So many variables. Origin, varietal, roast profile, blending ...

      A delightful fusion of science and art. Its just too interesting, and the results too enjoyable, to stop.


      • #4
        Re: Why do you home roast?

        All of the above for me especially the relaxing part that Greg mentioned
        It must be that campfire feeling

        I have just started the roasters road so I have many roasts ahead of me So my good and trying times are ahead of me.
        Koffee Kosmo


        • #5
          Re: Why do you home roast?

          Good question, Greg.

          Im pretty much in the same boat as Michelle. I do a bit of home roasting, a bit of roasting on a commercial sample roaster, take home some coffee from work and I am given or buy other coffee. Home roast probably only accounts for 1/4 of my consumption or less.

          Frankly, I dont find cash to be a very compelling argument for home roasting. Even at the uni student wages that I command, I think that I probably come out even or behind on home roasting, especially if I take my usual course of doing a few different profiles for a given origin to get it right, rather than drinking all of the experimental roasts. Not to mention the whole headache of creating a stash of everything that I actually want at the right level of freshness to create the exact blend that Im shooting for. Far better bang for your buck, in my mind, to go to a brilliant roaster, pick up some beans and shoot the breeze over an espresso.

          I home roast purely for the challenge of it and to learn more about coffee. Im often left thinking "hey, why dont pro roasters ..." and home roasting gives me a chance to experiment with it. Often the answer is "because it tastes bad," but I still consider the experiment a success!

          Given that most coffee in Australia is roasted for espresso, I find that home roasting is particularly good for exploring filter, syphon and french press. If you want to try a particular origin more or less at first crack, there is basically no other way to do it. To this end, I think that I might pick up a popper for the faster and brighter roasts and the smaller batches.




          • #6
            Re: Why do you home roast?

            I kind of started out by accident.
            I used to work in the city (in Melbourne) near the Victoria market and bought my browns from there.
            I was happy. I didnt know any better.

            When I stopped working in the city, I found I was making special trips in to get coffee which was making it quite expensive. I began searching on-line in 2002 for a roasted bean retailer. I came across an article on how to roast your own in a popcorn popper. This was on a now defunct green bean website.
            So I bought some and got hooked.

            A little while later when the website was faltering, I found Coffee Snobs and really got into the green beans.

            I bought an Imex. Managed to kill it a few months later, bought another Imex (still works),

            Then someones friend was fabricating SS drums for roasting and I thought "Hmmm.. that sounds like a good idea. So the drum became my primary roasting method.

            I love the chance to try so much variety.
            I too find the roasting process quite a relaxing time.
            I get a lot of appreciative comments from any guests who have coffee at our place.
            I get to share the roasted results with others.

            I dont think it is a cost saving. Certainly not the way I do it anyhow.

            Home roasting currently accounts for 100% of my consumption as Im not even buying coffee whilst at work now.

            In short, I cant see the hobby stopping anytime soon.


            • #7
              Re: Why do you home roast?

              More or less for the same reasons cited above....

              I guess it mostly comes down to the fact that I "need to know", a very common human condition. Started off with poppers like a lot us do and when control of these roasts in the batch sizes I needed became more difficult, I jumped at the chance to set up a Corretto roaster after Belindas original inspiring post.

              Have never looked back since and really happy to have discovered home roasting..... Also led me to becoming a member of CoffeeSnobs too and that has been a very enjoyable and satisfying experience for me 8-).



              • #8
                Re: Why do you home roast?

                Eventhough I roast at work from morning til night roasting, weighing, packing, and doing it all over again, lugging 60kg beasties all over the place, sticking a brush up the flue, sometimes I go home, don a beanie, freeze my knees watching beans in a popper and go to bed smelling like toast.


                • #9
                  Re: Why do you home roast?

                  My reasons in order of importance:
                  Bean freshness
                  Roast level
                  Variety of beans available
                  its fun and challenging part of the perfect cup of coffee
                  saving a bit of money



                  • #10
                    Re: Why do you home roast?

                    and go to bed smelling like toast
                    Check for essence of home roaster at the perfume counter of your favourite department store. CoffeeSnobs will pass you in the street and offer a nod and wink knowing that you care about what you find in your cup.

                    We really need a secret handshake!

                    For me...

                    Curiosity started the ball rolling.
                    Initial quality was surprisingly great
                    Then it was the challenge to better it, to perfect it.
                    ...and forever more I will roast in search of the perfect cup.

                    I now see it is a life-long journey (if you want it to be)


                    • #11
                      Re: Why do you home roast?

                      Many similar reasons to above.

                      I actually posted here in the early days that I couldnt see myself doing it.

                      I was buying my roasted beans from Hazel and not at that stage seeing any need to chamge that.
                      I wasnt working and had the time to pop in whenever I needed more coffee and HAzel was always up for a chat and I learned a lot every time I visited.

                      Eventually though I could see that once I found work my coffee needs would not be met as easily so I ventured into home roasting.

                      Chats with Hazel now had another subject to explore.

                      The price factor helped convince the better half but isnt a consideration now.

                      I enjoy being able to say I roasted the beans that someone is enjoying in a coffee Ive made.

                      One day when my two plants produce a crop I hope to be able say Ive processed it from beginning to end.

                      Ive been learning martial arts for over 30 years and learning coffee for only a few now and just like Andy I can see this is a life-long journey too.


                      • #12
                        Re: Why do you home roast?

                        I got hooked after my first popper roast. I cant really say what it was, other than the taste. Maybe its like home-made bread. Maybe its being part of the process.

                        The wide variety sure helps, but Mark Barun keeps a huge range. Its a bit cheaper (or it will be when Ive finally paid for the Gene Cafe!).

                        I suspect that a major contributor is the fact that Im learning something new, enjoying the product, and getting it closer to MY ideal than anyone else.

                        ps--its fun.


                        • #13
                          Re: Why do you home roast?

                          Originally posted by Michelle link=1211177202/0#2 date=1211178391
                          ... a delightful fusion of science and art. Its just too interesting, and the results too enjoyable, to stop.  
                          Thankyou Michelle - succinct, yet comprehensive

                          I believe youve captured the why factor ... well, for me anyway.

                          Why do I home roast Greg? The challenge, & the consequent learning curve.



                          • #14
                            Re: Why do you home roast?

                            Ive really only done one roast with a popper ages ago.

                            I havent done anyhting since. Its more a time thing - as in, I dont have any yet. Ive been putting all my efforts into producing the best espressos I can with some of the best (already roasted by people who know what theyre doing) beans around... I DEFINITELY will get into it. Ive already got some bits and pieces lined up for a Corretto. Thatll probably happen within 6 months time. The reason why I want to start is to get well aquainted with the whole process of the coffee making experience first hand. The finance thing isnt an issue..... especially when Ive got my eye on a 2kg roaster (dreaming).


                            • #15
                              Re: Why do you home roast?


                              Well I love the result!!!
                              I love to experiment (Popper, corretto, attempting to PID a corretto, home made drum roaster - with and without PID, and now a Hottop with PID)
                              I love trying for that "perfect roast" using knowledge from here and technology to assist.....
                              Its a great adjunct to my coffee passion....

                              and, most of all, WHY NOT????? ;D ;D ;D