Home roasting in a large wok

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

#1: Post by plener »

This is my first post on this site--this how i home roast my coffee--learned it from my friend from Columbia. I use a very large wok for the roasting--to cool it i use another but stainless steel wok resting in tub of cold water. Using gas flame i roast the green coffee with constantly stirring the beans
--when the beans approach the color I like I rapidly pour the beans into the stainless steel wok and rapidly stirring the beans. I let them cool for a few hours I grind and use them. Yummmy

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#2: Post by lsjms »

Good man, I did my first roast like that.

Then came the heat gun and dustbin. Hottop followed, heavy modding. 2kg gas roaster now, outgrowing. Looking to build a 10kg by year end.

Best of luck sticking to the wok.
LMWDP #277

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#3: Post by Martin »

A second wok in a large tub of water would be, for me, less than parsimonious--storing and filling the tub, in particular. In line with "keeping it simple," I dump beans in a large screen-mesh colander, toss to get an immediate cooling and blow away the chaff, then dump on a flat surface--lucky enough to have a generally-cool stone counter top.

For a little history/tradition, do a search on "Pecan Jim," or Jim Gundlach + wok. Jim wrote rhapsodicaly about wok roasting over an open wood (Pecan) fire. (the particular wood seems irrelevant, and the open wood fire out of the question--though idyllic) My first HG/DB (that's dogbowl, Isjms, not dustbin) were preceded by the wok.

An observation re. woks and roasting: many ways to apply heat, but the wok is designed to have a hot spot in the center and the cooler temps up the sides useful in food prep. That makes stirring is a special challenge. Traditional carbon steel or cast iron woks have different heating properties, but both are non-slick surfaces that, with some advantage, keep food from sliding into the center. Good for cooking but a slight disadvantage for coffee roasting where stirring is aided by a polished surface.

An advantage of the unique stirring/circulating properties of a dog bowl is its stability (if you are working on a flat surface.) Wok rings add another piece of gear and tend to require adjusting. Lots of people have automated the HG/DB with a bread machine for highly replicable roasts and what I'd expect to be a much faster learning curve. It's a good next step, but requires a larger footprint and multiple gerry-rigged and heavy components. Better, would be a HotTop, which, by not bothering with the programming, could be nice and simple. The (hoped-for) 1 lb HotTop might be, finally, what brings my roasting into the 21st Century. Still, it might not be the sort of "simple" that works well if I have to transport it to and from my smallish 26th floor terrace. That, and a projected $1500.

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#4: Post by yakster »

I've never tried wok roasting, though I did try and fail in a cast iron skillet, but when I go camping for any length of time I have an old-fashioned popcorn popper that I'll fill with green beans and keep shaking over an open campfire. I support the far end of the popper with a metal rod designed for holding marshmallow sticks over a fire to save my wrists since the combination of roasting and kayaking one trip was a bit much.

My everyday roaster at home in the garage is a Behmor. Thanks for sharing your story about wok roasting.

LMWDP # 272