Home roasting - what's the big deal? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Ken Fox »

John P wrote:Ken,

I used to live in Chubbuck, next to Pocatello. Fun times! (NOT)

We run a 2 group Synesso here, used to have a Linea. We fresh-roast coffee to order, no drip, press-pot only. I agree with your findings in SLC. After hitting places like Vivace, Lighthouse, Hines, etc.; the only way for us to enjoy a great espresso was to open our own place.

Drop me a line anytime.
Idaho is a funny place; most people conjure up pictures of huge potato fields when they think of the place. The reality is that the northernmost 3/4 of the state is very wild mountains and river valleys. I wouldn't trade that part of the state, for anything; I live at the southern end of it and we get a bit of the moderating climactic influence of the high desert to the south, but don't live in it.

Pocatello is a whole different matter. Actually, I'd add Idaho Falls, Burley, Rupert, and Twin Falls into that mix of places I could not conceive of living in for more than 2 or 3 days. Although similarly located in the flat, southernmost part of Idaho, Boise is in a different league; it's not a bad place, and reminds me of Salt Lake 25 years ago but without the overwhelming Mormon influence.

I probably will not get back to Salt Lake until maybe February, when I might pass through to go to Southern Utah during Prez. Week, to escape the crowds that come up where I live (Sun Valley area). If I am going to be there long enough to have coffee, I'll give you advance warning!

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

User avatar

#12: Post by espressoperson »

Worldman wrote:I just don't see the need to roast my own when freshly roasted beans are available to me at will (as long as I drive to the roastery or a couple of coffee bars to get them). One supposes that most of you also have decent local roasters. Why then do you home roast? What is the advantage?
If you love espresso you may be right to stay away from homeroasting. It may actually limit your espresso consumption. I've been an espresso drinker for decades and three years ago started homeroasting for all the usual reasons. For the first year I roasted two coffees, Sweet Maria's Espresso Monkey Blend and Decaf Espresso Donkey blend. Life was good. Roasting just enough to almost always have peak Monkey (days 4 through 10) and peak Donkey (days 2 through 5) available.

Then in my second year of homeroasting I got into SOs. First the ones that were recommended for espresso, but eventually many others that sounded intriguing in their own right. I was quickly faced with the understanding that the best roast level to appreciate the varietal uniqueness was often not the best roast level for espresso. So I pushed ahead with these brighter coffees and lighter roasts to consume typically by French press and vac pot (and also Americanos). So now I still roast Monkey and Donkey as staple blends but accompany them with many varietals and other blends too. And this has cut into my espresso consumption.

But now to come full circle back to espresso, this has helped my espresso experience. For example, knowing the constituent coffees in an espresso blend and what they have to offer at their best helps me evaluate whether a blend that uses these coffees does them justice. And stepping out even further on the edge, the more we know and appreciate coffee, the more we can know and appreciate espresso's unique contribution to the coffee experience. Arguably, to stay withing the espresso realm only without appreciating it in the larger context is to limit your ultimate enjoyment of what it has to offer. So homeroasting is an ideal way to expand your view in your own style.
michaelb, lmwdp 24

User avatar
Team HB

#13: Post by cannonfodder »

Because I enjoy it and my kids enjoy helping. If for no other reason (and there are) that is enough for me to home roast.
Dave Stephens


#14: Post by onemoreshot »

For me:

- It has added a new dimension to the coffee experience.

- It has taught me a lot, far more than I anticipated.

- It is cheaper than paying retail roast prices and depending on your consumption rate that can be impactful.

- It makes for thoughtful and personal gifts (I have gifted four 1/2lb batches in the last four days).

- I enjoy controlling the chain as much as possible.

- It is satisfyingly mine.

User avatar

#15: Post by MarkJames »

For me roasting is probably the best part of the whole experience.

When you roast you learn about how the coffee comes from the cherry to the bean - dry processing, wet processing, demucilaging etc.
You get an appreciation for the difference between the large corporate farms and the small estate coffee growers and you gain an appreciation for the influence coffee and its economy has on a large part of the world.

The romance of coffee is unmistakable. You order beans from Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean. It's truly wondrous just thinking that the bag of beans I have in my hand got picked on some coffee plantation in an exotic part of the world by people with a different culture. The beans were then processed and sorted and a coffee buyer came to cup them and pick what he wanted for his customers. Then the beans were bagged and shipped to a broker who then sold them to me. I then roasted them to the level I wanted, ground them to the level I wanted and produced a cup of coffee that is precisely tailor made by me, for me. All that for pennies. It's truly remarkable that I can have that for a per liter price less than bottled water!

