First home roaster

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Jesse.F

#1: Post by Jesse.F »

As I've settled into my espresso and coffee routine, I'm at the point where I don't have much more gear to get for my home set up, and as I love new gadgets, I'm thinking I might give roasting a try. I'm not looking to replace my daily coffee needs with home roasted coffee, but I think it's be fun here and there to have some. I hadn't looked into it to much because I assumed entry into home roasting would be expensive, but after seeing the recent post about the popper, my interest is peaked. Those videos certainly made it look fairly low hassle. (Obviously like many things, it can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be)

My main question is, if I'm willing to spend up to $500 how much of a difference is there between something like the popper, or a more expensive machine. What would you all suggest for a first roaster that one won't want to upgrade immediately upon discovering that they like roasting. (Keeping the budget around $500)

If it helps with suggestions, I tend to go through 40g of beans for espresso a day.

Thanks for the help

frackh
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#2: Post by frackh »

Look at the Behmor, price is around your budget. I roast about a pound (greens) a week, consuming about 40g on average daily.

This was the route I took when I plunged down this rabbit hole. Wasn't sure about home roasting but had enough of an interest to research the Behmor (1600 AB+ at the time). Was a good buy given the timing was just pre-pandemic, the pandemic basically made it a necessity to have fresh coffee on hand. It's a great starter unit IMO, just enough control to learn and not be completely overwhelmed.
In that process, it really pushed my interest in roasting to a new level. 18 months later I'm now on a BC-2. Overkill for home roasting? 1000% but the want to have a more granular control and not having much other options as far as in-stock roaster goes...

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walr00s
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#3: Post by walr00s »

A little over your budget (like double unless you find a discount), but I went with the Sandbox Smart based on this review by DaveC https://sway.office.com/tfqj3vUqjfiA30Eu

I've been really happy with my results. The repeatability of the programmed routine is what I like so much, and also that it's a very low maintenance way to roast. I have to clean out chaff for chaffier beans after every roast...I probably spend a total of 2 minutes of my time per roast, though once you get into modifying your own profiles that can consume a lot of time, but it doesn't feel like work.

I go through ~ 35g caff beans and ~40-80g decaf in a day. I roast 4-6 times back to back maybe twice a week and often end up having to throw out some coffee that's gone past its prime.

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Brewzologist
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#4: Post by Brewzologist »

Jesse.F wrote: What would you all suggest for a first roaster that one won't want to upgrade immediately upon discovering that they like roasting. (Keeping the budget around $500)
I'd say you likely can't have your cake and eat it too! 8)

I used a Behmor for years and learned about roasting, then finally bit the bullet and got a gas drum roaster with roasting software and learned exponentially more. The quality and repeatability of my roasts also went up significantly due to the increased control, and it made me wish I'd upgraded sooner. The challenge in roasting is things happen quickly that impact flavor significantly, and my venerable Behmor just wasn't up to that level of control.

In a perfect world, I recommend you find someone with a ~$500 roaster and compare the roasts they produce with what you're currently buying to know if it would live up to your expectations. Short of that you buy a $500 roaster to learn on, and upgrade later if you start yearning for more.

TigerStripes

#5: Post by TigerStripes »

I cannot recommend the Fresh Roast enough. It roasts pretty fast and will teach you more about roasting than any other machine since you see, smell, and hear the beans as they roast.

I roast 1/2 pound batches in mine because I have the razzo glass extension tube and chaff collector (purchase off Etsy). I think that buying the FR500 and those accessories everything came out to ~$250. Took a while to learn how to make good coffee, but now I like my roasts more than any commercial roaster.

I also tried stove top roasting with a heavy steel stovetop popcorn popper, and it is extremely difficult to get a good roast with that. I wasted many pounds of beans with heat just too high or just too low.

Hope that helps! :D

learncoffee

#6: Post by learncoffee »

Here is a thread on FreshRoast SR800. There are a number of HB members using it, so you can get a pretty good idea of its capabilities. As always, you need to have the right expectation.

Fresh Roast SR800 - 1/2 lb Air Roaster

luvmy40

#7: Post by luvmy40 »

Home Roasting Supplies has the SR800 w/extension tube for $350 NIB or $298 refurbished. Easily the best bang for the buck in intro level roasters.

https://homeroastingsupplies.com/shop/o ... ST-ADD-EXT

https://homeroastingsupplies.com/shop/o ... -SR8-SR8-W

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baldheadracing
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#8: Post by baldheadracing »

I'd say that the biggest differences in "wanting to upgrade" are:
- the measurement of bean temperature;
- the data logging of estimated bean temperature in a format suitable for Artisan; and
- the roasting machine having the controls needed to impact estimated bean temperature.

Excluding user modifications, home-built machines, used machines, etc., that point seems to start at about $1800 (Hottop).

As such, I would recommend spending the least amount of money, and thus, the $89 Popper. Roast outdoors and have fun with it!

themusgrat

#9: Post by themusgrat »

Get a Behmor, and then save for a big boy roaster. Behmor will give you some good tasting roasts, and resells well.

You will want something like the BC-2 already mentioned, but as a first roaster? I don't know about that. If you roast on a Behmor for a year or 2 and still have the time, and enjoy it, go for the big ones, is what my opinion is.

littlenut

#10: Post by littlenut »

Jesse.F wrote: <SNIP>

What would you all suggest for a first roaster that one won't want to upgrade immediately upon discovering that they like roasting. (Keeping the budget around $500)

If it helps with suggestions, I tend to go through 40g of beans for espresso a day.

Thanks for the help
Hi Jesse,

I think we need a little more info from you. The first thing you need to answer is where are you going to roast in the winter months? If indoors you'll need to address how to vent the roaster outside. Very strong kitchen vent exhausting to the ATM? Heated Garage? (I "believe" the Behmor doesn't need to be vented to the ATM, but I am not sure.)

Back of a napkin for capacity....
  • 40g roasted/day is equivalent to ~47g green/day
  • So in 2 weeks you need to roast : 47g green/day X 14 days = 660g green
Also most people gift roasted coffee to friends so this is probably a little low. Maybe 800-900g green every 2 weeks. How many roasts do you want to do every 2 weeks?

Regards,
-Tom