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How to homeroast without any special gear?

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  • How to homeroast without any special gear?

    Hey everyone!
    I'm new to roasting coffee. Always loved coffee, and in these past few months I've little by little started to get more and more into it, and eventually, started roasting on my own.

    Right now, I'm roasting using a wok. I use a couple of handfuls of green beans, a wooden spoon, and I just roast the beans over the stove on high heat, stirring all the time.

    I've done a few roasts up to now, none of which were mind-blowing in terms of taste.
    I usually get first crack after a few minutes, but the problem is I also usually get into second crack with no, or barely any, silence in between the 2. Meaning first crack turns into second crack over time.
    I imagine this means I'm burning my beans, which makes sense since I'm usually getting this weird sharp, charred smell coming from my coffee when I brew it, which translates to the same in taste when I taste it.

    My latest roast is my best one so far I think.
    I used the same wok but this time I covered it and threw it around from time to time, to give the beans a little movement other than stirring them (which leaves many of them belly-side-up, roasting them really dark on the flat side).
    The roast is more evenly colored, but I'm guessing since I lifted the wok from the stove higher, the heat wasn't strong enough and I didn't get second crack. I got to first crack, but I'm not sure it went all the way.

    As far as that charred flavor, it's a LOT weaker on this (the latest) roast, and there's a distinct acidity to the roast. The beans are Yemen Adani beans, which to my knowledge should be very acidic and fruity, which they are. On this roast I'm also getting that nice hint of cocoa, but not quite as strong as I'd like it to be.

    This wok solution is not the best one. Tossing the wok while it's covered is very tiring and I can't keep it up the entire time, and it makes it very hard to concentrate on what's happening in terms of smell and crackling.

    Are there any other simple methods to use, without buying any additional equipment? I'd really like to improvise a nice way to roast without going too high-tech or buying some specific gear, since I need this solution as a temporary thing until I get my roaster soon.

  • #2
    Do you have a trivet or similar? You may have better results if you raise the wok or whatever you're using up a bit over the hotplate, you need to try to increase the time it takes to heat up, I don't know how far out you can string first crack in such an environment, but try to push it out to at least 5 mins.


    • #3
      I know you said without buying specialist equipment, but how about buying a $30 heat gun from Bunnings and use that to heat the beans.

      That way you can leave the wok sitting there and with heat gun in one hand and stirring stick in the other, constantly agitate the beans while controlling the heat.

      I assume the wok is clean, no food oils, etc?


      • #4
        I spend $10 on a second hand pop corn maker as my first venture into home roasting
        cheap, fun and not so messy inside the house (as I had to do it outside )


        • #5
          I use popcorn maker. As Okitoki said you can get one for about $10 or cheaper second hand but if you want a new one you can get it from Meyer for anywhere between $19-29. It is a 1200W machine and works really well for me. I roast small batches of 85g in multiple succession and usually roast 250-500g per session which takes about 1hr 20 min including cooling down time for the popper. I have found this method really useful for understanding the roasting process, colour and smell changes of the beans as they go through the various stages of roasting. The one thing i find that affects the speed of the roast is the ambient temperature and humidity. I usually only roast when the temperature is below 18-20 degrees and humidity less than 55-60%. Good luck!


          • #6
            I'd rather not buy a popcorn maker since I'm about to get a decent roaster in a couple of weeks. This is just a temporary solution, so I'd rather make do with what I have here

            That's why I'd rather not get a heat gun or anything, just wondering if there's some improvised way other than using my wok.

            The wok is clean, I'm using it on my biggest flame on it's strongest, if I leave it on and only stir the beans get to first crack quite fast and they burn, but if I toss it with the lid on it seems to take a while before anything happens, and I don't get second crack at all (not so far).

            I figured the more beans I roast at a time, the easier it'll be to stir them and not let any of them stay in the bottom for too long. Is there something to this thinking?


            • #7
              Update: Just used the last of my recent roast's beams for a cup of black coffee. It improves over time, but the crema is still not that great. The coffee is quite tasty now (2 days post roast), but the crema is still a little light.

              I think if I manage to take the roast a little darker without burning it, it'll be perfect.


              • #8
                If you're getting a new roaster soon, why not just save the greens and buy roasted for a few weeks?