Ikawa home roaster or something else?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by romaen »

Hey, I would like to start roasting my beans at home... but I am not sure which home roaster to get.
What I am looking for:
  • Easy to get started
  • Preferable indoor roaster
  • consistent results
I have seen the Ikawa home roaster - which would cover what I am looking for. But I am not ready to pay 30€ monthly subscription for the curve editor (out of principle).
My questions:
  • Is the curve editor necessary, since it is still possible to select one of some profiles?
  • Is there a similar roaster which you can recommend?
I would like to spend a maximum of 2.000€

Thank you very much for taking for time!


#2: Post by GDM528 »

romaen wrote:
  • Is the curve editor necessary, since it is still possible to select one of some profiles?
The curve editor isn't necessary, nor do you need to pay for a subscription:

The Android version of the app is hasn't been updated yet, and supports curve editing as-is. From what I gather , the subscription service essentially retrogrades the current app to the older version.

For iOS users: if someone posts a recipe from the Android app, that recipe is considered a "legacy" recipe that unlocks the curve editor in the iOS app. You can find a bunch of iOS-editable recipes here: IKAWA Home - profiles You can use those recipes as-is or modify them to create new ones of your own.

I'm still a big fan of the Ikawa Home: awesome thermal control, stability, and repeatability with a toaster-like usage model. The Home version is a good value at less than half your maximum (that's a lot of greens) as long as you don't mind flying a little blind on actual bean/chamber temperature - which you can address by adding your own thermocouple kit: Ikawa Home thermal performance


#3: Post by kidloco »

I had it and eventually sold it. For me comes to this:

1. For Ikawa green beans it is an excellent roaster. To be honest, 100gr size is more like 80 if you want to avoid those couple of beans underroasted in the middle.
2. You CAN use it for non Ikawa beans. How successful? I don't know, for me, roasts were a bit boring, but maybe it was me. If I want to experiment fully and learn about roasting I am going to need a different roaster.

If you want something for the counter that will use Ikawa Beans, and consistently give you very good roasts, I can not think of a better one. To learn and experiment, not so much.


#4: Post by mav »

I think anything with controls can be consistent so you could start with an SR540/800. Eventually move on to a Razzo chamber extension as well. Once you really get your feet wet you could go to a Hottop or Huky. If you wanna make a big leap then go to an Aillio Bullet. That's a viable upgrade path IMO but open to others with more experience as I only have some experience with a friends SR540 which he is moving to a Bullet from.

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#5: Post by prust »

You will quickly find out that the dose size is too small and you will want something that can roast a larger batch. For your budget, look at at Hottop. You can connect it to your computer and see graphs of your roasting. It has a 300g batch size but in reality, it works best at around 225-250 g to have enough power to adjust during the roast.

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#6: Post by MNate »

No right answer here as everything has downsides.

I got acceptable medium to dark roasts on my SR800 with the extended chamber and hooked up to to Artisan. But I struggled to really make things repeatable or make useful adjustments to improve the roast. And I didn't enjoy dragging it out and mainly only used it outside in the summer, but did use it inside under the hood occasionally.

The Ikawa Home is incredibly repeatable and without the editor still offers a whole lot of range to try things. The medium roast, which I prefer, is really nice and even. It's very easy to roast four batches each a bit different and see what I like. And then take the best and roast it against four more variations, and repeat. I'm not using many Ikawa beans anymore and find the standard provided profiles to be quite good. Once a week or so I'll roast 5-10 batches back to back as I'm doing something else in the kitchen and it takes no monitoring (I do this under a hood). Or I'll pop a batch in while I'm making my morning espressos for me and my wife and it will be done before I am (I do this on my espresso bar without a hood and it doesn't smell up the place). Despite the smaller batch size I find it more convenient by far than the SR800 which I had to monitor like a hawk and if I got a teeny bit distracted would find my roast running away from me.