Roasting gives you insight into the influence the roast character has on the coffee. You stop tasting coffee as merely a function of the bean but of the bean and the roast. You start to notice roast character vs. origin character and find the different characteristics you like or dislike about each.

Roasting lets you pick a kind of bean and a level of roast for a particular coffee style. I'll roast and grind different beans in different ways for press pot coffee than I would for a chemex pot than I would for a drip coffee than I would for an espresso shot.

Roasting lets you taste single origin character in coffees and lets you experience blending of different coffees with different taste sensations. Some coffees make awful single origin espresso some are wonderful.

Roasting truly completes the experience for me anyways and the fact for $5 a pound I can roast better coffee than I can buy for triple that is just a bonus.


User avatar
Worldman (original poster)

#16: Post by Worldman (original poster) »

Man! Some of you guys are almost poetic in your replies...most of you being both pithy and poignant. (Except that Cannonfodder's "my son and I do it together" thing is a bit "campy" in my opinion.)

I am curious, how many of you home roasters drink coffee other than espresso? I ONLY drink espresso (5 to 7 shots per day). Does the press pot or drip brewing method add something to home roasting that is lost on espresso only roasting?


User avatar
Compass Coffee

#17: Post by Compass Coffee » replying to Worldman »

Once upon a time many many moons ago French Press was the weekend special brewing method and drip was the weekday workhorse. Later came electronic vac brewing for the week day morning convenience pot. Along the road a Gold plated Royal Balance Brewer appeared for entertaining brewing. Then Miss Silvia joined the family. Soon Americanos became the cup of coffee of choice regardless the varietal. Took a couple years with Miss Silvia's promptings before an espresso epiphany finally happened and on to ristretto exploration in earnest. A year later decided to explore other traditional Italian espresso beverages like cappuccino which soon became my usual second cup of the morning. To Miss Silvia's dismay this caused her to be evicted in less than a year and replaced by the uppity Bricoletta. Though I have 7 French Presses of various sizes they now only see use for easy coffee cupping comparisons. Poor elegant Royal hasn't seen water, flame nor grind in over a year (but makes a very attractive table centerpiece :wink: ) One of my favorite brewing devices is a Costa Rica peasant choreador but I've never brewed with it. (coffee sock hung from a plain coat hanger like wire stuck in a plain chunk of wood stand.)

Which is to say the Bricoletta is used for virtually all brewing be it straight shot, Americano or cap (and once in awhile someone will request a milked to death latte, but the most they'll get from me is about 5oz milk before steaming for a double shot latte and haven't gotten complaints.) Someone visits and wants simply a cup of coffee it be an Americano and they always love it.

I don't roast SOs differently for the Bric' than I would for vac or press or whatever since they mostly get brewed Americano or Cappuccino. Love a bright SO for caps. But I do occasionally also pull ristrettos of virtually any SO. (temp management becomes very critical for something like a City+ WP Yirg ristretto or wild Kenya!)
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)

User avatar
Team HB

#18: Post by RapidCoffee »

Worldman wrote:I am curious, how many of you home roasters drink coffee other than espresso? I ONLY drink espresso (5 to 7 shots per day). Does the press pot or drip brewing method add something to home roasting that is lost on espresso only roasting?
Espresso (well, cappuccino) is clearly my beverage of choice. But at work I drink mostly Krups Moka Brew coffee. When traveling, I take the AeroPress. If I have a large group over for dinner, it's usually drip coffee (I know, I know). Regardless of the brewing method, it's (almost) always home roasted coffee.

AeroPressing on a backpacking trip in the Bighorn Mts of Wyoming this summer.

User avatar
Team HB

#19: Post by cannonfodder »

Worldman wrote:Man! Some of you guys are almost poetic in your replies...most of you being both pithy and poignant. (Except that Cannonfodder's "my son and I do it together" thing is a bit "campy" in my opinion.)
Really, my kids, 5 year old son in particular, loves to help me roast. He still enjoys doing thing with me, I haven't gotten uncool yet so I take advantage of it as much as I can. I brought him and my daughter (11) a t-shirt from Metropolis and Intelligentsia from my Chicago visit. They thought they were the greatest things on the planet.

The other reasons have been apply stated by others.
Dave Stephens

User avatar

#20: Post by JR_Germantown »

My son (the 13-year-old one) not only roasts with me, he likes to talk trash when pulling shots and pouring his lattes. "Haha, you got channeling!"..."Dad, my rosetta's better than yours!" It's a running battle and we have fun with it.