BUT... do I have any idea what sort of RoR I'm getting? No clue. If I want to tweak for flavors all I really can easily do is change the roast degree. Am I learning a lot... no, except for a bit about bean origins and what they are like. I do think it would be fun to have a "real" roaster (read: drum), but I'd want a dedicated area for it and my wife hasn't given the go for that.

I think a fair question is if the Ikawa adds any value compared to just buying very good roasted beans. It might not. But at the very least I like selecting the roast level as it seems 3/4 of the time buying from roasters I don't love the roast level. Blending is nice but I could do that buying from roasters too. I enjoy it though!

So... know what you're getting in to whatever you get. Roasting seems like a hard thing to just try out to see if you like it. It can be fun though and another part to add to your coffee hobby!

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#7: Post by mgrayson »

I think Ikawa is the best *indoor* option. I don't use it under a hood and the apartment never smells smoky or unpleasant. It is easy to use Ikawa's greens and experiment a bit on the different curve choices. Then trying non-Ikawa greens is doable. Yes, you don't get the same information as an Artisan equipped drum roaster, but repeatability is good enough that you build your own sense of what does and doesn't work.

Batch size isn't an issue for me. But then, I'm roasting only for my own consumption. The family drinks better stuff from Klatch et. al. 8)

What roasting your own gets you is you're not limited by what the roasters you like are selling. I can make what I want, when I want, and how I want. Is it better than the stuff I can buy? No. But it's fun


#8: Post by GDM528 »

I've observed that batch size is often cited as a liability for the Ikawa, but for me it's an asset. This is how I adapted to the small batch size of the Ikawa:

I've gamed my consumption mentality by switching to vacuum bags. I constructed a hangar that occupies the same space that formerly hosted jars that made the small batches from the Ikawa seem even smaller and encouraged me to roast larger quantities than really necessary. A bag isn't so judgy about what you put in it. I can roast a week's worth of beans in 30 minutes, which means the coffee gets a week to rest and doesn't go stale before I can finish it. I adjust based on roast level, consumption rate, and whatever mad-scientist experiments I might have going on.

The Ikawa (or the Nano7) is like a toaster for coffee beans. I've been to a lot of bakeries and never seen pre-toasted slices of bread - wazzup wit dat?

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#9: Post by zix »

I am at the other end of roasting process and philosophy :) Just my thoughts here below, YMMV as always.
I roast in the oven and with the hot air gun+bowl methods.
Have considered getting an ikawa, but naah, it is a lot of money for a roast method where you limit yourself to 80 g batches.

* Hot air gun + bowl will set you back like 40-60$ If you need to buy both the tool and the stainless bowl (don't get a dog bowl, get a round bowl approx. 20 cm diameter). You stir with a wooden spoon, and yes, using the one you already have will work fine. I roast 200-250g with this methods

* Roasting in the oven will set you back zero $, surmising that you already have an oven and an oven tin in your home. Fill the bottom of a half size tin with one layer of beans. I roast around 250-300g with this method.

Both methods may prove to be not acceptable in your home, depending on the circumstances. Heat gun roasts need to be done outside or you will have chaff flying around your entire flat/house. Outside they disappear into nature with just the slightest breeze.
Oven roasts can be done entirely inside - here you may need to get the hot tin outside for cooling quickly, or to make some cooling contraption, maybe with your hot air gun, if you can turn the heat off entirely on it. Do not put the tin below the kitchen fan outlet...

To sum it up, I would never get a 100g batch size roaster for the money an Ikawa costs. Just not worth it for me. I understand that you might want to get one in special circumstances, like when living in a congested area / big city in a flat with a minimal kitchen, maybe also without even a small balcony. (In a one person household small batches can be smart too.)
For those areas there are other solutions as well. A variant of the hot air gun with a sifter instead of a bowl, for instance.
LMWDP #047

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#10: Post by yakster »

How do you agitated the beans in the oven to get an even roast?

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